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🏀 Slate Starter: NBA DFS Picks for DraftKings + FanDuel | Wednesday, February 3

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, 12/9/2021.

If you didn’t roster both Fred VanVleet or Stephen Curry on Tuesday, you’ve come to the right place. While I nailed the first part of that equation, the absence of Curry from all of my lineups has me ready to wake up Wednesday with a fresh start. So let’s find a few NBA DFS picks together for DraftKings and FanDuel and jump all over hump day.

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NBA DFS Slate Starter: Picks & Strategy | Feb. 3

Wednesday’s Workhorses

When it comes to value, sometimes it’s extremely hard to speculate as much as I do the night before. I took a couple hours to cover Nassir Little after his massive outing on Tuesday, only to wake up to a surprising questionable tag next to his name. His status remained up in the air all day until after lock when he was ruled out, making all the work the night before somewhat irrelevant. But that’s nature of NBA DFS, and not just NBA DFS in 2021; random things have popped up randomly as long as I’ve been playing this game, so just expect the unexpected.

Breaking down studs who aren’t on the injury report the night before, however, feels like a safer bet. So with that in mind, let’s take a look at three top-end plays I plan on being overweight on in my NBA DFS lineups the night before:

  • Bradley Beal — By now you know the drill. With the Wizards on the second half of a back-to-back, I fully expect Russell Westbrook to sit on Wednesday. That means with a $9,700 tag on DraftKings, I’m going to find it next to impossible to avoid copious amounts of Beal in my lineups. With Westbrook off the floor this year, Beal’s usage balloons to 41.4% with a 57 DraftKings points per 36 minutes rate to boot. The $10,800 price on FanDuel makes you at least think a little, but even there I’m going to find it hard not to jam him in.
  • Joel Embiid — Embiid has always popped off the page throughout his career, but his 2020-21 season has been downright ridiculous. Just check these numbers out: 33.2% usage rate, 19.0% rebound rate, and an identical 57 DraftKings points per 36 minutes rate to Beal. If Andre Drummond sits, Embiid will be in a class of his own at the top end of FanDuel. And with a $10,000 tag that feels like a discount on DraftKings, he’s somehow even better.
  • Chris Paul — I’m not sure I could ever go primarily plant-based in my diet, but I’m considering it after witnessing Paul’s current level of play. Coming off consecutive outings of 59.25 and 62.25 DraftKings points, the 15-year vet now draws a gettable Pelicans matchup. His ownership is impossible to gauge at the moment, but I’m expecting it to stay below 10% despite his recent hot streak. Paul spent the first six years of his career in New Orleans, and I expect big things in his return Wednesday night.

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How Do You Do, Hamidou

The good news about tomorrow is we already have a team that’s a clear-cut source of value. The bad news is it is in the form of an abysmal Thunder squad. The sites had already released their pricing when the news that Shai Gilgeous-Alexander would be out for Wednesday hit. That means we’re stuck with some tough-to-stomach chalk in a tough-to-stomach matchup.

Courtesy of my Slate Starter Podcast co-host Rynpak, the Rockets lead the NBA in defensive efficiency since acquiring Victor Oladipo. The Thunder are also coming off of back-to-back shellackings, and Wednesday could set up as more of the same without their best player. Yet for some reason, the spread of this game opened up just Rockets -5 and has already been bet down to -4.5, meaning someone somewhere thinks this game is going to be more competitive than I do. Still, predicting blowouts is not what I’m about, plus it really doesn’t matter with the number of underpriced young players who will have to see minutes regardless.

So let’s take a look at who I expect to be the three most popular pieces of value from this team in Theo Maledon, Luguentz Dort and Hamidou Diallo. Maledon had a solid 36.75 DraftKings points as chalk against the Nets on Jan. 29, giving anyone who rostered him that day good juju going into Wednesday. Dort has certainly summoned a ceiling in a few spots this season, most notably in a 50-fantasy point eruption against the Bulls on Jan. 15. Still, neither are particular exciting point-per-minute producers, making it hard to trust them even with the absences of Gilgeous-Alexander and George Hill.

That’s where Diallo comes into play. That man can get things done on a basketball court, backed-up by his 1.12 fantasy points per minute on the year. And in 220 minutes with the aforementioned Gilgeous-Alexander and Hill off the court, that rate jumps up to 1.17. It’s hard to talk exact exposures this early on, but I’m pretty certain I’ll come in somewhere around the field on Maledon, way under on Dort and way over on Diallo. It’s ironic because I love watching Dort play, but he pales in comparison to Diallo at the same price and positions on DraftKings. So chalk Thunder it is, everyone; what could possibly go wrong?

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Final Thoughts for Your NBA DFS Lineups

  • With some value already present (and certainly more on the way), prepare for the most stars-and-scrubs slate we’ve had in quite some time. It’ll be interesting to see where the ownership on Luka Doncic and Giannis Antetokounmpo come in, but my guess is higher than normal.
  • I know LaMarcus Aldridge is going to be out, but I couldn’t stomach writing in depth about Jakob Poetl chalk. I’ll certainly have a ton, and he’ll certainly disappoint me again just like the last few times Aldridge was out.
  • Just play Eric Bledsoe.

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