NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks: Game 6 Fireworks! (May 18)

Saturday’s NBA action begins at 8:30 p.m. ET for Game 6, with elimination on the line for the Oklahoma City Thunder and mega tournaments 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 Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Luka Doncic — we’ll also discuss the ancillary options, too.

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NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks Today: Saturday, May 18

NBA DFS Picks: Building Blocks

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: Thunder at Mavericks

Stokastic’s Fantasy Point Projections
DraftKings: 57.55 | FanDuel: 58.21
Stokastic’s Rostership Projections
DraftKings: 70.1% | FanDuel: 66.3%
DFS Salary
DraftKings: $12,600 | FanDuel: $16,000

The Thunder won Game 4 in Dallas, but they dropped Game 5 in Oklahoma City. That means they must work some magic against the Mavericks tonight to push things to Game 7 in OKC on Monday.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has been outstanding this series, averaging 31.4 points, on the strength of a 49.6% conversion rate, while averaging 23 field goal attempts per game.

He also has provided 9 rebounds, 7.2 assists and 3.8 combined blocks and steals against the Mavs. Unfortunately, SGA’s teammates have not been of much support, and the team has dropped three of the last four games. Tonight they are 3.5-point road dogs so nothing will be easy.

Cason Wallace is one of the best discount dandies on DraftKings ($2,800), which has him appearing on close to half of all rosters. That popularity falls off a cliff on the blue site, where his $7,500 salary and the high floor price on FanDuel render him moot. Chet Holmgren looks great on FanDuel, where blocks and steals are worth three fantasy points each. The rookie from Gonzaga had just one stock (steals + blocks) in Game 5, after collecting five, three times in the first four games.

In a not particularly shocking move, Isaiah Joe replaced Josh Giddey with the first five on Wednesday. Though this did not dramatically alter their respective minutes, it all but assured DFS gamers that Giddey would play around 12 and have no chance at more than 15 minutes, clearing a path for Joe to see 20 minutes with a couple extra available for upside depending on his performance. This is a major fall from grace for Giddey, who was the sixth overall selection in the 2021 NBA Draft, but who can argue with Coach of the Year Mark Daigneault.

Giddey already wasn’t playing in the fourth quarter, so this change does not do much to boost Joe in the final frame, since he was already getting 4-to-6 minutes, depending on circumstances (and he has been losing out to Wallace more often than not). Still, if Giddey is drawing very little attention from the field, he suddenly becomes a “better play” than he was as a starter, if only for the inherent differentiation and the long-shot chance he makes a handful of shots. Aaron Wiggins falls into this mix as well, and it is in the realm of possible outcomes that he plays more than Giddey and scores more fantasy points than Joe.

Jalen Williams has not been as effective this series, after rolling up some nice numbers in the first round against the New Orleans Pelicans. That matchup feels like a lifetime ago, since that series sweep wrapped up on April 29. The minutes and offensive opportunities are there, but Williams has had a rough go with only a 40.8% success rate from the field, which with fewer shots per game, has resulted in a 5.3-point average slide.

Luguentz Dort has averaged nearly two stocks per game this series and has been getting heavy run with 39.3 minutes on average over the last three games. Defense is his calling card, but he has the green light for 3-pointers from the corner or when he is wide open as the result of an extra pass. While he has converted at a low 28% rate over the last three games, he has taken 25 total shot from behind the arc in this timeframe. If he splashes three, he is all but assured of double-digit points, and if he somehow hits on half, along with a few stocks, he would be a potential slate-breaker. The minutes and volume have been there, will Lady Luck smile upon him tonight?

Jaylin Williams played just 10 minutes, while Ousmane Dieng was on the court long enough to attempt a 3-pointer. Gordon Hayward and Kenrich Williams were DNP-CDs, though they could be thrown into the fire once more, depending on how desperate OKC is tonight.

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Luka Doncic: Mavericks vs. Thunder

Stokastic’s Fantasy Point Projections
DraftKings: 62.08 | FanDuel: 58.45
Stokastic’s Rostership Projections
DraftKings: 72.9% | FanDuel: 66.5%
DFS Salary
DraftKings: $13,400 | FanDuel: $16,500

The 72-hour break was needed for Luka Doncic as tonight will be the 12th playoff game in 27 days for the NBA scoring champion. The 25-year-old is averaging nearly 42 minutes per game in this stretch and at times he has been hobbled and moving like he was a decade or two older.

Fortunately, his many maladies have not hampered his offense, since he at least knows what direction he will be moving in and does not have to be reactionary, like when he is on defense.

Oklahoma City has done a tremendous job at containing Doncic, but he put up 31 points in the last game along with a second-consecutive triple-double. He and Gilgeous-Alexander are the two most expensive, popular and productive players on the slate. Gamers will do what they can to put both in lineups, but as we just saw with Nikola Jokic, that does not guarantee anything and likely is not the path to success. The difference between losing and a “minimum cash” is big, the difference between a top-10 performance and a minimum cash is dramatic by many standard deviations.

Kyrie Irving continues to chug along, but he is taking a backseat to Doncic and has been more of a facilitator, while also stepping up on defense. That is great for Dallas but not for DFS gamers. In Games 1 and 3, he had 20 and 22 points, in Games 2 and 4, he had nine apiece. Irving has not made the NBA Finals, without LeBron James and that was back in 2017. He is now 32-years-old and this has been one of his least mercurial seasons in years, so perhaps he realizes he may not have many more chances to get to the Finals.

P.J. Washington fell below 20 points for the first time in three games, attempting just nine field goals. He still corralled 10 caroms, which gave him his third double-double in the last four games. Those bonus points are key on DraftKings, though hard to count on from Washington, who has been a below-average rebounder for his position, throughout his career.

Still, he is the third option on offense and once more a solid fantasy selection on DraftKings. Daniel Gafford and Dereck Lively II are neutral fantasy plays on DraftKings, but they stand out on FanDuel, with blocks awarded three fantasy points. They are unlikely to share the court, but will be sharing the 48 center minutes and both have been adept at converting lobs from Luka and Kyrie.

Derrick Jones Jr. is ripe to break everyone’s hearts tonight after back-to-back fantasy-relevant performances. Still, the enigmatic wing is likely to be more productive than Tim Hardaway Jr. or Josh Green, but the former UNLV Running Rebel is no longer a steal of a deal.

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Today’s Top Sports Betting Pick

Luguentz Dort is someone to consider going against in the sports wagering world for his under 17.5 points + rebounds + assists prop. This proposition is currently available at +100 on bet365. Looking at the -109 “true odds” (how OddsShopper measures the potential expected ROI of a given wager), we can see there is a solid 4.3% expected ROI with the current line.

Looking at the player pool for the Saturday slate, the best NBA DFS picks tonight and building blocks include Luka Doncic and...

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. We can see that the bet365 wager stands out on an island, making it the one to go after ASAP.

NBA Bet Pro has Dort projected for 35.7 minutes, 11.25 points, 4.47 rebounds and 1.79 assists for 17.51 PRA. While that is in line with tonight’s 17.5 milestone, it is still below the 18 PRA needed for him to surpass this threshold.

 Dort fell below 17.5 PRA in the first two games, but he topped it in the last three. We can still look to him to have a fine DFS performance with 14-to-16 PRA, with a couple of stocks, while also winning this wager to collect on a downside outcome.

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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 8:00 p.m. ET on YouTube, breaking down all of the key elements, including even more on Luka Doncic and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, 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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