NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks: Devin Booker and the Nuggets Understudies (January 16)

Tuesday brings a turbulent three-game slate with a 7:30 p.m. ET tip off on DraftKings and FanDuel. There are several options in the player pool worth analyzing to find the top NBA DFS building blocks and NBA DFS picks, including some intriguing playing time situations that provide steady value options. Let’s dig into the NBA DFS picks and core plays like Devin Booker.

NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks Today: Tuesday, January 16

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Devin Booker: Phoenix Suns vs. Sacramento Kings

There is a lot of news pending, though it will clear up throughout the day. Philadelphia and Oklahoma City played yesterday, and each team has marquee players who are dealing with semi-minor injuries. Denver last played on Sunday, and the Nuggets do not play again until Friday in Boston, but with most of the rotation on the interim injury report, it seems the team is signaling some players may rest.

Starting with what we do know, Devin Booker is coming off back-to-back 50-burgers, and one is definitely on the menu tonight against the Kings (get it, burger … Kings, I know, I know that was a whopper of a stretch). Booker continues to be the co-facilitator, working in with Bradley Beal, while the budding superstar also shares primary scoring duties with Kevin Durant. This trio commands most of the usage on a very top-heavy roster, but that is good for their respective fantasy floors, albeit somewhat decreasing the probability of a ceiling game for each.

The trio has only played around a dozen games together, so they are still figuring out how to co-exist, though Beal has appropriately taken a backseat in the scoring department. However, he is still finding a way to make his mark. Each member of this troika is in play, and on the short slate there should be enough fantasy production earmarked to them collectively that it is not a stretch to put two of the three on the same roster, especially once we see how all the pending news shakes out.

Sacramento and Phoenix have each been right around league average on defense and pace of play over the last fortnight. Keegan Murray had been in one of his better fantasy stretches prior to suffering a hip injury on Sunday. In the preceding six games, he had 35-plus fantasy points five times, with three cresting over the 40-fantasy point plateau. If he misses, Malik Monk, Trey Lyles, Harrison Barnes and Kevin Huerter will see the largest impact from the trickledown minutes and opportunities.

De’Aaron Fox is having his best fantasy season and has boosted his production by nearly 12% over last year when he made his first All-Star Game appearance. Domantas Sabonis also is performing at his best fantasy level yet, and the reigning rebound king is leading the league again, with a career-high 12.7 caroms per contest. This duo is on the short list of fantasy options, and depending on news, they could easily become priority plays.

Centers of Attention

Yesterday Joel Embiid racked up just over 60 fantasy points in 31.3 minutes against the Houston Rockets. That was his first action in four games, and he has played in just three of the last 10 tilts while managing a sore knee. It remains to be seen if he will play tonight, though for what it is worth, he was listed as probable on the overnight injury reports. That, of course, can change at any time, though maybe we will get to see the last two MVPs square off tonight.

This could be a pipedream as Nikola Jokic is questionable, which is sad since we have seen this duo square off just two times over the last three seasons out of six possible matchups. Depending on which players are available for the Nuggets tonight, that will be the clear source of value — assuming Jamal Murray, Michael Porter Jr. and Aaron Gordon join Jokic for a bonus day of rest.

Ivica Zubac is out, which means Daniel Theis and Mason Plumlee will be splitting the center minutes against the Thunder tonight. Both are discount dandies, with a slight edge going to whoever earns the start, as that would get them one rotation closer to a 26-22 minutes split. Foul trouble or ineffectiveness could also change things in-game, though most savvy gamers will be playing one of these bigs on each roster — under the current injury situations. Clearly that would change if Embiid were out.

Non-Center Alert: If Embiid does sit, Tyrese Maxey moves from a strong play to arguably the best option on the night. The 23-year-old has upped his fantasy production by 13 points per game over last season, and a lot of that has to do with his league-leading 37.4 minutes and James Harden being on the Clippers.

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Additional NBA DFS Pick — Sports Betting Opportunities

Jusuf Nurkic is a strong rebounder, and since becoming a full-time starter seven seasons ago, he is averaging 9.8 rebounds per game in 27.0 minutes. This is, of course, his first season in Phoenix, and he has averaged 10.4 rebounds in 27.8 minutes across 37 starts. Still, tonight looking to his under 10.5 rebounds prop seems like a savvy move. The line is currently available at +114 and per the true odds of +106 (how OddsShopper measures the potential expected ROI of a given wager), this opportunity has a solid 4% expected ROI as a function of the inefficient line.

It is crucial to take advantage of OddsShopper to look at all the available lines since that can easily be worth another 2% to 3% for your ROI, even on perfectly neutral bets, based on how the different books value things. To demonstrate this very concept, look below — you can see that some books have moved to a threshold of 11.5 rebounds with the under at -140, indicating the 10.5 is a close wager and that, when taking that number, we will want better than even money. This is further cemented by sharp book Pinnacle coming in at -105 on under 10.5 rebounds.

NBA Bet Pro has Nurkic projected for 28.1 minutes and 10.83 rebounds, which is above the 10.5 threshold we are hoping he fails to surpass. The last three times Nurkic has played Sabonis, he has failed to top nine boards in games where he played 30 (this season), 25 and 23 minutes. The latter two games came while he was with the Trail Blazers.

This is a close margin but also why we are getting plus money on the under. On a long-term time horizon, these are the types of wagers we should be seeking out.

Final Thoughts on NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks Today

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Eric "EMac" MacPherson won the 2007 Fantasy Baseball grand prize (trip for two to the MLB All-Star game) in the Roto format on ESPN. He won again in 2008, this time in the H2H format. As one of the early adopters of daily fantasy sports, EMac has been providing content for baseball and basketball as well as both professional and college football since 2012 for a variety of websites including DraftKings Playbook, FanVice, RotoWorld, Daily Fantasy Bootcamp, and RotoGrinders. He is well into his third decade of fantasy sports and has a wealth of knowledge and experience. Follow him on Twitter @EMacDFS or contact EMac by emailing [email protected].

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