NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks: Now Is the Time for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander! (April 21)

Saturday brings the second set of NBA playoff Game 1’s, with the DFS action tipping off at 1 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 and Damian Lillard, and a variety of secondary players as premium targets.

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NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks Today: Sunday, April 21

NBA DFS Picks: Building Blocks

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: Thunder vs. Pelicans

Stokastic’s Fantasy Point Projections
DraftKings: 49.98 | FanDuel: 49.15
Stokastic’s Rostership Projections
DraftKings: 10.91% | FanDuel: 9.18%
DFS Salary
DraftKings: $9,600 | FanDuel: $10,900

Luka Doncic stands out in the median fantasy point projections on both DraftKings, where nobody is within 10 points of him, and on FanDuel the gap is 15 points. It is the next tier of players where things get interesting and actually crowded with Jayson Tatum, Paul George, James Harden, Tyrese Haliburton, Kyrie Irving, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Damian Lillard. We will put our focus on the latter two guards for this article today.

It has been nearly two weeks since Gilgeous-Alexander played a truly meaningful game. Over the last 11 games of the season, the budding superstar missed six games as the Thunder were cautious about bringing him back from a quad issue. On April 9 he played nearly 38 minutes against the Sacramento Kings, leading Oklahoma City to a 7-point victory while scoring 61.25 fantasy points. Ideally, he will get lost in the shuffle of the dispersed four-game set today and gamers will be impatient about waiting for the final match of the night while passing up on passel of DFS stars.

The Western Conference race went all the way down to the day of the season, with Minnesota sliding to third place with a loss while OKC topped Denver via a tiebreaker. The Timberwolves and Nuggets each had statement games yesterday, so do not be surprised if Gilgeous-Alexander and the Thunder answer the bell with one as well.

New Orleans will be coming out with everything they have in this game as the Pelicans try to push on without Zion Williamson. Trey Murphy III is going to see big minutes, as he will need to help fill the offensive void left by Williamson’s absence. He looks like one of the better fantasy point-per-dollar options across the various NBA DFS sites and should be a key building block in all game formats.

Brandon Ingram was rusty after missing a dozen games, but he was on the court for a whopping 37 minutes as the Pelicans beat the Kings for the sixth time this season. He and CJ McCollum will see the highest usage for New Orleans today, with both looking like tempting options, even against the excellent defense of the Thunder. Jonas Valanciunas and Larry Nance Jr. will each get 20 minutes at the center position, with the other eight up for grabs to whichever is the most effective on the court. That could be for defensive purposes, which favor Nance, or extra offense, which is JoVal’s calling card.

Finally, we can consider Herb Jones and Jose Alvarado, who will be needed for defense and doing the dirty work. Neither is anything special on offense, but just being on the court for 24 to 26 minutes should allow them to compile enough stats to be interesting, particularly on the two-game late-slate.

Circling back to OKC, Chet Holmgren, Jalen Williams and Josh Giddey are all fine selections that create a fantasy core four, along with Gilgeous-Alexander. Going deeper than that is tricky because the Thunder have a myriad of options that could be employed depending on the preference of coach Mark Daigneault. Plus, there is a chance that the Thunder will put this one away by the fourth quarter, which means the key players have a bit of a risk of seeing fewer minutes in the final frame.

Damian Lillard: Bucks vs. Pacers

Stokastic’s Fantasy Point Projections
DraftKings: 46.59 | FanDuel: 45.51
Stokastic’s Rostership Projections
DraftKings: 20.13% | FanDuel: 18.48%
DFS Salary
DraftKings: $9,200 | FanDuel: $9,600

Sadly, Giannis Antetokounmpo may not play in this series as he recovers from a calf injury. That is not ideal for Milwaukee fans, but it does create opportunities for DFS gamers.

Damian Lillard and Khris Middleton will be tasked with carrying the offense while Bobby Portis and Brook Lopez defend the paint and battle on the boards. Depending on the sportsbook, this game is basically a pick’em or a slight edge to Indiana.

Antetokounmpo simply cannot be replaced, so it will take a collective effort to cover the chasm created by the absence of the two-time NBA MVP. This was his finest fantasy season as he averaged 30.4 points, 11.5 rebounds, 6.5 assists, and 2.3 combined blocks and steals. Most impressive was the career-high 61.1% success rate from the field. This matchup has a 231.5 projected total, which is by far the highest of the Day 2 games. In addition to aforementioned core four, veteran guard Patrick Beverley, longtime Buck Pat Connaughton and the offensively minded Malik Beasley are in play as discount dandies.

It has been a week since the Pacers last took the court, which should help Tyrese Haliburton, as he has been managing a tender hamstring for the last few months. He is a strong option this series and one of a handful of players capable of outproducing Doncic from a fantasy perspective. The 23-year-old made his second All-Star Game and also led the league with 10.9 assists per game. If his shot is falling from behind the arc, he could make a foray above the 50-fantasy point plateau.

Pascal Siakam and Myles Turner have become an effective defensive duo while also complementing each other on the offensive end of the floor, having had a few months of working together. Neither is overly spectacular in that they have a trickier path to a ceiling game, though both are excellent foundational pieces in any type of roster construction.

Andrew Nembhard, Aaron Nesmith and T.J. McConnell are ancillary assets on the four-game featured slate, though they do come into prominence for the late slate.

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Today’s Top Sports Betting Pick

Josh Giddey is an intriguing option in the sports betting market for his points + rebounds + assists (PRA) prop,

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.

The over on 25.5 for this wager is currently available at plus money on Pinnacle +110 and DraftKings +105, though we can see with true odds of +129 (how OddsShopper measures the potential expected ROI of a given wager), there is no value in this line.

Not pictured is the counterpoint to this wager, with under 25.5 PRA available at -115 on bet365 and -120 on DraftKings and Hard Rock. The “true odds” on that wager are actually -129, which means there is a 5.2% expected value on that current offering. This tells us two things: First, the 25.5 is a pretty efficient threshold, and second, it confirms that the books love to play on human nature, which is to feel the need to root for something positive. We will feature unders in this section of the article more often than not, as that is where the value is most often. However, we can still look at less favorable opportunities, but having sound reasoning is paramount.

NBA Bet Pro currently has Giddey projected for 27.2 minutes, 12.63 points, 7.71 rebounds and 5.31 assists for 25.62 PRA, which is basically spot on with the milestone set by the sportsbooks. Of course, this does not take into account variable outcomes, but it confirms yet again that this is a pretty solid figure. This year in 25.1 minutes per game, Giddey averaged 12.3 points, 6.4 rebounds and 4.8 assists.

Between late January and mid-March, Giddey was in the doghouse, rarely exceeding 22 or 23 minutes per game despite being a starter. He ended up picking up more minutes on the regular just before Gilgeous-Alexander suffered his quad injury, and, of course, the Australian was back to being a key cog in the rotation during Gilgeous-Alexander’s absence. The hope today is, between the combination of one fewer key rebounder on the court with Williamson out and the need for a secondary facilitator to set up Gilgeous-Alexander, Giddey has a path to something approaching 30 minutes, which should enable him to cobble together a variety of stats to reach the 26 PRA needed for the over on this wager.

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Final Thoughts on NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks Today

Get all the latest news and updates for NBA DFS picks today on the Stokastic NBA Live Before Lock Show 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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