The Slate Starter is a daily first look at NBA DFS strategy to get your daily fantasy basketball lineup-building process started before lock tonight. Each day, we will go through some of the best NBA DFS picks, top stacks and optimal lineup construction for DraftKings and FanDuel. Be sure to check our NBA Starting Lineups page, as it will be updated throughout the day as the NBA injury reports are released and breaking news surfaces today. After Tuesday’s appetizer, the NBA is offering up the main course on Wednesday. There is an 11-game slate starting at 7 p.m. ET, so there will be plenty of teams to choose from.
NBA DFS Picks & Optimal Lineup Construction | Oct. 20
Top Implied Team Total
Portland Trail Blazers (118.25)
The top implied team total on the slate today belongs to the Trail Blazers. Not only were they one of the top offensive teams in the league last year — they ranked tied for fourth in offensive efficiency — but they draw a juicy matchup against the Kings. They were the worst defensive team in basketball last season, and they also played at a top-10 pace.
Damian Lillard is obviously the Blazers’ top offensive target, and he stands out on FanDuel. He is priced at $10,000, and he averaged more than 54 FanDuel points in three matchups against the Kings last season.
C.J. McCollum could be worth some consideration on DraftKings. He likely will not command a ton of ownership, but he is very reasonably priced at just $5,200.
NBA Injury Report
Jaylen Brown (health protocols) — Questionable
Brown is currently questionable after testing positive for COVID-19 last week. If he is ruled out, Jayson Tatum would be asked to carry the load offensively. He increased his usage rate by 3.6% with Brown off the court last season, resulting in an average of 1.35 DraftKings points per minute. The Celtics open up with a tough matchup against the Knicks, but Tatum would offer some upside if Brown is inactive. He would also be worth exploring in the player prop market, especially with the help of our NBA Player Prop tool.
Cade Cunningham (ankle) – Out
Cunningham is the favorite for the NBA Rookie of the Year award, and he is expected to carry a monster workload this season. He has been ruled out due to an ankle injury for Wednesday’s matchup against the Bulls, so someone else is going to have to pick up the slack.
Jerami Grant is one possibility, and he is a nice value at $6,500 on DraftKings. He averaged 32.14 DraftKings points per game with a comparable price tag last season.
Ben Simmons (suspension) – Out
It seems like Simmons is giving the 76ers the same treatment that James Harden gave the Rockets. He, surprisingly, showed up at practice, but he looked disinterested and ultimately picked up a suspension.
That means Joel Embiid should be considered one of the top studs on the slate. He increased his usage rate by 6.3% with Simmons off the court last season, resulting in a ridiculous 1.84 DraftKings points per minute. He also has an elite matchup against the Pelicans, who ranked ninth in pace and 23rd in defensive efficiency last season.
Bradley Beal, SG, Washington Wizards
There are plenty of strong options to consider today. Embiid is a solid play, and Lillard, Nikola Jokic and Karl-Anthony Towns also make plenty of sense when looking toward the top of the board.
That said, do not forget about Beal. He is no longer sharing the court with Russell Westbrook, which gives him the potential to make the leap into fantasy superstardom. He finished second in scoring last season while sharing the ball with Westbrook, so he could very easily lead the league in that department this year. Overall, he averaged 1.52 DraftKings points per minute in games without Westbrook last year. Beal was the No. 4 player in our Best Ball Rankings for both DraftKings and Underdog, so he is poised for a big year.Thanks for reading to the end of this article! If you appreciate this free content and want to see more of it every day, you can help us out by sharing this article on social media! View our DraftKings NBA ownership, our FanDuel ownership projections and our Yahoo! ownership projections. Our NBA daily projections are updated regularly, including whenever any relevant news breaks. Looking for more NBA DFS today and the best free NBA DFS tools? Check out our daily fantasy basketball rankings for fantasy points and values that are derived directly from Alex Baker's own daily fantasy basketball projections. We also have Yahoo! rankings, FanDuel ownership rankings and DraftKings rankings for today's slate.
PrizePicks NBA Prop Tool (FREE)
📽️ LIVE 2022 NBA Draft Watchalong on Playback
NBA Betting: NBA Player Props Tool (FREE TRIAL)
No House Advantage NBA Optimal Lineups Page (FREE)
NBA Data Central
📽️ NBA DFS Picks: Deeper Dive & Live Before Lock | 6/16
FanDuel Single-Game Cheat Sheet: Free NBA DFS Lineup Optimizer Picks Today | 6/16
DraftKings Showdown Cheat Sheet: Free NBA DFS Lineup Optimizer Picks Today | 6/16