🏀 NBA DFS Picks: Building Blocks for Sunday, February 21st | Khris Middleton

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Eric MacPherson
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EMac gives his favorite NBA DFS picks for Yahoo + DraftKings + FanDuel daily fantasy basketball lineups including Khris Middleton | Sunday 2/21
EMac gives his favorite NBA DFS picks for Yahoo + DraftKings + FanDuel daily fantasy basketball lineups including Khris Middleton | Sunday 2/21

NBA DFS action on Sunday, Feb. 21, locks at 7:00 p.m. EST with a seven-game main slate on Yahoo, DraftKings, FanDuel and SuperDraft. Before you lock in your lineups on Yahoo, DraftKings, FanDuel and SuperDraft, make sure to check out Awesemo’s daily fantasy basketball picks, rankings and projections. Let’s dig into some daily fantasy basketball picks, including Khris Middleton, Julius Randle, Jarrett Allen and more.

Don’t forget to head over to the Awesemo NBA DFS HOME PAGE for more great written daily fantasy basketball content, including the FREE Deep Dive — the most in-depth article in the industry.

NBA DFS Picks: Building Blocks, Sunday , February 21st

Yahoo Play of the Day – Jarrett Allen: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 40.59 | DraftKings: 40.67

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 38.8% | FanDuel 15.1% | DraftKings 25.1%

  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $27 | FanDuel $7,400 | DraftKings $7,100

Tonight there are a lot of centers in cherry matchups. Fortunately, on Yahoo we have the flexibility to play two if we so choose. Jarrett Allen has now started three games since the Cleveland front office decided to shelve Andre Drummond while searching for a trade partner. In these three games, Allen has averaged 30.3 minutes with 16.1 points, 11.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.7 combined blocks/steals. Oklahoma City lacks much of an inside presence without Steven Adams, and they are a bottom-five rebounding team. Allen should have the advantage over Al Horford, Mike Muscala, Isaiah Roby and Darius Bazley, which makes him a steal at his Yahoo salary.

Khris Middleton: Milwaukee Bucks vs. Sacramento Kings

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 40.28 | DraftKings: 42.14

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 26% | FanDuel 39.9% | DraftKings 17.4%

  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $31 | FanDuel $7,200 | DraftKings $7,800

Sunday brings us a significant discount for Khris Middleton over teammate Giannis Antetokounmpo. Of course, that should be no surprise when comparing Middleton to the two-time reigning NBA MVP. Milwaukee finally put a win on the board in their last game, but they still have lost five of their last six. Tonight they are squaring off against a somewhat depleted Sacramento squad who rode their healthy key players to heavy minutes in a heartbreaking loss to the Bulls in Chicago. The Bucks are favored by double digits tonight, but nothing is a foregone conclusion.

The salary has become quite appealing for Middleton, who has had inconsistent production over his last dozen games. However, he is getting a healthy share of minutes and opportunities in the absence of Jrue Holiday. In the seven games without the Bucks starting point guard, Middleton is averaging 36.5 minutes with 18.9 points, 5.7 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 1.4 combined blocks/steals. The rebounds and 3-point attempts have come down as Middleton is doing more of the offensive facilitation. However, we have to think he will improve upon his 26.0% 3-point success rate when we remember he has a career rate closer to 40% from behind the arc.

Finally, D.J. Augustin moving into the starting lineup should help Middleton get back to the all-around contributor we have become accustomed to. That, along with the plus matchup tonight against the Kings, makes him an excellent core option. As a bonus, keep Augustin on your short list of discount dandies as the DFS sites salary algorithms have not yet caught up to his role change.

Julius Randle: New York Knicks vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 45.35 | DraftKings: 48.02

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 15.2% | FanDuel 22.2% | DraftKings 7.7%

  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $40 | FanDuel $8,800 | DraftKings $9,400

We want to pick and choose our spots with the Knicks, as they play at the slowest pace in the league. This should be no surprise, as we know this is the preferred style for Tom Thibodeau. We also know that the well-travelled coach likes to ride his starters for heavy minutes, so now is the time to strike with Julius Randle. The matchup against Minnesota is a good one, as they play at an above-average pace, and with Karl-Anthony Towns leading the way, defense is seemingly optional.

