NBA DFS Picks: Building Blocks for Monday, May 24th | Nikola Jokic

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Monday keeps the NBA postseason rolling with a pair of intriguing matchups. Let’s look at the two-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, Monday, May 24th

Yahoo Play of the Day — Nikola Jokic: Denver Nuggets vs. Portland Trail Blazers

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 54.82 | DraftKings: 57.83

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 29.8% | FanDuel 36.0% | DraftKings 39.8%

  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $53 | FanDuel $10,700 | DraftKings $10,700

Today there will be some decisions to make, and the first choice for most gamers will likely be their preference between the presumptive MVP in Nikola Jokic against the reigning two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. While it certainly is feasible to roll with both of them in the same lineup on Yahoo, the overall fantasy potential of that roster construction degrades quickly. It also will likely lead to a fair amount of overlap as it will force gamers to choose among the same Denver discount dandies.

While no team can truly stop Antetokounmpo, Miami at least has a fair amount of experience slowing him down, with Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler working in tandem. Plus, they also have Andre Iguodala and Trevor Ariza in the mix. Without Will Barton and Jamal Murray, nearly everything is going to go through Jokic for the Nuggets to find success. On Saturday, he managed to top 50 Yahoo fantasy points despite having only one assist. He is averaging 8.3 on the season, and while things slow down in the playoffs, this is more of an anomaly than a new recurring baseline.

Jusuf Nurkic: Portland Trail Blazers at Denver Nuggets

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 38.68 | DraftKings: 38.24

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 39.8% | FanDuel 23.4% | DraftKings 39.6%

  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $29 | FanDuel $8.000 | DraftKings $6.700

Jusuf Nurkic is essentially going to head to the bench whenever Jokic is off the court. He played a tick shy of 33 minutes, which was his second-highest total of the season. While he is always a double-double threat whenever he is on the court, Nurkic’s deft passing is underrated, and he should continue to acquire a handful of assists per game on kickouts to Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. In this series, he should be a threat to flirt with 40 Yahoo fantasy points in every game with his increased workload, and keep in mind, he has upside if he can contribute a couple of blocks. For Monday’s matchup, he has the most fantasy-friendly salary on Yahoo, followed by DraftKings. On FanDuel, with only one center, it becomes more of a game-theory decision.

Good Value

Trevor Ariza: Miami Heat at Milwaukee Bucks

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 22.84 | DraftKings: 23.18

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 24.2% | FanDuel 26.8% | DraftKings 23.8%

  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $18 | FanDuel $5,200 | DraftKings $4,800

The one key thing known Trevor Ariza is that he should be getting a secure 32 to 35 minutes with the Heat tightening their rotation. Even though this is his 17th season in the NBA, he is still a valuable contributor with his defense and willingness to do the dirty work. While 30 fantasy points is unlikely, the solid baseline of around 20 to 22 fantasy points is valuable.

Risky Value

Denver Nuggets vs. Portland Trail Blazers

Breaking down the Game 1 rotation for the Nuggets is a little surprising. Monte Morris filled in all the minutes that starters Facundo Campazzo and Michael Porter Jr. did not play. There was a little overlap with JaMychal Green also on the court, though it seems he is more of the direct backup for Jokic and Paul Millsap with both also covering for Aaron Gordon’s rest periods. The real wild card was rookie Markus Howard being on the court every minute that Gordon was not. While these four reserves are not exactly matching all of the starters’ rest periods, they come pretty close. With coach Mike Malone preferring the wholesale “hockey line change” approach, it was Porter who was the featured offensive option with the reserves getting nearly a dozen minutes without any other starters on the court.

The risky part of all of this is what will happen with Howard going forward. Though he barely broke the double-digit fantasy point barrier on most sites, his inclusion as one of the four main reserves was a bit of a surprise. The Millsap and Green are going to split the nominal center role when Jokic is off the court, but their usage is minimal. In their 33 combined minutes, they were 1-for-4 from the field with four rebounds, seven assists, a steal and a block. Howard did take five field-goal attempts in his 20 minutes, so potentially he is the option with the most upside among this trio. Morris is the only reserve worth trusting, and even then he will need injury, foul trouble or poor shooting/decision making to befall Campazzo or Rivers before he is going to surpass 24 minutes. Unless there is mop-up duty to be had, the Nuggets’ bench options are severely lacking any upside potential, even with their enticing salaries.

Yahoo Daily Fantasy Basketball Discount Dandies

  1. Carmelo Anthony: POR at DEN – $10

  2. Monte Morris: DEN vs. POR – $10

  3. Austin Rivers: DEN vs. POR – $12

Final Thoughts on the Monday, May 24th NBA DFS Slate

There is one game in the book for both series, so gamers can start to glean information from the rotations and substitution patterns. Be aware of who may be pinched, and understand that finding a few leverage/pivot options is going to be the key to reaching 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 play on DraftKings or FanDuel.

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