It is hard to believe we’re already to February, but time flies when you’re having fun. January was exceptional, with the exception of this weekend, so let’s carry a month of momentum into Monday and pluck out a few NBA DFS picks for DraftKings and FanDuel.
NBA DFS Slate Starter: Picks & Strategy | Feb. 1
I’ve watched a lot of basketball in my lifetime. My dad and I would make the four-hour drive from Sioux Falls up to Minneapolis at least twice a year to see the Timberwolves play every year throughout my entire childhood, usually when someone prolific you just had to see for yourself such as Kobe Bryant or LeBron James would be visiting. As the years went by, I’d start saying things like “I’ve never seen anyone like them before” every time a Kyrie Irving or Kristaps Porzingis would come to town and blow my mind.
When I moved to Los Angeles after college, I was fortunate to attend NBA games with far more frequency. I got to live out my childhood on a more frequent basis, getting to witness things like Blake Griffin‘s prime with the Clippers and Brandon Ingram‘s baby steps with the Lakers. But when you attend multiple games of the same two teams up close, you start phasing out the usuals on the home team and start paying particular attention to their opposition. And that’s when I first saw Nikola Jokic in person. Around early April in 2018, I saw Jokic go for one of the smoothest, simplest triple-doubles you could ever imagine against Clippers centers DeAndre Jordan and Montrezl Harrell. And I believe he did it in three quarters, showcasing a vision and an offensive skillset from a big man I had never seen before (and have yet to see after).
That’s why I’m not shocked whatsoever by how Jokic has been able to perform in the early stages of this 2020-21 season. He’s catapulted himself into the MVP discussion as a result, currently the second favorite at +500 on the DraftKings sportsbook, trailing only James (+350). He’s averaging nearly a triple-double (26.8 points, 11.8 rebounds, 8.6 assists per game), and I don’t see any signs of that stopping. Jokic even posted 47, 12 and 5 on Defensive Player of the Year frontrunner Rudy Gobert on Sunday, making no big man immune to Jokic’s current form.
Which brings me to Monday. Jokic will face off against former backup Mason Plumlee in the slate’s nightcap. While I normally think fondly of Plumlee’s ability and decent defensive prowess, I can’t help but think the Nuggets are bound to rout in this one. And while there are numerous spend-up options waiting in the wings for us on this 10-game slate, Jokic is the créme de la crème of the slate, let alone the center position. I’m not bringing something new to the table when I say you should pay up for Denver’s star center. But Sunday’s beatdown of Gobert should be indicative of what Jokic is capable of in any spot, against anyone, any day.
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Xavier Tillman was the chalk of all chalk Saturday, and he sure didn’t hurt you if you rostered him. With Jonas Valanciunas on the shelf, there was no question Tillman was underpriced at the $3,500 tag on DraftKings and even $4,600 on FanDuel. He put up 24 fantasy points in just 21 minutes thanks to a blowout, and now his tag has catapulted to $4,800 on DraftKings and a whopping $5,100 on the blue site (shoutout to Terry McBride’s articles).
But could Tillman possibly still be underpriced? Let’s check take a look at old, trusty PopcornMachine.net:
Tillman exited the game at the 8:07 mark, never to be heard from again. And while big man Brandon Clarke went for 26 minutes and a better fantasy line, Clarke was not near the minimum. He’s also exponentially more expensive on Monday at $6,200 on DraftKings and $6,400 on FanDuel, making Tillman more enticing anyways. I’m not a big fan of running back chalk at increased price tags, but his decreased ownership should more than make up for that. Get ready for a second round of Tillman, specifically on DraftKings at his sub-$5,000 salary.
Final Thoughts for Your NBA DFS Lineups
- It’s scary how high Mitchell Robinson is grading out in my model the night before. I love to target Chicago’s frontcourt, and at just $5,200 on DraftKings and only $100 more on FanDuel, I’m already terrified of the amount of Robinson I’ll get tomorrow.
- Robert Covington has been the bane of my existence for weeks, but with Derrick Jones Jr. on the shelf, I’m there. At just $5,000 on DraftKings and $4,900 on FanDuel, I’m going to pray to God Covington’s shooting reverts back to his career rates Monday. Seriously, take a look courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com:
- With 10 games on the slate, I’ve accepted news is going to come from nowhere tomorrow afternoon. Be sure to catch the Deeper Dive and Live Before Lock shows on the Awesemo YouTube channel to stay up to date on all of it right up until lock.
- Just play LaMelo Ball.
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