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๐Ÿ€ Slate Starter: NBA DFS Strategy for DraftKings + FanDuel | Thursday, 2/25

Eric Lindquist

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NBA betting picks tonight Nets vs Magic odds, spread

Wednesday was one of those days where I felt like I had a handle on the slate, yet I couldn’t put all the pieces together in the same lineup. Well, that and Jeff Teague became a must-have at the minimum on DraftKings after scoring 31.25 fantasy points. My stubbornness not to pivot onto him cost me, as his ownership got all the way up to 5.37% in their main $15 offering. After some thought, I feel like it was definitely a mistake on my part not to have a little, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. So onward to Thursday we go, where we have a nice six-gamer on DraftKings and FanDuel to break down; let’s find a few NBA DFS picks and strategy to help get us to the top.


Be sure to check out the Slate Starter podcast, featuring yours truly and Rynpak, to get the first look at NBA DFS lineups for today’s slate!


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

The Tortoise and the Hare

Thursday’s six-game slate has some different levels to it than the past two slates, which were of the nine-game variety. For one, we’re going to have two games that should end up with totals well above 235: Pelicans – Bucks and Wizards – Nuggets. We’ll also have three more games that should slot in right above the 225 mark.

The one odd-man-out spot on this slate would normally be Knicks – Kings. While it’s as pace-down as it gets for the Kings — the Knicks rank dead last in the Association in pace — the Knicks get a massive boost here. In fact, I believe the 223 total this game opened at is the largest total we’ve seen from a game of theirs this season. That means every matchup on Thursday should be relatively fast, fun and full of fantasy goodness.

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A huge piece of news that makes the Knicks pop even more is Elfrid Payton‘s status being downgraded to doubtful. That means the absences of him in the backcourt and Mitchell Robinson in the frontcourt opens up minutes for the rest of Tom Thibodeau’s favorites. And I do mean favorites, as Derrick Rose projects out for me as one of — if not the — highest-owned player on this slate. Granted, that take comes at 3 a.m. EST, but I guarantee it holds true so long as Payton misses this matchup.

And despite this being a huge pace-down spot for the Kings, I could be talked into some Marvin Bagley tournament exposure pretty easily. Hassan Whiteside has already been ruled out, and Richaun Holmes has yet to eclipse 30 minutes in his two games since returning from a knee injury. That means a lot of backup center could be in store for Bagley against the smaller Knicks frontcourt of Julius Randle and Nerlens Noel.

My advice is to keep on the lookout for that starting lineup, as you truly never know what Luke Walton could decide to throw out randomly. But as it stands, the lowest total game on this slate could still be chock-full of good chalk for your NBA DFS lineups. Be sure to tune in for the Deeper Dive and Live Before Lock shows on the Awesemo YouTube channel, and stay updated on all the goings on for what should be an incredible tournament slate.


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The Waterfall Effect

I’m going to preface this section with this: If you’re playing NBA DFS on Thursday, stay by your computer. That should actually be my intro for every single slate for as long as late swap exists, but this one, in particular, is tricky with its multiple start times for games. In fact, only two games have the same tip-off time, so be ready to pivot should random injury news arise.

And even if it doesn’t, are you changing your lineups to react to how they’re doing throughout the night? Let’s say y0u roster a bunch of Luka Doncic in the first game of the night at 7 p.m. EST and he puts up an absolute stinker. Sure, you’re probably drawing dead to win when anyone you pay up for in that range doesn’t go for well over 50-plus. But are you swapping the plays that lock later from your “dead” lineups anyways in an attempt to minimum cash?

I’ve been asking my closest friends who play NBA DFS this more and more of late, and nearly all of them have reiterated the same thing to me: “I don’t have time to pivot.” To which I respond, “you don’t have time not to pivot.” You see, part of this crazy game we play is surviving the swings. That is, when you’re not perfect (like you won’t be on the vast majority of nights), you should still be actively trying to salvage some of your money back. And spoiler alert: If you’re primarily a GPP player like me, that’s just about every day besides the one or two per month when you’ll have the near-nuts and are blessed with a massive sweat.

In review, stay alert of injury news that arises after lock, but also stay alert to how your lineups are doing. We have a 2 1/2-hour window of start times for this slate, which is more than enough to have an idea how the first three games have gone for you. Use that to your advantage because I guarantee your opponents aren’t.

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Final Thoughts for Your NBA DFS Lineups

  • Despite only 12 teams on this slate, we sure have a ton of studs to choose from. Unfortunately, most of them are at the center position, as Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid and Nikola Vucevic can’t seem to get on a slate without the other two. And although we know the ceiling they each have, it’ll be imperative to have the right one on FanDuel. My interest at the moment goes Jokic, Vucevic and Embiid, but ownership will still play a big part in this decision.
  • Both of the late games project as the fastest-paced on the slate. That makes Thursday the opportune time to check out the Late Slate Swap and Sweat Show, a new addition to the Awesemo YouTube Channel. Come tilt your lineups and hang out with your Awesemo fam while building a few winners for the night slates. As far as late-night hammers go, these two matchups prove epic.
  • This went so well Wednesday that we’re just going to run it back: Just play Brandon Ingram.

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