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🏀 Slate Starter: NBA DFS Strategy for DraftKings + FanDuel | Monday, February 8th

Eric Lindquist

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NBA DFS Picks an Strategy for DraftKings and FanDuel with the Slate Starter first look at the day's news, notes, lineups and injuries with DeMarcus Cousins

With football done and dusted for the season, it’s full swing into basketball for the next few months. If you’re new in this space, welcome, and I hope hoops will be an enjoyable experience for you. Be sure to check out our numerous pieces of free content such as this, Adam Scherer’s Deep Dive article and YouTube shows at all hours of the day to prepare you for lock. And if you like what you see, take a look at Awesemo.com/joinNBA for packages starting at $4.95 to upgrade your membership and elevate your game today. With that said, let’s take a look at some NBA DFS picks and strategy for Monday’s eight-game slate on DraftKings and FanDuel.

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NBA DFS Slate Starter: Picks & Strategy | Feb. 8

The Boogie Man Again

One of the most frustrating parts about NBA DFS is being forced into the same underpriced mid-range chalk plays slate after slate. Until perhaps today, Cody Zeller has made an extremely popular target each night out. The same is true with his teammate LaMelo Ball, who has garnered massive ownership throughout his entire rise into the upper $7,000s because the sites couldn’t recognize his new role. And this past week was obviously the saga of do I Hamidou Diallo or do I not.

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As popular as all these plays have been, nothing comes close to rivaling how out of control DeMarcus Cousins ownership has been on days sans Christian Wood (who is now week-to-week with an ankle injury). And wouldn’t you know it, DraftKings and FanDuel once again dropped the ball at appropriately pricing the Rockets big man despite ample time to adjust for Wood’s absence. With rates like 1.34 DraftKings points per minute on the year and a minutes projection into the 30s, there’s no question Cousins will (and should) be Monday’s highest-owned player on both sites for the umpteenth slate this season.


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So how do you decide what to do with someone this popular? For me, that work has been made so much easier with the help of Awesemo’s Boom/Bust tool. This year it’s added on a new leverage score feature which compares projected ownership to the chances of that play appearing in the optimal lineup. If you are playing multiple tournament lineups like me, that score can help you decide if the public’s interest in a player is too high, too low or just right. I’ll then be able to altar my ownership accordingly, coming in overweight on players I’m interested in that grade out well and vice versa.

With all of that being said, there’s no way I won’t be above the field on Cousins tomorrow, regardless of what his leverage score ends up being. His boom percentage will be staggering, as will his optimal-lineup percentage. So while there’s obvious merit to fading anyone with high ownership in hopes that they fail, at just $7,100 on DraftKings and a laughable $6,000 on FanDuel, I won’t be one of them. Simply lock him into most of your NBA DFS lineups and go about the rest of your day.

Fingers Crossed for Lots of Late News

With only one of Monday’s eight games tipping off at 7 p.m. EST, I’m really hoping for chaos. Actually, that’s a terrible wish with the absurdity we’ve endured so far in this early season. So let me try again: I’m really hoping for late news that others can’t/won’t react to with late swap.

With these waterfall starts for this grouping of games, I can assure you there’s going to be news that comes out after lock that alters the slate. We won’t know most starting lineups before lock due to how much later most matchups will tip off, not to mention injury news or unexpected health protocol scratches that might surface. I know I preach it a lot, but stay prepared to late swap at all times. And understand that the later the news breaks, the greater your edge if you’re by your computer to react to it.

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Final Thoughts for Your NBA DFS Lineups

  • These Luka Doncic/Giannis Antetokounmpo/Nikola Jokic slates are my favorite. All three possess absurd upside, and if enough value emerges in the afternoon, I’ll certainly have at the very least one in every tournament lineup. Obviously Jokic is much harder to justify on FanDuel where you only roster one center, and the aforementioned Cousins is basically free. But man, what an unbelievable tournament pivot Jokic is at the position.
  • It sounds like Russell Westbrook might actually play a back-to-back for the first time in forever. That’s huge news on this slate, especially with Bradley Beal at only $9,000 on DraftKings. Be sure to stay tuned to the Newzgod, as he does crazy good work for the @AwesemoNBA Twitter handle.
  • Thaddeus Young and Andre Drummond are now the same price on FanDuel ($7,200). These might be the end times after all.
  • Just play Chris Boucher.

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