NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks: Can We Trust the Cavaliers For Fantasy Production?! (February 1)

Thursday brings us a four-game featured slate locking at 7:30 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 Jarrett Allen, Donovan Mitchell and Jalen Brunson — as well as the key injury stories to monitor.

NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks Today: Thursday, February 1

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NBA DFS Picks: Building Blocks

Jarrett Allen: Cleveland Cavaliers at Memphis Grizzlies

Stokastic’s Fantasy Point Projections
DraftKings: 39.60 | FanDuel: 39.81
Stokastic’s Rostership Projections
DraftKings: 14.2% | FanDuel: 13.5%
DFS Salary
DraftKings: $8,000 | FanDuel: $8,500

Jarrett Allen and Donovan Mitchell are intriguing options for tournaments tonight as they take on the depleted Grizzlies in Memphis.

Mitchell has been detailed a variety of times as a featured option, so today we are going to focus a little more on Allen. For those who have not been paying too much attention, he does have power forward edibility on FanDuel.

Evan Mobley has returned to action after missing 22 games, playing 21 and 22.5 minutes in the last two games.

He has been in the starting lineup, though playing very limited minutes in the second half. Even if he moves up to 26 to 28 minutes tonight, it should not dramatically impact Allen. The other new wrinkle is Darius Garland also returning to action after missing 19 games with a fracture jaw. The 24-year-old played just 20.5 minutes on Tuesday in his return, getting around five minutes at the start of each quarter.

This is the third game in four nights for the Cavaliers, so there is a puncher’s chance that the Grizzlies could keep it closer into the second half on their home floor than what we would typically see from this depleted squad. Allen continues to be outstanding with a 65.1% success rate on nearly 10 field goal attempts per game, along with a 65.1% effective field goal rate. The 25-year-old has 21 double-doubles in his 40 games.

Mitchell also has ratcheted up his fantasy production to the next tier, with nearly 50 fantasy points per appearance. He has done this with increased efficiency and distribution as opposed to scoring, though he still can pile up the points with 30 or more in 15 of his 36 outings.


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NBA DFS Picks: Key Games

Philadelphia 76ers at Utah Jazz

In the 18 games starting with the Christmas Day NBA Showcase, Joel Embiid has missed nine games with a balky knee. Tuesday he came back after missing a pair of games, though he was visibly impacted by this issue and he struggled through 29.8 minutes, with just 14 points on 18 field goal attempts while also piling up five fouls against the Warriors in Golden State. It was only 10 days ago when Embiid rattled off a franchise-record 70 points, so this is a disturbing development for Sixers fans. Tyrese Maxey has missed the last trio of tilts with a sprained ankle, but he may return tonight. If he does, he is a strong option, as we have seen him level up this season with James Harden out of the picture.

Tobias Harris, Paul Reed and Kelly Oubre Jr. are all rating out as tournament targets, even with Maxey included in the projections. Utah has had a bottom-10 defense for most of the season, and while the Jazz are not down with the absolute dregs, they have been playing at a top-5 pace over the last six weeks, with 101.86 possessions per 48 minutes. If Maxey misses another game, Patrick Beverley is a secondary discount option, and for those looking for differentiation, Mo Bamba is a decent per-minute fantasy producer who also has access to more minutes if Reed gets in foul trouble.

Keep in mind that, even if Maxey plays, De’Anthony Melton is still out, Marcus Morris Sr. (foot) is doubtful and Nicolas Batum (hamstring) is questionable.

Turning our attention to Utah, it is important to note that, over the last 18 games, Philadelphia has struggled on defense and the team is allowing just 1 point less per 100 possessions than the Jazz in this stretch. Lauri Markkanen should be quite effective at the rim without Embiid waiting for him, plus his rebounding rate should be higher as well against Reed and Bamba.

