Welcome in to a new year of Ben’s NBA DFS Building Blocks for DraftKings and FanDuel! In this article, I will highlight my favorite NBA DFS plays at each position for small-field tournament formats. If you’re interested in signing up for premium access, which grants you Core Plays for every slate, projections, Final Thoughts player pool + expert picks and our premium Discord click HERE. You can also sign up for our plethora of AI-driven sports betting tools and access to my weekly betting card by clicking HERE. Let’s get into the plays…
We don’t have a ton of injuries to monitor tonight, but the two big ones come from the guard position in Darius Garland and Anfernee Simons. If Garland is ruled out, I would be playing multiple Cavs on my roster tonight in Donovan Mitchell and Caris LeVert. Simons being out would be interesting because we currently have Scoot Henderson popping as bad chalk in my opinion. He looked lost in his first NBA game and racked up his stats at the end of the game in garbage time. If Simons is in I will be full-fading Henderson. If he’s out, I would consider someone like Malcolm Brogdon or Shaedon Sharpe over Henderson as well I think.
In terms of chalk — we should see both Chris Paul and Desmond Bane carry heavy ownership again. Paul is too cheap on DK and seems like someone I will be building around. Bane is fine in all formats, though I don’t love the match-up as much tonight as I did Wednesday.
For tournaments, if we end up stacking the Cavs I want to run that back with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. He once again featured an amazing role for fantasy purposes leading the NBA in drives on opening night.
I also like getting into the CHA/DET game for GPP purposes with Cade Cunningham and Terry Rozier. Rozier is benefitting from a 30 minute cap on Lamelo Ball to start the season, while he should play big minutes to guard Cunningham as well.
We will see ownership concentrate on a lot of the same faces tonight – namely Jaren Jackson Jr and Evan Mobley. Both had underwhelming games as chalk on Wednesday, but both are once again leading projections due to injury situations on their teams. I’m good with them in cash games / small-field tourneys but do not view either as a must play.
We also have Jabari Smith, Jeremy Sochan, DeMar DeRozan and Caris LeVert picking up high ownership numbers. Smith is the most interesting to me in one of the best games of the night vs San Antonio – currently carrying a 225.5 total. LeVert would be elevated to a must play if Garland is ruled out.
Someone I want to be really aggressive in playing tonight is Julius Randle, who is only projected for 8-10% ownership tonight. Historically he has crushed this Hawks team, and they looked very vulnerable to bigs against Charlotte on Wednesday. Randle is coming off a 45 DK point game against the Celtics…in which he shot 5-22 from the field. Yes, he dropped over 45 fantasy points against one of the best defensive teams in basketball while shooting that poorly. If his shot is falling tonight, he is going to absolutely smash and there’s a reason he is the cover boy of this article tonight.
Center is pretty straightforward on Friday night, with Day’Ron Sharpe popping for over 38% ownership on DraftKings. Sharpe has shown strong per minute production when given the minutes in the past, and this could be a spot where Brooklyn elects to get get a long look at him with no Nic Claxton. Similar to Obi Tobbin on opening night, this is a clear mispricing and I will likely have Sharpe on 100% of my teams tonight.
Outside of Sharpe, both Jackson and Mobley are eligible here as well, which I noted in the F column. Alperen Sengun is a favorite of mine from last season, and has a strong matchup tonight against the San Antonio Spurs. Rookie Dereck Lively really took it to the Spurs down low in their first game — while SA played very fast. Sengun is viable in all formats, but not someone I consider a must play.
Pivots I like here in the mid-tier are Jalen Duren and Kevon Looney. Duren smashed in Detroit’s opener and we have always liked to target Charlotte with bigs. This game also features one of the best scoring environments of the night. As for Looney, we should see him continue to log big minutes without Draymond Green and we should see him in a role like we saw vs the Kings in the playoffs last year. He was a key fixture defensively on Damontas Sabonis and put up big numbers in that series. He has a strong ceiling for his price at what should be low ownership on Friday.
Much like Wednesday, Xavier Tillman is a fine pivot off Jaren Jackson in any non-Jackson lineups as well.
Written by Ben Hossler (Follow @BenHossler on Twitter)