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The NBA Slate Starter: NBA DFS Picks for DraftKings + FanDuel | 1/7

Eric Lindquist

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NBA DFS Picks and Projections for DraftKings and FanDuel lineups on Friday March 12 with Joel Embiid

Wednesday was a weird one all the way around, but hopefully you survived and are ready to rock for Thursday. We have a five-game slate with a multitude of NBA DFS picks to get to on DraftKings and FanDuel for Jan. 7, so let’s get right to it.

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NBA DFS Slate Starter: Picks & Strategy | Jan. 7

Play On All the Sites

One thing I didn’t realize when starting up the NBA Slate Starter podcast with my co-host Rynpak was how passionate people are for the site they play most/all of their action on. I’d say I play close to the same volume on DraftKings and FanDuel each day unless one has massive overlay or a specific tournament I’m focusing in on. Yet it seems like people think I have an actual preference, when in actuality winning money is the only priority. And playing on both simultaneously has certainly helped me to do that.

It feels like forever ago now, but I first started playing DFS back in 2012. I played exclusively on DraftKings for a year until I randomly downloaded the FanDuel app for the heck of it. I remember thinking playing on two sites seemed like a lot to handle at the time. In pretty short order, though, I realized just how many opportunities I’d been missing out on by not playing on both earlier. Not because there were exponentially more fish playing on FanDuel or something. But with different salaries and lineup constructions for each sport at each site, there were strategic ways to diversify my portfolio of plays for each slate. I began to understand things such as price sensitivity, lineup construction, or what makes a great play with one site’s scoring system might not look nearly as enticing on the other.


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Let’s use an example for tomorrow’s upcoming slate. Three-and-D journeyman Robert Covington sits at $5,300 on DraftKings and $5,000 on FanDuel. It’s hard to approximate his ownership at the moment, but even at a glance I can tell I’m going to be much more interested in grabbing most of my exposure to him on FanDuel. Why, you might ask? Part of it is the $300 discount. Another is that the power forward position is bleak on this slate and you’re forced to play two of them. And lastly, he’s a player with a propensity to rack up defensive stats which are worth an extra point on FanDuel. Obviously if he knocks down multiple threes and racks up the boards and steals in his 36-or-so minutes, he makes for a great play on both sites.

But in my opinion, there’s small advantages like this to be had every single day. Plus, FanDuel money spends just as well as DraftKings money. So if you have the time, energy and bankroll to invest into playing on both sites, do it. Maybe even take a look into playing with our friends over at Yahoo, No House Advantage, StatHero, and SuperDraft, too. Diversify your play, learn which sites give you the best chance at success, and strategically build that bankroll.

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Quick Slate Strategy Session for Tomorrow

I can’t recall a NBA DFS slate ever setting up like this. The first game tips off at 7:30 p.m. EST with one more at 8:00 before a three-game late-night hammer starting at 10 p.m. EST. I know it sounds like I get up on my soapbox on the daily and urge you to late swap and pay attention to news. But tomorrow is no different, as reacting to how your lineups are doing is an essential skill to have. Even without slate-breaking news, there’s things you can do to salvage lineups gone bad from the first two games.

Let’s say you have a busted play from Brooklyn, which should be wrapped by the time the 10 p.m. games go. On a shorter five-game slate, it’s going to be hard to win with that lineup in a large-field GPP. But by pivoting off the evening chalk to lower-owned plays, you at least give yourself the chance to min cash. The same sort of idea applies to a lineup that is smashing; simply make sure your late-night plays aren’t too off the board, and hopefully ride the more popular plays into the winner’s circle.

Final Thoughts for Your NBA DFS Lineups

For a shorter slate, there’s certainly no shortage of studs to choose from. I’m assuming the public will be paying up at point guard everywhere, so on DraftKings I’m particularly interested in running out some Joel EmbiidNikola Jokic lineups. Both carry just as high of ceilings as the other studs and gives you a unique lineup construction. Hopefully some decent guard value emerges in the afternoon to make this build more viable.


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