NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in a Dream Matchup! (February 4)

Sunday winds down the weekend with a seven-game featured slate tipping off at 6 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 Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nikola Jokic — as well as keep tabs on the availability of RJ Barrett, Jaylen Brown and Rudy Gobert.

NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks Today: Sunday, February 4

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NBA DFS Picks: Building Blocks

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Toronto Raptors

Stokastic’s Fantasy Point Projections
DraftKings: 60.5 | FanDuel: 61.1
Stokastic’s Rostership Projections
DraftKings: 39.1% | FanDuel: 35.7%
DFS Salary
DraftKings: $10,300 | FanDuel: $11,300

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has led the Thunder in scoring each of the last nine games on the way to a robust 7-2 record. This burst has Oklahoma City with the best record in the Western Conference, currently holding the tiebreaker over the Minnesota Timberwolves, who are also 34-15.

The 25-year-old was named an All-Star starter this season, and he has leveled up his fantasy production by another 10% over last year’s breakout campaign, averaging in the mid-50s on both DraftKings and FanDuel.

Tonight the Toronto Raptors are in town, along with a defense that has been dodgy at best after trading O.G. Anunoby and Pascal Siakam. Over the last dozen games, the Craptors are allowing 120.7 points per 100 possessions, which is the sixth-worst defensive efficiency rate in the league during this stretch.

Jalen Williams (the fantasy relevant Williams) and Isaiah Joe are both out again, which means Gilgeous-Alexander is going to have to shoulder the offensive load once again, which is perfect for DFS gamers. Luguentz Dort projects well, but he is an incredibly low-usage player, and as a 39.9% career shooter, he ends up with heartbreaking results more often than not. Josh Giddey is also disappointing, seemingly destined to play between 22 and 25 minutes per game, even as a starter. In his last 11 games, he has tallied more than 30 fantasy points only once. Yikes!

Chet Holmgren is always a fun fantasy option with his ability to rack up blocks and rebounds, plus if his shot is falling, he has a clear path to the 40-fantasy-point plateau. Tonight it looks like a two-man show with SGA and Holmgren while letting less savvy gamers accept the risk of rostering other Thunder players.

Scottie Barnes has officially been given the keys to the offense with Siakam and Fred VanVleet plying their trade for other teams. Oklahoma City has a good defense, but the usage rate for Barnes and fair salary make him an interesting tournament option, considering that he is currently projected to be on less than 20% of all large-field rosters.

After missing 10 days with a quad issue, Immanuel Quickley was back in action, racking up 25 points and six assists Thursday in just 30 minutes of action. He should play closer to 34 tonight, and he is a player to target on the 7 p.m. ET sub-slate. RJ Barrett has missed a week with knee swelling, but if he is back in the starting lineup, we can assume he is a full-go and likely to see at least 30 to 32 minutes, with a chance at getting back to his usual 36 minutes of run. If Barrett is out again, Bruce Brown Jr. and Dennis Schroder will be the main beneficiaries of his minutes and vacated offensive opportunities.

Finally, Jakob Poeltl returned after missing nearly a month with a sprained ankle, playing 20 minutes on Thursday. He should continue to see his minutes push towards 30, which makes him an interesting option with his palatable salary.


Nikola Jokic: Denver Nuggets vs. Portland Trail Blazers

Stokastic’s Fantasy Point Projections
DraftKings: 61.41 | FanDuel: 58.96
Stokastic’s Rostership Projections
DraftKings: 7.2% | FanDuel: 5.1%
DFS Salary
DraftKings: $11,800 | FanDuel: $12,100

Nikola Jokic is a luxury play tonight, with the Denver Nuggets currently installed as 13.5-point favorites against the Portland Trail Blazers. When these two teams squared off on Friday, the Blazers kept things close, trailing by 4 points after the first half as well as early in the fourth quarter.

Jokic ended up playing 38 minutes against the thinned-out roster, piling up 27 points 22 rebounds, 12 assists, and three combined blocks and steals. It will be interesting to see if the extra 48 hours at altitude will help Portland keep things close again tonight.

Jamal Murray is in play for the featured slate, with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (finger) and Peyton Watson (knee) being discount dandies for the late slate, if they are available. In the event we get timely news that one or both are out, Reggie Jackson and Christian Braun could become desperation punts on the main slate.

Jerami Grant (back) missed the last game, but if he returns, that would be a boost for Portland keeping things closer. Even with Shaedon Sharpe, Moses Brown and Robert Williams III out, the Trail Blazers are still running a relatively deep rotation, which leads to inconsistent minutes. Anfernee Simons and Deandre Ayton are the best DFS options, though they are tertiary plays for the featured contests.


