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Fantasy Basketball Picks: Top DraftKings NBA DFS Targets, Values for April 12

Matt LaMarca gives his top studs and value plays at each position for Wednesday’s fantasy basketball slate on DraftKings.

Some of the best words in sports are “win or go home.” That’s exactly what the four NBA teams scheduled for Wednesday will be tasked with. The Raptors, Bulls, Pelicans and Thunder all have to win to keep their playoff hopes alive, while the losers will be done for the year.

The action for tonight’s two-game slate on DraftKings gets underway at 7 p.m. ET.

Let’s dive into some of my favorite plays at each position.

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C.J. McCollum, New Orleans Pelicans vs. Oklahoma City Thunder ($7,900) – McCollum has been uninspiring lately, failing to return value in seven of his past eight games, but he has a proven track record of fantasy success. He’s also expected to play as many minutes as any guard on Wednesday, racking up at least 38.2 minutes in four of his past five contests. He’s averaged 1.08 DKFP per minute for the year, so despite his recent struggles, that should be more than enough to return value.

McCollum has also seen a slight price reduction for this matchup. He was priced at $8,300 for his final regular season contest, so his $7,900 price tag provides a bit of value. He’s been priced below $8K on 29 previous occasions this season, and he’s averaged 39.18 DKFP in those contests.

Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls at Toronto Raptors ($7,300) – All of the Bulls’ “big three” stand out as underpriced on this slate. The game environment is expected to be dreadful, with the total on this contest sitting at just 212.5 points. The Bulls are also listed as six-point underdogs, so their implied team total of 103.25 is the worst mark on the slate by a pretty wide margin.

Still, $7,300 is simply too cheap for a player of LaVine’s caliber. LaVine has exceeded salary-based expectations by an average of +2.19 DKFP in games with a comparable salary this season, and he enters this game in decent form. He struggled in his last full contest vs. the Bucks, but they possess one of the best defenses in the league. He had 40.25 and 56.75 DKFP in his previous two contests, so he provides nice upside at this reduced price tag.

Other Options – Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ($10,500), Fred VanVleet ($8,400)


Isaiah Joe, Oklahoma City Thunder at New Orleans Pelicans ($4,100) – Joe was not expected to be part of the Thunder’s rotation this season, but nothing about the Thunder’s season has been expected. They were one of the favorites for the worst record in the league before the start of the year, yet here they are, contending for a playoff spot.

Joe proved himself a worthy NBA player when filling in for Shai Gilegous-Alexander earlier this year, which earned him a permanent spot in their rotation. He’s played at least 21.3 minutes in each of their past four games, despite the team being essentially at full strength. He’s scored at least 23.75 DKFP in his past two, and Joe has proven to be a competent per-minute contributor. He’s averaged 0.88 DKFP per minute for the year, so 22-24 minutes should give him a chance to return value.

Other Options – Patrick Beverley ($4,400), Gary Trent Jr. ($4,200)



Brandon Ingram, New Orleans Pelicans vs. Oklahoma City Thunder ($10,000) – Ingram played like a man possessed down the stretch. He did his best to will the Pelicans into one of the final guaranteed postseason spots, and while he ultimately came up short, he provided DFS players with plenty of production in the process. He scored at least 46.0 DKFP in 10 of his final 13 games, including 73.5 DKFP in the regular season finale.

Ingram has always been a great scorer, but he’s been much more involved in the peripheral categories of late. He’s averaged 8.2 assists and 6.6 boards over his past 13 games, which represent massive increases from his career averages. Add it all up, and he’s increased his production to 1.37 DKFP per minute over the past month. Among Wednesday’s options, only Jonas Valanciunas has been a better per-minute contributor than Ingram over that time frame, and he’s not expected to see nearly as much playing time. Ingram’s price tag has increased, but you can make a strong case that he’s the top stud on the slate.

DeMar DeRozan, Chicago Bulls at Toronto Raptors ($7,700) – DeRozan isn’t quite as cheap as LaVine, but he’s arguably priced at a larger discount. DeRozan is someone who we’re used to seeing at around $9,000, and he was priced at $8,600 for his final regular season contest. He’s struggled to pay off that price tag of late, but he’s still scored at least 41.0 DKFP in four of his past seven full contests. Ultimately, he’s been priced below $8K in just four previous games this season, so this is a prime buy-low opportunity.

Other Options – Scottie Barnes ($7,000), Trey Murphy III ($6,400)


Lu Dort, Oklahoma City Thunder at New Orleans Pelicans ($5,400) – The Thunder are probably the best team to target for value on this slate. The other three squads lean pretty heavily on their top options, so the Thunder should have the most opportunities for their complementary players.

Dort is known mostly for his defensive prowess – don’t let him get you in the “Dorture chamber” – but he’s capable of racking up fantasy points as well. He’s averaged 0.83 DKFP per minute for the year, and he’s expected to see plenty of playing time vs. the Pelicans. He played at least 35.6 minutes in his final four full contests, and he scored at least 28.0 DKFP in three of them. That kind of production would be more than acceptable at just $5,400.

Other Options – Herb Jones ($5,600), Larry Nance Jr. ($3,800; questionable)



Nikola Vucevic, Chicago Bulls at Toronto Raptors ($7,400) – Vucevic has been the clear No. 3 option behind DeRozan and LaVine since arriving in Chicago, but he’s still capable of putting together big performances. He’s averaged 1.19 DKFP per minute for the year – the top mark among the Bulls’ players – and he’s racked up at least 40.0 DKFP in back-to-back contests. That includes his last game, despite playing just 27.7 minutes against the Mavericks.

Like his teammates, Vucevic has also seen a pretty significant price reduction for this matchup. He was priced at $8,300 just two games ago, so he’s down nearly a full $1,000. The Raptors are a tough matchup, but Vucevic is my favorite of the Chicago players on Wednesday.

Other Options – Pascal Siakam ($9,400), Jonas Valanciunas ($6,800)


Jakob Poeltl, Toronto Raptors vs. Chicago Bulls ($5,700) – Poeltl will be tasked with slowing down Vucevic, and he’s an extremely capable fantasy producer when given the opportunity to play big minutes. He’s averaged 1.20 DKFP per minute for the year, which is only slightly lower than Pascal Siakam’s mark of 1.22.

However, Poeltl’s minutes are extremely difficult to peg down on a night-to-night basis. He logged 22.7 minutes or fewer in his final three regular-season contests, but he played at least 30 minutes in his two previous. If he sees toward the high end of his minute range, he has the potential to be one of the best per-dollar options on the slate. If he doesn’t, he’ll still have a chance to return value at his current salary. Poeltl has been priced above $7,000 on plenty of occasions since rejoining the Raptors, so $5,700 represents a nice discount.

Other Options – Jaylin Williams ($4,300)

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is mlamarca) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.