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The NBA Slate Starter: NBA DFS Strategy for DraftKings + FanDuel | Monday, 5/31

Eric Lindquist



NBA DFS DraftKings FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Optimal lIneups

Sunday was one of the most anticlimactic days of playoff basketball of the last decade. All four games lacked good drama, good basketball, or quite frankly, good anything. We’ve only got two games for Monday, but here’s hoping that somehow, someway they can be better than what we just endured. With that in mind, let’s find a few NBA DFS strategies and picks that take us to the top of tournament leaderboards on DraftKings and FanDuel.

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NBA DFS Slate Starter: Picks & Strategy | May 31

It’s Just Another Mismatch Monday

No question about it, Monday’s Memorial Day slate has two Game 4s with obvious home dogs on the board. The Sixers most likely are going to pull the brooms out on the Wizards, and there’s no doubt who the better team is between the Jazz and the Grizzlies in the late-night hammer. But that’s the beautiful thing about fantasy sports, and NBA DFS in particular: no matter how mismatched the games might be, that’s of little concern to us so long as we have players and salaries available to us.

Let’s start with the Sixers — Wizards. Russell Westbrook went for the 60-spot we had been anticipating all year in Game 3, and yet the performance still didn’t make its way into the optimal lineup on either DraftKings or FanDuel on Saturday. If that doesn’t speak volumes as to how hard it is to scrape for value on these postseason slates, nothing else will. However, with only two games to plug-and-play players from, locking in the raw points on the likes of Westbrook or Joel Embiid will be a major talking point across the industry leading up to lock.

This really can’t be emphasized enough, but being sensitive to the Boom/Bust tool when it comes to Westbrook and Embiid on this slate will be imperative to getting your money in good on Monday. It’s hard to know what their optimal percentage could look like the night before, but it would be surprising if they didn’t go over-owned compared to how many times they end up in the top lineup on the slate. Yet with the lack of value we continue to emphasize on every Deeper Dive and Live Before Lock show on the Awesemo YouTube channel, it should make sense that finding a way to fit both into a large allocation of your lineups is an extremely viable tournament strategy. After all, they’re the top fantasy producers on their respective teams, so if this game can stay remotely close, they’re the most likely to benefit.

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PointGuardFest 2021

Mike Conley returned to his former home court in Memphis and continued the show he’s been putting on all series long. The former Grizzly is averaging 23.0 points and 11.3 assists along with 50% shooting from 3. He’s undoubtedly been Utah’s most valuable player through three games, and with only a minuscule bump up to $7,000 on DraftKings, he should be extremely popular again in NBA DFS lineups.

But somehow and some way, he’s still only been the second-best point guard in the series. Which begs the question: where was this version of Ja Morant the entire regular season? After what can only be considered a down year for the 21-year-old point guard, Morant has come alive to put up 27 points a night versus the top-seed Jazz. Furthermore, he’s been consistently aggressive, finishing strong at the rim versus Rudy Gobert and Company on a routine basis. Even Vegas is encouraged by what they’ve seen from the young Murray State product, as the opening line for this game of five is substantially lower than you’d expect from a 1-seed versus an 8-seed in the modern age.

If you’re making a bunch of lineups, you’ll obviously get a bunch of exposure to both of these strong options on a two-game slate. But if forced to pick only one, which hot hand should we be riding with? Personally, it feels like an easy Conley choice on DraftKings due to that depressed tag for him compared to Morant’s $8,400 salary. It’s too cheap and he’s the substantially better three-point shooter, so the little bonus you get for those will go a lot further for him.

But on FanDuel, there is no way Morant ($8,200) isn’t the priority over Conley ($8,100) due to no real difference in those price tags. Plus, as Donovan Mitchell trends up in minutes and usage, it’s going to cut into Conley considerably, as the 1.17 FanDuel points per minute player with Mitchell off the floor this season sees a decline down to 1.03 when they share the court. And there is no question they are going to spend a lot of court time together, so prepare for some less pronounced Conley performances and Mitchell returns to form.

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Final Thoughts for Your NBA DFS Lineups

  • Is Davis Bertans the fantasy basketball devil? He might be the fantasy basketball devil.
  • If you are the type of NBA DFS player who focuses on either DraftKings or FanDuel only, you’re probably doing it wrong in the postseason. Different salaries force you into different plays, and therefore mitigates your risk of over-investing to one type of lineup construction.
  • Lots of people want specific takes for who the sub-5% lineup differentiator could be on tonight’s slate. That is a more general question than most NBA DFS players think it is, as it’s really the lineup itself and the type of story it tells that really matters. But if you want someone, get some George Hill in your life.
  • Just play Tobias Harris.

Be sure to check out today’s NBA Strategy Show!

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