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NBA DFS Picks: Key Games

Milwaukee Bucks at Utah Jazz

This is a back-to-back for the Bucks, who managed to best the Mavericks 129-117 in Dallas last night. Giannis Antetokounmpo was sublime, compiling 48 points, six rebounds, 10 assists, five steals and a block in 40 minutes of action. That was his third game with 75-plus fantasy points in his last seven appearances. This performance also helped end a two-game skid for Milwaukee, keeping a one-game lead over the Cleveland Cavaliers but still trailing the Boston Celtics by four in the Eastern Conference standings.

Brook Lopez (personal) was away from the team, and his availability is up in the air at this time. Coach Doc Rivers gave twin Robin Lopez a ceremonial start, lasting just four minutes. It is unclear if the new head coach realized how dramatic the downgrade was going to be, but clearly there was a quick course-correction. Fans of the Deer were quick to point out on Twitter after the game that Milwaukee remains undefeated when Robin starts (3-0 over the last two seasons). Surprisingly, last year he had a start where he played a scant 3:48.

If Brook is out again tonight, stay far away from Robin, though that means Bobby Portis is an excellent option off the bench. Portis also has a path to fantasy relevance if Khris Middleton sits after playing a season-high 38:29 last night. The 32-year-old forward has sat on one end of three of the last four back-to-backs, and in the other set of consecutive contests, he played just 15.5 minutes on the second leg.

Utah is an up-tempo team with nominal defensive capabilities, so Damian Lillard looks solid tonight, as he will pick up some of the scoring slack from Middleton. Jae Crowder, Malik Beasley and Pat Connaughton could have potential, but they would need both Middleton and the elder Lopez brother to be out.

Milwaukee has slipped on defense since swapping Jrue Holiday for Lillard, and this could be magnified tonight, depending on who starts at center. Utah can be an infuriating team, but at least Lauri Markkanen has been a consistent source of fantasy production. Reserve Jordan Clarkson should see close to 30 minutes off the bench, and he profiles well against the Bucks with his long-distance proclivity.

After that duo, it is a grab bag of chaos, as even the starters rarely surpass 26 to 28 minutes. Collin Sexton and John Collins have the best opportunity for that to occur, though it is far from a guarantee. Keyonte George and Kelly Olynyk have the most potential to play themselves into additional minutes, but even then they are going to need to get by on efficiency. Tread lightly with the Jazz, even with half a dozen of the secondary options fully capable of popping off for 30 fantasy points in any matchup.

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Today’s Top Sports Betting Pick

This wager for Kawhi Leonard is a good one to illustrate the power of OddsShopper, which helps you quickly find the best lines and odds across various sports books.

Tonight we can focus on the under 26.5 points prop for Leonard, which is currently available at odds of +100 on DraftKings and ESPNBet.

Looking at FanDuel and SuperBook, we can see the under 26.5 points is all the way down to -122/-125. Sharp book Pinnacle has raised the threshold to under 27.5 points but with a punitive -146 line.

Per the true odds of -110 (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 on DraftKings, but it actually becomes a negative situation when moving up 1 point on Pinnacle, BetMGM and Bet365.

It is important to be nimble and have funds on a few different sites to capitalize on these market inefficiencies.

NBA Bet Pro currently has Leonard projected for 35.3 minutes and 25.96 points. That median projection is a tad favorable when compared to the line of 26.5, but keep in mind a range of outcomes is far different than one specific projection.

The six-time All-Star and twice winner of the NBA Finals MVP has tallied 30-plus points in his last three games, though two of those were against the Wizards and Pistons, and the third was against the tough defense of Cleveland but in a game where Paul George (groin) was playing tentatively and saw only 27 minutes. Miami’s defense has not been particularly stout this season as the team has shuffled players in and out of the lineup due to injuries and now acclimating Terry Rozier into the mix, but the Heat are playing at a bottom-5 pace. The Clippers are also happy to slow things down, and even though Los Angeles is a 4.5-point road favorite, the 114.5 team total is still 4.3 points below the season average.


Final Thoughts on NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks Today

Check out the Stokastic NBA Live Before Lock Show starting at 5:00 p.m. ET on YouTube, breaking down all of the key elements for today’s slate. Brought to you by BetMGM– new users, use this link to receive $158 in Bonus Bets when you bet $5 ahead of Super Bowl 58! 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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