The Slate Starter is a daily first look at the day’s NBA slate 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, values and sleepers 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 three interesting options for Thursday’s five-game slate.
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DraftKings & FanDuel NBA DFS Lineup Advice Today
Zach LaVine, PG/SG, Chicago Bulls
LaVine is in an interesting spot on Thursday. His price tag has come down a bit recently, decreasing by -$900 over the past month on DraftKings and -$600 on FanDuel, but his per-minute production has actually increased over that time frame. He’s averaged 1.16 DraftKings points per minute over the past month compared to just 1.14 for the year, so I’m not sure why he’s available at a discount.
There’s also a chance that LaVine could be playing without his top teammate. DeMar DeRozan is listed as questionable, and LaVine would obviously benefit from his absence. He’s increased his usage rate by +4.2% with DeRozan off the court this season, resulting in an average of 1.22 DraftKings points per minute. If DeRozan is ultimately ruled out, expect LaVine to own one of the top marks in our NBA Projections.
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Kristaps Porzingis, PF/C, Washington Wizards
Porzingis has recently returned to the lineup for the Wizards, and he’s played extremely well. He’s averaged 1.45 DraftKings points per minute, which represents a massive increase from his numbers with the Mavericks. Porzingis is also coming off 32 minutes in his last outing, which is his top mark as a member of the Wizards.
Porzingis should also continue to benefit from the absence of Kyle Kuzma. He’s been ruled out for the third straight game, and Porzingis has been a usage monster in his stead. He’s posted a usage rate of at least 31.7% in each of his past two games, and he’s increased his production to 1.53 DraftKings points per minute with Kuzma off the court.
It will be interesting to see how DFS players value Porzingis on this slate. He should grade out well from a projection standpoint, but the Wizards are also 12-point road underdogs. That means there will be some blowout concerns, which could lower Porzingis’ projected ownership.
Brook Lopez, C, Milwaukee Bucks
On the other side of that matchup, Lopez is an interesting option for the Bucks. He just recently returned to the lineup, and the team is slowly ramping up his playing time. He saw just 14.5 minutes in his first game back, but he was up to 23.9 minutes in his last outing. If Lopez is going to continue to see a few additional minutes, he has plenty of appeal at $4,300 on DraftKings.
The absence of Khris Middleton should only help. That opens up a few additional minutes in the rotation, and it could also result in a few additional shot attempts for Lopez. Even without Middleton, the Bucks are expected to put a ton of points on the board vs. the Wizards, leading the slate with an implied team total of 122.75 points.
Lopez could also be worth considering in the player prop market. Make sure to take advantage of the Awesemo Player Prop tool, which highlights the most exploitable player prop bets each day.
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We also have FanDuel NBA ownership rankings, DraftKings NBA ownership rankings and Yahoo! ownership rankings for today's slate. View our Yahoo! ownership, our DraftKings NBA ownership projections and our FanDuel NBA ownership. Check out our NBA daily fantasy rankings for fantasy points and values that are derived directly from Alex Baker's own NBA DFS projections FanDuel. Looking for more NBA daily fantasy advice today and the best NBA DFS picks? Our NBA DFS projections tonight are updated regularly, including whenever any relevant news breaks.
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