NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks: Play-In Tournament Day 1! (April 16)

The first wave of Play-In Games is on tap for tonight, and the action gets underway at 7:30 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 LeBron James, Anthony Davis and a variety of Kings, Pelicans and Warriors as recommended options.

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NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks Today: Tuesday, April 16

NBA DFS Picks: Building Blocks

LeBron James: Lakers at Pelicans

Stokastic’s Fantasy Point Projections
DraftKings: 54.64 | FanDuel: 52.46
Stokastic’s Rostership Projections
DraftKings: 35.9% | FanDuel: 38.4%
DFS Salary
DraftKings: $9,400 | FanDuel: $10,300

We saw LeBron James get down to business early on Sunday as he led the Lakers to victory in New Orleans. It will be interesting to see what adjustments the Pelicans have made over the last 48 hours.

Los Angeles has won three of the four regular season games in this season-long series, but tonight the stakes are far higher.

James was dishing out assists and helped propel the Lakers to the lead early in the first quarter, and the team never looked back. Anthony Davis did leave the game after it was well in hand after suffering lower-back spasms. This is likely the last hurrah for the dynamic duo of future Hall of Famers to make a push for one last championship together. James will be 40 years old next season, and the league keeps getting tougher and younger.

That determination will need to be at the forefront tonight, with the chance to take care of business also affording a few more days off. Keep in mind the Pelicans are still favored by a bucket, but most pundits have already picked Los Angles tonight. Not that NBA players need motivation, but that certainly can’t be sitting well with the Pelicans.

James and Davis have the highest median fantasy projection on both DraftKings and FanDuel tonight, with LeBron being a top-5 fantasy point-per-dollar ratio and Davis being just inside the top 10 on DraftKings and just outside on FanDuel. Both will be well represented in tournaments, which makes for an intriguing strategy for roster construction.

Rui Hachimura and D’Angelo Russell are the secondary options for the Lakers, with the caveat that Russell could always lose out in the fourth quarter. If he is not dropping his shots, then the equation with the defensive liability detriment could land him on the bench.

Brandon Ingram returned to action on Sunday, logging 23 minutes after missing the dozen preceding games. His appearance has upset the apple cart for the rest of the rotation, with both DraftKings and FanDuel not doing much to discount the salaries of Zion Williamson and CJ McCollum. This trio is very much in play for tournaments, but the hardcore gamers who are still playing cash lineups (H2Hs, 50/50s, 3-mans, etc.).

Larry Nance Jr. and Herbert Jones are fine discount dandies, though the masses are already there. Trey Murphy III is a wild card, but his proclivity from long distance always has him in play as a tournament difference-maker.


Klay Thompson: Warriors at Kings

Stokastic’s Fantasy Point Projections
DraftKings: 31.56 | FanDuel: 29.68
Stokastic’s Rostership Projections
DraftKings: 34.5% | FanDuel: 59.5%
DFS Salary
DraftKings: $6,200 | FanDuel: $6,200

The Kings and Warriors split the season series, but keep in mind Kevin Huerter and Malik Monk are now out with injuries. Golden State is favored by a bucket for this tilt in Sacramento, which should lead to a second spirited game tonight.

In a fun twist, Klay Thompson has led the team in scoring three of his last five games, though Stephen Curry was sidelined for two of those.

Over his last 10 games, Thompson is averaging 30.2 minutes and 16.3 field goal attempts with a 49.1% conversion rate. Even more impressive is the 41.6% success rate on 10.1 field goal attempts per game during this timeframe. It will be hard to make lineups on FanDuel without clicking on Thompson, but that also provides a direct leverage spot by instead turning to rookie Brandin Podziemski.

Trayce Jackson-Davis is likely to be nearly as popular on FanDuel as Thompson, with his favorable $5,500 salary and power forward eligibility. He could easily see minutes pinched by Draymond Green and Jonathan Kuminga if coach Steve Kerr decides to condense things around his veterans, but tight rotations could pinch pretty much anyone outside of the top seven or so players for each team during the Play-In Tournament.

Last but not least for the Dubs are their venerable veterans in the backcourt, Chris Paul and Curry. This pair is about as unflappable as it gets in pressure situations, and as long as they are able to stay healthy, they will be the main driving force behind Golden State making it into the playoffs.

Keegan Murray, Harrison Barnes and Keon Ellis are the discount dandies on DraftKings today, with this trio each projecting to be on two-thirds of all tournament rosters. Murray is the best bet, but he is also 10% to 15% more popular than his counterparts in this category. It is the same trio on FanDuel, though Ellis is the most popular, with his $4,900 salary. Barnes is $200 less, but the veteran has been hit or miss with his fantasy production this season and his upside is predicated on scoring, which can be tougher in games like tonight. He is fourth on the pecking order, and it is likely that there will be a more deliberate pace than in the regular season.

Domantas Sabonis and De’Aaron Fox are always in play, though James and Davis are more appealing than the former and there are similarly priced pivots for the latter on the main DFS sites.

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Today’s Top Sports Betting Pick

De’Aaron Fox is someone to target for the under on his 6.5 assists prop, which is currently -115 on BetRivers, Unibet, bet365 and SugarHouse.

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.

Per the true odds of -128 (how OddsShopper measures the potential expected ROI of a given wager), this opportunity has a decent 4.8% positive expected ROI as a function of the inefficient line.

NBA Bet Pro currently has Fox projected for 39.7 minutes and 6.09 assists, which is just under the 6.5 threshold. Of course, this is a median projection and does not account for variable outcomes, though the 56% probability Fox failing to reach seven assists is a good indicator for the success of this wager.

Each of the last two seasons, Fox has been second on the team to Domantas Sabonis in this category. This year, Fox had seven or more assists 35% of the time, but we can see that, even with a minutes projection accounting for the consolidated playing time for Sacramento, he is still falling a little shy of the magic number. Fox is the leading scorer for the team, and that is likely going to be his role again tonight while being the secondary facilitator after Sabonis.

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Final Thoughts on NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks Today

Get all the latest news and updates tonight on the Stokastic NBA Live Before Lock Show starting at 6 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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