NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks: Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle are Perfect Tournament Pivots! (January 9)

Tuesday brings a frontloaded five-game featured slate locking at 7 p.m. ET p.m. ET 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 Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle, along with a myriad of players stepping into enhanced roles with some injuries and absences for key contributors.

NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks Today: Tuesday, January 9

Jalen Brunson: New York Knicks vs. Portland Trail Blazers

Tonight the chalk is going to be heavy and specific stars and scrubs combinations will be overrepresented in tournaments. That makes this an intriguing slate for those willing to take a slightly different path. Jalen Brunson has made another step forward this year, building on his first All-Star campaign with nearly an 8% increase in his fantasy production. He is averaging a career best 26.0 points per game, with an impressive 43.8% conversion rate on 6.6 3-point attempts per appearance.

Portland continues to have frontcourt issues, with Deandre Ayton (knee) likely to miss his eight consecutive game tonight, Moses Brown (wrist) is out for at least two months and Jabari Walker is dinged up as well. Plus versatile defender-extraordinaire Matisse Thybulle (foot) missed the last game and is questionable tonight.

This means weaker rim protection, which is great for Brunson as well as less effective rebounders, which should have Julius Randle firmly on the tournament radar. This duo is priced in the “sweet spot” where they are likely to be overlooked when gamers use the ample value available to start their roster builds with the superstars.

Isaiah Hartenstein rarely looks for his own shot, but what he does get are dunks and putbacks, which have him averaging 10.5 points per game over his last four outings, despite attempting just 6.5 field goal attempts per tilt. In this same stretch, he has received heavy playing time with 37.6 minutes per game, which have enabled him to corral 13.5 caroms, dish out 2.8 dimes and tally an absurd 5.3 combined blocks and steals. His salary is at a season high on both DraftKings and FanDuel, which is likely to cause some sticker shock for the less sophisticated gamers.

Killian Hayes: Detroit Pistons vs. Sacramento Kings

Cade Cunningham is likely to be out for the next two weeks, which means Killian Hayes will be earning a larger role. FanDuel pre-emptively increased his salary by $1,500 for a 30% boost, but the third-year guard is just $4,500 on DraftKings, despite a similarly sized adjustment. Hayes has averaged 0.9 fantasy points per minute this season when he is on the floor without Cunningham, so with him likely to see 30 minutes of run, it makes sense that he is the most popular option on DraftKings.

For those playing on the blue site, Chuma Okeke ($4,300) would be the preferred discount dandy with Franz Wagner, Wendell Carter Jr., Jonathan Isaac, Joe Ingles and Gary Harris all out. Keep in mind he has started the last two games, though he has totaled just 30 fantasy points in these outings. If this feels too fancy of a play, and it probably is, then by all means join the masses and ride with the Memphis Grizzlies.

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Memphis Grizzlies at Dallas Mavericks

Ja Morant will miss the rest of the season with a shoulder injury, which did not get incorporated into the salary algorithms for Tuesday’s player pool. Additionally, Jaren Jackson Jr. (knee) is questionable as well. The reigning Defensive Player of the Year has posted back-to-back 50 burgers, so if is is unable to suit up, he will be sorely missed.

Desmond Bane is a strong play and he is once again the primary scorer for the squad. Marcus Smart will be the primary facilitator and he is not afraid to call his own number and he should flirt with 20 points most nights going forward. Vince Williams Jr. and Luke Kennard should also see a boost as Memphis tries to find additional scoring. If Jackson is out, then Bismack Biyombo, Ziaire Williams and Xavier Tillman would fill in the frontcourt void.

After missing three weeks with a heel injury, Kyrie Irving has racked up a pair of 50 fantasy point efforts and he had 60 in his last game. Luka Doncic was out for that one, but he is expected to play tonight, making this duo a formidable fantasy force that will get most of the Dallas usage. It is hard to expect Irving to continue averaging 2.3 steals and 1.3 blocks like he has since his return, but he still has a 10-15% attainable upside on his salary in this fantasy friendly matchup tonight.

Looking for more NBA DFS picks and advice? You’ve come to the right place. Sign up for our NBA DFS Premium Package for access to our player projections, ownership projections and our state-of-the-art NBA DFS simulation tools.

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Additional NBA Building Blocks Pick — Sports Betting Opportunities

Desmond Bane is going to be a key player to roster for DFS tonight, however, we can head in the other direction in the sports wagering world with the under on his 6.5 assists prop, which is currently available at +100. Per the true odds of -116 (how OddsShopper measures the potential expected ROI of a given wager), this opportunity has a stellar 7% 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 several books are offering this bet between at +100, -110 and then the sharp book of Pinnacle is downright punitive with a -132 line.

NBA Bet Pro has Bane projected for 37.1 minutes and 5.9 assists. In the 24 games that Bane played while Morant was suspended, he averaged 34.4 minutes and 5.2 assists, handing out seven or more helpers in seven (29.1%) of the games. It is also important to note that Smart was out with an injury for five of the games where Bane topped that threshold and he will be playing tonight.

Rooting for unders may not be as fun as rooting for overs, but that is where the line value is more often than not when it comes to player props, as the sportsbooks look to use psychology against casual bettors.

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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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