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The NBA Slate Starter: NBA DFS Strategy for DraftKings + FanDuel | Friday, 4/16

Eric Lindquist



EMac gives his favorite NBA DFS picks for Yahoo, DraftKings + FanDuel daily fantasy basketball lineups, including Nikola Jokic | 5/7/21

Even on Thursday’s seemingly benign slate, late swap factored in heavily to the result as late news struck once again. This time it was Los Angeles’ other team, the Lakers, creating havoc by ruling out key pieces well after lock. They also played a ridiculous game of possum with Dennis Schroder saying there was no way he would play, only to miraculously rule him in 20 minutes before tip-off. These are the joys of late season basketball, though, so saddle up, stay informed by following the @AwesemoNBA Twitter account to keep up with news, and embrace the chaos. With that being said, let’s get to work finding a few NBA DFS picks and strategies to utilize on this massive 10-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 the slate and make NBA DFS picks for DraftKings and FanDuel!

NBA DFS Slate Starter: Picks & Strategy | April 16

The Jamal Murray Aftermath

Without a doubt, Jamal Murray‘s torn ACL in garbage time versus the Warriors on Monday was the most devastating injury in the Association this season. Having played sublime basketball in the bubble to catapult the Nuggets into the Western Conference Finals last September, Murray won’t be a part of the rest of their 2021 run. While the Aaron Gordon acquisition seemed to spark something within this Denver team, evidenced by rattling off eight wins in their past 10, it will be curious who benefits the most in his absence going forward.

The Nuggets did play again on Wednesday, rocking the Heat 123-106, so let’s take a look at their rotations from that night in order to predict what it might look like going forward (courtesy of

NBA DFS picks and daily fantasy basketball projections for DraftKings and FanDuel

Monte Morris saw the lion’s share of point guard minutes in the aftermath, and it’s assumed he would have seen a few more minutes than the 26.5 had the game stay closer. Morris had regularly been playing minutes into the 30’s before sustaining a quadriceps injury in mid-March that kept him out for three weeks. As his minutes slowly increase, as should his production, especially since he gets the Rayen “Rynpak” Patnaik stamp of approval as one of the best backups in the league. And considering he just went for yet another massive score with a second-place finish in DraftKings’ main contest last night, listening to him regarding all things NBA tends to be a good idea.

Speaking of Rynpak, his boy Michael Porter Jr. was superb on Wednesday, putting up 46 DraftKings points in just 33 minutes of court time. That price tag has risen all the way to $7,400 on both sites as a result, which should cool of his ownership substantially with double-digit games on this slate. But if that’s the case, he could provide a high-upside GPP option, as he averages 1.11 DraftKings points per minute in 455 minutes without Murray or recently-traded Gary Harris on the floor. It will be interesting to see how Awesemo’s projections rank him out at a weak small forward position on this slate, as there could be some serious leverage to be had should he go unowned.

Talking about Harris’ departure provides yet another segue to talk about P.J. Dozier and Facundo Campazzo, both of whom will have increased roles in this backcourt going forward as a result. Neither are overly productive per-minute fantasy producers, with Dozier at 0.84 and Campazzo at 0.77 FanDuel points per minute with Murray and Harris off the court this year. But they sit at cheaper price points than the likes of Gordon or Will Barton, making them intriguing plays until prices correct for their new roles going forward. That especially applies to Dozier, who at $3,500 on DraftKings against a weak Rockets opposition could make for a popular value play this evening.

And of course, who can forget MVP frontrunner Nikola Jokic, who is still the no-doubt go-to on the Nuggets with or without Murray. His 1.72 DraftKings points in 475 minutes with Murray or Harris on the floor are absurd, a nice boost from his 1.65 rate for the whole year. The big reason for that change is the assist rate that balloons to 49% with Murray off the floor as opposed to the 38.5% one with him on it. That’s a gaudy number for anyone — let alone a center — and should make Jokic a high-floor/high-ceiling option going forward for your NBA DFS lineups.

Looking for more NBA DFS picks content? We have loads of articles, data, cheat sheets and more on the Awesemo NBA home page. Just click HERE.

Friday’s Fireside Chat: Multi-Tasking for Friday

‘Tis the season for some of splitting their time amongst NBA and MLB lineups. As one season winds down and the other ramps up, there are gigantic prize pools in both sports on the DraftKings and FanDuel agenda for today. Some of you might be staying focused on NBA only for the duration of the regular season, but for a lot of you you’re starting to split time competing in both sports.

If you fall into that latter category, utilizing your time lineup building time is an essential skill. And considering baseball lineups come out well in advance, it can be easy to fire those up first, then react to the NBA news that tends to hit far more fast and furious leading up to lock. But don’t forget about the weather element in baseball, as over the course of a 14-game MLB DFS slate in April, there are bound to be some trouble spots.

That is why if you’re playing both sports, set an alarm on your phone 10 minutes before lock of any potential baseball weather spots, as it can be so easy to get caught up with the flurry of NBA injury news before-and-after lock. At a quick glance, there are three places that stick out as having potential issues for Friday: White Sox – Red Sox, Blue Jays – Royals, and Mets – Rockies. Certainly keep notifications on from the NewzGod, who keeps you up-to-date on all the happenings in Premium Slack and Twitter.

But speaking from experience, it can still be so easy to get caught up in NBA mode and forget to double-check your MLB lineups. And with 24 games between the two sports on tap for tonight, reacting to news will certainly be an edge to be had. So put an alarm in your phone for 7 p.m. EST, 8 p.m. EST, and 8:30 p.m. EST to double-check MLB weather, which is 10 minutes before first pitch in all three of those previously mentioned trouble spots. They’re also conveniently right after NBA games lock at those exact times, making for some uninterrupted lineups building.

Final Thoughts for Your NBA DFS Lineups

  • Kawhi Leonard is questionable, and the Clippers are truly the stone-cold worst with injury reporting. Fortunately, their primetime game versus the 76ers is in that 7 p.m. EST window of games, mitigating a lot of risk when it comes to predicting their situations. But for all intents and purposes, if Leonard is ruled in, this team would be one big stay-away.
  • Between the aforementioned Dozier and the abundance of Bulls gamers can turn to with Zach LaVine out for a week-plus due to health and safety protocols, this already sets up as a stars-and-scrubs slate without any other news yet. In other words, if you don’t love your lineups before lock today, you’re probably doing it wrong.
  • Just play Isaiah Stewart.

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