NBA DFS Studs: Devin Booker or Shai Gilgeous-Alexander the No. 1 Core Piece? (December 8)

The In-Season Tournament takes a break tonight before tomorrow night’s Championship Game. As a result, tonight’s is a 13-game NBA DFS slate. There isn’t much value at the moment since most of these teams have had much of the week off, so they are relatively healthy and sites have adjusted pricing for the teams that are injured. Still, there are several questionable players that could open up value later in the day. Of the 30 most expensive players on DraftKings, only one is projected for more than 10% ownership. I am going to highlight the expensive players that look the best, but it is difficult to prioritize most of them right now. Using Stokastic’s NBA DFS projections, let’s break down the player pool to find the NBA DFS high-priced studs like Devin Booker and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander for DraftKings and FanDuel lineups.

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NBA DFS Studs: Devin Booker or Shai Gilgeous-Alexander?

Stud No. 1 – Joel Embiid: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Atlanta Hawks

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings: $11,700/ FanDuel: $12,500
  • Stokastic’s Point Projections: DraftKings: 63.7/ FanDuel: 62.7
  • Stokastic’s Ownership Projections: DraftKings: 7.5%/ FanDuel: 5.7%

The very top tier of pricing tonight features Nikola Jokic, Luka Doncic and Joel Embiid. They are all difficult to get to, but Embiid looks like the top option from that trio. He has a fantastic matchup against the Hawks, who rank third in pace and 23rd in adjusted defensive rating this season. Embiid is in the midst of a fantastic season, as he has maintained his massive usage rate from last season while also drastically increasing his assist rate. Overall, he has produced 1.81 DraftKings points per minute, a 36.3% usage rate and 33.7% assist rate in 34.7 minutes per game this season.

Stud No. 2 – Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Golden State Warriors

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings: $10,600/ FanDuel: $11,500
  • Stokastic’s Point Projections: DraftKings: 55.5/ FanDuel: 56.5
  • Stokastic’s Ownership Projections: DraftKings: 4.3%/ FanDuel: 3.7%

Gilgeous-Alexander is having one of the best seasons in the NBA this year. He leads the league in Estimate Plus-Minus (EPM), slightly ahead of Jokic and Embiid, and ranks sixth in offensive EPM. From a strictly fantasy standpoint, he has produced 1.51 DraftKings points per minute in 35.2 minutes per game in the 16 games that he has played alongside Josh Giddey and Jalen Williams this season. Gilgeous-Alexander has a neutral matchup against Golden State tonight, but he is available at a much lower price tag than the higher-projected alternatives like Jokic, Embiid and Doncic.

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Stud No. 3 – Devin Booker: Phoenix Suns vs. Sacramento Kings

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings: $10,100/ FanDuel: $10,800
  • Stokastic’s Point Projections: DraftKings: 56.8/ FanDuel: 54.5
  • Stokastic’s Ownership Projections: DraftKings: 23.3%/ FanDuel: 10.5%

Booker is the clear priority among expensive options tonight, particularly on DraftKings, where he is only $10,100. Bradley Beal remains sidelined for the Suns, but Kevin Durant will also be joining him tonight. Booker has logged 182 minutes without Beal or Durant on the floor this season and has produced 1.53 DraftKings points per minute. He has a 38.3% usage rate and 41.2% assist rate in those minutes.

In 16 total games without Beal, Durant or Chris Paul since the start of last season, Booker has produced 1.42 DraftKings points per minute in 35.4 minutes per game. He has a 32.3% usage rate and 30.0% assist rate in those games. It is likely that both of those numbers will increase, however, because the Suns lost most of their secondary scorers and playmakers when they traded for Durant and Beal. The Kings also offer a favorable matchup, as they rank in the bottom 10 in adjusted defensive rating and top 10 in pace this season.

There are 13 games tonight and we are still waiting on important injury news. Be sure to check out Stokastic’s Deeper Dive and Live Before Lock shows.

Adam Scherer
Adam "ShipMyMoney" Scherer has been playing and analyzing DFS full-time since quitting law school in 2016. He has qualified for the 2016 FanDuel MLB Playboy Championship, the 2016 DraftKings Fantasy Baseball World Championship (3x) and the 2019 DraftKings Fantasy Basketball World Championship. You can find him on Twitter at @ShipMyMoneyDFS or by emailing [email protected].

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