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 four-game main slate.
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DraftKings & FanDuel NBA DFS Lineup Advice Today
Jonas Valanciunas, C, New Orleans Pelicans
Monday’s slate features just four games, but there is still plenty of injury information to consider. The biggest injury involves the Pelicans, who are going to be without arguably their best player in Brandon Ingram. He leads the team in minutes per game, usage, and points per game, and he’s already been ruled out with an ankle injury. Devonte’ Graham is also questionable with an ankle sprain.
With that in mind, Valanciunas is going to be asked to carry a larger workload than usual. He’s already one of the best centers in fantasy – he’s averaged 1.27 DraftKings points per minute this season – and he’s increased his usage rate by +2.5% with Ingram off the court this season. He also draws a solid matchup vs. the Pacers, who rank merely 21st in defensive efficiency. Overall, expect Valanciunas to own one of the top marks in our NBA Projections.
Kevin Love, PF/C, Cleveland Cavaliers
Love has had an interesting season for the Cavaliers. He’s not a part of the starting lineup, but he’s become a lethal fantasy option off the bench. He’s averaged 1.33 DraftKings points per minute this season, and he’s had multiple monster performances in limited playing time.
Love’s price tag has come back to reality after spiking on DraftKings. He got as high as $7,600 when the Cavaliers were dealing with some frontcourt absences, but he’s back down to just $5,500 Monday vs. the Knicks. Love also has the potential to see a few additional minutes with Lauri Markkanen out of the lineup due to an ankle injury.
That makes Love very appealing for tournaments. He’s already proven to have an elite ceiling, so he would be worth heavy consideration if his ownership projection is reasonable. As long as that’s the case, he should own a strong leverage score in the Boom/Bust Probability tool.
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Chris Duarte, SG/SF, Indiana Pacers
The Pacers are incredibly banged up at the moment. Malcolm Brogdon, Domantas Sabonis, and Myles Turner all remain out of the lineup, while Caris LeVert is questionable. LeVert missed the Pacers’ last game with a questionable designation, so he’s far from a lock to suit up on Monday.
If LeVert is out again, Duarte will be asked to serve as one of the team’s offensive focal points. He posted a usage rate of 27.1% with LeVert and company out of the lineup on Saturday, and he’s scored at least 47.25 DraftKings points in two of his past four games. He finished with a disappointing 29.5 DraftKings points in his last outing, but he did that over just 30.5 minutes. That game turned into a blowout, so he should be expected to play more on Monday.
Duarte’s increased usage rate sans LeVert would also make him an appealing option in the player prop market. If his scoring prop hasn’t adjusted to his current role, the over could be worth some consideration. Make sure you’re taking advantage of the Awesemo Player Prop tool, which highlights the most exploitable prop bets each day.
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Looking for more DFS NBA today and the top NBA DFS picks for today? Check out our DFS rankings NBA for fantasy points and values that are derived directly from Alex Baker's own NBA FanDuel projections. View our Yahoo! NBA ownership projections, our DraftKings NBA ownership and our FanDuel ownership. Our DFS NBA projections are updated regularly, including whenever any relevant news breaks. We also have Yahoo! ownership rankings, FanDuel NBA rankings and DraftKings rankings for today's slate.
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