NBA DFS Lineup Optimizer Guide: How Many Mavericks Is Too Many? (January 11)

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 optimizer guide! Need more NBA DFS lineup help? Check out our NBA DFS lineup generator or our industry-leading NBA DFS simulation tools.

NBA DFS Lineup Optimizer Guide: Key Decisions for Today (January 11)

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NBA DFS Lineup Optimizer Guide: No News Is Bad News

The first thing I do every single morning during NBA season — besides walk my dog so my wife doesn’t leave me — is pull up the NBA injury report on If you’ve never checked it out, just google “NBA injury report” in the Google machine, and it should be the first thing that pops up. There’s lots of great places to set up alerts to your phone to get injury information, but the official NBA injury report on the site is updated every hour and is far more concrete. And while checking in the morning is well before the 5 p.m. ET Injury Report that is the most important one to look at since teams are required to give player designations by 5 p.m. local time for typical evening games, the early injury reports give me a jumping off point into any slate on what could potentially change on throughout the day.

That said, today’s injury report is as bare bones as it gets. Despite the typical LeBron James Q-tag that he plays through a massive majority of the time, Jabari Walker, Grant Williams and Cam Reddish are the only other players on tonight’s four-game slate that are listed as questionable. Considering all three are far from heavy needle-movers, this slate is benign in terms of potential late swap edges, and I will be scaling my play back accordingly.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still be playing and still be relying on our industry-leading projections and Sims tool to sculpt some positive-ROI lineups. But on nights where things don’t change nearly as much, the potential edge for those paying the closest attention to detail on a day-in, day-out basis is mitigated. And knowing I’ll be playing NBA DFS on virtually every single slate the rest of the season, it’s more than OK to scale back if you know future slates will be far greater money-making opportunities.

NBA DFS Lineup Optimizer Guide: No Luka Doncic Is Also Bad News

Another part of this slate that makes it so incredibly difficult to find potential edges: Luka Doncic was ruled out for the Mavericks, and yet the prices on every single Mavericks player not named Kyrie Irving went down after Tuesday’s blowout at home versus the Grizzlies.

No, but seriously, take a look :

Those are a LOT of red arrows to indicate dropped pricing from last slate that obviously would not exist had the Doncic news dropped before the slate was released. And the result of this pricing bugaboo plus the newfound opportunity sans Doncic has — in the words of LeBron — not one, not two, not three, not four, not five …

… but SIX Mavericks at the top of our ownership projections! This kind of stuff shows up on two-game slates from time to time, but a four-game slate with six pieces from the same team garnering this kind of ownership is honestly something.

But it’s completely warranted: Jaden Hardy is as close to a Rotisserie Oven play (“set it and forget it”) as it gets. Assuming he starts like is customary in Doncic absences, he has a 27% usage rate and 1.08 DraftKings points per minute during his 270 minutes with Doncic off the floor this season. Tim Hardaway Jr. actually exceeds Hardy’s usage at 30.7%, a smidge higher than even Irving’s 28.3% usage. And with Dereck Lively II on the shelf, there’s even frontcourt depth to go around that’s pushing Dwight Powell up to the top of the board from a point-per-dollar perspective.

So the question becomes, “Eric, how many Mavs is too many Mavs tonight?” The answer might actually shock you when looking at exposures from my first run of the Stokastic Sims Tool:

While I won’t share the lineups individually, those six Mavericks listed with the highest ownership were my highest-owned players as well, with a few lineups scattered among my top 150 containing five of them together. In other words, playing just two Mavericks or fewer in a lineup tonight is a path to being unique but most likely not the path to being profitable.

NBA DFS Lineup Optimizer Guide: Nuke of the Night

Miles Bridges had his playing time cut short due to blowout, and he still put up a way more palatable score than teammate Terry Rozier at a fraction of the ownership. Let’s call that a win.

And in that spirit, I’m hoping for two solid nukes in a row by giving you Giannis Antetokounmpo. He’s up to a whopping $12,000 on DraftKings for tonight, but with the infinite Dallas value and some cheap Knicks value to run it back with in that game, I’m a bit taken aback he’s just 10.2% owned at the moment. His optimal rate in the Boom/Bust Tool is hovering around 14%, so it’s not a ton of leverage to be gaining, but locking in the raw fantasy points he’s projecting for is extremely valuable on a slate such as this.

Plus, not to go down narrative row too far, but this is a featured game against the Celtics with no Al Horford on the other side. In other words, I fully expect a ton of Giannis here as he attempts to single-handedly right the ship for his floundering Bucks, who have lost four of their past five. Big statement incoming from the Greek Freak.

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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