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The NBA Slate Starter: NBA DFS Strategy for DraftKings + FanDuel | Wednesday, 4/7

Eric Lindquist

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FanDuel NBA Lineup PIcks based on Josh Engleman's NBA ConTENders for Wednesday April 21 based on expert simulations with Kyrie Irving

The crazy slates just keep on coming, as Tuesday was yet another wild one in the Association. Normally the decision to roster a bunch of late-locking plays such as Aaron Gordon, Stephen Curry, and Draymond Green would look genius, as it allowed for late-swapping into bunches of Bucks no problem following the surprising Giannis Antetokounmpo scratch. But since all of them proceeded to have very average outcomes, the whole night was a wash despite a distinct advantage. Such is life sometimes, so we march on to Wednesday’s nine-game slate. Let’s find a few more NBA DFS picks and strategies for DraftKings and FanDuel to hopefully take us to the top.


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 7

Out Goes Harden, In Comes Durant

Wednesday brings us a nine-gamer with much lower totals than a slate of this size has had in quite some time. Six of the seven totals have been released at the point of writing this the night before, and they’re all below 230. The only one still to come, which should be the only one above 230, is Pelicans – Nets.

This game could be a fantasy goldmine depending on how news shakes out. As far as the Pelicans go, it will likely be another “hurry up and wait” situation for word on Brandon Ingram‘s questionable status. Should he sit once more, Lonzo Ball and Zion Williamson become major pieces on this slate, especially considering the 50-point fantasy ceiling Ball has flashed in his first two games back. And with regards to Williamson, there is nothing that could get me off rostering him religiously across the industry so long as he plays on this back-to-back.

But the real intrigue of this game lies with the Nets’ premiere offseason acquisition, Kevin Durant. After missing nearly a month and a half of action, Durant is listed probable to return. Just in time, too, as his team will now be without premiere in-season acquisition James Harden for at least two weeks due to a right hamstring strain. Considering the Nets’ legitimate title aspirations, one would have to think pushing their stars in the regular season is certainly not a priority.

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But even if he’s announced to be on a minutes limits limit in the 26-28 range for tomorrow, Durant would still be a more-than-viable fantasy option at $9,200 on DraftKings and only $8,800 on FanDuel. He averages 1.36 FanDuel points per minute on the season, and that bumps up to 1.41 with Harden off the floor. On DraftKings there’s also the option of rostering Luka Doncic at the small forward spot, but on FanDuel where he’s cheaper and you have to roster two small forwards, he’ll rightfully garner attention no matter what.

Of course, the other big question is how Durant’s return will affect Kyrie Irving going forward. Averaging 1.33 DraftKings points per minute on the year, it wouldn’t take much of a decrease to bury him at his $10,000-plus price tags on both sites. However, with the traded Caris LeVert and Harden off the floor this season, Irving’s production actually catapults up to 1.46 DraftKings points per minute. And if Durant is in any way limited, he launches up even further to a ridiculous 1.57 rate when you take the trio of Durant, Harden and LeVert off the floor. In other words, Irving still looks fantastic to slam into your NBA DFS lineups.

Last part of the equation is just how good of a spot this is for both teams. Despite middle-of-the-road pace rankings for each, the Pelicans carry the league’s third-worst defensive efficiency, while the Nets aren’t far behind at sixth-worst. Neither team should be remotely capable of stopping the other, especially if you add Ingram into the offensive mix for the Pelicans. Keep your eyes peeled to news revolving around this matchup, as it’s truly the best game environment this slate has to offer.


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Happy Goga Bitadze Day!

With Domantas Sabonis and Malcolm Brogdon questionable, while Myles Turner will almost certainly sit after a third quarter ankle sprain on Tuesday, the Pacers could once again project as some of the best values on the board. Hopefully a lot of you learned your lesson about keeping roster spots available for later in the night, as star players are being routinely scratched well after lock. But for the most part, there’s some undeniably good plays from Indiana tonight you shouldn’t mind taking up your roster spots.

That list could very well begin with one Goga Bitadze, a 21-year-old second-year man out of the country of Georgia. At minimum salary on DraftKings and $3,900 on FanDuel, there’s little doubt in my mind he’ll be a major talking point on this slate come tomorrow morning. And while it’s hard to know where else value could emerge the night before, it’ll be tough to equal the ringing endorsement Awesemo’s own Rynpak gave him on the Slate Starter podcast. He described him as a polished center simply buried on the depth chart who makes the most of severely limited playing time. That could describe a lot of NBA bigs, but coming from Rayen, that carries a lot of weight.

He was also the 18th pick of the 2019 NBA Draft, so the Pacers have draft equity tied up in developing Bitadze. And despite having no true opportunity to blossom yet, he still has a better DraftKings points per minute rate (1.13) than that of fellow Pacers center Turner (1.00). So if you get any combination of Sabonis or Turner out tonight, Bitadze could make for a strong lock-button candidate for your NBA DFS lineups.

Final Thoughts on Your NBA DFS Lineups

  • We’ve grown accustomed to targeting the Wizards whenever they appear on a slate, largely in part to their league-leading pace. But considering the plethora of bodies the Magic now have at their disposal, it’s difficult to prioritize anyone besides Wendell Carter at $6,000 on DraftKings.
  • You’re forgiven if you don’t recognize this Hornets team on Wednesday, considering the likes of Brad Wanamaker are in and stars LaMelo Ball and Gordon Hayward are out. Be sure to check out Awesemo’s industry-leading projections from the World’s No. 1 NBA DFS player, as his handling of minutes for this Hornets rotation will go a long way in breaking down each player’s viability.
  • Just play Russell Westbrook.

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