Hello and welcome back to the NBA Slate Starter article! I hope you enjoyed a little time away from the grind — or perhaps spent your days in the NHL lobbies like me — and are feeling ready to rock again. There is a tiny two-game slate to break down, but the prize pools are anything but tiny. With a $4, $200,000-to-first contest on FanDuel and a $10, $250,000-to-first on DraftKings, there’s a ton of money out there for the taking on Wednesday. So let’s find a few NBA DFS picks and strategies that just might help our lineups get 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 | March 10
My Name is Jonas
This might sound like hyperbole, but it’s really not: This is the worst center slate I have ever seen in my life on FanDuel. That includes full slates, turbo slates, night slates — everything. At least on DraftKings we can play some power forwards at the position. We can even take some random shots on three separate Washington big men near the $3,000 minimum.
But just look at the center options we have for tomorrow — or as I like to call it, “Jonas Valanciunas, then everyone else”:
In total, there will only be nine active players at the position, and everyone but Valanciunas is going to project like garbage. Not listed are Dwight Powell and Drew Eubanks — both at $3,500 — whom I apologize to for cutting them out of this picture. But I couldn’t fit them, and for fantasy purposes they’re completely irrelevant.
With such scarce/scary options, I would be surprised if Valanciunas isn’t rostered in well more than 50% of lineups in the big $4 tournament on FanDuel tomorrow. Of course, dropping down to anyone below him will give you a unique roster construction. And Valanciunas’ mere 32.7 fantasy points over 28 minutes in this same matchup on March 2 would certainly be disappointing (and very beatable).
But even still, I don’t see a world where I’m not going way over the field on Valanciunas today, regardless of how insane that number is. I wouldn’t even know how to, as besides some shots on Jakob Poetl (so long as he continues to start) or a random dart on a Washington big to jam studs in elsewhere, you’re giving up too much at the position. So while the ownership could very well appear asinine in the morning, I personally don’t see any way around it.
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The San Antonio Spurs: Do We Really Have To?
While it should come as no surprise to you I like the Memphis – Washington game environment the most for fantasy purposes, so will everyone else. And while it should come as no surprise to you I like paying up for Luka Doncic as my favorite stud to lead the slate in raw points, so will everyone else. Which means we had better identify a few plays from this San Antonio team in order to get different on this slate.
The problem there is that Gregg Popovich’s team just got exponentially healthier over the All-Star break. With LaMarcus Aldridge, Derrick White and Rudy Gay no longer on the injury report — the latter two of which returning from near month-long absences — it’s not a fun team to turn to on Wednesday. The prices across both sites make it very difficult to roster a single Spur without feeling super uncomfortable, even though it’s just a two-game slate.
So do we really have to roster a few of these guys? Unfortunately, the answer is yes. But if you’re building a bunch of lineups on Fantasy Cruncher, I strongly urge you to cap the number of Spurs per lineup to either one or two. Besides a game stack where the Spurs – Mavericks game greatly outperforms its early 222 expectation (Wizards – Grizzlies is way up to 238), I would be floored to see two in the optimal lineup at the end of the night.
If you force me to say which two, targeting the ceilings of Dejounte Murray and DeMar DeRozan makes the most sense to me. They are certainly overpriced with recent returns of everyone else, but both also have the most secure minutes and usage of the bunch. I’m going to prioritize them from this team and let everyone else go deep-diving here for value.
Final Thoughts for Your NBA DFS Lineups
- While it is technically easier to break down only two games, the subsequent ways to get different in large-field tournaments I find to be much more challenging. It’s much more difficult to identify multiple low-owned plays you can be confident in, so leave salary on the table to help you create some unique lineups.
- In that same vein, I sort of like what Rynpak said at the end of the Slate Starter podcast: “Don’t be afraid to get weird.” It’s a two-game slate, so if you like your lineup, chances are it’s duplicated multiple times over. Uncomfortable lineups actually straddle closer to +EV lineups than good lineups do on these short slates, so anything that isn’t popular is viable.
- There have been a number of positional switch-ups on FanDuel to make this slate more playable. If you’re hand-building, take note of those changes.
- Just play Kristaps Porzingis.
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