Everyone is healthy for the Jazz, and the team is running a 10-man rotation — and that is after the likes of Talen Horton-Tucker, Luka Samanic and Omer Yurtseven rarely leaving the bench. Over the last 15 games, only Markkanen (32.1) and reserve Jordan Clarkson (30.0) have averaged more than 27 minutes per game.

Collin Sexton (26.1), John Collins (25.1), Simone Fontecchio (26.1) and Kris Dunn (19.7) have rounded out the first five for most of this timeframe, but we can see that coach Will Hardy has a quick hook and is not afraid to mix and match combinations. Rookie Keyonte George (21.3) fell out of the starting lineup, but he has been getting more minutes than Dunn, though either could be in the closing lineup. Walker Kessler (20.4) is a late-slate longshot, but he could easily block four-plus shots, and he is averaging 2.6 per game in this 15-game stretch, even with limited minutes.

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Indiana Pacers at New York Knicks

Currently the Pacers have seven players listed as questionable, though Kendall Brown, Isaiah Wong and Oscar Tshiebwe are not particularly relevant. T.J. McConnell (illness) has missed the last two games, Bennedict Mathurin (toe) sat on Tuesday and perpetually dinged-up Jalen Smith is again questionable with back spasms. Plus, Tyrese Haliburton (hamstring) is likely on some sort of a minutes cap and with him playing 22.1 on Tuesday, it would not be a surprise if it only extends to 26 minutes tonight. Depending on where the dust settles, some or potentially none of the Pacers will be desirable DFS plays.

Myles Turner is the most likely player to be in the mix on DraftKings, along with Aaron Nesmith. Pascal Siakam is in play from a raw points perspective, but this is a tough matchup against the Knicks. Buddy Hield is a lottery ticket, though frankly none of these names would even cause a ripple if this were a six-game slate.

Jalen Brunson is standing out as one of the best plays on the short slate, and he is likely to be on at least half of all tournament lineups across the DFS landscape. Donte DiVincenzo is close behind, as he has picked up a fair number of the field goal attempts vacated by Julius Randle. If O.G. Anunoby (elbow) is in, he is a good option; if he is out, then Isaiah Hartenstein and Precious Achiuwa are likely to see most of the frontcourt minutes.

Finally, Josh Hart is a mystery man, racking up a 10-10-10 triple-double against the Jazz but also potentially moving back to the bench if Anunoby suits up.


Today’s Top Sports Betting Pick

Vince Williams Jr. has been pressed into duty as a starter for Memphis, with the team essentially missing the entire preseason projected rotation. The second-round selection in the 2023 NBA Draft has had moments, but it should be no surprise that consistency has been an issue, especially without the infrastructure of a fully functional starting lineup around him.

Tonight he has a tough matchup against the Cleveland Cavaliers, so we can consider the under on his 24.5 points, rebounds and assists (PRA) prop, which is currently available at odds of -110.

Per the true odds of -122 (how OddsShopper measures the potential expected ROI of a given wager), this opportunity has a stead 5% expected ROI as a function of the inefficient line.

NBA Bet Pro currently has Williams projected for 36.3 minutes, 12.44 points, 7.09 rebounds and 3.75 assists for 23.28 PRA. That median projection is around 1 PRA under the threshold, but keep in mind a range of outcomes is far different than one specific projection.

It is crucial to take advantage of OddsShopper to look at all the available lines since that can easily be worth another 2% to 3% for your ROI, even on perfectly neutral bets, based on how the different books value things. To demonstrate this very concept, look to the left — you can see that Pinnacle, a sharp book, is at -141, which is downright punitive. Be a savvy shopper!

In the 10 games since joining the starting lineup, Williams is averaging 33.4 minutes and 9.7 field goal attempts with a 50.5% conversion rate. This has worked out to 15.1 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists for 25.1 PRA. Keep in mind that, over the last 15 games, Cleveland has allowed just 107.2 points per 100 possessions, which trails only New York for defensive efficiency.


Final Thoughts on NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks Today

Check out the Stokastic NBA Live Before Lock Show starting at 6:30 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 MacPherson
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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