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The NBA Slate Starter: NBA DFS Strategy for DraftKings + FanDuel | Monday, 5/24

Eric Lindquist



NBA DFS daily fantasy rankings DraftKings FanDuel lineup optimizer picks optimal today tonight free expert advice tips strategy best bets player props odds lines predictions projections ownership Giannis Antetokounmpo

This weekend was full of some certifiably insane Game 1 outcomes, especially in the late-night hammer on Sunday as the Grizzlies came through in a big way to upset the top-seeded Jazz in the West. Now that there is some familiarity with what the matchups and rotations should look like, it’s time to capitalize on some recency bias and slight pricing adjustments as each series progresses. So, without further ado, let’s get to work breaking down some NBA DFS picks and strategies for NBA DFS lineups on Monday’s two-game slate on DraftKings and FanDuel.

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NBA DFS Slate Starter: Picks & Strategy | May 24

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There’s Giannis, Then Everyone Else

There are two Game 2’s on tap for Monday with Heat — Bucks tipping off at 7:30 p.m. EST and Trail Blazers — Nuggets a bit later at 10 p.m. EST. All four teams have a superstar spend-up to prioritize, and interestingly enough, they’re all at different positions. Take a look at FanDuel specifically:

NBA DFS Picks daily fantasy basketball lineup strategy advice for DraftKings & FanDuel NBA Eastern Conference Western Conference Playoffs tonight projections ownership

Playing three of the four together on this smaller slate would lock a lot of raw points into lineups and is significantly easier than one would expect. The same applies to DraftKings, especially because the $8,500 price tag on Jimmy Butler is far from cost prohibitive. It will be interesting to see where Awesemo’s industry-leading ownership projections has the public coming in on each, but the guess is Butler will lead the way, followed by Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic and Damian Lillard.

But no matter what the ownership projections say, Antetokounmpo should be the priority in lineups so long as he isn’t priced up to $12,000 yet. For one, the rest of the power forward plays are complete filth, with Aaron Gordon the next available play down at $5,600 on FanDuel. It is unlikely that any other player at the position will be projected for over 30 fantasy points, meaning that Giannis’ outlook is double that of anyone else. So on FanDuel especially, he’s as close to a lock as one can get.

And even on DraftKings, prioritizing the two-time reigning MVP feels like the way to go. Despite the less concerns over position and the higher price tag when factoring in the $3,000 salary floor, Antetokounmpo is such an unbelievable smash now that he should get 30s minutes from here on out the rest of the season. By simply multiplying his 1.64 DraftKings points per minute on the season with the 40 minutes he played in regulation on Saturday, rudimentary math gives Antetokounmpo a base projection of 65 fantasy points. That means he somehow underachieved by putting up “only” 61 DraftKings points in his 45 minutes in Game 1, so expect things should this boost to his playing time be the new norm.

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Denver Played Who?

One of the more surprising results out of all the Game 1’s had to be the Trail Blazers beating up on the Nuggets 123-109. The road team took a slight halftime deficit and turned it into a double-digit lead by the end of the third quarter, allowing them to comfortably coast the rest of the way. So when looking at the box score and seeing 20 minutes for Markus Howard, one would certainly expect that the game out of hand, allowing him to play a surplus of garbage time minutes. After all, the backup point guard had played all of 224 minutes the entire regular season, with 66 of those minutes coming in the final two games of the Nuggets’ season where they had nothing to play for.

Alas, Howard only played meaningful minutes, as the game flow clearly shows:

NBA DFS Picks daily fantasy basketball lineup strategy advice for DraftKings & FanDuel NBA Eastern Conference Western Conference Playoffs tonight projections ownership

Maybe head coach Mike Malone really liked what he saw from Howard in those last games of the regular season, but it’s still pretty shocking to see him carve out a spot in the playoff rotation as a result of it. That adds a whole level of unknowns to the Nuggets, as there is such a limited sample size on the undrafted rookie out of Marquette that it’s hard to know what his impact will be on the floor.

And although he’s a thin play himself, it’s more of a question of how he could affect those around him. Surprisingly, he has a 24% usage rate on the season, good for third on the entire team behind Jokic and Jamal Murray, who is out for the year with a torn ACL. And it’s not like the Nuggets have any firepower available off the bench, as JaMychal Green and Paul Millsap are simply washed up at this point in time. So if Howard is here to stay for the Nuggets, expect some issues when mining for any sort of value out of Monte Morris or Austin Rivers, as Howard’s minutes are sure to come straight out of theirs. And although Jokic and Michael Porter Jr. feel like extremely good options no matter what, be aware Howard’s usage could put a lid on the ceiling of almost everyone else on this team at their current price points.

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Final Thoughts for Your NBA DFS Lineups

  • NBA DFS is neat and all, but the prop market has been incredible of late. Check out the NBA Player Props tool, where expected return on investment can be calculated using Awesemo’s projections. Once you find a play you like, click the link to OddsShopper and scope out where the best available line is, and proceed to print money.
  • Just play Robert Covington.

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View our DraftKings NBA ownership, our FanDuel NBA ownership and our Yahoo! ownership. We also have Yahoo! NBA ownership rankings, FanDuel NBA ownership rankings and DraftKings ownership rankings for today's slate. Our NBA DFS projections FanDuel are updated regularly, including whenever any relevant news breaks. Looking for more NBA DFS FanDuel and the best free NBA DFS tools? Check out our NBA DFS rankings for fantasy points and values that are derived directly from Alex Baker's own NBA DFS projections today.
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