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.
Thursday’s slate features some of the most surprising performers to start the year. Let’s dive into the best way to utilize them.
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Jimmy Butler, SF/SG, Miami Heat
Butler has been an excellent player for years, but he has taken his game to another level to start the season. He’s averaged a career-high 25.0 points per game, to go along with 6.9 rebounds, 5.6 assists, and 2.9 steals. Overall, he has averaged 47.77 DraftKings points, which would beat his previous career-high from last season by nearly three full points.
Butler’s salary has taken a sizable jump across the industry, but he remains priced very fairly on DraftKings. He’s priced at $9,600, which puts him behind guys like Anthony Davis, Trae Young, and Jayson Tatum. I would expect Butler to have a better projection than all three of those players, making him a strong option.
Rudy Gobert, C, Utah Jazz
Gobert has been an absolute rebound machine to start the year. He leads the league with an average of 17.6 rebounds per game, which would best his previous career high by more than four rebounds per game. He also leads the league with a 28.4% rebound rate, and no one else is above even 24.8%. Gobert has also delivered his usual complement of defensive statistics, averaging two blocks and just under one steal per game.
Like Butler, Gobert has also gotten pricier as the season has progressed, but he stands out as an elite option on FanDuel. He’s priced at just $8,200, and Gobert’s average of 1.41 FanDuel points per minute ranks first at the center position.
It will be interesting to see how Gobert’s projected ownership compares to someone like Christian Wood. Wood is the better pure value at just $7,900, but Gobert would be an interesting pivot at low ownership. He could earn a strong leverage rating in the Boom/Bust Probability Tool.
Gobert’s rebounding prop will also be of interest. I’m not sure if they can set it high enough at this point, despite the fact that he has grabbed at least 19 rebounds in five of seven games. Make sure to check out how this prop grades out using the Awesemo Player Prop tool.
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Kevin Porter Jr., Houston Rockets, PG/SF
There are good surprises and bad surprises, and unfortunately, Porter has been the latter. He was excellent for the Rockets last season, averaging just under 1.00 DraftKings points per minute, but he hasn’t been able to recapture that level of production to start the year. He has still averaged respectable 0.92 DraftKings points per minute, but he failed to return value in four of his first five games.
However, Porter has started to turn things around. He has scored at least 31.75 DraftKings points in back-to-back games, including 37.25 DraftKings points in his last contest. Porter still has some room for improvement as well, making just 11-of-27 shots in his past two games. Ultimately, he stands out as an excellent mid-range target across the industry.
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Our NBA daily projections are updated regularly, including whenever any relevant news breaks. Looking for more NBA DFS picks and the best NBA DFS picks? View our Yahoo! NBA ownership, our FanDuel NBA ownership and our DraftKings ownership. We also have DraftKings NBA rankings, Yahoo! ownership rankings and FanDuel rankings for today's slate. Check out our daily fantasy sports rankings NBA for fantasy points and values that are derived directly from Alex Baker's own DFS basketball projections.
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