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🏀 Slate Starter: NBA DFS Strategy for DraftKings + FanDuel | Thursday, 3/11

Eric Lindquist



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After Wednesday’s two-game appetizer, we are jumping headfirst into an 11-game beast of a slate. There is injury news all over to the place already, and the Mavericks are on a back-to-back to put us on Kristaps Porzingis watch. But most importantly, this is our first big slate of the Association’s second half. So let’s get right to work finding some NBA DFS picks and strategies to employ on DraftKings and FanDuel.

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 | March 11

News, News, News!

There is such a ridiculous amount of news that will break tomorrow morning/afternoon that it feels like a fool’s errand to tell you exactly what I’m planning to do like I did yesterday. While I’m sure Tobias Harris and Dwight Howard will be popular, as will anyone scheduled to wear a Raptors uniform on Thursday, we’re going to have some unforeseen sources of value with the plethora of news we’re guaranteed to get.

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You should 100% be following the @AwesemoNBA account on Twitter to stay updated on all the happenings of the second half of this NBA DFS season. With 22 teams in action, you can bank on some unforeseen sources of value coming from all kinds of different directions. And it’s always good to remember that in terms of ownership, value that emerges after lock will always go overlooked (and under-utilized). So don’t be left uninformed as the injury news rolls in because I’m sure there’s a spot or two I could never account for right now that will be Thursday’s path to victory in your NBA DFS lineups.

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Another Raptor Chapter

I feel like we have seen this movie multiple times over the past few weeks; Raptors have half their roster ruled out, Raptors seem too good to fail, Raptors find a new and interesting way to disappoint. But with only three pieces above $4,500 on either site — Kyle Lowry, Norman Powell and Chris Boucher — it’s going to be hard to get away from this Toronto team regardless of what other news comes out. While it shouldn’t take much convincing to fire up any of those three regardless of what other news pops up, some of this thinner value requires more discussion.

Let’s start with, of all people, Stanley Johnson. He snuck his way into the starting rotation last game out yet remains $3,500 on both DraftKings and FanDuel. The 12% usage isn’t inspiring, but the 36 minutes played sure are, making him an easy plug-and-play value option across the board should he remain in the starting lineup. Small forward is certainly a position I like to punt, and Thursday will be no exception if the price is right. And in Johnson’s case, it is.

But if the popularity is through the roof, I would pay especially close attention to Awesemo’s Boom/Bust tool before locking him in. If there’s little to no leverage to be had by rostering him, I’m sure we can target a bigger ceiling considering his 0.69 DraftKings points per minute on the year. But it’s hard to argue writing off anyone playing 36 minutes at the minimum at FanDuel’s weak small forward position. Just keep in mind other value could emerge that is exponentially better for fractionally more.

Next up is Terence Davis, who could be a massive piece of news on this slate. Before sustaining an ankle injury near the end of the Celtics game before the break, Davis was breaking the slate, with 34.75 DraftKings points in 32 minutes of work at only $3,700. That price has inflated to $4,300, but he’s still an exceptional play at that tag should he give it a go. Davis is a significantly better fantasy producer than Johnson, with 0.89 DraftKings points per minute.

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The last guy I’ll advocate for as an NBA DSF pick is a terrifying one, but Aron Baynes saw 29 minutes of run for 31.75 DraftKings points last Thursday. While the play might feel thin on the surface, I don’t know who else the Raptors could possibly utilize to keep Clint Capela or John Collins in check with Pascal Siakam out. He also shared court time with Boucher, a big breakthrough as Nick Nurse (and his staff coaching the team of late) has shown a propensity to stagger their minutes in the past. That could bode well for both his prospects for Thursday; at only $4,200 on DraftKings, he could be an underutilized source of value on a site where you can play two centers.

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Final Thoughts for Your NBA DFS Lineups

  • With Bam Adebayo out once more, firing up Kelly Olynyk again should be a given. But don’t forget about Jimmy Butler, who sees his 1.37 DraftKings points per minute spike to 1.52 with Adebayo off the floor. While $9,500 on DraftKings and $9,600 on FanDuel might cause sticker shock for some, don’t be so easily swayed; he has earned those tags.
  • Wednesday was a “you should hate your lineups” sort of day, whereas Thursday is a “you better love your lineups or else” sort of day.
  • Kevin Porter Jr. annihilated the G League in his brief month stint there and was promptly recalled to the active roster for the Rockets coming out of the All-Star break. He could make for an intriguing option based on how news breaks at just $3,200 on DraftKings.
  • How are you feeling about the “Late Swaptimize” button on Fantasy Cruncher? Because if you haven’t figured out a few of the ins and outs of it by now, you’re at a disadvantage when inevitable news rolls in late to alter the slate. Message me @EricLindquist on Twitter or in Premium Slack if you need a refresher after the week layoff and I’ll be happy to oblige in a future article.
  • Just play Giannis Antetokounmpo.

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