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🏀 Slate Starter: NBA DFS Strategy for DraftKings + FanDuel | Wednesday, 3/17

Eric Lindquist



NBA Yahoo DFS daily fantasy basketball lineups. NBA Playoff cheat sheet 5/31/21. Awesemo's picks and projections May 31 with Bradley Beal.

With a monstrous 10-gamer to break down for this Saint Patrick’s Day slate, I’m going to be short on intro words (for once) and get right to the good stuff. So without further ado, let’s find some NBA DFS picks and strategies for DraftKings and FanDuel that can get us in the green on this greenest of days.

Be sure to check out the Slate Starter podcast, featuring yours truly and Rynpak, to get the first look at the slate and make NBA DFS picks for DraftKings and FanDuel!

NBA DFS Slate Starter: Picks & Strategy | March 17

Kings + Wizards = OH MY

Wednesday’s 10-game slate gives us access to a whopping 20 teams to mix-and-match plays from. Automatically my mind goes to stars-and-scrubs builds on these larger slates, as there’s almost always enough viable value opened up by injury news that makes jamming in studs easier than normal. Plus, ownership spreads itself out more organically with this many teams and players involved, as there are multiple sources of value and game environments to have interest in.

But even if every team in the league were on this slate, a matchup between the Kings and Wizards like we have tonight would still stick out like a sore thumb. Opening to the tune of a 245.5 total, this game sets up to be a bona fide track meet in basketball shoes between the NBA’s fastest team (Wizards) and the one ranked dead last in defensive efficiency (Kings). Add in that Marvin Bagley broke his hand on Monday and Raul Neto is questionable, and there could be some random pieces that receive noticeable bumps in this elite spot.

Let’s start with Bagley, a regular starter who was averaging 25.4 minutes per game on the season until the injury. His minutes in close games had actually been spiking into the 30’s of late, which means there’s a good chunk of court time to allocate elsewhere for Wednesday. Nemanja Bjelica has traditionally been the fill-in four in these sorts of situations, plus he had already re-entered the rotation with Hassan Whiteside out for extended time for health and safety protocols. Whiteside could return tomorrow, but even still he’s a more likely candidate to backup Holmes for an extremely small amount of time.

Fortunately, we’ll have that starting lineup before lock due to the 7 p.m. EST start time. Assuming Bjelica is in it, he’ll be one of my higher-owned plays on the slate at only $3,700 on DraftKings. And even if the Kings opt for Tyrese Haliburton to start instead, I’d say Bjelica is still viable. But every Kings starter is in play for NBA DFS on Wednesday, as this matchup is simply as elite as it gets. Also, be sure to make note of the fact that the powers that be graciously gave Richaun Holmes power forward eligibility on DraftKings.

The Wizards are close to the same situation; I’ll be happy to roster any of their starters with the exception of Garrison Mathews, who I have zero interest in. I don’t have to tell you Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal are elite plays that carry tremendous upsides, so get to as much of either as you’d like. Point guard looks slightly more loaded at the moment, so Beal at the discount on both sites sets up as my slight lean the night before. And don’t sleep on Rui Hachimura, who has now seen extended run of 36 and 38 minutes in the past two games; at only $5,000 on FanDuel, I’m expecting some lofty ownership compared to the single-digit numbers I’ve capitalized on his past two outings.

To wrap it all up, if you’ve read this article in the past, you know that I usually like staying off the early window of games in hopes that unexpected news pops up. That way you can lock in elite lower-owned plays later on, as well as react to what great lineups might need to win (or awful lineups might need to salvage). But the opportunity cost of this Kings – Wizards game — as well as the Bucks – Sixers and Nets – Pacers matchups also locking at 7 p.m. EST — feels way too high to consider that strategy on Wednesday.

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Chalk Rockets Day = Groundhog Day

I hate to be the one to break it to you, but we’re going to be jamming in Rockets for what feels like the 948th slate in a row on Wednesday. With John Wall and Victor Oladipo ruled out already, Christian Wood still considered doubtful and David Nwaba accepting that playing basketball with a broken wrist is probably a bad idea, we’re looking at Houston playing severely short-handed once more. Doesn’t hurt that the matchup is sublime, as the Warriors are second in pace this season.

By now, the usual suspects have been burned into our brains. Kevin Porter Jr. smashed on Monday and should continue smashing after a $200 deduction for no reason on DraftKings and the laughable $6,300 salary on FanDuel. He’s averaging 34.3 minutes per game in his first four games of the season en route to 40-plus fantasy points in three of them. On a back-to-back, perhaps he doesn’t see the 41 minutes he saw on Tuesday, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility.

Jae’Sean Tate also took a big step up in production and will therefore garner substantially more ownership the day after his 46.5 fantasy point outing. At only $5,000 on FanDuel, he feels like a chalky-but-goody option. I don’t like chasing these big games if I can help it, but the Rockets really don’t have a choice but to let him run out there for mid-30s minutes.

In fact, that’s the argument you can make for just about anyone in a Houston uniform on Wednesday. Be sure to check out the Tip-Off Show, the Deep Dive, and Live Before Lock on the Awesemo YouTube channel and stay updated on which bodies will even be available in this spot. Specifically, keep track of Wood’s and Ben McLemore‘s status, as their absences could shape the entire outlook of this team and this slate.

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Final Thoughts for Your NBA DFS Lineups

  • I’ll be honest, I’m riding a three-day NBA DFS losing streak and it really doesn’t feel good. In the past I’d get worked up about this sort of slump, but it’s not the first time, nor is it probably the last. What matters is that I’m happy with my process besides too much Derrick White on Monday and nowhere near enough Damian Lillard on Tuesday, so I’m not close to hitting the panic button yet. I believe it was Coldplay that once said “nobody said it was easy,” and I’m pretty sure they wrote that song about NBA DFS. So today I’m simply grabbing my lunch pail, rolling up my sleeves and heading back to work.
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nikola Jokic together on another stars-and-scrubs style slate feels too easy. I will find my way to as much of both as humanly possible and live with the result.
  • Kemba Walker tends to miss the second half of back-to-backs for the Celtics, so the Jeff Teague experience is back in play. He’s the flat minimum on DraftKings, so I’m expecting him to pop in projection models across the industry if/when news of Walker sitting hits.
  • 76ers – Bucks isn’t exactly Kings – Wizards, but it still opened with a not-too-shabby total of 235.5. With Joel Embiid still noticeably absent, the Sixers are once again a team to roster up and down their lineup.
  • Caris LeVert on FanDuel is still criminally low. I refuse to make him my “just play so-and-so” sign-off though, as recommending a 50%-owned play feels like too much of a copout.
  • Just play Tyrese Haliburton.

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