🏀 Slate Starter: NBA DFS Strategy for DraftKings + FanDuel | Friday, 3/12

There’s a lot to get to on this Friday edition of the Slate Starter article. Let’s skip the intro for today and get right into the NBA DFS picks and strategies for this seven-game slate 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 on DraftKings and FanDuel for today’s slate!

NBA DFS Slate Starter: Picks & Strategy | March 11

Friday’s Fireside Chat: Are People Seriously Still Not Late Swapping?

It has been a short yet satisfying week in the basketball streets. No, I didn’t take anything down, but any slates akin to Thursday’s where late swap is essential to win I’m a huge fan of. As much credit as I’d love to give myself for my NBA DFS lineups being marginally profitable, it’s really just the magic of Fantasy Cruncher. And more specifically, it’s really just the magic of the “Late Swaptimize” feature on Fantasy Cruncher. So if you utilized late swap to land on any number of the surprise 76ers starters — or a bunch of late-night Kevin Porter Jr. hammer like me — you were most likely rewarded.

With that said, I find it impossible to envision how anyone plays this game at any sort of high-level in 2021 without utilizing late swap constantly. And yet there are countless examples of people I know saying it’s more of a pain than it’s worth. To that I say, “do you like more money or less?” Because over any substantial sample size, using the most updated information to land on the best plays — or theorizing what those plays could be should news break your way — is what separates the amateurs from the professionals.

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There’s this incredible book called “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield, which I recommend to anyone involved in any sort of artistic endeavor. The first portion is dedicated to “resistance,” which Pressfield describes as a form of self-sabotage that can keep someone from putting in work. In an abbreviated sense, he likens resistance to the combination of procrastination and fear.

I think for NBA DFS players, it’s not necessarily the procrastination part that’s the killer. Awesemo tends to attract curious and inquisitive players who realize our data-centric tools and advice can give them the best chance at success day in and day out. It’s not just an assumption they care more than the average player pulling up DraftKings on their phone at a bar and firing off a few lineups; it’s a reality.

And yet, I believe the resistance that exists in a few of your minds is this irrational fear you could late swap off of that one play or that one lineup, which could ruin your one chance at greatness. I get where that comes from because I used to think that, too. I would refrain from making the pivots necessary to win (or let’s be serious, the pivots necessary to min cash) for fear of being wrong and going against “my gut.” Those were dark, unprofitable times.

So when did the switch flip for me? Quite simply, when I quit worrying about being wrong. I have played thousands of slates at this point in my daily fantasy journey, and there’s no doubt I’ve been wrong more than I’ve been right. But instead of worrying about what could have been, I’ve learned from my mistakes. I have quit worrying about the 1v1 or 2v2 swaps I’ve made that kept me from hitting the nuts. So long as I’m making the best decisions with the most relevant news possible, I sleep better at night regardless of the outcomes. And I believe that small switch in my mindset has turned me in to a profitable NBA DFS player on both DraftKings and FanDuel.

To round it all out, the second portion of Pressfield’s book is him comparing the mindsets and actions of the professional to that of the amateur. He says that “the amateur believes he must first overcome his fear; then he can do his work.” Whereas “the professional knows that fear can never be overcome” and instead acts. So simply act despite the fear. Put in the research. Learn how to make the tools at Awesemo more effective for you and your process. For the love of all that’s holy, use late swap. And if you make a poor late swap or two, take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone; I’ll be making mistakes right alongside you.

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Some Rockets Ramblings

I went on a tangent there, so let’s reign it back in and focus on perhaps the most important game on this slate: Rockets – Jazz. I am fully expecting this line to be the most lopsided line of the year, perhaps in the 15- to 20-point range considering the laundry list of injuries the Rockets have endured. I know this isn’t one of my betting articles, but I have been betting the Jazz pretty routinely for the past two months and won’t be stopping any time soon. They’re 26-9 for the season and a ridiculous 21-6-1 against the spread.

While the Jazz are certainly my pick to roll in this one, it’s the Rockets that will be focal point of the entire NBA DFS industry tomorrow. That feels awful because 1) they are on the second half of a back-to-back against the team with the best record in the league, and 2) their roster is awful right now:

That’s a lot of red crosses. Most likely every player with that sign next to their name is out for Friday with the exception of John Wall, who I could see giving it a go after his All-Star break continued into Thursday. He is probably the Rockets’ only path to competitiveness, not that competitiveness is our chief worry when there are fewer than 10 active bodies available. Also, there’s the chance Victor Oladipo sits on the back-to-back, which could further amplify this already incredible source of value.

By now you’ve realized that these depleted teams provide outrageous value relative to any other possible value plays on slates. The 76ers, Heat, Thunder and most recently the Hornets all have been smashes when their active rosters have been reduced to single-digit available players. So simply put, there is an infinite number of minutes to go around here, and players are too advantageously priced to fail.

So play Porter again. Play Sterling Brown. Play Kenyon Martin Jr.. Play some guy named Anthony Lamb, who has the briefest Basketball-Reference profile I’ve seen in my life. So long as Wall and/or Oladipo sit, there are no rules for how much Houston you can get to on Friday.

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Final Thoughts for Your NBA DFS Lineups

  • That Rockets – Jazz line just came out, and it did not disappoint: -15.5 Utah. That was timely.
  • I suppose there are other teams on this slate, most notably the still-depleted 76ers. They have a wickedly good matchup with the Wizards in a game sporting the highest total on the slate (234.5). Doc Rivers called an audible and started Tony Bradley Thursday, so excited to see which new and interesting way he’ll utilize to toy with us on Friday.
  • The Pelicans were something worse than atrocious on Thursday in their lopsided loss to the Timberwolves. On a slate filled with teams on the second half of back-to-backs, they’re the ones with the most to prove.
  • DeMar DeRozan is out for the Spurs. That means even more value to evaluate with the help of the Awesemo YouTube channel, where there will be almost over six hours of content devoted to helping you make winning lineups.
  • On this automatic stars-and-scrubs slate, we have to pick out a few studs to pay up for. My favorites right now are undoubtedly Nikola Jokic and LeBron James, but throw Joel Embiid into the conversation if he miraculously plays.
  • Just play Kelly Olynyk.

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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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