NBA DFS Lineup Advice: A Lot of Clippers Injury Math (January 26)

What’s up all, Lindy here! This article series will walk you through the key parts of the main NBA DFS slate every evening. Unexpected news could always come from nowhere to rattle a slate, so don’t take this as gospel. But here are a handful of key decision points for tonight’s slate that I’ll be factoring in so you are better prepared for what’s to come and can optimize your lineups accordingly. Let’s get right into today’s NBA DFS lineup advice! Need more NBA DFS lineup advice? Check out our NBA DFS lineup generator or our industry-leading NBA DFS simulation tools.

NBA DFS Lineup Questions: Key Decisions for Today

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NBA DFS Lineup Advice: My Mid-Day Downgrade Process

There is a ton of news left to break on tonight’s slate, so much so that it would be silly to cite optimal rates or ownership at this given time. There will be key players ruled out, be it Trae Young and/or Clint Capela for the Hawks, Malcolm Brogdon for the Trail Blazers or Jabari Smith for the Rockets.

But two mid-day downgrades to questionable have shifted my plan for this slate in a massive way: Paul George for the Clippers and Zion Williamson for the Pelicans. Now it’s not always a certainty, but when star players receive mid-day downgrades, it does not bode well for them suiting up. And to intensify things, both teams are on the front end of road back-to-backs and have marquee matchups on Saturday: Clippers- Celtics and Pelicans-Bucks.

So where does one even start when you’re pretty sure some seismic shifts to a slate are incoming? Let’s walk through the process for George: Almost always, I start by finding out the last time that player was out to see if there’s any main takeaways in regards to minutes, usage and other applicable rates. It can be as simple as Googling the last time they were out, or you can head to StatMuse by typing something like this in:

Basically I go “Star Player With Questionable Player Out” as a jumping off point, then double-check by typing a different player or two in to make sure there weren’t games both were out. It also gives me a quick gauge of that star player’s performance upgrade, and the results have obviously been good for Kawhi Leonard in the two outings absent George this season.

But more importantly, it gives me the most recent date the pending player missed in order to pull up rotations on PopcornMachine.net. Here’s the box score there from that Dec. 20 game against the Mavericks:

Two things stick out instantly: Only an eight-man rotation and 39 minutes for Amir Coffey, who received the spot start. That’s a lot of minutes, fam! And boy would he need them as he’s just a 0.54 DraftKings points per minute producer on the season, which is about as low as it gets.

But another thing you might’ve noticed is Ivica Zubac is out from above, and it’s not as easy as plugging current starting center Mason Plumlee for the same minutes allotment. Take a look at Plumlee’s recent minutes on NBA.com:

The only game Plumlee’s closed in the past five was against the Thunder, as they’ve opted for different small-ball closing lineups in a lot of these recent spots. That further secures minutes for the likes of Russell Westbrook, Norman Powell and Terance Mann in different capacities, and we will obviously have varied interest in each should the news drop that George sits.

But with just a few quick searches and maybe a grand total of four minutes of work, I was able to learn a lot about how to allocate minutes to the Clippers in George’s absence. I’m now better prepared to react to that news, and hopefully you are as well!

NBA DFS Lineup Advice: Nuke of the Night

Even before the Williamson questionable status, I was obsessed with Brandon Ingram at $7,600 on DraftKings with SG/SF positional eligibility. Ingram was a robust $8,800 until some slow-paced road games and wonky game scripts sent his salary back into the mid-$7,000s. In fact, the Pelicans have played 10 games in 2024, and a ridiculous nine of them have had the winning margin of victory decided by single digits. With tonight’s game in essence a pick’em, I like Ingram to smash in this fast-paced spot against the Thunder in a game that should stay close (fingers crossed).

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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