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The NBA Slate Starter: NBA DFS Picks for DraftKings + FanDuel | 1/14

Eric Lindquist

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NBA Daily Fantasy picks for Draftkings and FanDuel daily fantasy basketball lineups based on expert projections and ownership including Tyler Herro

What an unbelievable day it was in the Association yesterday, and literally none of it had to do with the games being played. I’ll obviously touch base on the trade of the decade thus far, as well as its implications for today’s NBA DFS picks and strategy on DraftKings and FanDuel. Let’s get to it.


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NBA DFS Slate Starter: Picks & Strategy | Jan. 14

Houston, We Have Less Problems

Well, it finally happened. James Harden‘s pouting proved effective, as his trade demand to the Nets came to fruition in a jiffy. After a second consecutive whooping at the hands of the defending-champion Lakers on Tuesday, John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins sounded off on the horrendous team chemistry with the Rockets’ superstar. Harden’s rebuttal was to the effect of “get me out of here,” and less than 24 hours later he got his wish.

While I’ll keep my opinions to myself about who won what or how I think this will go for the four teams involved, only two of them appear on Thursday’s slate. That would be the Pacers, whose trade of Victor Oladipo to the Rockets is certainly noteworthy, and the Rockets, who flipped the future of their franchise in an afternoon’s work. Because the Pacers can fill those minutes in a number of ways (plus the return of T.J. McConnell to the mix), I think it’ll be the usual suspects to key in on until Caris LeVert becomes available in the near future.

The Rockets, however, are a different story. With Harden gone, Wall out with knee soreness and a plethora of other injuries/COVID-related issues up and down the lineup, I anticipate them being the NBA DFS chalk of the day. Eric Gordon is currently questionable, and if he goes, he’s obviously intriguing. David Nwaba and Sterling Brown look like the two closest things to a point guard Houston will have available and sit at or near the minimum on DraftKings and FanDuel. And the spend-up play of the day will no doubt be Christian Wood, who I’m excited to see completely grab hold of this offense and receive an ungodly amount of usage.

To further amplify my (and I’m sure the public’s) interest in this group of random Rockets, the Spurs don’t provide the sternest of defensive oppositions. Currently 26th in points allowed (112.1) and 30th in opponents 3-point field goal percentage (39.8%), I’m anticipating fireworks. While this total could come in lower than expected, the opportunity for this short-handed group is undeniable. So for the third time in four days, there’s value on a team that appears too good to fail.


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Some of These Prices are Heating Up

In my humble opinion, one of the gutsiest performances in recent memory had to be from the Miami Heat on Tuesday. Facing a much stronger, healthier 76ers team, the Heat and their eight average active players took them down to the wire before losing by two in overtime. They’ll remain short-handed on Thursday for their rematch with the Sixers, but there’s one big thing that’s changed with this squad in the past two days: their prices.

While poorly priced on FanDuel (partially because the game wasn’t offered on their main slate on Tuesday), DraftKings hiked up the salaries of Tyler Herro ($7,300) and Kelly Olynyk ($6,400) to a point where you have to at least think about it. Some of the complementary pieces like Precious Achiuwa and Gabe Vincent are still advantageously priced in the low $4,000 range, but again, those aren’t nearly as low as they sat two days ago. That means one of the major decision points will be comparing and contrasting the Rockets and Heat value, and trying to avoid a crazy amount of cumulative ownership.

I go back and forth with the how I feel about cumulative ownership, which is how much ownership your lineup adds up to after combining all the plays within it. On one hand, it can be very slate-dependent; if there’s fantastic chalk like Nwaba and Achiuwa, who cares if that boosts your overall lineup ownership by 100-plus percent. But for a slate where I expect everyone in the field to be rotating the same bushel of outstanding plays, I’m going to actually consider it to help me decide which plays to prioritize in large-field tournaments.

For Miami, I think that could make Duncan Robinson perhaps my favorite play on the entire team. At $5,500 on DraftKings specifically, I could see him getting overlooked for the cheaper or sexier plays from his own team, and certainly compared to the Rockets value. He’s very shooting-dependent, which I would normally despise in a popular-ish play. But having played 46 minutes on Tuesday and chucking up 14 three-point attempts makes me optimistic he could blow this tag out of the water if he gets hot. And at a mid-$5,000 salary, he’s not a punt nor a Herro-esque spend-up option. Be sure to check ownership early and often tomorrow, but my guess is Robinson could go overlooked for his potential in this spot.

Final Thoughts for Your NBA DFS Lineups

  • If you still don’t follow the NewzGod on Twitter (@Newzgod_dfs), I don’t know what you’re waiting for. Starting lineups, injury news, quippy responses to any/all trolls; the man does it all. He’ll definitely save you time and money in the long run.
  • Stephen Curry and Nikola Jokic playing for front-runner of the MVP discussion at 10 p.m. EST. If you like sports, I wouldn’t miss it. And it should go without saying, but definitely have exposure to both.
  • Play Christian Wood.

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