NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks: The Joker is Wild! (March 2)

Saturday brings a three-game featured slate, with the first game locking at 8 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 Nikola Jokic, Devin Booker, Anthony Davis and half a dozen or more players from the Memphis-Portland matchup. Subscribe today for access to our industry-leading resources, including our lineup generator (available for NFL, NBA, MLB and PGA), our DFS simulation tools (available for NFL, NBA, MLB, PGA, MMA and NASCAR) and our industry-leading projections for every sport.

NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks Today: Saturday, March 2

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NBA DFS Picks: Building Blocks

Nikola Jokic: Nuggets at Lakers

Stokastic’s Fantasy Point Projections
DraftKings: 62.94 | FanDuel: 60.17
Stokastic’s Rostership Projections
DraftKings: 43.1% | FanDuel: 17.6%
DFS Salary
DraftKings: $11,400 | FanDuel: $12,300

Tonight, we have some appointment viewing as the defending NBA title holders are in Los Angeles, taking on a mostly healthy Lakers squad that is as deep as it has been since the “bubble” championship.

Nikola Jokic is almost matchup-proof,, and there is a chance he will be without point guard Jamal Murray (ankle), which would leave him touching the ball on almost every possession.

Murray did play in each of the first two games of this series, both of which were won by the Nuggets. In those games, Jokic averaged 36.2 minutes, 26.5 points, 13.0 rebounds, 10 assists and 2.5 combined blocks and steals for 60-plus fantasy points in each outing and missing a second triple-double by one assist.

If Murray is in, we should consider him a full-go, as there is no reason for Denver to push the oft-injured guard back into action. Kentavius Caldwell-Pope has been attending to a personal matter and he is listed as questionable. If he suits up, he is a decent discount option in his old stomping grounds. If either Murray or KCP are out, Christian Braun and Reggie Jackson would each get a minutes boost and if both are out, then Jackson would likely run with the first five, making him a desirable target in all formats.

Michael Porter Jr. is more of a wild card, but if Murray is out, he would likely be in line for something approaching 20 field goal attempts with a double-double on the table.

LeBron James is questionable with his ankle issue, but Anthony Davis is amazingly listed as probable. This dynamic duo is all we can really vouch for from the Lakers, who have a strong rotation, even with Gabe Vincent, Jarred Vanderbilt and Christian Wood out with injuries. The return of Cam Reddish and the addition of Spencer Dinwiddie from the buy-out market mean fewer minutes need to be heaped on D’Angelo Russell and Austin Reaves. The latter trio can be utilized in tournaments since this is a shallow three-game slate.

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Devin Booker: Suns vs. Rockets

Stokastic’s Fantasy Point Projections
DraftKings: 43.16 | FanDuel: 42.15
Stokastic’s Rostership Projections
DraftKings:12.8% | FanDuel: 27.6%
DFS Salary
DraftKings: $9,300 | FanDuel: $9,500

Bradley Beal is probable to return tonight after missing five games with a hamstring injury. Devin Booker does not see too much of a per-minute downgrade when Beal is active as he still maintains close to a 30% usage and maintains a fair amount of the point guard duties.

Kevin Durant takes a hit as he loses out on some secondary facilitation action, but he has still averaged 1.3 fantasy points per minute alongside Beal.

Beal himself is a neutral option, who is averaging around a fantasy point per minute alongside Booker and Durant. The 30-year-old has played in just 30 of 59 games this season, so it would be a surprise to see the team push him for much more than 28-to-30 minutes tonight, compared to his season average of 32.6. He was logging north of 35 minutes before his injury, but that seems to be a tipping point and Phoenix needs to win games, which would be easier with Beal, than without. Currently, the Suns are one game above the Play-In Tournament and are 3-3 in their last six tilts.

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NBA DFS Picks: Key Games

Memphis Grizzlies vs. Portland Trail Blazers

Jaren Jackson Jr. (quad) missed Friday’s game against Portland but is currently listed as questionable whereas he was doubtful on yesterday’s injury report. If he is starting, he is a priority option across all DFS sites. If he is out, then Trey Jemison would likely draw another spot start. Last night, the Grizzlies were crushed by a 40-27 third quarter and waved the white flag in the final frame and ceded a -11 net rating, resulting in a 122-92 loss. That led to a lot of bench run for both teams, so it is hard to draw too many conclusions from the chaos.

Jordan Goodwin is a strong option if he continues to start and Derrick Rose remains out. Memphis signed him to a 10-day contract, which was just converted into a two-way deal with Scotty Pippen Jr. out with his own injury. Vince Williams Jr. is going to get minutes for developmental purposes, as will former 10th-overall selection Ziaire Williams. Neither was particularly effective last night, but they are still cheap and as starters, have a chance at 30 minutes.

Santi Aldama continues to squander his starting opportunity and Lamar Stevens, Jake LaRavia and GG Jackson are waiting in the wings off the bench to usurp him from the rotation as well as fill out the second unit.

Jerami Grant and Anfernee Simons both disappointed last night, but they were able to coast in the blowout win. They are the top “best” options from Portland, with Duop Reath looking like a dart throw if he remains in the starting lineup. Jabari Walker had a double-double off the bench and can fill in at power forward or center, which gives him a mostly secure 20-to-22 minutes as a foundation, with a handful more available if he continues his strong play.

Delano Banton had a career game last night, with 19 points, seven rebounds, three assists, a steal and two blocks in just 20 minutes. That is pretty close to his combined production of the last three games through which he logged 34 total minutes. Lightning is unlikely to strike twice, and while he is cheap, he may be a player to lightly sprinkle across lineups if the field flocks toward him.

Today’s Top Sports Betting Pick

Lauri Markkanen is in an early evening game, which is not on the main NBA DFS slate, so some gamers may not realize he is in a great spot to target for the under on his 8.5 rebounds prop, which is currently available at odds of -130 on UniBet and -135 on BetMGM.

This is a good example that demonstrates the power of letting OddsShopper do the heavy lifting when researching favorable bets.

The next-best odds at the most popular books are in the -150 to -160 range, with “sharp” book Pinnacle all the way down at -171, which is absurd by comparison.

Per the true odds of -130 (how OddsShopper measures the potential expected ROI of a given wager), this opportunity has a steady 4.7% positive expected ROI as a function of the inefficient line.

NBA Bet Pro currently has Markkanen projected for 32.7 minutes and 8.4 rebounds. That median projection is right in line with the 8.5 target, but keep in mind a range of outcomes is far different than one specific projection.

Over his last dozen games, The Finnisher has averaged 33.6 minutes and 7 rebounds, compared to 32.7 minutes and 8.3 rebounds for the season. Only four times (36.3%) has he nabbed nine or more boards with one game of eight. Miami is just above the league average from a rebounding perspective over the last month while Utah has been the best in the league. It is important to remember that Markkanen will be competing with Bam Adebayo (10.5), Kevin Love (6.2) and Jimmy Butler (5.6) as well as his own teammates John Collins (8.5) and Walker Kessler (7.4).

Final Thoughts on NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks Today

Check out the Stokastic NBA Live Before Lock Show starting at 7:00 p.m. ET on YouTube, breaking down all of the key elements for today’s slate. Brought to you by PrizePicks – new users, use this link to receive a $100 first deposit match AND – ONE FREE MONTH of OddsShopper Premium! 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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