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. The NBA season is roughly a week old, and the injuries have surprisingly started to pile up. Let’s dive into three questionable players for Thursday’s six-game slate and some players who could benefit from their absence.
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Joel Embiid, C, Philadelphia 76ers
Embiid has been dealing with right knee soreness after banging knees with Jonas Valanciunas in the first game of the year, and he has been questionable ever since then. ESPN’s Ramona Shelbourne reports that Embiid has been in considerable pain, so it is possible that he sits out Thursday against the Pistons.
That would make Tobias Harris a potential smash play. He increased his usage rate to 31.8% with Embiid and Ben Simmons off the court last year, resulting in an average of 1.27 DraftKings points per minute. He was even better in full games without both players, averaging 1.45 DraftKings points per minute.
Seth Curry could also see a boost with Embiid out of the lineup. He has only played 11 minutes without Embiid this season, but he has averaged a stout 1.59 DraftKings points per minute over that time frame.
Make sure to check out our NBA Projections to see how all of the 76ers’ players are grading out in this matchup.
Kristaps Porzingis, PF/C, Dallas Mavericks
Porzingis was limited to just 20 minutes in their last game, but head coach Jason Kidd told reporters he was “fine.” Still, it would not be shocking to see him get the night off given his extensive injury history.
If he is out, it might be time to fire up everyone’s favorite big man: Boban Marjanovic. Marjanovic played just nine minutes on Tuesday, but that did not stop him from racking up 17.05 DraftKings points. He is one of the best per-minute producers in the league, so any time he warrants consideration any time he is expected to see the court.
Unfortunately, Marjanovic also typically commands massive ownership, so make sure to utilize the Boom/Bust Probability Tool while setting your lineups. If he is too popular, it could make him a poor play in tournaments.
Jerami Grant, F, Detroit Pistons
Grant missed Monday’s contest vs. the Hawks due to an elbow injury, and he was unable to practice on Wednesday. The Pistons are going nowhere this season, so do not be surprised if he misses another game.
Kelly Olynyk was the big winner in his absence on Monday. He led the team with a 28.9% usage rate, and he also played 29.7 minutes. Olynyk averaged 1.06 DraftKings points per minute last season, so he can do a lot of damage with that much playing time. Olynyk would be underpriced across the industry with Grant out of the lineup, but he is particularly appealing at just $5,400 on FanDuel.
Olynyk would also be worth exploring in the player prop market. The Awesemo Player Prop Tool highlights some of the most exploitable props each day, which can be a great way to build up bankroll.
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Looking for more DraftKings DFS NBA and the best NBA DFS advice? Our NBA projections FanDuel are updated regularly, including whenever any relevant news breaks. Check out our NBA daily fantasy rankings for fantasy points and values that are derived directly from Alex Baker's own NBA DFS projections DraftKings. View our FanDuel ownership, our Yahoo! NBA ownership and our DraftKings ownership. We also have FanDuel NBA rankings, Yahoo! ownership rankings and DraftKings rankings for today's slate.
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