NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks: The Time is NOW for Jayson Tatum! (June 17)

Tonight may be the final NBA DFS hurrah until late October, so jump into the fun, which is underway at 8:30 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 Jaylen Brown, Luka Doncic and Jayson Tatum.

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NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks Today: Monday, June 17

NBA DFS Picks: Building Blocks

Luka Doncic: Mavericks at Celtics

Stokastic’s Fantasy Point Projections
DraftKings: 63.83 | FanDuel: 60.48
Stokastic’s Rostership Projections
DraftKings: 68.4% | FanDuel: 65.1%
DFS Salary
DraftKings: $13,800 | FanDuel: $17,500

Game 4 was such a one-sided affair that Boston head coach Joe Mazzulla pulled all his starters with 3:17 left in the third quarter. Dallas responded in kind two minutes later, and the last part of the final frame saw the likes of Markieff Morris, A.J. Lawson, Oliver-Maxence Prosper, Neemias Queta, Jaden Springer and Jordan Walsh getting on the court.

Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving combined for 22 of 44 (50.0%) from the field for 50 points but only 1 of 14 (7.8%) from 3-point range. That is important to note since there is still a chance that this duo and the team in general could get hot from 3-point range and make things spicy, despite the Mavericks once again installed as 6.5-point road dogs. Some will say, “but wait — didn’t the Mavericks hit 15 of 37 for a cool 40.5%, EMac?” Why yes, they did, but Tim Hardaway Jr. dropped 5 of 7 (71.4%) in the fourth quarter, which was also his only time on the court. The fourth quarter was also when Jaden Hardy, Dante Exum and Morris combined for a trio of triples. That accounts for half of the troikas, so again, it was not the starters that got there — perhaps they can tonight after going 4 of 19 (21.1%). Dare to dream, as this is what is going to need to transpire to get more NBA on Thursday.

Irving finally ended his losing streak against Boston, which was more of a statistical quirk than anything truly actionable. Expect Doncic and Irving to again feel the wrath and focus of the Boston defense tonight in TD Garden.

P.J. Washington played just 14 minutes between getting four fouls and, of course, the Mavs holding the Celtics to just 35 first half points. FanDuel ($9,000) dropped his salary by a grand, but he has not returned value on the lower salary in any game this series.

DraftKings ($5,800) gave a $400 reprieve, which is great since the former Charlotte Hornet has crushed that salary for the last dozen games, save for Friday. It would seem that 30 fantasy points would be the stretch goal, but mid-20s has been a regular occurrence.

Daniel Gafford has a perilous hold on even 18 minutes, having played more than 16 only once this series. Even throwing out the lopsided affair on Friday, he has now become a boom/bust option, despite being a starter. If his efficiency continues, he could at least be a neutral option, but it looks like that is an upside scenario.


Shout out to rookie Dereck Lively II ,who nailed his first ever 3-point attempt in an elimination game in the NBA Finals. Yup, he is perfect now for his professional career from downtown. In just 22.3 minutes, Lively crushed an 11-12 double-double with a steal. That gives him consecutive games with double-doubles, and while he may not hit that statistical milestone tonight, he clearly is in the lead over Gafford, who starts but cedes most of the second half to his young counterpart.

Derrick Jones Jr. was back on his way to relevancy, aside from the blowout. He was +16, making two of four shots, with two boards and a block. That should have him back on the radar, though we have already seen him get rugged by his coach when he isn’t at least trending towards a neutral performance.

Josh Green appeared to be back in the good graces of his coach, but that also could have been Washington’s foul issues. He should have the opportunities again tonight, with the ability to play three positions, but given his deferential attitude to the Dallas dynamic duo, he is best utilized as a last man in.

Maximilian Kleber was a non-factor from a fantasy production perspective once again, but he did play a series-high 23.2 minutes, despite not setting foot on the court in the final frame. Some of his run was due to Washington being in foul trouble, but no matter how it is framed, a +25 differential is impressive. On the flipside, his 10.3 fantasy points were more than the first three games of the series combined, in 20 fewer minutes. Sure, he is a cash game punt on DraftKings, but tread lightly on FanDuel.

Dante Exum and Jaden Hardy remain the mystery. There is an edge for Exum, who at least played in the second quarter, but after his eight-minute stint, he did not resurface until he joined Hardy and Dwight Powell as the garbage time trio at the end of the third quarter. In cash games (H2H, 3-mans, double-ups, 50/50s), the Australian has the edge over Hardy, though in tournaments, going with the less popular of this duo will grant differentiation.


