NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks: Zion Williamson Looks to Continue Heater (November 27)

Monday begins a fresh week in the NBA with a five-game featured slate locking at 7 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. Zion Williamson is a great example of understanding the differences between DFS sites with regards to salary and positional eligibility. Let’s dig into the NBA DFS picks and core plays.

NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks Today: Monday, November 27

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Core Play of the Day — Zion Williamson: New Orleans Pelicans at Utah Jazz

Zion Williamson is a terrific example today on how it is important to understand the various salaries, scoring formats and positional eligibility requirements across the main DFS sites. Tonight Williamson is a tremendous option on FanDuel and is likely to be on north of 40% of all rosters by the time the dust settles. Currently he projects for more than that, but we still have several injury report cycles between now and tipoff that are likely to present new information and alternative options.

The reason for Williamson being three times as popular on FanDuel over DraftKings is two-fold. First, the salary is significantly better. Typically with the larger salary cap, even with the extra player requirement, FanDuel salaries tend to run higher. Tonight we can see that is not the case, and between that, plus a plethora of center-only plays, Williamson is perfect with his power forward eligibility. DraftKings is not as restrictive with the utility slot on top of multi-position eligibility, so the divergence makes sense.

Utah is playing at the fifth-fastest pace in November and has a 117.7 defensive efficiency rating, which ranks as the seventh worst during this timeframe. Walker Kessler is back after missing two weeks, but he alone is not going to be able to turn the tide. Williamson should be well rested after getting a maintenance day on Saturday, plus CJ McCollum is still out, which leads to more field goal opportunities for Williamson, Brandon Ingram and Jonas Valanciunas.

Over his last five outings, Williamson has averaged 31.7 minutes and 17.8 field goal attempts with a 59.6% success rate. That has culminated in 25.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, 5.4 assists, and 2.0 combined blocks and steals for just over 42 fantasy points.

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Washington Wizards at Detroit Pistons

Two games are standing out as fantasy friendly tonight, which means four teams are going to be well represented across the DFS sites. First up are the Washington Wizards, squaring off against the Pistons in Detroit. This month the Wizards have the second-fastest pace and the third-worst defensive efficiency rating, with the Pistons checking in at fifth and ninth, respectively. That is leading to a 236.5 projected point total, which is the second highest on the slate.

Jordan Poole was a late scratch after lock on Saturday, as he turned his ankle in warmups. Why the NBA cannot standardize an official start time is still bewildering, but here we are with games tipping off anywhere from four to 14 minutes after the DFS sites lock the matchups. Poole was at practice, so while he is carrying the questionable tag, he is expected to play. Kyle Kuzma is the best play from Washington, followed by point guard Tyus Jones, who is finally putting things together with his new team and getting everyone on the same page. This is the trio to target, along with Daniel Gafford, though there are plenty of center options, even on a five-game slate.

Jaden Ivey is rating out as one of the priority plays across the industry tonight, as his salary has not quite adjusted to him being promoted to the starting lineup three games ago. If that holds, we will want to have him on the majority of our rosters. Cade Cunningham is on the cusp of a breakthrough, and while it hasn’t happened yet, the Wizards tend to bring out the best in their opponents.

Rookie Ausar Thompson has come back down to earth, but this is the perfect game environment for his skillset, which can provide multiple blocks and steals. Isaiah Livers is a decent power forward punt across the main DFS sites tonight, and Jalen Duren is one of many center options.

Looking for more NBA DFS picks and advice? You’ve come to the right place. Sign up for our NBA DFS Premium Package for access to our player projections, ownership projections and our state-of-the-art NBA DFS simulation tools.

Portland Trail Blazers at Indiana Pacers

This is a back-to-back for Portland, who lost a spirited game against Damian Lillard and the Bucks in Milwaukee yesterday afternoon. Anfernee Simons remains out, but everyone else is back in the mix. Malcolm Brogdon gets a “Remember Me?!” game tonight, and as long as he is in the starting lineup, we should expect minutes in the low 30s after he saw 34 yesterday. Deandre Ayton has really been aggressive the last few games, which has allowed him to outperform salary expectations. That could easily continue tonight, so he is in the tier just below Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid from a fantasy-point-per-dollar perspective.

Jerami Grant and Shaedon Sharpe can be sprinkled in for differentiation and are likely to be overlooked by most gamers. Though they are tertiary options, the Pacers have the worst defensive efficiency over the last 12 games, allowing 122.4 points per 100 possessions while also playing at the fastest pace, with 104.5 possessions per 48 minutes. The Blazers do not look to run, but they do not shy away from it either, which is a boost for most of their players when compared to the assigned salaries if this were a neutral matchup.

Bruce Brown Jr. is an excellent play across the industry, with Myles Turner and Jalen Smith landing in the crowded center bucket. Buddy Hield is similar to Williamson in that he has a significantly cheaper salary on FanDuel and is a screaming value on the blue site while just an average on one on DraftKings.

Finally, we get to Tyrese Haliburton, who has the third-highest median fantasy point projection on the slate, and he is clearly on the cusp of superstardom. He leads the league with 12.1 assists per game while posting career highs across the board, culminating in 54 fantasy points per appearance.

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Stokastic Lineup Generator

There is a ONE DAY ONLY deal for the Stokastic Lineup Generator for Cyber Monday, with a 50% discount when using the promo code CYBER.

The Lineup Generator leverages all of the other Stokastic tools, including the player projections, popularity and boom/bust outcomes as well as contest simulations. It is the perfect subscription for those with limited time who want to make a few completive lineups quickly.

For fun, let’s take a look at the Stokastic Lineup Generator without any favored players or lineup types (balanced, contrarian or chalky) and running a 20-lineup set for DraftKings.

We can see that 11 of the 12 most rostered players are coming from the two fantasy track meets, with each of the players overrepresented based on their projected popularity.

Next let’s see what happens if we run a 20-lineup set, with the only adjustment being “contrarian” lineups.

Once again, the track meets are well represented, but we can see that it is with some different players in those matchups, with Ivey and Livers still topping the board. The point is that being “contrarian” does not mean making bad or risky plays; it just looks to tweak a few things, which in turn provides similar upside but with less overlap than the field.

Running the same exercise for FanDuel, with a 20-lineup set and no parameters, we get the following player portfolio.

As detailed above, Hield and Williamson are well represented as expected, with most of the remaining players coming from one of the two uber-friendly fantasy matchups.

Next we can run another 20-lineup set with “contrarian” being the only parameter, and we get the following player pool:

It is mostly the same players but with a few additions like Cunningham joining the fray and Brogdon getting pushed to the top.

Final Thoughts on NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks Today

Do not be distracted by Monday Night Football, and be sure to get all the latest news and analysis by tuning into the Stokastic Deeper Dive and Live Before Lock Shows at 5:00 p.m. ET on YouTube, brought to you by Betr Picks – new users, use this link to receive a first deposit match up to $500!

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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