Monday was all over the map, as my decision to pivot on t0 more Joel Embiid and off most of the crazy amount of Nikola Jokic exposure I had before that news cost me dearly. That said, how outrageous is it that Doc Rivers can get away with randomly saying Embiid was “very questionable” before tip? As much disdain as I have for Luke Walton’s coaching and Tom Thibodeau’s insane handling of back-to-backs, at least they’re not outright lying. But these are the type of things we’ve come to expect from the Association of late, so I’m going to learn from this mistake and live to fight another day. With that out of the way, let’s dive right into the NBA DFS picks for Tuesday’s six-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 for today’s slate!
NBA DFS Slate Starter: Picks & Strategy | March 2
First Game Problems
Two games stick out massively to me before factoring in any injury news that could pop up in the morning: Grizzlies – Wizards and Nuggets – Bucks. The totals are hot off the press — 236 and 238, respectively — which only confirms my suspicions that players from these games would be the highest-owned on the slate were it to start right now. It’s not just the studs that stick out either; Memphis has a questionable Kyle Anderson, which could really open things up for them against a fast-paced Wizards team. The Nuggets are on a back-to-back, but Facundo Campazzo has been ruled out for the foreseeable future, opening up some extra backcourt minutes. And the Bucks are pretty clear-cut unappealing besides Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton now that Jrue Holiday has returned.
Here is my major dilemma for Tuesday: Things keep happening over and over on these multi-game slates. And by “things,” I’m referring to unexpected news, funky starting lineups, and so on. That means it behooves us to keep lineup spots open as the night progresses, giving us as much late swap-ability as possible. But this Grizzlies – Wizards game might be too good to pass up, and it’s the first one to lock at 7 p.m. EST. This goes against everything in my nature as a NBA DFS player that loves to wait for the chaos then capitalize with late swap.
But going through some of these options I’d have to fade in this early game in order to deploy that normal strategy makes me more uncomfortable than normal, so I’m not going to do it. On DraftKings I expect a $3,400 Desmond Bane to be one of the highest-owned plays of the day on the heels of his 28-minute, 32.75-fantasy point outing last time out. Justise Winslow is a thing over there too at $3,900 with small forward eligibility. What he lacks in minutes played (22.5 per game) he more than makes up for in usage, posting two outings above 30% in his four games this season. And I didn’t even get to Ja Morant, Jonas Valancuinas, De’Anthony Melton or Brandon Clarke, all of whom are capable of lighting up this Wizards team and making their way into the optimal.
The Wizards also get a middle-of-the-road-pace matchup for once. Besides two games ago versus the Timberwolves, six of their past seven outings have been against teams ranking 21st or worse in terms of pace this season according to NBA.com. For a team ranking first by a comfortable margin in that statistic, Tuesday will be a welcome change of — well, you get the idea. That makes Bradley Beal, Russell Westbrook and Davis Bertans better plays than they’ve been in other games of late (and they’ve still been really good plays).
So yes, ideally I would like to sit on my lineups and hope unexpected news floods in. But fading a game with a 238 total with a bunch of high-usage studs on one side of the ball and some sublime value on the other seems suboptimal. While it pains me to say it, the best game on the board on both sites sits in the early window right now, and I will have a ton of it.
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The Late Slate Sweat and Swap Show
One of the newer shows on the Awesemo YouTube channel is affectionately known as the “Late Slate Sweat and Swap.” Blatant double entendre aside, the title is sort of self-explanatory: Come talk the upcoming late slate, come sweat your main slate lineups still in progress and come discuss the swaps that might need to be made to them.
It’s more of a relaxed vibe and makes for a solid way to unwind after a long night of grinding. And hey, yours truly will be an analyst on Thursday’s program, so stop on by for the last live NBA show on the Awesemo YouTube channel until after the All-Star break. Tuesday’s iteration has the great Chris Spags and Greg Ehrenberg leading you up to the tandem of 10 p.m. EST games; I’ll be tuning in and so should you.
Normally we start to hone in on our small-slate strategy come playoff time when those are the only contests available to us. But with the rapid rise of late-slate prize pools these past few years, it behooves you to put the work in on those now. That work becomes exponentially easier here at Awesemo, the only site I know of that provides ownership projections for the late slate and Showdown contests. It’s an automatic edge on the competition and one of the best features of Awesemo Premium I fear goes underutilized. If you’re not a member already, head to awesemo.com/joinNBA now to see for yourself what I’m raving about.
Final Thoughts for Your NBA DFS Lineups
- Rynpak said Nerlens Noel‘s name approximately 172 times during the Slate Starter podcast on Monday night. I think that means he’s going to be crazy popular tomorrow, and it’s hard to fault that at just $5,200 on DraftKings and $5,400 at a middling power forward position on FanDuel. So long as Taj Gibson is out, there is no doubt in my mind Tom Thibodeau will give him an ungodly amount of run.
- Jokic committed a crime in Chicago on Monday night, beating them up for 77 DraftKings points. He went 17-for-28 from the field, added 14 rebounds and 9 assists, and solidified my vote as the first-half MVP. That’s not a real award, and if it were, I wouldn’t get a vote anyways. But that’s my way of saying I can’t wait to see him square off against the reigning MVP in Giannis on Tuesday.
- Just play Paul George on FanDuel.
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