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The NBA Slate Starter: NBA DFS Picks for DraftKings + FanDuel | 1/19

Eric Lindquist

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Josh Engleman brings you his NBA fantasy basketball show with strategy on how to build DraftKings & FanDuel NBA DFS lineups today, 1/20/2022.

After an around-the-clock basketball extravaganza on Monday, it’s understandable if Tuesday’s two-game slate feels like a letdown at first. But if you click on the tournament lobbies over at DraftKings and FanDuel and realize just how enormous the prize pools are, that feeling should subside. We’ll keep it shorter today, covering a little strategy first and then a few of my favorite NBA DFS picks and fades for this duo of matchups tipping off at 9 p.m. EST.

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NBA DFS Slate Starter: Picks & Strategy | Jan. 19

Five Ways to Be Different (and Not Completely Crazy) With Your NBA DFS Lineups

With Thunder – Nuggets and Pelicans – Jazz tipping off simultaneously on Tuesday night, for once I won’t have to preach about the necessity of late swapping (since there’s nothing to late swap to). Nor will I have to identify my favorite plays among these four teams and point them out to you since it’s no secret the likes of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram or Nikola Jokic are all fantastic options that will carry substantial ownership.

So instead of focusing on the plays themselves today, I opted to focus on a little strategy in my main segment. Here are five ways to get different with your NBA DFS lineups that you should consider utilizing for Tuesday’s two-game slate:

  1. Leave Salary on the Table — Every time I think this strategy has become more commonplace, I’m floored by the number of lineups that land precisely on $0 remaining. Just by leaving $100 or slightly more on the table, you’re going to avoid some obvious duplications that land exactly at the $50,000 salary cap on DraftKings and the $60,000 number on FanDuel. I doubt I’ll be leaving $1,000 or more like I would for short slates/showdown lineups in other sports, but I will certainly avoid the $0 mark unless there’s some super-low-owned plays in that lineup.
  2. Game-Stacking — I used to have a joke with my DFS buddies that there are three guarantees in life: Death, taxes and every game will be game-stacked. It’s far more viable in this instance since having nearly your entire lineup consist of the matchup that shoots out or goes to overtime could make for strong leverage. Keep in mind, you are required to play one player from the other game no matter what.
  3. Play Five Players from One Team on DraftKings — This builds upon the past concept, but you’re not necessarily required to run it back (although I probably would). Hypothetically, if one team completely dismantles another on this slate, you’re looking at fantasy viability from a few starters as well as some cheapies who could clean house in garbage time. Oklahoma City also has multiple cheap pieces on this slate I project for considerable minutes. Despite being double-digit dogs, I see a scenario where three or four of them could get there along with Gilgeous-Alexander.
  4. Not Having Nikola Jokic on FanDuel — There are virtually only three center plays on FanDuel for Tuesday: Jokic, Rudy Gobert and Steven Adams. Despite Jokic’s $11,500 tag, I expect him to be the highest-owned center by a landslide. If you can stomach omitting the presumed NBA MVP frontrunner from any lineup over there, you’ll be different by default.
  5. Play Super Low-Owned Plays — I admit, this goes more in the category of “stupid.” But it’s just a fact that rostering sub-1% players will no doubt make you different in large-field tournaments from now until forever. While these plays will be even worse than normal — any remotely decent play will garner ownership with only four teams to pick from — rostering the Kira Lewis Jr.’s and Isaiah Hartenstein‘s of the world can give you an extremely unique lineup build. Most of the time you’ll need something fluky like an injury of some sort for this to pay off. But two-game slate strategy knows no bounds, so why not?

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Final Thoughts for Your NBA DFS Lineups

  • I love how FanDuel took some liberties on players’ positions in order to better distribute the player pool. For a site I call out for constantly underpricing its players, I’m happy to give credit where credit is due. This slate is substantially more playable over there with those tweaks.
  • Jordan Clarkson will be a shooting-dependent, popular play regardless of the Joe Ingles news. I am dearly hoping Ingles gives it a go so I can feel infinitely better about my fade of Clarkson than I would otherwise. On the bright side if Ingles sits, at least people have to pay the toll on him now with a substantial $6,500 price tag on DraftKings and an elevated $6,300 salary on FanDuel.
  • Totally missed this on the Slate Starter pod with Rynpak, but I should’ve thrown some random love Kenrich Williams way. I have no idea why he played 27 minutes randomly in the Thunder’s past game on Saturday. However, you have to consider just about anyone playing those kind of minutes on this slate, so he’s hopefully going to go overlooked (although doubtful). He makes for a high-risk/high-upside NBA DFS pick off of the Isaiah Roby/Mike Muscala chalk.
  • Just play Brandon Ingram.

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