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The NBA Slate Starter: NBA DFS Strategy for DraftKings + FanDuel | Friday, 5/28

Eric Lindquist



NBA Yahoo DFS daily fantasy basketball lineups. NBA Playoff cheat sheet 6/10/21. Awesemo's picks and projections June 10 with Kyrie Irving.

Not much super surprising went down on Thursday. Although the Trail Blazers were favored slightly over the Nuggets, sharp money won the day as the Bucks, Lakers and aforementioned Nuggets were all easy winners in their Game 3 duels. Hopefully tonight has a little more drama in store for us, but it was a successful day of NBA DFS advice and picks, nevertheless. So let’s keep this streak going and find some more winners for Friday’s three-game slate on DraftKings and FanDuel.

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NBA DFS Slate Starter: Picks & Strategy | May 28

Be sure to check out today’s NBA Strategy Show with Loughy and Josh, live at 10 a.m. ET!

Friday Fireside Chat: For the Love of God, Leave Salary on the Table

This is more of a cautionary tale than anything, but that’s sort of how NBA DFS goes. Yours truly was hand building late-slate DraftKings lineups before a dinner with friends, and right before lock, landed on a certain build that made the most sense with the help of Awesemo’s world-class projections. In case you didn’t know, being an Awesemo+ subscriber gets you more than just main slate projections, but late slate and Showdown projections, too. That is especially important this time of year where NBA DFS slates for every single contest are massive, regardless of the number of games, format or lock time.

Anyways, the build looked perfect putting it together besides 1) no one was particular low-owned, and 2) it used up all $50,000 of salary. As each player was specifically clicked on, it seemed like the easiest 1v1 swap was Monte Morris over Austin Rivers for $100 less. But for whatever reason, it felt like an uncomfortable decision to make, so your boy here went with the higher-projected Morris with no regard for the chalkiness of one compared to the other. Boy, what a horrendous decision:

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My lineup ended up tied for 23rd for $85.32, joining a 47-lineup train that all went Morris at 52.2% ownership. The winner? They solo shipped $50,000 with the identical lineup, minus of course Rivers at only 10.3%. In other words, there is no sleep that will be had on account of such an egregious error.

Now, the 1v1 or 2v2 game is a game you can play forever if you play NBA DFS seriously, as there are so many scenarios where small differences in lineup construction can cost you an uncomfortable amount of money. And had Morris outperformed Rivers, perhaps this analysis never comes to be, as 47-way split for first would make it seem as though it was an excellent night, and no mistakes were made. But regardless of the results, there is no excuse when hand-building a few lineups in a contest to stick on an obviously chalky build in a contest with 10,000-plus entries that is likely to be duplicated many times over, especially when an easy swap to a lesser-owned option leaving $100 on the table exists.

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So as you’re putting together your lineups tonight — be it for the three-game main slate, two-game night slate or single-game contests — keep this example in mind. Avoiding massive duplication on shorter slates can be equally as important as knowing what the right plays are, and without a doubt raises your expected value exponentially over a long period of time. And hey, if you’re making 150 lineups, you’re bound to land on a few lineups that might mirror this level of chalk. But for the most part, make a conscious effort to be different with the majority of your lineups, as getting different can require as little as a 1v1 swap off of any popular play.

The Clippers Conundrum

We’re blessed with three Game 3’s this evening, and considering the lack of changes to the DraftKings price tags for each team in action, the chalk amongst the studs seems rather easy to identify. This is referring pretty much exclusively to Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, who saw only $200 and $100 salary bumps, respectively, despite near-50% ownership in every contest on Tuesday. And although the Clippers are having a devil of a time winning a game in this series, there is no question where the minutes, usage and production are coming from on this team.

So here’s what tonight’s slate really comes down to on DraftKings: are you going to play mostly Leonard in lineups, George, neither or both? They are quite obviously the best values on the board, and every superstar option above their low-$8,000 tags forces some uncomfortable builds due to the lack of value on virtually every playoff slate. Of course, the game could always go sideways in a way no one is expecting and send more than half the field into a tailspin where they can’t win. But considering there’s only a 2-point spread in this must-win game for the Clippers, it feels rather unlikely we’ll get both of their studs to fail.

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That means that, as we spoke about in the first segment, picking and choosing spots to get contrarian in lineups with one or both of Leonard and George will be extremely important. Leave money on the table. Take a stand on which one might outproduce the other (my vote is Leonard). Take into account which is listed at a weaker position and take an overweight stance as a result (my vote is Leonard again). And per usual, Awesemo’s Boom/Bust tool is going to be the best place to help us find leverage for our lineups.

Final Thoughts for Your NBA DFS Lineups

  • Serge Ibaka and Maxi Kleber are both questionable in that Clippers – Mavericks late-night hammer. It seems unlikely either would miss due to it being the playoffs, but especially for Kleber who provides a bunch of minutes and value, have a plan in place for either to miss.
  • Kyrie Irving returns to Boston. With no love lost between those two sides during his brief Celtics tenure, this might be a spot to invest in that narrative now that his price tag is under $9,000 on both DraftKings and FanDuel.
  • The Knicks and Hawks have combined for only 405 points through their two games, which means as a whole we’ll be picking straws to decide which pieces might pop in this Game 3 slugfest.
  • With that in mind, just play Derrick Rose.
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