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 players who stand out as key options on Monday’s five-game main slate.
Want to see how your lineup stacked up against yesterday’s winning NBA DFS lineups on DraftKings, FanDuel and Yahoo? Check out Awesemo’s Optimal Lineup Review, which uses Fantasy Cruncher Rewind to analyze the winning plays from the night before.
NBA DFS Picks & Optimal Lineup Construction | Jan. 17
Jimmy Butler, SF, Miami Heat
Butler recently missed three straight games for the Heat, but he has suited up in each of the past two. He’s coming off a disappointing performance in his last outing, finishing with just 33.25 DraftKings points over 35.3 minutes, which has caused his price tag to plummet. He’s down to just $8,900 on DraftKings, and he’s been able to provide excellent value at that salary this season. Butler has been priced comparably in just 10 previous games, and he’s exceeded salary-based expectations by an average of +5.47 points per game.
Butler should also benefit from the Heat’s current injury situation. Kyle Lowry and Bam Adebayo are both out of the lineup, and Butler has increased his production to 1.34 DraftKings points per minute in that situation.
The Heat don’t have a particularly strong matchup vs. the Raptors, but Butler is simply too cheap in this spot. Expect him to fare well in our NBA Projections.
Chris Boucher, PF/C, Toronto Raptors
The Raptors have been a bit shorthanded recently, and Khem Birch remains out of the lineup on Monday. Gary Trent Jr. is also questionable with an ankle injury, so the team could have a solid handful of minutes available once again.
Boucher has been able to take advantage recently. He’s racked up at least 37.1 minutes in two of his past three games, and Boucher is capable of doing some serious damage with that much playing time. He’s historically been an elite producer on a per-minute basis, and he’s averaged 1.06 DraftKings points per minute over the past month.
That per-minute production gives Boucher an outstanding ceiling for tournaments. If his ownership projection is too low, he’ll grade out nicely from a leverage perspective in the Boom/Bust Probability tool.
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Moe Wagner, PF/C, Orlando Magic
Franz Wagner has been a strong option for the Magic all season, but his brother has provided more fantasy value of late. Moe has seen a nice bump in playing time with Wendell Carter Jr. out of the lineup, and WCJ will be sidelined again on Monday.
Wagner has been an absolute monster on a per-minute basis recently. He’s increased his production to 1.24 DraftKings points per minute over the past month, so it’s not surprising that he’s taken advantage of a few additional minutes. He’s coming off 19.7 minutes in his last outing, and he racked up 28.0 DraftKings points. He was even better in his previous contest, finishing with 38.0 DraftKings points over 27.8 minutes. As long as he’s expected to play comparable minutes on Monday, he should be able to return value.
Wagner could also provide some value in the player prop market. He’s been aggressive when on the floor, posting a usage rate of at least 26.2% in back-to-back games, so his scoring prop could be worth consideration. Make sure to check how it grades out in the Awesemo Player Prop tool, which highlights the most exploitable prop bets each day.
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We also have FanDuel rankings, DraftKings rankings and Yahoo! ownership rankings for today's slate. Our NBA projections DraftKings are updated regularly, including whenever any relevant news breaks. View our DraftKings ownership, our Yahoo! ownership projections and our FanDuel NBA ownership. Looking for more NBA DFS value plays and the best NBA DFS picks today? Check out our NBA DFS rankings for fantasy points and values that are derived directly from Alex Baker's own NBA FanDuel projections.
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