NBA DFS Picks: Building Blocks for Saturday, May 22nd | Jusuf Nurkic

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·5 min read
NBA DFS Picks: Building Blocks for Saturday, May 22nd | Jusuf Nurkic
EMac gives his favorite NBA DFS picks for Yahoo, DraftKings + FanDuel daily fantasy basketball lineups, including Jusuf Nurkic | 5/22/21
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Saturday brings us first-round NBA Playoffs action with four series tipping off today at 2 p.m. ET. Let’s look at the four-game main slate and discuss the top NBA DFS picks for DraftKings, FanDuel and Yahoo lineups. Don’t forget to head over to the Awesemo NBA DFS home page for more great written daily fantasy basketball content, including the FREE NBA Deep Dive — the most in-depth article in the industry.

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NBA DFS Picks: Building Blocks, Saturday, May 22nd

Yahoo Play of the Day — Jusuf Nurkic: Portland Trail Blazers at Denver Nuggets

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 33.84 | DraftKings: 33.25

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 35.0% | FanDuel 17.4% | DraftKings 18.4%

  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $29 | FanDuel $7,400 | DraftKings $7,200

One key thing a lot of gamers forget is that Jusuf Nurkic and Nikola Jokic actually were teammates in Denver. Nurkic was drafted with No. 16 overall in the 2014 NBA Draft and Jokic was chosen in the second round. The Nuggets traded out of the No. 11 spot and Chicago took Doug McDermott giving Denver its two first-round picks. After choosing Nurkic, Denver took Gary Harris with the 19th selection. Talk about an amazing draft day haul!

In February of the 2017 season, Denver moved Nurkic and a first-round pick to Portland for Mason Plumlee and a second-round pick, plus cash. Essentially, they realized they would not be able to play Nurkic and Jokic together and Plumlee had the complimentary skillset to work alongside Jokic. Now, back to today’s matchup.

Nurkic is an excellent option on Yahoo as they make their foray into the single-game format. With blocks and steals worth three points, the Bosnian can really rack up the fantasy production. In his five regular-season meetings against Jokic, Nurkic has 37-plus Yahoo fantasy points in four of those outings, and he is averaging 27.6 minutes with 15.8 points, 9.2 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 3 combined blocks/steals. Nurkic is a player to target in all formats and slates Saturday.

Jayson Tatum: Boston Celtics at Brooklyn Nets

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 46.19 | DraftKings: 48.23

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 40.7% | FanDuel 18.4% | DraftKings 13.6%

  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $45 | FanDuel $10,000 | DraftKings $10,100

The DFS sites have taken into account the matchup and the absence of Jaylen Brown with Saturday’s salaries. This should keep Jayson Tatum’s popularity in check and make him one of the better values when considering all factors. We know that the offense is going to be funneled through him tonight and Brooklyn does not have a defensive stopper capable of shutting him down. As long as Tatum is trending to be on less than one-in-five rosters, he should be a tournament priority.

Good Value

Denver Nuggets vs. Portland Trail Blazers

There should be ample offensive opportunities tonight for the Nuggets, who are taking on the Trail Blazers and their second-worst defensive efficiency in the league. This year, Portland allowed 115.3 points per 100 possessions, which was ahead of only the lowly Sacramento Kings. On the other hand, Denver regained its mojo after losing Jamal Murray for the season and closed out the final 10 games with an excellent 115.1 points per 100 possessions offensive efficiency. In addition to Murray’s absence, the Nuggets will also be without Will Barton for at least the next week as he recovers from a hamstring injury. The shortened rotation should benefit players such as Aaron Gordon, Facundo Campazzo, Paul Millsap, JaMychal Green and Monte Morris. The guards will be particularly enticing if Austin Rivers is out or limited by his non-Covid related illness. Yes, these players have all infuriated us at various points throughout the season, but with no more late-season resting and other shenanigans, “value” is an elusive thing to find. By moving beyond the obvious options, we can still find player salaries that will allow us to “profit” if they meet even reasonable expectations.

Risky Value

Brooklyn Nets vs. Boston Celtics

This is going to be a fun one to watch, as we will get to see Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden in action together for just the ninth time this season. It will be interesting to see how this power trio meshes together considering they have shared the court for just 202.3 minutes. Playing time is not going to be an issue, nor is the fantasy production. However, determining which player will be the “best” play, well that is going to be tricky. There will also be a trickledown effect on the rest of the rotation as there will not be many opportunities left that are not gobbled up by the stars.

Bruce Brown, Jeff Green, Blake Griffin and Nicolas Claxton will all see around 20 minutes of court time, and, of course, Joe Harris will be floating around the perimeter knocking down 3-pointers, but it is going to be a fool’s errand to try and predict with any certainty how games will play out with arguably the greatest collection of offensive talent the league has ever scene.

Yahoo Daily Fantasy Basketball Single Game Discount Dandies

  • 2:00 p.m. ET – Andre Iguodala: MIA at MIL – $10

  • 4:30 p.m. ET – Rajon Rondo: LAC vs. DAL – $12

  • 8:00 p.m. ET – Bruce Brown: BKN vs. BOS – $11

  • 10:30 p.m. ET – Aaron Gordon: DEN vs. POR – $14

Final Thoughts on the Saturday, May 22nd NBA DFS Slate

Rotations are going to be tighter, and most teams will be rolling with eight or nine players. Be aware of who may be pinched and understand that finding a few leverage/pivot options is going to be the key to seeing your name at the top of the leaderboards. Keep in mind that salaries and scoring formats differ across the various fantasy sites, and a slam-dunk play on Yahoo may be a below-average NBA DFS pick on DraftKings or FanDuel.

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