Death due to a lack of Aaron Holiday is not what I was expecting on an otherwise successful Tuesday. So let’s get back on track with some NBA DFS picks and strategy for Wednesday’s jam-packed eight-game slate on DraftKings and FanDuel.
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NBA DFS Slate Starter: Picks & Strategy | Jan. 13
The WildKAT Wild Card
After a 2-0 start to the season, the Timberwolves rattled off seven consecutive losses before finally getting back in the win column on Sunday. Their star center Karl-Anthony Towns returned on Saturday from a six-game absence due to a dislocated wrist, then sat out the second half of the weekend back-to-back. Despite being put on a “minutes limit” by coach Ryan Saunders, Towns saw a whopping 37 minutes in Saturday’s overtime loss. It sounds as though he’ll be good to go for today’s tilt with the Grizzlies, which throws a huge wrench into this slate.
On FanDuel, where Towns is the most expensive center listed by a staggering $3,300, he could come in at unbelievable ownership so long as he plays. That is not just because he’s going to be the highest-projected raw-point scorer at the position by a ways, but also the uncertainty with a smattering of center plays we might not have definitive news about until after the Wolves’ tip-off at 8 p.m. EST:
If available, Clint Capela‘s game would go at 9 p.m. EST, while Jusuf Nurkic and Richaun Holmes would face-off an hour later. If we get news on the status of these three before lock, I could see the ownership at the position being more spread out. But if not (and I’m hoping we don’t because I thrive with chaos), I see a lot of the field eating the Towns chalk for security purposes. Plus, there’s no arguing he’s got by far the most upside at center on the slate, especially in a creampuff matchup against the Grizzlies.
However, if any of the three centers above give it a go, there’s a lot of potential upside to be had with them at significantly lower ownership than Towns (or even their respective back-ups) would garner. That’s why I’m considering taking my chances by moving a majority of my exposure at the position to them. Per usual, take some time to hand-build some theoretical late-swap possibilities for tomorrow should you follow my lead, because you’ll probably need to utilize it for at least one of them. And if you’d prefer to just jam Towns in your NBA DFS lineups instead, that’s more than viable. But in these large-field GPP’s, this is one way I’m hoping to get different.
The Porzingod Returns
While nothing on this slate mirrors the 76ers – Heat situation of the past few days (knock on wood), the Mavericks are close. With five missing pieces of their rotation, some interesting lineups should be in store for Rick Carlisle’s squad on Wednesday. I expect Luka Doncic to garner his usual ownership, while cheaper pieces such as Wes Iwundu and NBA DFS darling Boban Marjonovic will be rostered unless other value besides obvious chalk Nickeil Alexander-Walker should emerge.
However, the main wrench that messes up extreme Mavs value is none other than the return of their second star, Kristaps Porzingis. It’s been quite a while since we’ve seen the big man in action, but he’s been building up to a return for a while and seems destined for decent run against the Hornets. By no means will I be rostering him (nor should you), but this will be a major talking point in regards to rostering Doncic as well as some of the other pieces.
So let’s go over Doncic’s rates in case there was any doubt in your mind that he’s still an outrageously good play despite Porzingis’ return. When Porzingis was off the court in 2019-2020, Doncic played 791 minutes and averaged 59.04 DraftKings points per 36 minutes; in their 1,004 minutes on the court together, that rate only dipped to 56.05 DraftKings points per 36. Admittedly, his usage does tail slightly from 39.3% to 35.7% with Zinger out there. But that’s still as elite as it gets. To prove it, here are the 2020-21 leaders in usage percentage so far this season courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com:
While Doncic is leader in the clubhouse at the moment, his usage rate with Porzingis on the court from last season would still grade out as third-best in the league. So if you hear someone say they have concerns over Porzingis’ return and its effects on Doncic, tune it out because we have some pretty good evidence here that points to the contrary. Even if he’s popular, I still plan to have a lot of Doncic.
Final Thoughts for Your NBA DFS Lineups
I like the bullet points from yesterday, so let’s try it again:
- Anthony Davis sounds legitimately questionable with a toe injury. Be prepared to fire up Kyle Kuzma on FanDuel and LeBron James everywhere should that come to fruition.
- The Trail Blazers – Kings total opened at an eye-popping 236. Hard not to have interest on both sides of the ball there in the late-night hammer.
- Play Kevin Durant.
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