Monday’s slate, unlike the NCAA Men’s National Championship game, was as advertised. There was always going to be some wonky things breaking right before lock with 12 teams in action at the same time, and the Raptors and Spurs specifically did not disappoint. It still felt like there was a lot the Slate Starter got right, but being overweight to Pascal Siakam on DraftKings, underweight to Svi Mykhailiuk on FanDuel and extremely overweight to DeMar DeRozan everywhere took a tournament win completely off the table. So on to Tuesday we go, where a more normal slate of staggered starts should help late-swap-centric NBA DFS picks and strategies for DraftKings and FanDuel.
Be sure to check out the Slate Starter podcast, featuring yours truly and Rynpak, to get the first look at the slate and make NBA DFS picks for DraftKings and FanDuel!
NBA DFS Slate Starter: Picks & Strategy | April 6
Oh Joy, It’s the Pelicans Again
Tuesday gives us the opportunity to (thankfully) welcome old friend late swap back into play. Lock is still at its standard 7 p.m. ET, but this time around there’s only one game to lock in players from before turning our attention to the rest of the slate. Specifically, there will be an extra half hour to make adjustments pertaining to the all-important 7:30 p.m. ET tip-offs and sift through any news that may not have hit yet. Because, not to be too hyperbolical, but deciding what to do with two of the teams playing in that window could very well make or break the entire slate.
For what feels like the 587th night in a row, Pelicans and Raptors have injuries that need sorting through. Granted, all of their prices have seen a substantial boosts in the aftermath of substantial injuries and questionable tags. But considering the amount of minutes and usage that would still be available should key cogs be ruled out on either side, it’s hard to argue against the importance of pinning down who to play from both of these squads.
There are a few additions to the injury list on the Pelicans side; Nickeil Alexander-Walker has already been ruled out, Josh Hart will continue to be out, and the trio of Zion Williamson (thumb), Brandon Ingram (toe) and Steven Adams (concussion) are all questionable. If any of those last three are ruled in, expect something akin to the heavy dose of court time Lonzo Ball got on Sunday. Despite being out since March 14, Ball returned to an immediate 37 minutes of run, which he promptly turned into a robust 52.5 DraftKings points. He is been inflated up to $7,500 on both sites, making him far less intriguing tonight. But should either Ingram or Williamson get ruled in, their sub-$9,000 salaries on DraftKings at mid-30s minutes look mighty appetizing, especially in a matchup against the Hawks.
Next up is everyone else who has been considered the past two-plus weeks. James Johnson has been out of his mind of late and remains attainable for NBA DFS lineups at $5,200 on DraftKings. Eric Bledsoe is a gut-wrenching roster, but not if the whole lot of Pelicans superstars are ruled once more. And after Jaxson Hayes received the start alongside Adams on Sunday, it’s likely he does so again should Adams be ruled out. There are also Willy Hernangomez, Naji Marshall and, of all people, newly acquired Isaiah Thomas to consider, depending on who does or doesn’t play.
Oh Joy, It’s the Raptors Again
Now to the Raptors. Considering they are on the second-half of a back-to-back tonight, let’s take a look at their exact minutes breakdown in Monday’s close 103-101 victory versus the Wizards, courtesy of PopcornMachine.net:
Holy Malachi Flynn. Hopefully no one completely panicked when he wasn’t listed in that starting lineup, because he went bonkers for 43 DraftKings points in 34 productive minutes. But ironically, DeAndre’ Bembry played extremely well in the spot start as well, putting up 35.25 fantasy points in his 30 minutes. Should Fred VanVleet sit again, Flynn and Bembry would likely be the highest-owned plays on DraftKings, and certainly still up there on FanDuel despite less advantageous price tags of $5,100 and $3,700, respectively.
The real question becomes what to do in tournaments with the four main Raptors disappointments from Monday. Chris Boucher only played 20 minutes despite incredible (see: questionable) ownership on both sites; it is hard to imagine he will be rostered in NBA DFS lineups at anything close to the 20 to 30% range he was yesterday. Next, O.G. Anunoby remains tournament viable at $7,000 on DraftKings, but his $8,000 tag on FanDuel feels more than a little extreme. And Gary Trent Jr. continues to see low-30s minutes but isn’t the highest-usage player on planet Earth, making $6,200 on DraftKings and $6,400 on FanDuel iffy at best.
Last but certainly not least, let’s hope the public jumps ship on Pascal Siakam, because this would be the opportune time to buy low on him (or at the very least, buy lower). He only sported a 23.7% usage rate on Monday, which should bump up closer to the 27.4% usage rate he’s had in a limited sample this season with Lowry, VanVleet, and the recently traded Norman Powell and Terence Davis off the floor. The price of $8,700 on FanDuel is still be too cheap assuming he plays 38 minutes at his base rate of 1.12 FanDuel points per minute this year. But especially at the discounted $8,200 number on DraftKings, go right back to the well despite Monday’s horrific outing.
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Final Thoughts for Your NBA DFS Lineups
- Jusuf Nurkic has already been ruled out, so Enes Kanter against the Clippers should be a popular play on this slate. But don’t forget that this could bode well for Ivica Zubac as well, who now gets a substantial offensive bump in this spot against one the league’s worst defenders.
- It’s important to add to the Raptors section that if VanVleet ends up playing; his $7,400 price tag on FanDuel is going to be impossible to ignore.
- It was just his birthday, so give Newzgod a gift by following his work at the @AwesemoNBA Twitter account if you’re not already. He is doing God’s work monitoring the NBA DFS streets, so be sure to turn on those notifications so you can stay updated as unexpected news inevitably breaks.
- Just play Draymond Green.
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