One Game 7 is down, one more to go. While not enthralling from a NBA DFS picks perspective, it sure was fun watching the Nuggets and Jazz jump in a time warp back to the ’90s for an old-school, low-scoring affair. What’s not fun? Figuring out the Nuggets’ fourth-quarter rotations going forward, but we’ll save that for another day.
Let’s get right into it: this is your Slate Starter for the two-game main slate on DraftKings and FanDuel for Wednesday, Sept. 2.
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NBA DFS Picks: The NBA Slate Starter for DraftKings + FanDuel
Will the Bucks Bounce Back?
Today’s slate starts up at 6:30 p.m. EST with Game 2 between Milwaukee and Miami, which is fortunate considering Eric Bledsoe is once again the only injury news to consider. We got that news in plenty of time before lock on Monday, so I’m not too concerned.
Literally everything else revolving around the Bucks I’m concerned about. George Hill, Donte DiVincenzo, and Pat Connaughton felt like must-play values in the wake of Bledsoe being ruled out, and Giannis Antetokounmpo felt like a must-jam into every lineup. So I did, and boy, did that not go well.
So what happens if we get the same scenario today? Do we go back to the well and pretend like Game 1 never happened? Or does this become an immediate stay-away spot for anyone besides the likes of Giannis, Khris Middleton, and maybe Brook Lopez?
Not to be wishy-washy, but I’m just not sure yet. Mike Budenholzer rotated so many guys around for 15-20 minutes at the two in Game 1 that it’s hard to imagine the likes of DiVincenzo, Kyle Korver or Wes Matthews spiking an upside. Connaughton was useless in his 25 minutes on the floor, but at least he got some time and feels like the safest cheapie not named George Hill to take shots on should Bledsoe sit again. And Giannis is Giannis, so I don’t expect too many people to fall victim to recency bias and decide to be out on him.
My take: Any Bucks who saw considerable minutes in Game 1 are viable again today. Let’s just hope they don’t suck this time around.
In Russ We Can’t Trust
I saw a lot of “maybe Russell Westbrook will finally lead the Thunder out of the first round” tweets in the aftermath of his wretched Game 6, and it filled me with such an odd combination of rage and sadness (although it’s admittedly still funny). I’ve always loved Westbrook and his intensity, his motor, his swagger and his ability to finish at the tin in ways I haven’t seen out of a point guard since Derrick Rose in his prime.
But none of that is there right now. What puzzles me even further is that it seems like that 0-to-100 gear is there despite the quad injury, but his decision-making and body language are at all-time lows. I suppose none of that would matter as long as he’s putting up typical Westbrook fantasy numbers, but we’re not even close to that at the moment, as he’s failed to eclipse 30 fantasy points or minutes in either of his first two games back.
As primarily a tournament player, I’m inclined to jump in on a buy-low opportunity with a stud like Westbrook, especially on a two-game slate where raw points are at a premium. However, as sad as this is to say, I think anyone playing him is paying the rake today. At $8,900 on DraftKings and $8,800 on FanDuel, I’ll be completely out on him, as there’s significantly more upside if I’m going to pay up for anyone on this slate.
A Smattering of Final Thoughts
Ownership is crucial to consider in any DFS contest, but after hand-building a few lineups on DraftKings and FanDuel, it’s especially so today. If people are flocking to the high-end studs without the necessary value to do so, I’ll be more inclined to go with balanced builds and hope for a lower-scoring slate.
Also, I didn’t really touch on the Thunder or Heat that much, but at this point I don’t need to tell you that having exposure to plays like Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, or Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is a good idea. Center is pretty brutal on this slate, so Adebayo feels like a preferred centerpiece for me on both sites.
Lastly, from a value perspective, one guy I wanted to mention is Jae Crowder who I tend to be overweight on almost every slate. Despite a sub-par fantasy outing from him in Game 1, I’ll gladly take his 35 minutes at a cheap salary and see what happens.
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