The Slate Starter is a daily first look at NBA DFS strategy to get your daily fantasy basketball lineup-building process started before lock tonight. Each day, we will go through some of the best NBA DFS picks, top stacks and optimal lineup construction for DraftKings and FanDuel. Be sure to check Awesemo’s NBA Starting Lineups page, as it will be updated throughout the day as the NBA injury reports are released and breaking news surfaces.
We talk a lot about buying low on certain players in NBA DFS, but how should you approach players who have seen large price increases? A player’s salary typically only increases if they are performing well, so should you automatically rule those players out just because they are more expensive?
Let’s take a look at three players who have seen big price bumps to start the year and how to approach them on Monday’s slate.
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Evan Mobley, PF/C, Cleveland Cavaliers
Mobley was the No. 3 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, and he has lived up to expectations so far. He has scored at least 42.8 FanDuel points in two of his first three games, and he has averaged 1.12 FanDuel points per minute. His contributions on the defensive end have been particularly impressive, racking up 11 blocks + steals through his first three games.
He has seen a +$1,800 price increase on FanDuel, but he still seems like a viable target at $6,400. The minutes have been there, and he has been good enough on a per-minute basis to support a higher salary. Things are a little trickier on DraftKings. His salary has ballooned to $7,200, and he is a bit tougher to justify at that price tag.
Chris Duarte, SG, Indiana Pacers
Duarte became the oldest player to ever be drafted in the lottery, and he can clearly play. That said, he is getting to the point where he might be a bit too expensive on DraftKings. He is up to $5,400, and that would be fine if he can continue to average around 30 DraftKings points per game. However, he seems due for some regression.
His minutes have been inflated in each of the past two games due to the fact that they have gone to overtime. He has finished with 45.3 and 41.5 minutes in those contests, so his per-minute production has not been impressive. He has also failed to duplicate his shooting performance from opening night.
It might be better to explore Duarte in the prop market. If his lines have not adjusted as quickly as his DFS salary, there could still be some value there. Make sure to utilize the Awesemo Player Prop Tool to find the most exploitable props each day.
Al Horford, PF/C, Boston Celtics
The Horford renaissance is upon us! He basically took the year off last year with the Thunder, who had no interest in playing him during their tank. He ended up back in Boston during the offseason, and he looks completely rejuvenated playing for his former squad.
He put together another impressive performance on Sunday, racking up 17 points, 10 rebounds, three blocks, and three steals in a win vs. the Rockets. The Celtics also have some minutes available at the moment with Jaylen Brown sidelined, so Horford should remain involved in their rotation. No one has seen a larger price increase across the industry, but he still seems like a viable option Monday vs. the Hornets. The only real question is what his projected ownership looks like.
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Check out our daily fantasy rankings NBA for fantasy points and values that are derived directly from Alex Baker's own NBA DFS projections tonight. Looking for more NBA DraftKings advice and the best NBA DFS advice? Our NBA DFS projections FanDuel are updated regularly, including whenever any relevant news breaks. View our Yahoo! ownership projections, our FanDuel ownership projections and our DraftKings ownership projections. We also have FanDuel ownership rankings, DraftKings NBA ownership rankings and Yahoo! rankings for today's slate.
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