The DraftKings GPP Build (3-17-18)

What’s up, everybody? I’m usually joined by Kevin Roberts here, but he’s out today. As usual, I’m going to go through each of the five primary positions and break down some of my favorite plays at each of them. Kevin normally handles the FanDuel side of things, which means this will be DraftKings-oriented today.

I typically break things down from a cash game perspective, but tonight’s slate looks prime for tournaments. So, I’m going to take a stab at a few plays I love today that may not see the massive ownership they would on a smaller slate.

I’m also not going to bother rolling through the bevy of value plays. Everyone’s going to play Quinn Cook and Nick Young, while Chicago and Cleveland are other opportunities to attack. The Bulls’ value is up in the air as of now, but it sounds like Zach LaVine is more doubtful than questionable. Anyway, here’s how I’m looking at tonight’s slate for GPPs.

Antonio Blakeney, PG, Chicago Bulls ($3,200)

This play hinges on the availability of Zach LaVine. The absence of Kris Dunn will open plenty of backcourt minutes. Cam Payne is another viable play on this slate, as he figures to be the primary beneficiary of Dunn’s absence. We could also see Jerian Grant reintroduced for a cameo appearance as the backup to Payne.

Since the exile of Justin Holiday into the abyss, Fred Hoiberg has been playing Antonio Blakeney as LaVine’s primary backup. Despite being listed as a point guard on DraftKings, Blakeney has been playing most of his minutes at the 2 spot. He’s seen his minutes ramped up gradually over the last three games, as they’ve gone from 19 to 21 to 25 last time out. LaVine left the last game in the third quarter. After that, Blakeney saw about 13 of his 25 minutes, and he closed.

The youngster has been putting up solid fantasy performances despite struggling with his shot. Since entering the rotation, Blakeney has shot just 10-24 from the field (about 41%). This guy averaged 32 points per game this season in the G League and shot about 46% from the field on huge volume (24 shots per game). He’s not afraid to chuck, and we know he’s not the bricklayer he’s looked like at the NBA level thus far.

For just $200 over the minimum, Blakeney makes for an elite value play tonight if LaVine is out of the lineup. Blakeney is still playable even if LaVine suits up, though my excitement about the play would wane considerably in that scenario.

With tons of usage potentially opened up with LaVine (potentially), Markkanen, Dunn and Vonleh (potentially) out, I’m going to be playing plenty of Blakeney on this slate. The matchup with the Cavaliers is also reason for optimism. With so many people (justifiably) playing Quinn Cook at a similar price point, Blakeney should fly under the radar. You can pair them if LaVine is out.

Bojan Bogdanovic, SG/SF, Indiana Pacers ($4,800)

When the Kings and Pacers play on the same slate, choosing the right B. Bogdanovic can be tricky. They play the same positions and they’re typically in the same price range. Bogdan isn’t the worst tournament flier in the WOAT matchup in Utah, but I’m far more intrigued by Bojan tonight.

Otto Porter isn’t some trash defender, but wings against the Wizards has been a thing for a few years, for whatever reason. Those that like watching game logs will see back-to-back floor games from Bogdanovic and move right along.

Of course, there’s plenty of reason to believe a bounce-back is coming in short order. Bogdanovic is shooting nearly 40% from three-point range this season, but in the last two games he’s shot a putrid 1-10 and 1-11 from the floor. That’s about 9% shooting for a guy that is generally thought to be an elite marksman.

Bogdanovic is somewhat scoring-dependent, but if he can rediscover his stroke tonight I like his chances at paying off. His $4,800 price tag is the cheapest it’s been in quite some time, and Nate McMillan is happy to run him out there for minutes in the upper-30s if the game stays close. The Pacers and Wizards are jockeying for playoff position, and Washington is favored by just 4.5. The game doesn’t have a massive total, but it should be competitive.

I’m thinking Bogie heats up again tonight. The Pacers may be without Myles Turner and/or Thaddeus Young tonight, too, which could theoretically open things up even more.

Nemanja Bjelica, SF/PF, Minnesota Timberwolves ($6,000)

There are about a zillion small forwards in this price range I want to play tonight. T.J. Warren, Will Barton, Michael Beasley and Josh Jackson all look like very solid plays. As a result, nobody’s going to play Nemanja Bjelica. He’s priced up from where we’re used to seeing him, and the Wolves have a slow-paced matchup with the Spurs tonight. People don’t play guys against the Spurs, for the most part.