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Jayson Tatum: Celtics vs. Mavericks

Stokastic’s Fantasy Point Projections
DraftKings: 41.9 | FanDuel: 41.07
Stokastic’s Rostership Projections
DraftKings: 36.1% | FanDuel: 37.9%
DFS Salary
DraftKings: $9,800 | FanDuel: $15,000

Friday was an anomaly all the way around, though the biggest contributor to the Boston shellacking was the Celtics scoring just 35 points in the first half. Heck, in Game 1 they had 37 points in the first quarter and in Game 3 a 35-point third quarter.

Jayson Tatum led the team with 15 points, though he played just 27 minutes, as did Jaylen Brown, who had 10 points on a dreadful 3 of 12 (25.0%) night from the field. Now that the series has shipped back to Boston, the Celtics will be on their home court and ready to dropkick the Mavericks out of the Finals. Tatum continues to have the second-best median fantasy projection — just over 50 points and behind Luka — while Brown is just above 40, trailing Irving by a tick. This is the fifth game of the series, so we have had ample visibility into how it is likely to play out.

Obviously, Game 4 was a reminder that there are variable outcomes and the potential for outliers, but resetting to baseline expectations is appropriate for tonight.

The big unknown is the status for Kristaps Porzingis. It would seem ridiculous to rush him back into action, but both Porzingis and the team indicated there was hope he would be available. Being available and being effective are two different things, and it really would be a surprise for Porzingis to play tonight.

Al Horford is likely to play around 34 to 36 minutes if Porzingis remains out, losing 6 to 8 off his projection if his counterpart is fully healthy. We know it has to be somewhere in between if Porzingis takes the court, so there is no reason to avoid Horford. The 38-year-old will be backed up by Xavier Tillman, who should see 10 to 12 minutes, losing a handful if Porzingis plays. He has overtaken Luke Kornet, who did not play in Game 3 and only saw mop-up duty in Game 4.

Sam Hauser had 13 minutes prior to the Celtics throwing in the towel, with seven more in garbage time. He has a secure spot in the rotation and has shown greater confidence to hoist up a couple shots when he is on the court. Payton Pritchard had just six minutes prior to the hockey line change in the third quarter. It is harder to hide him on defense, which has basically cut out his first quarter rotation as Derrick White and Jrue Holiday, both of whom were second-team All-Defense this season, battle it out with the Dallas backcourt.

White and Holiday have been functioning as the third option on offense, which has boosted the fantasy baseline for both this series. Efficiency and a little luck with defensive stats could have either in the mix for the multiplier slot on DraftKings, where the 50% salary tax is in play. FanDuel continues to reward the raw point projections; however, with 3 points awarded for blocks and steals, this pair has upside potential and brings some differentiation in the gigantic tournaments on the blue site.

If you need some more tips on how to manage your bankroll, Steve Buzzard has a great guide here on the biggest bankroll mistakes DFS players make and how you can avoid them! Check it out HERE.

Today’s Top Sports Betting Pick

There is not much value in the wagering market with the pre-game lines tonight. So we are going to call out an example in New Jersey that demonstrates the core principles for the OddsShopper market-based approach to wagering. By pitting the books against each other, value opportunities can arise where they are least expected.

In this case, that is the under 1.5 3-pointers made prop for Al Horford. This wager is currently available at +120 on Tipico, which is a book not available in most states. Looking at the +116 “true odds” (how OddsShopper measures the potential expected ROI of a given wager), we can see there is a 2.0 % expected ROI with the current line.

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.

Looking at the +114 on DraftKings, a widely available book which has the next best offering, we can see that it is still a slightly unfavorable wager. 

This demonstrates why having accounts on multiple operators will help you be able to find the best place to land your wagers. The little bit of legwork in finding the best lines will turn a barely profitable bettor into a successful one who can avoid redeposits and even withdraw funds. That, of course, is the Holy Grail.

NBA Bet Pro has Horford projected for 32.6 minutes and 1.92 made 3-pointers. While that is above the 1.5 threshold, there are no fractional 3-point shots. In this series, Horford has gone 2-for-5, 1-for-3, 2-for-5 and 1-for-1. This wager will likely go down to the wire, and it is probably a spot for us to keep our powder dry and see what else pops up on OddsShopper throughout the day.

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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 at 7:30 p.m. ET on YouTube, breaking down all of the key elements for today’s slate, including even more on Luka Doncic, Jaylen Brown and the availability of Kristaps Porzingis. Brought to you by Sleeper – new users, use this link to receive a $100 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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