NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks: Elimination is on the Table! (April 27)

Saturday’s NBA action tips off at 1 p.m. ET, with a four-game featured slate 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. Let’s dig into the NBA DFS picks and core plays like Anthony Davis, LeBron James, Jamal Murray and, of course, Nikola Jokic, along with a variety of secondary players as premium targets.

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NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks Today: Saturday, April 27

NBA DFS Picks: Building Blocks

LeBron James: Lakers vs. Nuggets

Stokastic’s Fantasy Point Projections
DraftKings: 52.75 | FanDuel: 51.01
Stokastic’s Rostership Projections
DraftKings: 21.9% | FanDuel: 13.5%
DFS Salary
DraftKings $9,500 | FanDuel: $10,500

The stakes are high today with the Lakers on the brink of being the first team eliminated from the postseason. This is a kitchen-sink game, and Los Angeles will need to throw everything they have at Denver to stave off disaster.

Expect 40 minutes tonight from Los Angeles’ duo of future Hall of Famers as long as this game is even remotely close. This is not even a hyperbolic statement as it is what’s transpired in the three previous tilts.

No, this series does not define LeBron James — well, actually, it does. Think about the expectations heaped on him as he potentially plays the final game of his season. He turned 39 in December, has played 21 years in the Association and led the Lakers to the inaugural In-Season Tournament title — yet the talking heads will be roasting his effort as soon as the team is eliminated, be that today or next week. It has been 11 years since his last MVP and fans still expect him to play like one every game.

All eyes will be on this matchup as it is the featured game on ABC tonight and has the most interesting storyline. James knows this, and it’s difficult to see him going out quietly. Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets have a major incentive to put away the Lakers tonight as it will afford the team several days off before the next series. Denver has played a lot of basketball since the beginning of last season and being the defending champions is always a grind as every team wants to take their shot at the titleholders.

Jokic has averaged 39.9 minutes in this series, with a 63.5% conversation rate on 17.3 field goal attempts per game. This has culminated in 27.7 points, 15.7 rebounds, 8.7 assists and 1.7 steals. James is not far behind with 40.3 minutes and 18.3 field goal attempts, with a 56.4% success rate, including 41.2% on 5.7 3-point attempts per tilt. He has averaged 26.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and 9.7 assists, along with 3.0 combined blocks and steals. Pretty darn impressive considering tonight will be his 286th playoff game.

Anthony Davis gets third billing, and that is no slight — it’s just harder to work him in on DraftKings, where he is only eligible as a center. On FanDuel, he has dual eligibility, and being able to slot him in as a power forward moves him ahead of James, even with the $700 premium. The Brow had four blocked shots in the first game, but has only one block since, and he has a paltry pair of steals in this series. That is underwhelming but is also likely to course correct, and, considering those stats are worth three fantasy points each on the blue site, Davis has more upside than LeBron.

This trio actually has the top three fantasy point-per-dollar ratios on DraftKings and are in the top five on FanDuel. Also joining them from this game is Jamal Murray, who is fourth on DraftKings and third on FanDuel based on that simple metric. In the series, Murray has attempted 21, 24 and 24 shots, making only 26 which is a poor 40% conversion rate. He has a 45.2% career field goal rate and set a personal best with 48.1% this season, including 42.5% from behind the arc. He will have everything break his way at some point and when it does, his backers will be treated to a 50 burger.

Aaron Gordon, Michael Porter Jr., Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, D’Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura are all neutral options who can be sprinkled across tournament lineups. Taurean Prince, Gabe Vincent, Christian Braun and Peyton Watson will all see the court, though they are best left for the two-game late slate.

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Jayson Tatum: Celtics at Heat

Stokastic’s Fantasy Point Projections
DraftKings: 48.26 | FanDuel: 46.43
Stokastic’s Rostership Projections
DraftKings: 9.3% | FanDuel: 11.5%
DFS Salary
DraftKings: $9,200 | FanDuel: $9,700

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown combined for 61 points and Boston lost at home to the Miami Heat 111-101. That would not have been a spicy take at the beginning of March, however, considering Jimmy Butler and Terry Rozier are both out with injuries and the Heat were 12.5-point road dogs, how the heck does something like that happen?!

Well, by turning up the variance and getting favorable 3-point shooting, as Miami converted on 23 of 43 (53.5%), setting a postseason franchise record.

The series resumes in South Beach today, and we should expect Tatum and Company to be raring to go, with Boston installed as 9.5-point favorites. In the DFS world, Tatum is still a tick below the top two players from Los Angeles and Denver as detailed above, but that is only because salary caps are a thing. The flipside is that he is underrepresented in tournaments on both DraftKings and FanDuel, when looking at the Stokastic Boom/Bust Tool. The game environment is not as good as the nightcap, but Tatum should once again be the focal point of the offense and his usage will rival anyone on the slate as the rest of the Celtics revolve around their centerpiece.

Bam Adebayo is the only player in this game who lands inside the top 10 fantasy point-per-dollar options on both DraftKings and FanDuel. That should not be a surprise with this being a defensive minded matchup. However, similar to Tatum, it is making the 26-year-old project as underrepresented in tournaments. There are lots of excellent centers in action today, with Jarrett Allen, Jonas Valanciunas and Chet Holmgren joining Adebayo, Jokic and Davis. That makes Saturday’s puzzle very intriguing as there should be no issues finding differentiation from the field with a few simple tweaks to incorporate some of the less popular, though absolutely fantasy viable options.

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Today’s Top Sports Betting Pick

Jonathan Isaac is a fine DFS play, but that is because his salary is reasonable and he gets defensive stats. Offense is a different story, particularly if Paolo Banchero is going to be hoisting two dozen shots again:

The under on Isaac’s 12.5 points + rebounds + assists (PRA) prop is actually available even money, BetMGM and Hard Rock each offering +100 for this wager. By using OddsShopper to do the heavy lifting when researching favorable bets, we can quickly spot inefficient lines like this one, and having accounts at multiple sportsbooks allows us to pivot to the best number quickly.

When looking at the true odds of -122 (how OddsShopper measures the potential expected ROI of a given wager), there is a nifty 9.8% expected ROI with the current line.

NBA Bet Pro has Isaac projected for 18.9 minutes and 6.96 points, 5.10 rebounds and 0.70 assists for a 12.76 PRA. That is just above the threshold, however it does not account for variable outcomes, which can be semi-quantified by the 55% win rate for the under.

The assumption is that Isaac will be replaced in the first five once again by Wendell Carter Jr. Though Carter did not do much on offense, the shakeup with the starters did result in a 121-83 Orlando victory. It would be a surprise if head coach Jamahl Mosley went away from that strategy this afternoon, which would likely keep Isaac’s minutes in the 18-to-20 range.

The oft-injured defensive maven is not going to be out on the court for mop-up duty and missing a rotation will pinch his minutes as compared to the first two games when he started. Of course, this is all baked into the projections for both Bet Pro and the sportsbook, but considering he is the fifth offensive option when he is on the court, Isaac may have a hard time getting to 13 PRA.

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Final Thoughts on NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks Today

Get all the latest news and updates for NBA DFS picks today on the Stokastic NBA Live Before Lock Show at 12:00 p.m. ET on YouTube, breaking down all of the key elements for today’s slate. Brought to you by Sleeper – new users, use this link to receive a $500 first deposit match! Full details here.

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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