That said, it’s hard to argue with Bjelica’s role right now. We know Tom Thibodeau has trust issues, which means he’s really only comfortable playing his starters. Since Jimmy Butler went down, Bjelica has played crazy minutes. He had cracked the 40-minute mark in three consecutive games before having the streak snapped by a 39-minute outing last time out against the Wizards.

We know he’s the fourth or fifth option offensively on this team, but if a guy is going to be playing 40 minutes I’m going to have interest. Even with Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins soaking up most of Butler’s vacated usage, Bjelica is still getting his shots up. He’s taken at least 12 shots in three straight games.

Bjelica’s just putting up loaded stat lines of late, and not all of the matchups have been cupcakes. His best game of the season came three games ago against the Celtics, who happen to own the league’s best defense on the season.

The matchup isn’t prime, but Bjelica has been a very strong per-minute producer playing all the minutes he can handle. There’s still upside in this price tag, even though there’s still some sticker shock.

Bobby Portis, PF/C, Chicago Bulls ($7,200)

Forking over $7,200 for the privilege to roster Bobby Portis is a bit rich, but plenty of others probably feel the same. Any time a guy looks overpriced, people tend to stay away. This is another play that is somewhat contingent on injury news, but I like Portis tonight regardless.

Noah Vonleh has been starting with Lauri Markkanen having missed the last couple of games. Vonleh himself is questionable tonight, while Markkanen remains out. Even with Vonleh available, the only Bulls’ bigs on the roster are Robin Lopez, Portis and everyone’s nemesis, Cristiano Felicio. Lopez plays the entire first quarter and sits the rest of the game, which effectively means Chicago has a three-man bigs rotation for the last three quarters of the game.

If Vonleh’s out, that number is down to two: Portis and Felicio. Hoiberg has tried his best to keep Portis’ minutes down of late even without Markkanen, but I imagine he’ll have no choice but to log 30+ if Vonleh is out of the lineup.

A wise man once said minutes equal money. Portis averages 1.17 DK points per minute on the season, which is an elite mark. If we take Dunn, LaVine, Markkanen and Justin Holiday off the floor, the number jumps a bit to 1.20. Portis also has a usage rate over 30% in about 473 minutes of playing time with those four off the floor this season.

Portis should be able to feast on the tremendously undermanned Cavaliers front line tonight. Ty Lue will probably start with the LeBron James #jeff-green)Jeff Green”:/players/jeff-green-1314 frontcourt again tonight. Ante Zizic could make a cameo, but it’s clear that Lue doesn’t really trust him.

It’s hard to imagine Portis busting here, even at this escalated price. He’s one of my favorite plays on the board, especially if Vonleh sits out.

Jusuf Nurkic, C, Portland Trail Blazers ($6,300)

The uncertainty surrounding Jusuf Nurkic playing time makes him one of the more volatile players to roster in the league. He logged just 19 minutes the other night against the Cavaliers when Cleveland went small with the aforementioned James/Green frontcourt. Rather than making the Cavs adjust to their style, Stotts adjusted to Cleveland’s. It was dumb.

Anyway, tonight the Blazers will be hosting the Pistons, who are one of the few teams that spends most of the game playing big. With Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin lurking on the other side, it’s hard to imagine the game going small. Nurkic rarely tops 30 minutes, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he did in this spot.

Nurkic only played 26 minutes the last time these teams met, but that was a blowout loss for Portland. We saw two games ago the kind of upside Nurk has when he’s afforded the playing time, and it’s unfathomable to think that the Blazers will be on the wrong end of a blowout here tonight. Portland could easily crush Detroit tonight, but I’d rather target players on the team likely to do the blowing out.

Center is probably the most loaded position of all on tonight’s slate, so I’m not expecting many to look Nurkic’s way. Given the matchup, cheap price tag and upside, though, I’ll be overweight on him here. This also looks like a solid Ed Davis spot, for what it’s worth.


Playing these five guys leaves you with $7,500 per remaining spot, which means you’ve got all sorts of flexibility. I’m planning on building quite a few lineups around this core in GPPs this evening.

Good luck!

About the Author

  • Taylor Smith (tcsmith031)

  • Taylor Smith is a native Texan (required by all fellow Texans to report this at all times) and a Southern California-based sports writer. He specializes in MLB and NBA while dabbling in a few other sports like a true degen when the other two are out of season. He has written about DFS in the past at Bang The Book, and you can find some of his previous work on SB Nation and FanRag Sports.

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