NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks: Play-In Tournament Day 2! (April 17)

The second wave of Play-In Games is taking place tonight, with the fun beginning at 7:00 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 Joel Embiid, Alex Caruso and a variety of Heat and Hawks as recommended options.

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NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks Today: Wednesday, April 17

NBA DFS Picks: Building Blocks

Alex Caruso: Bulls vs. Hawks

Stokastic’s Fantasy Point Projections
DraftKings: 32.78 | FanDuel: 33.61
Stokastic’s Rostership Projections
DraftKings: 77.1% | FanDuel: 82.7%
DFS Salary
DraftKings: $5,800 | FanDuel: $6,400

Alex Caruso is currently projected to be the most popular option across the main DFS sites for tonight’s action. This makes sense as he is no stranger to playing 40 minutes in a game, plus with Dejounte Murray and Trae Young on the others side of the ball, his defense will be a priority.

Currently the Stokastic projections have Caruso for 36.9 minutes, so there is an easily attainable 3-4 minutes if this ends up being a tight game.

Both of these squads are missing key players and while that is not exactly new, it does make it a little tougher for the coaches to go even tighter on the already shortened rotation. Chicago is of course without Zach LaVine, Patrick Williams and Lonzo Ball, while Ayo Dosunmu (quad) and Andre Drummond (ankle) have both missed games recently. The latter two could be cleared to play tonight, which of course would impact the depth for the Bulls and add two more potential fantasy options.

Expect the Bulls to go with a very tight rotation consisting of Caruso, Coby White, DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic and if healthy, Dosunmu. The reserves most likely to see time would be Jaonte Green and Torrey Craig, with Drummond if healthy. This trio will likely combined for around 30to-35 minutes. It would be a surprise if Dalen Terry or any other Chicago players set foot on the court tonight, outside of a blowout.

Atlanta is missing Saddiq Bey and Onyeka Okongqu are out, with Jalen Johnson recently lost to an ankle sprain that could keep him out for a couple of weeks. Young is back and worked his way up to nearly 32 minutes. Keep in mind he was out with a torn ligament that required surgery on the little finger of his left (dominant) hand. He should able to play upwards of 35 minutes tonight with the season on the line.

Bruno Fernando is the big winner with Okongqu and Johnson out as he will see time backing up both the center and power forward positions behind Clint Capela and De’Andre Hunter.

Bogdan Bogdanovic should also see elevated minutes and he is a fine option as well as the aforementioned Hawks. Garrison Mathews and Muhamed Gueye, may get a couple of minutes, but more than two rotations in a tight game would be eyebrow raising as would anything outside of mop-up duty for AJ Griffin and Kobe Bufkin.


Joel Embiid: 76ers vs. Heat

Stokastic’s Fantasy Point Projections
DraftKings: 59.9 | FanDuel: 58.86
Stokastic’s Rostership Projections
DraftKings: 10.2% | FanDuel: 7.5%
DFS Salary
DraftKings: $11,100 | FanDuel: $11,900

Now is the perfect time for Joel Embiid to have a career-highlight performance. If the 76ers win tonight, they get a couple more days off and can come in fresh for a first round, Game 1 road upset.

That is looking pretty far ahead and tonight is still a hurdle that must be cleared of course.

Though it should not be compared to the matchup against Miami, the reigning NBA MVP average close to 34 minutes and mid-60s fantasy points in his last two outings of the regular season. The knee will be an issue as the grind of the playoffs wear on, but tonight we can look to Embiid as a DFS differentiator who is likely to end up on just 10%-to-15% of FanDuel and 20%-to-25% of DraftKings tournament lineups.

Tyrese Maxey had the best season of his young career and it had more to do with James Harden vacating the point guard role than all of the games without Embiid. Maxey and Embiid mesh very well on the perimeter or the high-low offense and they are going to be tough to beat tonight for the Heat.

Tobias Harris, Kelly Oubre Jr. and Nicolas Batum are each projected to play around 30 minutes tonight, which gives plenty of positional eligibility and semi-favorable pricing, for those crafting 50-plus lineups. Buddy Hield is a wild card who could splash half a dozen triples in limited action or fail to reach double-digit fantasy points. Kyle Lowry will be around to back up Maxey, but it is hard to see the veteran getting more than low-20s minutes in a close game. The rest of the 76ers are lottery tickets at best.

Caleb Martin was key in the postseason last year and with Terry Rozier out, he is likely to be used by coach Erik Spoelstra as the glue-guy for a variety of lineup configurations. He plays good defense and can knock down a three, which could help him top 30 minutes tonight.

Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro and of course Jimmy “Remember Me?!” Butler will do the heavy lifting, so we know what we are getting there. The mystery men will be Nikola Jovic, rookie Jaime Jaquez, enigmatic Haywood Highsmith and 3-point specialist Duncan Robinson. Median projections have this quartet for mid-20s minutes, but one or two could push for 30 and of course one or two could fall below 15. Caveat Emptor.

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Today’s Top Sports Betting Pick

Clint Capela is a strong DFS option, but we can also look at the under on his 12.5 rebounds prop, which is currently -108 on SuperBook.

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 -121 (how OddsShopper measures the potential expected ROI of a given wager), this opportunity has a scintillating 5.6% positive expected ROI as a function of the inefficient line.

NBA Bet Pro currently has Capela projected for 29.9 minutes and 11.83 rebounds, which is just under the 12.5 threshold. Of course, this is a median projection and does not account for variable outcomes, though the 55% probability for Capela failing to reach 13 rebounds is a good indicator for the success of this wager.

Capela will benefit from the absence of teammates Jalen Johnson and Onyeka Okongwu, plus get another boost if Andre Drummond is out for the Bulls. He will still have to contend with Nikola Vucevic, but 13 rebounds is a big ask for anyone. In his last 14 games, Capela had 13 or more rebounds three times, but he reached double-digits 10 times. This wager is likely to go down to the wire, but at -108 or better, it is a reasonable bet.

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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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