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Jimmy Butler vs. DeMar DeRozan: Who to start in DFS lineups

DeRozan might be the NBA’s hottest player, while Butler has expanded his game in Miami. Who is the better play on Friday’s seven-game slate?

San Antonio Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan talks with Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler after a game at American Airlines Arena.  Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

DeMar DeRozan ($8,100) and Jimmy Butler ($7,800) are both often maligned in NBA circles, yet for very, very different reasons. The latter has been known to be a bit of a head-case when it comes to locker room drama. In fact, it stands to reason that the entire state of Minnesota (specifically one very tall resident) absolutely hates Butler’s guts. For the former, he’s simply a man lost to time. DeRozan’s game is one almost entirely steeped in the 90’s era, where long-twos and fancy footwork ruled supreme. Math and the internet has not always been kind to the former Eastern Conference All-Star in this regard.

However, both are currently thriving and the pair find themselves with similar salaries on tonight’s seven-game featured slate. Which veteran small forward should you be constructing your lineups around?

Fantasy Basketball Analysis: Spurs SG/SF DeMar DeRozan vs. Heat SG/SF Jimmy Butler

It’s honestly hard to believe how efficient DeRozan has been across his past nine games. Despite carrying team-highs in both minutes played (313) and usage rate (29.0%), the USC product has maintained a jaw-dropping .713 true shooting percentage, all while averaging 1.40 points per possession used. Again, this is a span of time where DeRozan has made exactly three 3-pointers. The numbers are rarely this good for an interior-based player who isn’t seven-feet tall. Heck, the only qualified man averaging more points per touch than DeRozan since Dec. 28 is Devin Booker.

Now, it’s possible that this level of shot-making could normalize at any moment; but, with LaMarcus Aldridge recently moving his area of operation outside the arc, DeRozan has had more room in the paint to operate and he’s responded by producing at least 5x value in 11-straight games. It’s also not like the Hawks are the most daunting defensive matchup. For the season, Atlanta possesses the fifth-worst defensive rating in the NBA (112.5) and, across its past 15 contests, the Hawks own the league’s highest pace (104.8). Butler might be tempting at his lowest salary since Dec. 4, yet DeRozan’s just been too consistent recently to ignore.

DFS Recommendation

Start DeMar DeRozan over Jimmy Butler