NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks: Jamal and The Joker (May 12)

The Sunday playoff fun tips off at 3:30 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. Let’s dig into the NBA DFS picks and core plays like Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray and Tyrese Haliburton, with a few value options sprinkled in for good measure.

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NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks Today: Sunday, May 12

NBA DFS Picks: Building Blocks

Jamal Murray: Nuggets at Timberwolves

Stokastic’s Fantasy Point Projections
DraftKings: 40.23 | FanDuel: 39.35
Stokastic’s Rostership Projections
DraftKings: 38.7% | FanDuel: 44.6%
DFS Salary
DraftKings $7,500 | FanDuel: $8,000

Whether he was motivated by his $100,000 fine or rejuvenated by all the boos from the Minnesota crowd, Jamal Murray finally was a difference-maker. Of course, he could also be moving on from the calf issue that has plagued his postseason, but whatever the catalyst was, let’s hope it is replicated tonight.

The defending champions are not out of the woods yet, but at least the Nuggets have forced the series to see at least one more game in Denver.

After missing 15 of 18 (83.3%) of his field goal attempts, including all four from beyond the arc in Game 2, Murray was 11 of 21 (52.4%) while splashing two of five from downtown. He also had a trio of takeaways, giving him five steals in the last two games after garnering just one in his first six playoff performances. While this feels like it may be chasing points, it really is not considering, in his 39 playoff games prior to this postseason, Murray averaged 39.8 minutes and 19.9 field goal attempts with a 48.8% conversion rate. This culminated in 26.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 6.9 assists, and 1.5 combined blocks and steals. If he does anything along those averages tonight, he will have his supporters grinning from ear-to-ear.

Nikola Jokic played like a three-time NBA MVP on Friday, racking up 24 points, 14 rebounds, nine assists, three steals and three blocks. The Joker was +30 while on the court and paramount in pushing the Nuggets to a 117-90 victory. No other player is within 15 median fantasy points of his mid-60s projection, but there are a passel of players in the 40s. Clearly there are ways to craft lineups without the reigning MVP, but he is still a core building block on Sunday.

Michael Porter Jr. currently is projected to be on one in four rosters for the DraftKings and FanDuel featured tournaments. He was efficient in Game 2, knocking down 6 of 10 (60%) from the field, including four of five 3-pointers. However, the 30 fantasy points were disappointing, but he also had five fouls. That combined with the lopsided game led to him playing nearly 10 minutes less than what is typically seen from the tight Denver rotation. Expect a bounce-back game tonight.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (right abdominal strain) and Reggie Jackson (left calf) are both questionable, though expected to play. Caldwell-Pope needs minutes to compile his fantasy production as he is mostly doing the little things in the postseason. It is OK to skip him tonight in favor of one of the other discount dandies from the first game or rolling the dice with teammate Christian Braun. Jackson has been dinged up all postseason, first with a sprained ankle and now with a sore calf. His minutes have fallen from 13.7 to 10.2 to 8.2, with most of his run in Game 3 occurring in mop-up duty. If he were healthy, we would want to roll the dice, but since he is not – well, we can skip over him too.

After barely leaving the bench in the first round, Justin Holiday has been a key part of providing spacing against the Timberwolves. The eldest Holiday brother should see around 10 minutes in the first half, and he is also live to get blowout run in a lopsided game.

Peyton Watson is out of the rotation, getting just 13 seconds at the end of the first half and nine seconds at the end of the third quarter, before joining the rest of the understudies for the final five minutes of the game. Caveat Emptor, even in the single-game format.

Jaden McDaniels is the most popular Minnesota player on both DraftKings (39.4%) and FanDuel (42.6%) as a strong punt option. He should approach 30 minutes with his defense against Murray and Porter, which gives him time to gather fantasy points. Karl Anthony-Towns has had two dreadful fantasy performances, surrounding a glorious 50-burger. Of course, that was also the game where Rudy Gobert was out , which allowed KAT to collect more rebounds than usual, along with his only blocked shots of the postseason. This duo cancels each other out for fantasy purposes, pushing even more of the field to Anthony Edwards who has leveled up this postseason, cementing his status as the best two-way player in the game.

