🏀 Slate Starter: NBA DFS Strategy for DraftKings + FanDuel | Friday, 2/19

We’ve reached the conclusion of another epic week of hoops, but fear not friends; Awesemo has you covered on the weekends, too. Head over to the Awesemo YouTube channel, click subscribe and get alerts whenever our elite video content goes live. And in case you weren’t aware, an extra hour has been tagged on to our Saturday and Sunday basketball streams. That means a Deeper Dive followed by a Live Before Lock for two hours of the analysis you crave, so be sure to tune in. But before that goes down, we have today to attack first. So let’s get to the NBA DFS picks and strategies for Friday’s nine-gamer on DraftKings and FanDuel.

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Be sure to check out the Slate Starter podcast, featuring yours truly and Rynpak, to get the first look at NBA DFS lineups for today’s slate!

NBA DFS Slate Starter: Picks & Strategy | Feb. 19

A Little Late Swap Pep Talk

We’re inching our way ever closer to the All-Star break, or, as it’s also better known to those of us grinding DFS every day, the stone-cold worst week of the year. Fortunately I’ve learned to enjoy my time in the NHL streets these past few All-Star weeks, as it’s the only show in town during that downtime. So if you’re not familiar with Jake Hari and our hockey product here at Awesemo, now would be a good time to get acquainted so you’re not left cramming for the NHL DFS exam come March 5. In fact, click here for a full list of our daily hockey content, as their tools and tutelage are tops in the industry.

Now let’s get back to basketball. I find it sort of amusing we don’t even know what the schedule is going to look like come March 13 when the Association is set to resume. So while we’re waiting for what’s ahead of us, I think utilizing that week off to look in the rear-view and assess our NBA DFS results up to this point is a worthwhile exercise. Have you been profitable this season? If not, could it be because of process? Or have you just ran completely cold? Maybe you haven’t binked a large-field GPP yet, but has your decision-making at least put yourself in a position to do so?

But most importantly to me, how has your late swap game been this season? I know I harp on it over and over again in this article, but for good reason since it’s the biggest edge in NBA DFS. Maybe this is recency bias, but in the six years I’ve been doing this, I can’t ever recall a year with this much news post-lock. And it’s not just COVID-related either; teams have become increasingly comfortable playing their cards closer to the chest with injuries. And I’m in the same boat as all of you when it comes to hating on them for it, because that crap gets frustrating real quick.

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Yet for every unavoidable landmine such as the recent Isaiah Roby or Draymond Green late scratches, I’d argue there’s been dozens and dozens of exploitable late-swap situations that have made up for it. As recently as today, we had late news completely shape a slate, as anyone paying attention to starting lineups post-lock was rewarded with access to an under-owned Nemanja Bjelica. Two days ago, I was able to lock in a bunch of sub-1% owned Reggie Jackson in line for a huge spike in usage when it was announced after lock that Kawhi Leonard, Nicolas Batum and Luke Kennard would join Paul George as out. He promptly bailed out a bunch of my dead lineups on DraftKings by putting up 29 fantasy points at $5,100, helping me to a profitable night.

So if there’s one thing I want you to change about your NBA DFS play if you’re struggling so far this season, it’s your relationship to late swap. Stop looking at it as a burden to do more work when news hits and start looking at it as an opportunity to make more money than you would have before. And sure, we all have that worry in the back of our minds that if we tinker, we might ruin that one perfect lineup. But I’d argue you are exponentially more likely to swap into a first place than you would by running an inferior lineup full of plays predicated on outdated information.

And remember, late swap isn’t just useful for taking advantage of injury news. Even if no news comes out whatsoever, having a feel for where your lineups stand can lead to the profitable nights being accentuated and the losing nights being mitigated. Early games don’t go your way? Boost projections to lower-owned plays, downgrade the chalk if you were on them heavily, and late swaptimize. Have a lineup that has the perfect pieces from the early games? Go ahead and jam the chalk in to your heart’s content.

I’ll leave you with this: I love giving NBA DFS picks. I’m researching around the clock in order to provide you with useful information, because that’s what I would want from a trusted content provider, too. But I love helping with your process even more, because in an era where the best plays are more visible to the public than ever, process is where the biggest edges lie. That’s why I advocate for the Awesemo Game Plan videos, the Boom/Bust tool that can lead you to some of those lower-owned plays to swap onto, and to join the premium Slack where you have access to top players and active subscribers who are talking NBA DFS day and night. So I promise, we can do most of the heavy-lifting for you here at Awesemo.com; you just have to click the “Swaptimize” button for yourself.

Possible Late Swap Opportunities For Friday

I can’t go on a rant like that and not at least discuss its possible application to Friday. Remember: I have no concept of when injury news may-or-may-not break, as I’m writing this the night before. But by going through two possible late-swap situations I see as of right now, we can start preparing for whenever things do go down (preferably after lock).

To lead it off, all four Clippers I alluded to earlier are questionable once again. Obviously Leonard and George are the largest impact players in that news, but my lean is either they both play or neither play. That’s because it’s a tough repeat matchup against the Jazz, so it feels like they’ll punt it or really go for it. To make matters more complicated, it’s the only 10 p.m. EST game on the slate, too. I know it’s a brutal defensive matchup against the Jazz, but every non-questionable piece is under $6,600 on DraftKings and $6,700 on FanDuel. That could make these Clippers worth the wait if the news breaks correctly.

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Also, there’s two 7 p.m. EST games with a number of high-priced studs. In particular, if Stephen Curry or Nikola Jokic aren’t living up to their $10,000-plus price tags and you have open roster spots, target some lower-owned plays to try and salvage their poor performances in your lineups. For instance, I expect some Raptors to be popular in their 9 p.m. EST showdown against the Timberwolves, especially if Kyle Lowry sits again. By shifting to lower-owned Timberwolves/Jazz/Clippers players off of Fred VanVleet and company, you could give yourself a realistic shot at the min cash.

Final Thoughts For Your NBA DFS Lineups

We went on a long one today, so thanks for hanging in there with me. Have a fantastic weekend, and just play Nikola Vucevic.

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Eric Lindquist
Eric Lindquist hails from Sioux Falls, South Dakota (yes, that’s the one with Mount Rushmore). A steady diet of three SportsCenters a day at an early age led to his obsession with sports, one that 30 years later is paying dividends for him as a successful DFS player and sports bettor. Despite over half a million dollars in net career earnings, he’s most passionate about helping others achieve their financial goals, an energy you can witness on the daily in his current role as a host and analyst at Stokastic. He’s a former Division I golfer at Iowa State, wishes he was a former Minnesota sports fan, and is a proud father to a 100-pound Bernese Mountain dog named Duke that wishes he could just eat people food instead of the crap he and his wife feed him on the daily.

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