In his seventh season, Randle is posting career highs across most statistical categories, including: 36.7 minutes, 16.9 field-goal attempts, 4.5 3-point attempts, 10.9 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 23.2 points. He seemingly has a 40-fantasy-point floor, and 50 fantasy points are definitely in the cards tonight.

Good Value

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: Oklahoma City at Cleveland Cavaliers

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 41.62 | DraftKings: 42.39

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 20.0% | FanDuel 22.1% | DraftKings 15.3%

  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $34 | FanDuel $7,800 | DraftKings $8,100

In his last two games after missing a week with a sore knee, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has played 32.6 and 36.0 minutes. The only concern we have here is that the Thunder play again tomorrow night when they host the Miami Heat. While there is some concern that Gilgeous-Alexander’s minutes will be monitored, it is hard to see fewer than 34 to 36 since Oklahoma City needs to bank some wins. Tonight they will be taking on a Cleveland team that literally does not play defense. In their last 10 games, the Cavaliers are allowing a league-worst 123.8 points per 100 possessions. Considering they are playing at a pace just shy of 100 possessions per 48 minutes, we can see there projects to be ample fantasy opportunity available for Oklahoma City tonight. Fortune favors the bold, and this looks like a nice play that will give us leverage over a significant portion of the field.

Sacramento Kings at Milwaukee Bucks

This is going to be a situation where we need to have flexibility and a plan to take advantage of the Sacramento Kings lineup. Last night they were without Richaun Holmes (knee), Harrison Barnes (foot) and Glenn Robinson III (foot). That led to Marvin Bagley playing a season-high 35 minutes, and we know he is an injury magnet as well. De’Aaron Fox played 40 minutes, Cory Joseph 36, Buddy Hield 35 and Tyrese Haliburton 33, which is more than they typically see. Keep an eye out on news, and be flexible with late-swapping and roster revisions once we know who the primary players will be for our late-night hammer.

Risky Value

Michael Porter Jr.: Denver Nuggets at Atlanta Hawks

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 30.84 | DraftKings: 30.82

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 29.6% | FanDuel 38.8% | DraftKings 23.7%

  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $22 | FanDuel $5,700 | DraftKings $5,900

For the third time in his last five games, I have chosen Michael Porter Jr. as my risky play. I was OK with taking him against the Washington Wizards and was ambivalent towards his last matchup with Cleveland. Those two games stand out to show how he may not have the ceiling that many gamers are envisioning. In that pair of performances, he averaged 31.7 minutes with 13.5 field-goal attempts while converting a solid 48%. However, the remainder of the fantasy production was pedestrian at best. Even though he tallied 18.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 1.0 combined blocks/steals, that was right at 30 fantasy points depending on your DFS site of choice.

The matchup is a delicious one tonight against Atlanta, and Porter is perfectly fine for our cash games, but just how risky is it to fade him in tournaments? Well, looking at the Awesemo Boom/Bust tool, we can see that on DraftKings, Porter has a 24.2% chance of being in the optimal lineup. His boom score probability of reaching 39.5 DraftKings points is 28.9%. His bust score probability of producing fewer than 29.5 fantasy points is 30.2%. In 74 career games, he has topped 39.5 DraftKings points 10 times.

Yahoo Daily Fantasy Basketball Discount Dandies

  1. Immanuel Quickly: NYK vs. MIN – $10

  2. Nerlens Noel: NYK vs. MIN – $14

  3. JaVale McGee: CLE vs. OKC – $10

SuperDraft Daily Fantasy Basketball Picks

  1. Joel Embiid: PHI vs. TOR – 1.20x multiplier

  2. Jarrett Allen: CLE vs. OKC – 1.60x multiplier

  3. Julius Randle: NYK vs. MIN – 1.20x multiplier

Final Thoughts on the Sunday, Feb. 21 NBA DFS Slate

Once again we will be waiting on news from the final game of the night. Like Saturday, this comes down to the availability of Harrison Barnes, Richaun Holmes and Glenn Robinson III. 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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