Mike Conley, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Naz Reid and Kyle Anderson are tertiary targets, with each losing out to players at their respective positions in the afternoon action.

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Tyrese Haliburton: Pacers vs. Knicks

Stokastic’s Fantasy Point Projections
DraftKings: 45.45 | FanDuel: 43.34
Stokastic’s Rostership Projections
DraftKings: 23.2% | FanDuel: 15.2%
DFS Salary
DraftKings: $8,600 | FanDuel: $9,600

It seems that similar to Jamal Murray, Tyrese Haliburton may finally be close to full health. He has back-to-back games averaging 36.4 minutes with a wicked 55.6% conversion rate on 22.5 field goal attempts, including 48.1% from long-distance. This has resulted in 34.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 8.0 assists and 3.0 combined blocks and steals. If this continues, he could again flirt with 60 fantasy points, making him an option that could surpass Jokic for the highest fantasy score of the slate.

Andrew Nembhard and Aaron Nesmith (shoulder) are both wildly popular on FanDuel, projecting to be on nearly half of all rosters. Nesmith is garnering around half of the popularity of DraftKings, with Nembhard just barely in double-digits. This is your Sunday reminder that it is important to understand the salary caps, position restrictions and scoring formats for your DFS site of choice.

Reserve T.J. McConnell joins Pascal Siakam and Myles Turner as the other relevant fantasy options from the Pacers. Isaiah Jackson is a cheap lottery ticket as it seems he will be in line for around 10 minutes, some of which have been coming at the expense of Obi Toppin. Toppin has shown he can pile up fantasy points in a hurry and he has appeared motivated against his former squad.

The Knicks looked gassed on Friday, with Josh Hart shockingly NOT playing all 48 minutes, getting a five-minute respite in the middle of the third quarter. Jalen Brunson is also wearing down and was obviously bothered by the foot injury he sustained in the second game of this series. While 48 hours of treatment should help, he may only be at 90% as a best-case scenario for the rest of this round.

Donte DiVincenzo did his best to carry the offense with a team-high 35 points and with O.G. Anunoby out, he and Miles McBride have a clearer path to minutes and can both bet on the court at the same time out of necessity. Speaking of necessity, Alec Burks saw action for the first time all postseason, getting 21.3 minutes and producing nearly as many fantasy points. Okay, technically he played in Game 2, but can we really count 44 seconds as playing? The Stokastic Projections have him in line for 17.1 minutes and he could play himself into more depending on his success and the health and effectiveness of the other guards.

Precious Achiuwa should remain with the first five, but it needs to be pointed out that he did not play in the fourth quarter and is unlikely to be in the closing unit unless Isaiah Hartenstein is in foul trouble. Hartenstein remains a strong DFS option today, though he too is looking a little ragged from all the minutes. Despite New York being short-handed, coach Tom Thibodeau basically stuck with a six-man rotation as Jericho Sims saw the court for just four minutes at the end of the first quarter when both Hartenstein and Achiuwa got a break.

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Today’s Top Sports Betting Pick

Jamal Murray is someone to consider in the sports wagering market for his under 4.5 assists prop, which is currently available on FanDuel at -+198. Looking at the +180 “true odds” (how OddsShopper measures the potential expected ROI of a given wager), we can see there is a solid 6.5% expected ROI with the current line. However, there is only a 36% likelihood that Murray falls under this milestone.

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.

NBA Bet Pro has Hauser projected for 36.8 minutes and 5.80 assists, which is comfortably above the 4.5 mark, but that is why FanDuel is enticing wagerers with the +198 line. Looking at the other books, most are offering under 5.5 with heavy juice and only a few are willing to extend the under 4.5, with FanDuel being the most generous.

In the first three games of this series, Murray has four, two and five assists, though he had five or more in each of the five games against Los Angeles. This is only a viable wager for any books offering something better than +180, which at this time is only FanDuel. Be smart about shopping lines and understanding the OddsShopper market-based approach.

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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 2:30 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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