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The NBA Slate Starter: NBA DFS Picks for DraftKings + FanDuel | Monday, January 25th

Eric Lindquist



Los Angeles Lakers fans are calling on their front office to "trade AD" after it was reported that Russell Westbrook is on the trading block

Welcome back for another week of the NBA Slate Starter article. This weekend was full of mixed DFS results for me in mixed martial arts, golf, hockey and, of course, the two-game NFL slate, where I lock-buttoned Travis Kelce and still got steamrolled. That makes me ecstatic to be back exclusively in the basketball streets on Monday, and just in time, as there is some major money to be had on DraftKings and FanDuel. Let’s get right to work trying to find some NBA DFS picks and strategy for tomorrow.

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NBA DFS Slate Starter: Picks & Strategy | Jan. 25

Let’s Talk Late Swaptimizing

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In recent weeks, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to talk NBA DFS with a lot of you. Whether it’s answering questions live on streams, through the premium Slack chat, in Twitter DMs (when I’m feeling generous) or the darkest depths of the YouTube comment sections (when I’m feeling risky), I feel like there have been some great conversations about how to get better at this great game. I’ve always been a big believer that you teach what you need to learn yourself. So for however much you feel like I might’ve helped you, I assure you you’ve helped me more.

One thing that keeps sneaking its way into conversations is Fantasy Cruncher — more specifically, what in the world is this Late Swaptimizer feature I keep rattling on and on about? So to start off today’s Slate Starter, I figured I’d give you a barebones look at the way I go about editing my lineups well after lock, and why I think it’s an important feature to familiarize yourself with. Let it be known, I’m nowhere near the Fantasy Cruncher wizard that Alex Baker is. But I think I’ve carved out a process that is fast, efficient and only as labor-intensive as you want it to be.

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First of all, why Late Swaptimize at all? For me the answer is pretty simple: The ability to react to new information (and fast). For example, Russell Westbrook went from someone I planned on having shares of today to someone I wanted zero of when it was announced he’d be on a 25-minute limit. I simply removed him from my pool, made a few small tweaks to my projections to account for the news and utilized the Swaptimizer feature to re-crunch 190 lineups, taking into account the most recent information available to me. Oh, and it took me maybe two minutes.

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Let’s take an example of something that could happen tomorrow. D’Angelo Russell is questionable for the Timberwolves, and should we get word on his status before lock, awesome. But if he ends up getting ruled out 15 minutes before tip, we have an ideal late swap situation on our hands. Simply download your CSV from DraftKings or FanDuel, click the “Late Swaptimize” button at the top left corner of the screen and drag it into the box that pops up, shown below:

All your lineups will then appear on what I’ve dubbed the “Swap” screen:

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In the top-left corner listed next to the “Swaptimize!” button is an option to swap by unique lineups or total entries. Selecting unique will swap by the number of unique lineups you have, while selecting total entries will make every lineup different. Next to those features are the “Group By” buttons. If there’s a contest you’ve already adjusted by hand and don’t want swaptimized, simply uncheck it in the Contest tab and re-crunch the others. Same goes for the lineup button; if you have a cash lineup you don’t want getting changed but have 150 tournament lineups that need it, that’s the quickest way to do it.

When you have your preferences accounted for, click the “Swaptimize!” button. In a matter of seconds, you’ll have a new batch of lineups that account for the removal of Russell from your pool. And if you have an Awesemo+ membership where projections are getting updated instantly when news breaks, you’re at an even bigger advantage. That’s because the Timberwolves value that would certainly emerge in his absence would get bumps immediately and show up infinitely more throughout the new crunch, so long as there are enough roster spots left available to make room for them.

There’s obviously a lot more that goes into this process, but I’ll save that for another day. The bottom line is this: I believe the Late Swaptimizer to be one of the biggest edges that exists in NBA DFS, and the best overall feature on Fantasy Cruncher. Test it out for yourself, and once you get the hang of it and see what it’s capable of, I’m sure you’ll agree.

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Final Thoughts for Your NBA DFS Lineups

  • I know this became more of a strategy session than anything today, so I’ll finish with two NBA DFS picks I’m interested in for tomorrow. The first is Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who faces off in Portland against Damian Lillard in a pace-up spot. Both teams enter on the second half of a back-to-back, but that won’t deter me in the slightest from investing in both point guards in this game. The Blazers are bottom-third in the league in nearly every defensive category, and Gilgeous-Alexander is all that’s there offensively for the Thunder. Sign me up.
  • The second is Jerami Grant. The breakout Pistons offseason pickup is coming off a woeful 3-for-19 from the field against the 76ers on Saturday yet still salvaged a fantasy performance into the 30s. Grant has established himself as the clear-cut No. 1 in this offense, so at $7,800 on DraftKings he feels like a solid bet to bounce back.
  • Just play Anthony Davis.

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