Tuesday was another fun day in the Association, as Jamal Murray and the entire Clippers organization — yes, even Paul George and Montrezl Harrell — went bananas. I appreciate Denver’s win significantly more knowing we’ve now been gifted a third game to Thursday’s NBA DFS slate, but let’s focus on tomorrow’s trio of matchups first, shall we?
Let’s get right to it: This is Wednesday’s edition of the NBA Slate Starter for DraftKings and FanDuel.
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Two Cream Puffs, Please
When there’s a game on the slate with a huge point spread, there’s a popular term NBA DFS analysts start throwing around: Blowout risk. This essentially means if you play starters from either team, there’s a realistic chance they could miss out on fourth quarter minutes and production if the game is already out of hand. Come playoff time, that risk is mitigated to a certain degree when it comes to elimination games, as head coaches from both sides tend to leave nothing to chance and let their stars close out the series.
At least let’s hope so, because there are two 13.5-point spreads on this slate, and I don’t see any hope whatsoever for the underdogs. The Bucks should completely dismantle the Magic, and the Damian Lillard–less Blazers should be wiped out by the Lakers. If this were the regular season, our spend-up decision today would be pretty simple: Spend up for James Harden in the only presumed competitive game on the slate, and fill it in the rest from there.
But I have hope we’ll still see a regular allotment of minutes for the starters from all sides of those two games no matter what. This makes for a great stars-and-scrubs tournament slate, as there’s a boat load of easy NBA DFS value we’ll get to next and four viable $10,000 studs. So while I’d normally be dreading a slate with this much competitive disparity between the games, I’m very much looking forward to this one.
Blazer Hair Removal
Poor Portland. The bubble darlings have been laid to rest in the West, facing a 3-1 deficit to the No. 1 seed Lakers and now a knee injury to their team’s offensive engine, Damian Lillard. What’s going to be fascinating today is how hard and fast the ownership that’s been on the Magic every-other-day shifts right to Portland, and it’s hard to argue the move isn’t warranted.
I normally discuss pricing on DraftKings first, but I need to let it be known immediately that FanDuel didn’t even pretend to try with these prices, and it makes me want to rip out my hair (hence the heading). C.J. McCollum, who rocks an eye-popping 33.9% usage rate with Lillard off the court this season, saw his price increase by exactly $0. He could be 99% owned over there and I’d still come in over the field.
In fact, no Blazer saw any price bump whatsoever on that site. Jusuf Nurkic went up $500, but he remains laughably low at $7,500. Carmelo Anthony is the only other Portland player with a salary above $5,000. With these bargain-bin prices, mix-and-matching 3-4 Blazers feels like a necessity on this NBA DFS slate.
DraftKings made a better pass at inflating the prices, but it still might not be enough. McCollum at $8,100 makes you think a little, but I’ll probably come in over the field. I was pleased to see Anfernee Simons‘ price was bumped up to $4,000 and not the stone minimum like on FanDuel.
The main guy on Portland I still don’t know what to do with yet on DraftKings is Nurkic. In Lillard’s absence, he’ll surely be called upon to play the role of facilitator on the offensive end. But if he’s super popular at $8,600 on DraftKings, I’m more inclined to fade and load up on the Blazer value that gets me to Giannis Antetekounmpo and Harden.
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The NBA DFS Hill I’ll Die On
This slate feels a little too straightforward: Play Blazers, play studs, win money. So when ownership is as concentrated on certain value pieces from one team as what I expect it to be with Portland, the ability to find even a single piece of under-owned value from somewhere else can win you a tournament.
I’ll put one name in the hat for you, and it baffles me that I’m even recommending him: George Hill. The downside is that he and Bucks starter Eric Bledsoe stagger their minutes at the point, and in a close game Bledsoe is surely to see the lion’s share of minutes. He’s also only averaged 0.90 fantasy points per minute player on the year, which isn’t going to do it for you if we’re only projecting him around 20 minutes.
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Now the good — I’m not a big plus-minus guy, but Hill went +30 in the 15-point win, while Bledsoe came in at -16. Hill got a lot of work done in the second unit of Game 4, and looking at PopcornMachine.net, the hockey-esque line change the Bucks utilized in the first quarter put him in a lineup where he carries a 35.2% usage rate for nearly six minutes. I also don’t expect this game to stay close at all, so I’m more than happy to roll the dice on the 22-25 minute upside that could propel Hill to a 30-plus fantasy point game.
Hill also can function as a direct pivot from off of presumed Simons chalk at $100 less on DraftKings. I’m curious where the rest of the industry is going to come in on Simons in the morning, but I don’t find the minutes that secure at all. So as of right now (Tuesday evening), I’ll be leaning on the low-owned Hill as my go-to point guard punt off of Simons if the latter comes in as heavy chalk.
Final Thoughts for Your NBA DFS Lineups
I’m weirdly in love with this slate, as not having to decipher which hot-shooting Heat or Pacers player I’m going to need makes life a lot easier. My game plan will be pretty straight-forward: Stars-and-scrubs lineup construction, mix-and-match Blazers value pieces and find at least one low-owned piece for every lineup.
Hope you all crush today, and see you right back here tomorrow for another Slate Starter!