Wednesday was fantastic for me, and the template for my strategy could be found right here in yesterday’s Slate Starter article. An abundance of mid- to low-end value made me pretty confident in jamming in as much sub-20%-owned Luka Doncic and Giannis Antetokounmpo as I could afford, which certainly paid off. While it would’ve been incredible to close the deal on some of the bigger tournaments on FanDuel, top-fives certainly count for something in this game. So let’s try to keep the good times rolling on Thursday and find a few more successful NBA DFS picks to utilize in our lineups over at DraftKings and FanDuel.
NBA DFS Slate Starter: Picks & Strategy | Feb. 4
Late-Swapping Studs Strategy
Thursday is as close to a dream slate structure for a five-gamer as it gets. I love the 7:30 p.m. EST lock time, I love the staggered starts of the games, and I especially love the late-swap opportunities they provide. Even though there seems to be no injury news we’ll be waiting on for the Nuggets – Lakers 10 p.m. EST nightcap, having a full hour to correctly re-crunch my lineups based on how they’re performing is a huge edge.
I say that because there are three high-priced plays in LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Nikola Jokic to pay up for in the late-night hammer. So long as I have at least two players to swap around with, I’ll be able to hone in on the least owned of the trio in dead lineups or lock in my favorite of the three if all is going swimmingly. On FanDuel that becomes slightly more complicated since each one of the studs is listed at a different position, so my afternoon looks like it’ll just be toying around with appropriate pivots with other plays in the late-night hammer I like (or could even have access to).
Regardless of if you’re MME-ing or simply hand-building a couple lineups, understanding what pivots will work and what won’t can be pivotal to success. For example, James ($10,000) and Michael Porter Jr. ($6,100) would make for a nice high-ceiling, lower-owned combo on DraftKings. But if that lineup is zeroed out, forget about getting up to my preferred pairing of Jokic ($11,000) and Will Barton ($5,200) since you wouldn’t have the salary. That’s why I’ll sometimes use $49,900 as my max salary in Fantasy Cruncher if there’s a specific 2v2 like that in mind I want to ensure I have access to. You don’t have to do that for all 150 lineups, but re-crunching a small batch of them for a late-swap like this in mind comes in more handy than you’d expect.
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Wanna Get Weird? Play Backup Centers
It’s hard to talk about true value plays on this slate at the moment. With Damian Lillard questionable, plus so many studs like Victor Oladipo and Kristaps Porzingis tending to sit out back-to-backs, I have no idea what the chalk will even look like yet.
But regardless of how that news shakes out, there are two cheap centers I’ve identified for your NBA DFS lineups I have in mind to get different/ridiculous on this slate. I normally save the bullet points for last, but I couldn’t resist tonight:
- Derrick Favors — I’m always happy to take shots on cheap backup centers on short slates if value is hard to come by (and sometimes even if it’s not). That’s because so many teams split their center minutes directly between two players, meaning that foul trouble for the starter could lead to a minutes upside solely for the backup. Favors and starter Rudy Gobert have shared the court for exactly 12 minutes all season this year, so they’re as clear cut an example of this as possible. Averaging 1.06 fantasy points per minute on the year, Favors could certainly back his way into 25-plus DraftKings points at just $3,600 if things break his way.
- Marc Gasol — Gasol starts for this Lakers squad but rarely sees his minutes extended above the high teens. Against Jokic, however, I see the possibility for extended run into the mid-20s similar to how Frank Vogel utilized him to defend Joel Embiid (25 minutes) and Mason Plumlee (24 minutes) in recent games. The 36-year-old has also been abysmal from the field so far this season, shooting a career-worst 38.6%. Should he actually see the ball go in the bucket for once, there could be unexpected upside here at only $3,300.
Final Thoughts for Your NBA DFS Lineups
- Eric Gordon is listed at point guard on FanDuel. I suppose they were just sick of giving us a small forward freebie every night?
- Kristaps Porzingis has played in one back-to-back thus far this season, so I am curious if the Mavericks will let him go for it again. They are just starting to get healthy with some ancillary pieces back in the mix, but they need to start winning now in this wickedly good Western Conference.
- Can’t believe I’m about to type these words, but just play Draymond Green.
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