NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks: Kyrie Irving and ALL THE VALUE! (January 13)

Saturday has the weekend off to a hopping start with a seven-game featured slate that will tip off at  7 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 Kyrie Irving and the Memphis Grizzlies’ reserves.

NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks Today: Saturday, January 13

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Kyrie Irving: Dallas Mavericks vs. New Orleans Pelicans

Saturday’s are always wild in the NBA, and with eight of the 14 teams on the featured slate having played last night and the Milwaukee Bucks in an easy matchup before playing again tomorrow — well, let’s just say that Kyrie Irving is likely to be at least 30% more popular by tip-off than he is right now.

Luka Doncic is missing his second game with a sprained ankle and Dante Exum will be sitting out his sixth with a foot injury. Dereck Lively II is doubtful and standing by to miss a sixth game as well, though Maxi Kleber (toe) is probable after being absent for over two months.

Irving has averaged 1.25 fantasy points per minute in 452 minutes alongside Doncic. In his 296 minutes without the franchise player, Irving sees a 17% increase to 1.46 fantasy points per minute. This is a back-to-back for the Pelicans, who are likely to rest Zion Williamson. With this also being their third game in four nights — and with another game on Monday — it would not be a complete shock for someone else to sit. Welcome to the modern NBA, where load management is a thing, even when it has been decreed to not be an issue.

Tim Hardaway Jr. had a monster game on Thursday, but it’s important to note that his 39 minutes, 20 field goal attempts, 32 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals were either season-highs or just short. Everything broke in his favor, and he probably won’t replicate the resulting 50-burger tonight. However, even with a median projection of 31 fantasy points, he can still be a solid play.

Before the Memphis news, Hardaway was ridiculously popular as the top play on DraftKings and the second on FanDuel. After that news broke, he fell out of the top 10, which now makes him interesting again.

Memphis Grizzlies vs. New York Knicks

This is a back-to-back for Memphis. The Grizzlies fell 128-119 to the visiting Los Angeles Clippers last night. Ja Morant is out for the season, but he is not alone as Marcus Smart injured his right hand and will be out at least until early March. Derrick Rose and Santi Aldama are also out, with Desmond Bane (ankle) doubtful. Then, just because of #NBA #Reasons, Jaren Jackson Jr. has been downgraded to doubtful after knee soreness developed overnight.

That means major minutes and opportunities for Ziaire Williams, Xavier Tillman, Luke Kennard, David Roddy, Vince WIlliams Jr., John Konchar and Jacob Gilyard. When we also consider that Steven Adams and Brandon Clarke have not played this year, Memphis’ entire starting lineup and two best reserves won’t be taking the court tonight.

Keep in mind that in the six games that OG Anunoby has played for New York, the Knicks have allowed a stingy 104.9 points per 100 possessions, which is by far the lowest in the league. The depressed salaries of an entire group of understudies will offset that, but it would not be a complete surprise if Memphis does not top 100 points. Of course, if there is a big enough lead, even coach Tom Thibodeau may empty his bench.

Jalen Brunson (shoulder) is questionable, and this would be the perfect spot to get him some rest now that Memphis has dropped to double-digit home dogs. If Brunson were to sit, that would be a boost for Julius Randle, Josh Hart and Donte DiVincenzo, who would be the most likely players to pick up the offensive torch. Miles McBride could also draw a start, which would boost him into tournament consideration.

If Brunson plays, then it would seem that the Knickerbockers would make quick work of things, which could lead to fewer minutes for the starters. Isaiah Hartenstein does not score much outside of putbacks and alley-oops, but if he were to even sort of approach his regular minutes, he could get a double-double with 15-plus rebounds and a handful of stocks (combined blocks and steals).

Precious Achiuwa and Quentin Grimes could be deeper discount dandies, depending on the status of Brunson as they could get some trickledown minutes.

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Additional NBA Building Blocks Pick — Sports Betting Opportunities

Paolo Banchero looks like someone to target in the sports wagering world, with the under on his 42.5 points, rebounds and assists (PRA) prop, which is currently available at -110. Per the true odds of -122 (how OddsShopper measures the potential expected ROI of a given wager), this opportunity has a steady 5% 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 at -125, with “sharp” book Pinnacle giving no edge with a -141 offer.

NBA Bet Pro has Banchero projected for 36.8 minutes, with 25.93 points, 8.14 rebounds and 3.99 assists, for 39.62 PRA. There are a lot of moving parts right now for the Magic, with Wendell Carter Jr., Franz Wagner and Gary Harris each expected to miss their fifth consecutive game. This is a back-to-back, so Joe Ingles has been ruled out for rest along with Markelle Fultz. Jalen Suggs (illness) played just 14 minutes last night, but he is feeling better, and Jonathan Isaac is expected back after missing 10 games with a hamstring issue.

Over the last 10 games, Oklahoma City has posted a 112.4 defensive efficiency rating, which is the fifth best in the league. The Thunder have been off since Thursday, so they should have a distinct advantage over the Magic, with each team taking the court again on Monday.

Banchero has 39 and 23 PRA in his last two games, but in the three prior contests, he had 49, 53 and 52. However, the big difference is minutes, and he averaged 43.7 in those three games as opposed to 35.6 in the other two. If we just went off his season averages of 35.0 minutes, 23.0 points, 7.1 rebounds and 4.8 assists, he is comfortably below the 42.5 threshold with 34.9 PRA.

Even considering that Banchero was the first overall pick last pick last year and that he is clearly improving with better numbers across the board, the OKC defense and fluctuation of the Magic rotation are not in his favor. Over his last 17 games, he is averaging 36.7 minutes and a 38.5 PRA, topping 42.5 eight (47%) times.

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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