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The NBA Slate Starter: NBA DFS Strategy for DraftKings + FanDuel | Thursday, 4/1

Eric Lindquist

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Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard is reportedly unhappy with the Clippers medical staff downplaying his injury, and wants out of L.A.

It was death by James Harden and Andre Drummond on Wednesday, as seemingly every other piece of chalk on FanDuel (where I had most of my action) got there. Some nights are like that, as there’s no reason to change anything about my process with either play. Injuries happen in every sport, so play DFS long enough and eventually you’ll get burned by one (or in this case, two). On to Thursday, which has a fantastic seven-game main slate in store for diehards and provides plenty of NBA DFS picks to pour over on DraftKings and FanDuel.


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 | April 1

Harden Hamstring Watch

The aforementioned Harden left at the 4:47 mark of the third quarter in Wednesday’s matchup against his former team, never to be seen from again. The report is that it’s right hamstring tightness, which doesn’t sound like the most severe thing in the world. However, for a team already riddled by the injury bug with star Kevin Durant, being healthy is the main priority for them due to the lofty title aspirations they rightly have. But Harden’s status throws a massive question mark into this slate, as Thursday’s matchup with the Hornets would be about as good as it gets should he be able to play through the injury.

If Harden sits, Kyrie Irving becomes the priority spend-up option of the slate at $9,800 on DraftKings and $10,000 on FanDuel, and that’s saying something considering Russell Westbrook‘s current form. Of course, Westbrook has his backcourt mate Bradley Beal with a questionable status as well, but considering the 7 p.m. EST start time of the Wizards’ tip-off against the Pistons, we’ll be guaranteed to have that news. Should Harden warm up and try to give it a go, it’s not a guarantee to know his status until the Nets game locks at 7:30 p.m. EST.

Also, it’s doubtful Blake Griffin will play the second half of this back-to-back, which could make Nicolas Claxton very intriguing for your NBA DFS lineups on Thursday. I haven’t rostered him too often this season, but $4,600 at a weak power forward position on FanDuel and just $4,200 at center on DraftKings is more than adequate for his 1.04 DraftKings points per minute. And of course, Bruce Brown falls into massive consideration in the event Harden misses, as he has averaged 0.87 DraftKings points per minute with Harden, Durant and Caris LeVert off the floor this season. Catch the Live Before Lock show with me and Greg Ehrenberg on Awesemo’s YouTube channel, as we’ll surely give you up-to-date news regarding this and all the other key injury news as it rolls in for this slate.

The Clippers? Again?

Paul George has been ruled out already for Thursday, which is a nice change of pace for a Clippers team that has gone completely Hollywood this season with their flair for the dramatic. Time and time again, they find new and interesting ways to screw up slates with their blatant disregard for reporting injuries promptly (or sometimes at all). And even for tomorrow, we will most likely be sweating Marcus Morris questionable status all the way up until their 10 p.m. EST lock for a home matchup versus Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets.

That’s a big piece of news waiting in the wings, as Morris has seen minutes in the 30s in any close game the Los Angeles Late-Scratches have been involved since the Serge Ibaka back injury nearly three weeks ago. It’s also a potential disaster if you choose to front-load these Clippers not named Kawhi Leonard and Morris plays, since all of their prices have shot up in the aftermath of them being popular at their bargain basement prices. It would not be apocalyptically bad to be stuck with any of them, but should you be stuck with the likes of a $5,200 Terance Mann on DraftKings or a $4,600 Nicolas Batum on FanDuel and Morris plays, you won’t be particularly thrilled.

All of that said, Reggie Jackson remains too cheap on both sites considering his increased opportunity with Patrick Beverley out and Lou Williams shipped off to Atlanta. And Luke Kennard is a $4,200 player on DraftKings who should play minutes in the 30s no matter what; so long as they’re not named P.J. Tucker in that scenario, you should have interest in most anyone that cheap on the floor for that long. Long story short, this is yet another example of a slate that will be largely shaped by news that will not drop for quite some time. Follow Newzgod at the @AwesemoNBA Twitter account so you can adjust your NBA DFS lineups to all the injury updates accordingly.


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Final Thoughts for Your NBA DFS Lineups

  • How average are the reigning Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat this season? Their record is 24-24, they’re 12-12 at home, 12-12 on the road, 15-15 versus fellow East teams and 9-9 versus the West. That, my friends, is remarkably average. Victor Oladipo is scheduled to make his Heat debut, which should make this team an easy write-off from an NBA DFS perspective.
  • Bogdan Bogdanovic came back to life on Tuesday against the Suns, putting up 46.8 FanDuel points in a whopping 37 minutes at only $4,200. Of course, they didn’t change his price, so get ready for some massive ownership heading his direction on Thursday.
  • Zion Williamson (sprained thumb) and Lonzo Ball (hip) are yet two more massive pieces to this slate’s puzzle. Every Pelican with a pulse could be in play should both be ruled out, but they probably are closer to playing than not considering Vegas’ opening line of -10.5 in favor of New Orleans — that and the Magic are just that terrible now.
  • Just play Isaiah Hartenstein.

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