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The NBA Slate Starter: NBA DFS Strategy for DraftKings + FanDuel | Thursday, 4/29

Eric Lindquist

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NBA DFS DraftKings FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Optimal lIneups

Wednesday was yet another painful outing, as almost no one highlighted from yesterday’s article besides Russell Westbrook did anything. That is saying something, as 100% of him and his 65 fantasy points couldn’t even come close to salvaging the night. Zion Williamson‘s implosion and the Jazz running the Kings out of the gym with their reserves were the main culprits for the miserable evening, but that’s just the way it goes sometimes. Anyways, we have plenty of NBA DFS picks and strategies to discuss for tonight’s six-game main slates on DraftKings and FanDuel, so let’s get to work in order to rebound in style.


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 29

Lonzo Ball-ed Out

Thursday’s six-game slate is point guard stacked per usual, as top-end options such as Luka Doncic (if he plays) and Stephen Curry loom large with their well-known ceilings. There is also Kyrie Irving and Malcolm Brogdon facing off against one another, both of whom have flashed massive upsides themselves in recent games. Kyle Lowry, Kevin Porter Jr., Mike James — the list of viable/elite options up-and-down the salary spectrum goes on and on.

But after Lonzo Ball‘s Wednesday’s eruption versus the Nuggets, there might be some new chalk in town at the position. All Ball did was drop a Westbrook-esque 16-point, 12-assist, 12-rebound stat line in 36 minutes of work, cementing himself as the second-highest raw point scorer on the slate. Should gamers expect anything remotely close to that performance again tonight? No. Should they expect another six stocks to buoy his fantasy output even further? Absolutely not. But at only $6,800 on DraftKings and $6,700 on FanDuel, there’s a little extra room for error in him making the optimal, as he surely doesn’t need 60-plus fantasy points to get there (but it’s sure nice to know it’s there).

That is where the age-old question of “is rostering Ball tomorrow points chasing” becomes a big part of tomorrow’s slate. On one hand, he has never been a scoring-dependent player ever, and his box score certainly solidifies that statement. That makes him more likely than most to repeat this type of output, as a poor shooting night shouldn’t sink lineups with him should his role stay somewhat consistent to what it was Wednesday.

But on the other hand, there are certain outcomes from Wednesday’s game that feel less likely to be duplicated against the Thunder on Thursday. For one, Zion Williamson legitimately contributed no peripheral stats the way he has over the past few months. Assuming Steven Adams is out after leaving Wednesday’s game at halftime, Williamson has a 12.2% rebounding rate compared to Ball’s 8.5% with Adams off the floor this season. He does surpass Williamson in assist rate — 31.8% compared to Williamson’s 21.0% — but any regression towards Williamson cuts into Ball’s projected production in a very meaningful way.


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However, one reason chalk Ball might be good chalk for your NBA DFS lineups on Thursday is that in his 481 minutes with Adams off the floor this year, he actually produces the second-most DraftKings points per minute on the team at 1.17, slightly edging out Brandon Ingram (1.15) but slightly trailing Williamson (1.40). Still, that 1.17 number exceeds that of Brogdon (1.14), who should see a similar minutes projection but is substantially more expensive on both sites. And that’s not to say Brogdon versus the Nets is a bad play; it’s simply putting into context how strong Ball looks completely independent of his ceiling game yesterday.

There is no way of knowing just how popular certain point guards will be as of writing this, but there’s no question Awesemo’s ownership projections will have us covered. They are the best in the business, and trusting them in order to make informed pivots tomorrow will be a huge part of the process. If you want to see that process play out in real time, tune in to the Live Before Lock show on the Awesemo YouTube channel. Greg Ehrenberg and I will be breaking down everything you need to know for your NBA DFS lineups in the moments leading up to the 7 p.m. matchups.

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The Ugly Duckling Could Be a Swan

With five of the six matchups tonight boasting totals that opened at 225 or more, it’s jarring how much time we might have to spend on the one gruesome game. Due to the Pistons sitting Jerami Grant, Mason Plumlee and Cory Joseph for rest purposes (see: tanking), gamers will be forced to take some shots on a team with only a 103.5 implied team total, which is the only one under 110 on the entire slate. There is no player on the team listed above $6,000, so be sure to check out the Awesemo projections as they update tomorrow based on who is starting.

And their opposition, the Dallas Mavericks, have some major injury concerns for the third-straight outing that could open up a plethora of cheap options in the early game. Just look at the red “Q’s” on the DraftKings lineup screen (and let it be known, every player with the tag is truly questionable at the moment):

NBA DFS Picks & Daily Fantasy Basketball Strategy advice for DraftKings and FanDuel tonight THursday April 29 with expert projections

Of course, the two most important names are at the top in Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. Should either play, they can certainly be prioritized for their ceilings against a horrendous Pistons opposition. And while there might be minutes concerns for Porzingis should he play, that risk is certainly mitigated by his more-than-favorable $7,600 salary over on FanDuel.

In summary, it’s impossible to analyze anything here until there is word on the laundry list of questionable players on the Mavericks side and on the Pistons starting lineup. Considering this game is the first one on the slate, don’t get too panicked. But know well ahead of time that this matchup could become the most value-laden spot on the slate or next-to-irrelevant depending on how everything breaks down. Keep those NewzGod notifications from the @AwesemoNBA Twitter account coming to your phone, and get ready to react to whatever chaos is bound to ensue.

Final Thoughts for Your NBA DFS Lineups

  • On the DraftKings slate, Goga Bitadze could end up super chalk should he play at $4,000. Still no idea why they didn’t price him up as he’s bound to play eventually, but such is life.
  • On Tuesday, Golden State played perhaps the worst first half of basketball in NBA history (not hyperbole). They couldn’t ask for a better get-right spot than the Timberwolves, so with Kelly Oubre already ruled out, get ready to fire a bunch of Warriors wings up (plus Stephen Curry).
  • Just play Kevin Durant.

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