NBA DFS Lineup Advice: What if Victor Wembanyama Sits? (March 5)

The NBA rolls on with intriguing slates at both DraftKings and FanDuel this evening. With a slate full of questionable tags, we’ve got plenty of decisions to make for our NBA DFS lineups. I’ll spotlight some key decision-making moments for the current slate, aiding you in anticipating changes and fine-tuning your lineups accordingly. Let’s get into today’s NBA DFS lineup advice! For additional NBA DFS lineup suggestions, check out our NBA DFS lineup generator or our industry-leading NBA DFS simulation tools.

NBA DFS Lineup Questions: Key Decisions for Today

NBA DFS Lineup Advice: What if There’s No Victor Wembanyama

We’ve got an eight-game slate on deck for tonight. These tend to be my favorite kind of slates because we’ve got just enough games to get some sort of consolidated chalk, and just enough game to have some bomb tournament pivots hovering all over the place. Tonight is no different, as Cleveland playing ball without Donovan Mitchell guarantees that the Cavaliers will be very popular. Tyrese Maxey out with a concussion will have some 76ers players standing out despite the awful game environment in Brooklyn, and no Jakob Poeltl or Scottie Barnes for the Raptors ensures that it will be a Kelly Olynyk Night.

But in addition to those obvious players being ruled out already, we’ve got so many massive questionable tags hanging in the balance that it’s difficult to tell you what I plan to do. Well, unless Luka Doncic doesn’t suit up against the Pacers for some reason — then I’ll just jam all the Mavericks in all the land like everyone else would and call it a day.

Still, in the interests of giving you something informative, I thought I’d cover one potential situation we haven’t seen in quite some time amongst this sea of questionable statuses: what the Spurs would look like tonight without Victor Wembanyama.

Earlier in the season, Gregg Popovich opted to sit his young phenom on all back-to-backs in the interests of his development — well, and tanking. Actually, mostly just tanking. But still, Wemby has stayed remarkably healthy considering his size and style of play (style of play = trying to block everything within 50 feet of the basket). He’s played in 55 of the Spurs’ possible 61 games and has only been held to the side for rest purposes.

Well, that potentially changes tonight, as he popped up on the injury report with left shoulder soreness, which indicates we could see the first potential miss of a game for Wemby since January 19th. Additionally, Julian Champagnie is questionable as well, which doesn’t sound like it matters but will certainly be important if the Frenchman sits as well.

Let’s pull up that box score from January 19th over on PopcornMachine while we’re at it:

Indeed, Champagnie got the start here and has started every game since in which he has appeared, so him and Wemby sitting would open up two spots in the starting unit. Malaki Branham ($4,300) would become an intriguing play yet again as 30 minutes and 34 DraftKings fantasy points last time out could encourage DFSers to fire him up even with Wembanyama out there. I won’t be one of them in that instance, as his 0.75 DraftKings point-per-minute rate leaves a lot to be desired after a $600 price hike from his last game. But again, everything’s on the table if Wemby sits.

These numbers lead me to perhaps the best play of the slate should the Spurs’ star miss: Zach Collins. The backup big for San Antonio has been wasting away on the bench playing 16-ish minutes a night since the Spurs stopped starting him. But here are his regular season games without Victor Wembanyama this season courtesy of StatMuse:

Way more minutes. Way more opportunity. 1.12 DraftKings points per minute in 760 minutes without Wemby on the floor which is the best rate of any Spurs player in the rotation. Only $4,500 on DraftKings where you can roster two centers. Yup, I would want all I could possibly get to if that comes out before lock even on this decent-sized slate and even against the Rockets.

If the news drops before lock, however? Well, Collins plus Jeremy Sochan and Keldon Johnson will be mega-chalk, and we’ll have to see where the Stokastic Boom/Bust Tool and Sims land in terms of leverage. Collins will make the cut no matter what, but lots of other situations across these eight games tonight that could surely change the complexion of the slate in a second, especially because Pop loves to trim the minutes of his core guys and pass them to ancillary bench guys in these types of spots. Just look at the game above: 11 guys in the rotation in a competitive game? Fun times!

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Lindy’s NUKE of the Night

Let me start by saying I reserve the right to shift my vote to Zach Collins if Wemby is out, but the timing of that news will vary how popular he’ll be so I’ll hold back for now. I will then follow that up by saying Malik Monk on Friday and Jordan Poole yesterday have Nuke of the Night on an absolute war path of late, so the pressure’s on.

But one player I know who can handle that is Tyrese Haliburton, another former Iowa State student-athlete just like your’s truly! He’s coming off a couple of truly atrocious basketball outings, going a combined 4-for-23 from the field and 0-for-12 from 3 in the Pacers’ past two games. But Haliburton gets a get-right spot in the Mavericks, gets a usage bump if mid-day downgrade Bennedict Mathurin or Aaron Nesmith and his questionable tag miss, and he is now just $9,000 on DraftKings despite being a whopping $11,300 back in the middle of December.

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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