NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks: Nikola Jokic and Lakers Value (January 23)

Tuesday keeps the week rolling with a five-game featured slate locking 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 Nikola Jokic, along with Anthony Davis and lots of Lakers.

NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks Today: Tuesday, January 23

Nikola Jokic: Denver Nuggets at Indiana Pacers

Yesterday was a wild one, the likes of which have not been seen before in the DFS era. Here is a listing of the amazing statistics that were piled up by the league’s best players:

  • Joel Embiid: 37 minutes, 70 points, 18 rebounds, five assists, one steal and a block for 105.0 DraftKings points and 104.1 on FanDuel.
  • Luka Doncic: 40 minutes, 33 points, 18 rebounds,13 assists and two steals for 83.0 and 77.1 fantasy points.
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo: 36 minutes, 31 points, 17 rebounds, 10 assists, three steals and two blocks for 81.5 and 79.4 fantasy points.
  • Karl-Anthony Towns: 38 minutes, 62 points, eight rebounds and two assists for 76.5 and 67.6 fantasy points.
  • Jayson Tatum: 41 minutes, 39 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, three steals and two blocks for 72.8 and 74.7 fantasy points.
  • Kevin Durant: 41 minutes, 43 points, six rebounds, eight assists and three “stocks” for 71.0 and 70.2 fantasy points.
  • Scottie Barnes: 41 minutes, 22 points, 12 rebounds, eight assists and six blocks for 60.5 and 61.4 fantasy points.

So Towns — who had a personal-best 62 points, including 10 made 3-pointers — was the fourth-highest scorer on DraftKings while checking in at sixth highest on FanDuel. Honorable mentions to Coby White (59.0, 56.5), Donovan Mitchell (57.8, 57.1), Jaren Jackson Jr. (52.5, 56.3), LaMelo Ball (52.5, 52.7), and then Isaiah Stewart and Nikola Vucevic topping 50 on FanDuel and DraftKings, respectively.

Nikola Jokic has been a regular in this article series over the last three-plus seasons, winning two NBA MVPs. We all know what we are getting with The Joker, and he just dropped 57 fantasy points on the Pacers in 33 minutes in Denver nine days ago, missing a triple-double by one assist.

Looking at the best lineups with Jokic and without, we have his best lineup falling within 2 to 3 points of the median optimal on DraftKings and FanDuel. Median projections are clearing 300 points on both DraftKings and FanDuel without all of the injury information released yet. This should make for another crazy night while providing ample decision points.

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Los Angeles Lakers at Los Angeles Clippers

LeBron James has been ruled out with an ankle issue, which means that 34.3 minutes, 17.88 field goal attempts and 24.8 points will be vacated. This will be just the fifth game without James this season.

Rui Hachimura started three of the four games that James missed, with Cam Reddish starting the most recent but playing just under 12 minutes after hurting his knee. The speculation tonight is that Hachimura will draw the start and play around 26 minutes, which has pushed him up the projected popularity rankings to the top of DraftKings (55.6%) and third on FanDuel (44.5%).

Austin Reaves leads FanDuel (59.2%) while ranking second on DraftKings (50.5%). Reaves has not topped 31 fantasy points in his last eight games, even though he is averaging just over 30 minutes per appearance. He will benefit from James being out with extra usage and likely a higher assist rate.

D’Angelo Russell is the third-most popular option on DraftKings (46.0%) and fourth on FanDuel (40.4%). The soon-to-be 28-year-old has been outstanding since rejoining the starting unit five games ago, averaging 36.3 minutes and 18.6 field goal attempts with a scorching 55.9% conversion rate. Clearly that will not continue forever, especially making just over half his attempts from beyond the arc, but he has played his way back into the closing lineup as well.

Last but far from least is Anthony Davis, who averages right around 1.5 fantasy points per minute with and without James on the court. In the four games without LeBron, Davis averaged 39.2 minutes, 28.0 points, 12.0 rebounds, 5.5 assists, and 3.8 combined blocks and steals for a tick shy of 60 fantasy points.

Ivica Zubac is going to miss a couple weeks, so that means we should see more of Mason Plumlee in the starting lineup, which should help him get closer to 24 minutes of run. He is a fantasy-point-per-minute option with upside. That makes him a steal on DraftKings ($4,200) and a decent option on FanDuel ($5,300), though there will be the extra opportunity cost of missing out on Jokic, Nicolas Claxton, Chet Holmgren and extreme punt Jericho Sims, who should be starting for Isaiah Hartenstein. That makes the center-only players quite the puzzling conundrum on the blue site.

Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and James Harden are steady plays on DraftKings and borderline core selections on FanDuel.

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.

Additional NBA DFS Pick — Sports Betting Opportunities

Chet Holmgren is someone to look to in the sports wagering market tonight, with the under on his under 7.5 rebounds prop. The line is currently available at -105, and per the true odds of -121 (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 sharp book Pinnacle (just peeking into the bottom right of the screen capture) has the 7.5 priced at -142, which is a significant difference compared to the plus money currently available at -105 on PointsBet and Fanatics and the -110 on DraftKings.

In his last 15 games, the rookie has eight or more rebounds just four (23.7%) times. Now, that is significantly lower than his 17 games of eight or more in his 42 (40.3%), so even a longer timeframe of 15 games is still a relatively small sample size. In his last 15 games, Holmgren has averaged 30.5 minutes and 5.7 rebounds.

NBA Bet Pro currently has the 21-year-old projected for 29.6 minutes and 8.05 rebounds, which is a tick above what he will need to produce to surpass the over. Portland does have Deandre Ayton back in the lineup, so that is one more above-average rebounder that Holmgren will be competing with for boards tonight.

Here is a terrific article from Dave “Loughy” Loughran on OddsShopper breaking down why it is important to consider wagering on unders.

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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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