Thursday was one of the most chaotic slates I can recall in recent memory (and for a five-gamer, no less). Thanks to Seth Curry being announced as starting then promptly being pulled for a tummy ache at halftime, my night was a quick one. But rough days like yesterday make me extra motivated to provide you with the goods. So let’s get right back to work finding some NBA DFS picks for Friday’s nine-game main slate on DraftKings and FanDuel.
NBA DFS Slate Starter: Picks & Strategy | Feb. 5
The Three-Netted Monster
When the trade heard ’round the NBA initially went down, I figured we wouldn’t have to wait long for the price tags of James Harden, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant to trickle down into the upper-$8,000 range. Similar to what Durant experienced in Golden State, there’s only so much usage to go around. With that in mind, I’ve been light on each almost every single outing where all three are active, finding it difficult to justify paying top dollar in the $10,000 range. After all, every other high-end option on any given slate should be counted on for a much larger share of their team’s offense.
Unfortunately for me, it hasn’t quite worked out that way. We have seen them take turns taking over games, we have seen them share the basketball freely, and most importantly for our purposes, we have seen them throw up some massive fantasy scores. Since acquiring Harden, the Nets lead the league in both offensive rating and defensive inefficiency by a wide margin. So, as much as I’d love to keep avoiding this situation altogether every time out, I don’t think my bankroll appreciates that proposition nearly as much.
Obviously NBA DFS is different day to day; each slate is different, the teams on it are different, the salaries are different, etc. We combine these factors plus about 489 more to make the best decisions we can for our lineups for that slate and that slate alone. So let’s take a quick glance at the DraftKings and FanDuel salaries for these three tomorrow:
Harden’s streak of hot play has led to the most expensive tag of the bunch, Durant remains appropriately more expensive on FanDuel where small forward tends to be a wasteland, and Irving is the dangling carrot at a discount on both sites. We’ll have to see which position the value emerges from on FanDuel, as that will certainly dictate where I get the bulk of my Nets exposure. On DraftKings the discount on Durant with small forward eligibility might be hardest to pass up out of everything, but should the ownership follow suit, I’m happy to find my way on to the other two.
Last thing I’ll say about this situation is just how hard it I feel it is to identify who’s going to pop. We’re now nine games into Harden’s tenure, and we have just a 155-minute sample size with all three on the court together. And in that limited time, none of them surpass 1.2 fantasy points per minute. But since they’re all seeing minutes well into the 30s and early 40s, plus the tendency for only two to be on the floor at a time for a majority of the game, I don’t think it’ll be as uncommon as I once did for two ceiling games to come out of the trio any given night. So best of luck to us all trying to pin down which two that could be on Friday, and may Durant (my assumed favorite play in this Raptors matchup) please be one of them.
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Shooting Guard: One Quick Fade and One Quick Bounce Back
I don’t know much, but I do know that if Fred VanVleet goes off against tomorrow, I will be much poorer. Coming off his 77.75-DraftKings-point eruption, he saw just a $500 price bump to $7,900. I expect him to be exponentially more owned over there than at his $9,000 FanDuel salary, but that doesn’t matter to me. I tend to fade big performances their next time out, and that’s fully what I expect to do on both sites Friday.
On the flip side of that coin, if D’Angelo Russell gives it a go against the depleted Thunder, I’m all aboard at his $6,900 tag on DraftKings. This is just a hunch, but I’m expecting him to be somewhat chalky this morning (and I don’t care). At this tag in this matchup, Russell’s 1.14 fantasy points per minute should project out ridiculously well despite his lackluster results of late. If he sits, Malik Beasley becomes the easy pivot for that exposure.
Final Thoughts for Your NBA DFS Lineups
- I respect DraftKings and FanDuel giving it the ol’ college try by increasing the tag on Hamidou Diallo. Unfortunately, it wasn’t even close to enough, especially considering Luguentz Dort was already ruled out. Expect him and the rest of this Thunder cast to be an emphasis of our lineups once more.
- Isaac Okoro is making P.J. Tucker blush, averaging just 0.49 fantasy points per minute this season. I would rather roster any other human on Earth than that cat at the moment.
- Just play Domantas Sabonis.
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