The Slate Starter is a daily first look at 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 Awesemo’s NBA Starting Lineups page, as it will be updated throughout the day as the NBA injury reports are released and breaking news surfaces. Let’s dive into some players who stand out as key options on Thursday’s three-game main slate.
Want to see how your lineup stacked up against yesterday’s winning NBA DFS lineups on DraftKings, FanDuel and Yahoo? Check out Awesemo’s Optimal Lineup Review, which uses Fantasy Cruncher Rewind to analyze the winning plays from the night before.
DraftKings & FanDuel NBA DFS Lineup Advice Today
Stephen Curry, PG, Golden State Warriors
Thursday’s slate is light on star power, and Curry is the most expensive option at $10,500 on DraftKings. However, Curry hasn’t looked anything like a stud recently. He’s scored 43.25 DraftKings points or fewer in six of his past seven games, and he’s failed to pay off his price tag by large amounts on most nights.
Still, it’s not entirely Curry’s fault. He’s played 29.3 minutes or less in each of his past three games, which have all been blowouts. The last time he played in a competitive contest, he racked up 62.5 DraftKings points over 38.7 minutes.
That makes Curry an interesting buy-low option vs. the Pacers. There’s definitely some blowout risk – the Warriors are currently listed as 10.5-point favorites – but he has plenty of upside if this game stays competitive. His price tag has decreased by -$1,400 over the past month on DraftKings, and he should still have one of the top ceiling projections on the slate.
Josh Hart, SF, New Orleans Pelicans
Hart is another player who stands out as a potential buy-low option. He’s been underpriced for most of the season, but his salary got up to $7,000 on DraftKings two games ago. However, he’s back down to just $6,300 vs. the Knicks.
Hart has been excellent on a per-minute basis recently, averaging 1.00 DraftKings points per minute, and he can approach 40 minutes on certain slates. He played nearly 38.8 minutes in his last outing, and he could see a few additional minutes if Devonte’ Graham is unable to suit up. Either way, $6,300 is simply too cheap for Hart: He’s averaged 34.06 DraftKings points in 29 games with at least 30 minutes.
Hart can also occasionally be overlooked as a midrange player. Stars-and-scrubs is the default approach on most slates, so Hart’s ownership projection on Wednesday could be modest. If it is, expect him to fare well in the Boom/Bust Probability tool from a leverage perspective.
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JaVale McGee, C, Phoenix Suns
Deandre Ayton has been ruled out for the Suns, which creates an interesting situation in Phoenix. McGee, Jalen Smith, and Bismack Biyombo have all provided value with Ayton out of the lineup this season, so all three players could garner some attention on this slate. Biyombo is coming off the best performance in their last game, racking up 39.0 DraftKings points over 24.8 minutes.
Still, McGee still stands out as the preferred option. He saw just slightly less playing time than Biyombo on Monday – he finished with 23.2 minutes – and he’s been the superior producer on a per-minute basis this season. He’s averaged a stout 1.32 DraftKings points per minute, making him one of the best centers in fantasy in that department.
The most likely situation is that McGee and Biyombo split the playing time, and both players could be worth exploring in the player prop market. Make sure to take advantage of the Awesemo Player Prop tool, which highlights the most exploitable prop bets each day.
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