The Slate Starter is a daily first look at 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. Let’s dive into some of the key players on Saturday’s six-game slate.
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Spencer Dinwiddie, PG, Washington Wizards
It has already been announced that Bradley Beal will be out for this game and that means Washington players are going to carry a vast amount of interest on a six-game slate. No player on this team is above $6,500 in salary on DraftKings so be sure to check out the Boom/Bust Probability tool to see where they’ll stand as far as ownership and leverage. The Orlando Magic are in the bottom five in defensive rating so far this season and Dinwiddie has been a fantasy monster when Beal has been off the court. Dinwiddie has a 31.2% usage rate and 1.33 fantasy points per minute and at that salary, it’s an amazing combo.
Beal and Dinwiddie have combined for right about 29 drives to the basket per game and Orlando is 29th in points in the paint allowed this season. Dinwiddie already averages 29 minutes and he likely picks up another 3-4 tonight. At the salary, it is very difficult to mount the case for a fade past the ownership involved. Montrezl Harrell and Kyle Kuzma also both have at least a 25.9% usage and 1.25 fantasy points per minute without Beal so the three-man combo is likely a staple of all lineups. It’s not dissimilar to the Milwaukee situation last night where the team misses the player responsible for the most usage and scoring on the team. There is a lot of meat on the bone for fantasy production being left behind.
Ja Morant, PG, Memphis Grizzlies
It stands to reason that with a whopping six of 12 teams on back-to-back situations, value plays are going to pop up. Considering Washington is already underpriced, looking towards the expensive players is easy to do and Morant stands out to a large degree. The Pelicans backcourt has been a liability defensively all season long. The line on Morant’s points will be very interesting to see on the Awesemo Player Prop tool because the matchup screams that he will pour in the points.
Morant drives to the basket the second most in the league per game and scores the most amount of points at 12.9. New Orleans is 14th in points in the paint allowed so far this year but both Nickell Alexander-Walker and Devonte’ Graham are below average in defensive rating this season. They are not going to be able to slow down Morant from doing what he wants to do tonight. Morant is also second in points per possession in isolation, just like James Harden was last night against these Pelicans. These two teams are 29th and 30th in defensive rating and the Grizzlies got rocked last night on the scoreboard. They cut down on minutes for the starters by 3-4 and that could help tonight as well.
Dillon Brooks is likely back but that didn’t show any ill effects on the fantasy fortunes of Morant in their first game together this year. Brooks took 17 field-goal attempts but Morant still scored 32 real points and Morant still had just under a 28% usage in the 25 minute sample available.
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Ivica Zubac, C, Los Angeles Clippers
The popularity attached to Zubac tonight will be interesting to see tonight because this could be a great matchup for a very reasonable salary. The Clippers have played the Timberwolves twice this season and in those games, Zubac has logged 34 and 31 minutes. That doesn’t seem to be coincidence because he’s played at least 24 in every game since that first game and the matchup against Karl-Anthony Towns demands Zubac to be on the court. The Clippers have no hesitation in running smaller lineups but they can’t allow Towns to just do whatever he wants, so Zubac’s minutes should be relatively secure here. Since that first game, Zubac has 0.96 fantasy points per minute and the usage rate of 14.1% isn’t spectacular, but it’s not putrid for the team he is on.
Minnesota is in the bottom 10 in points and rebounds allowed in the paint while Zubac is in the top 15 in paint touches and points scored in the paint in the league. The pick-and-roll data strongly correlates for Zubac as well as he is in the top 15 among starters in frequency and Minnesota is 29th in points per possession. As long as fouls don’t become an issues, Zubac should see 30 minutes or slightly more tonight and the DraftKings salary is appealing for a potential double-double.
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Looking for more DFS NBA stats and the top NBA DFS picks tonight? View our Yahoo! NBA ownership, our DraftKings ownership and our FanDuel NBA ownership. Our NBA DFS projections FanDuel are updated regularly, including whenever any relevant news breaks. We also have DraftKings NBA rankings, FanDuel NBA ownership rankings and Yahoo! ownership rankings for today's slate. Check out our DFS rankings NBA for fantasy points and values that are derived directly from Alex Baker's own DFS basketball projections.
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