I don’t really know what to say at this point. If you had any Tyler Herro before his late scratch, that’s a bad beat. If you had a ton of Frank Mason III before his injury, that’s somehow an even worse beat. Although it feels horrendous to have consecutive nights of zeros littering your lineups, take consolation in the fact you made fundamentally good decisions if you were impacted by those unforeseeable circumstances. In other words, let’s stay focused on long-term success in spite of the short-term frustration. With that in mind, let’s get right back on track with some NBA DFS picks and strategy to close out the week for Friday’s massive 11-game slate on DraftKings and FanDuel.
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The Wonder of the Thunder and the Tragic of the Magic
Well, what do you know? The Oklahoma City Thunder will once again have a single-digit number of players available for Friday. After the apocalypse that was the Isaiah Roby late scratch on Wednesday, we’ll once again be waiting on pins and needles for the umpteenth consecutive slate to see if he can play. Their game against the Nuggets locks at 9 p.m. EST, which means if news doesn’t come out well ahead of lock one way or the other, expect to kick off the weekend next to your laptop in order to adjust your NBA DFS lineups.
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And as if that game doesn’t provide enough potential late-swap opportunity for you, the Magic are perhaps in an even more dire position. While their problems are injury-related and therefore less clear cut than health-and-safety protocol rulings would be, we’ll be forced to wait for word on legitimately half their team. And if today was any indication, I’m not expecting that news until well after lock. Oh, and did I mention their 10 p.m. EST tip-off is in a phenomenal matchup with the defensively-inept Kings? Talk about a late-night hammer.
These two teams alone could provide enough value to turn this into a full-blown stars-and-scrubs slate, and that’s without considering the other 20 teams we should get value from. That makes me think the likes of Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nikola Jokic will garner more ownership than in previous slates they’ve all been on together. Since there isn’t even a listed point guard from either of these teams for tomorrow, Doncic becomes the clear-cut favorite for me. Should news break the right way, expect to see him in a bunch of my NBA DFS lineups alongside an outrageous amount of Thunder and Magic players. And if not, three total 10 p.m. EST games should provide enough other feasible late-swap options.
The Obscene Zach LaVine
For my first NBA Tip-Off show alongside Awesemo’s own Chris Spags, he came up with a fun segment where we analyzed sportsbook prices for top point scorer of the day with the help of OddsShopper. We each picked our favorite bet on the board as well as a potential value pick further down the list into heavy plus-money territory. I admit I had never even clicked on a “top point scorer” tab on any sportsbook in my life, but it can be a unique way to analyze different scoring-dependent players’ chances of an upside for NBA DFS purposes.
To my absolute shock, Zach LaVine was listed as a massive -155 favorite to lead the way in scoring on Wednesday despite nine total games with plenty of offensive firepower on the slate. And what did he proceed to do against the Pelicans that night? Of course, he dropped an easy 46 points to cash the tickets of anyone willing to pay the juice.
Which got me to wondering: What is his price going to be for that prop on Friday? With 11 total games and a tougher Clippers matchup against Kawhi Leonard on tap for Wednesday, my initial reaction was he might fall from the top spot to around fourth or fifth. But after digging into some of his shooting numbers on this young season, I wouldn’t be totally shocked to see LaVine as the favorite once more:
LaVine is obviously enjoying a career year in terms of scoring the basketball as well as the efficiency with which he does it. Taking 19.2 shots per game and converting them at a 51.8% clip is something you see from most centers, not a volume-based shooting guard where 8.3 of those attempts a night are coming from 3. You’d think his outrageous 61.1% effective field goal percentage is surely due for regression; then again, I said that weeks ago. Now we’re 24 games into this season and that number simply continues to climb.
So what does that mean for LaVine’s prospects on Friday? I’m anticipating him to be a low-owned spend-up option at $9,200 on DraftKings and $9,600 on FanDuel with so many other studs on this slate. However, nearly every other top-end shooting guard besides LaVine is out tomorrow. That could make LaVine an especially enticing route to go, especially on FanDuel where you have to play two. He’s not going to grade out very well from a points-per-dollar aspect, but I don’t care. I expect to be over the field tomorrow at a brutally bad shooting guard position.
Final Thoughts for Your NBA DFS Lineups
- Eric Bledsoe is $5,600 on DraftKings and $5,100 on FanDuel. He’s been one of the most frustrating rosters this season, plus the Pelicans are back to full strength now, but I don’t know how to get away from this trap again tomorrow.
- Dejounte Murray just got done wrecking half the NBA DFS world on Wednesday, going for 14.5 DraftKings points the night after going for 62. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say his fantasy total falls within that range on Friday (you’re welcome). My guess is closer to the 62 range, as a date with Trae Young defense can set any point guard right in a hurry.
- Just play Khris Middleton.
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