NBA DFS Studs: Joel Embiid or Tyrese Haliburton? (November 21)

There are five NBA games tonight, and we have plenty of players to pay up for. We don’t have a ton of value yet, so a lot of popular lineup builds are more balanced than stud-heavy. That will change if we get breaking news throughout the day, however. Using Stokastic’s NBA DFS projections, let’s break down the player pool to find the NBA DFS high-priced studs like Joel Embiid and Tyrese Haliburton to target for DraftKings and FanDuel lineups.

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NBA DFS Studs: Joel Embiid and Tyrese Haliburton

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Stud No. 1 – Joel Embiid: Philadelphia 76ers vs Cleveland Cavaliers

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings: $11,200 / FanDuel: $12,000
  • Stokastic’s Point Projections: DraftKings: 59.4 / FanDuel: 58.5
  • Stokastic’s Ownership Projections: DraftKings: 10.4% / FanDuel: 5.9%

Joel Embiid is the highest projected player on tonight’s slate since Nikola Jokic isn’t playing. Embiid has been excellent this season, recording 1.76 DraftKings points per minute in 34.1 minutes per game through his first 13 games. He has a 36.3 percent usage rate, 18 percent rebounding rate and has increased his assist rate to 31.4 percent. He has a relatively unappealing matchup against the Cleveland Cavaliers, who rank 12th in defensive rating and 18th in pace, which is keeping him from being a bigger priority. He is currently more of a luxury than a necessity, though that could change if more value opens up.

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Stud No. 2 – Tyrese Haliburton: Indiana Pacers at Atlanta Hawks

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings: $10,400 / FanDuel: $10,300
  • Stokastic’s Point Projections: DraftKings: 54.8 / FanDuel: 52.8
  • Stokastic’s Ownership Projections: DraftKings: 8.4% / FanDuel: 23.3%

Tyrese Haliburton faces the Atlanta Hawks in a game with a 252.5-point total. It is the highest total on the slate by 14 points and is the highest total I can ever remember seeing. Haliburton has been an excellent fantasy producer this season with 1.55 DraftKings points per minute in 32.9 minutes per game. He has a 25.2 percent usage rate, is shooting 43.2 percent from three and has a 48.4 percent assist rate. He looks like a better play on FanDuel than DraftKings since he is relatively less expensive, but he is a very strong contrarian option in DraftKings GPPs as well and is currently projected for a 14 percent chance of being optimal at just eight percent ownership.

Stud No. 3 – Kevin Durant: Phoenix Suns vs Portland Trail Blazers

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings: $10,000 / FanDuel: $10,200
  • Stokastic’s Point Projections: DraftKings: 48.9 / FanDuel: 48.0
  • Stokastic’s Ownership Projections: DraftKings: 7.9% / FanDuel: 14.4%

Kevin Durant faces the Portland Trail Blazers tonight and the Suns will once again be without Bradley Beal. Durant has produced 1.42 DraftKings points per minute in five games alongside Devin Booker but without Beal this season. In 13 such games since the start of last season, Durant has produced 1.32 DraftKings points per minute with a 28.8 percent usage rate and 20.2 percent assist rate. It appears a bit easier to get to Durant on FanDuel than DraftKings because he is less expensive than LeBron James on FanDuel whereas he is slightly more expensive on DraftKings.

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Stud No. 4 – LeBron James: Los Angeles Lakers vs Utah Jazz

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings: $9,900 / FanDuel: $10,500
  • Stokastic’s Point Projections: DraftKings: 52.7 / FanDuel: 51.5
  • Stokastic’s Ownership Projections: DraftKings: 23.1% / FanDuel: 19.4%

LeBron James is just shy of the $10,000 DraftKings salary threshold that typically gets a player included in this article, but he is an important part of tonight’s slate, so here he is. James is in the midst of another dominant season as an actual player and as a fantasy performer. He has produced 1.52 DraftKings points per minute in 12 games played alongside Anthony Davis while averaging 35 minutes per game. Utah has played at a top-10 pace this season while allowing the fourth most points per 100 possessions. It is an excellent spot for James and he is projected to be tonight’s most popular pay-up option on DraftKings while also pulling nearly 20 percent ownership on FanDuel. It is worth noting that James is officially listed as questionable, however.

There are five games tonight and some injury news is yet to come out, so 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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