The days of putting oﬀ your NBA DFS research until tomorrow afternoon are gone. With the earlier tip-oﬀs and 24/7, basketball camp nature of the bubble, it’s required that you have a feel for the slate well in advance. So that’s exactly what I’m here to do: give you some talking points so that when you wake up bright and early Tuesday morning, you feel more prepared to take on the day. Let’s get into some NBA DFS picks and analysis for DraftKings and FanDuel on Aug. 11.
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The NBA DFS Slate Starter
Late-season NBA DFS is in full swing, and by that I mean there are a lot of folks who wanted to full-swing their laptops out a window with how crazy news got just before lock on Monday. Whether it’s because of unfamiliar rotations, trouble differentiating between the abundance of value options, or not taking the time to assess the risk of certain studs sitting out the end of meaningless games, some people throw a lot of dead lineups into big DFS contests this time of year. So let’s not be ‘some people’ and try to properly assess a few of the obstacles that lie ahead of us on Tuesday.
News, and Lots of It
The DFS Gods granted us with copious amounts of pertinent ‘out/doubtful’ injury news before Monday’s end, a pleasant surprise considering the amount of ‘questionable’ tags we’ve had to sort out lately. A few things that stand out at first glance: James Harden’s already been ruled out, so Russell Westbrook and Austin Rivers (who’s coming off an absurd performance on Sunday) are automatic mega-chalk. Aaron Gordon, Evan Fournier, and Michael Carter-Williams are doubtful, plus Terrence Ross bolted on the bubble, so the Magic might need a Disney employee or two to fill in. And New Orleans has Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram and Jrue Holiday listed as out, so any Pelican with a pulse will be playable.
And just as I was writing this, the Nets, 76ers and Spurs announced even more injury news to the fray. Tuesday should be a fun one, so buckle up.
Late-Swapping to Late Value is Your Friend
Let’s talk a little game theory, shall we? We’ve established there’s already a ton of news out for tomorrow, with plenty more on the way. But how can we take advantage of our opposition with it? I find in late-season NBA DFS, the answer is simple: Embrace the uncertainty of later news and late-swap to the late-emerging value.
Take today for example: I wasn’t in love with the idea of chalk Mike Muscala on DraftKings in the morning and knew that if Serge Ibaka got ruled out in the afternoon, I’d be sitting with a 1.21 fantasy point-per-minute stud in Chris Boucher at the exact same $3,100 price tag with a fraction of the ownership. Did I expect 52.75 fantasy points out of him? That would be a ‘no.’ But there’s enough of a sample size from Boucher in similar situations where he got the run in Ibaka’s absence that I thought the risk was worth the reward, and the news happened to break my way. Long story short: Keep your eyes peeled for similar opportunities this week because I promise they will be there.
Okay, Smarty Pants, Give Me An Example For Tomorrow
I suppose I can’t victory lap Boucher and not give you a similar pivot play I’m considering for tomorrow. Let’s start with the aforementioned Rivers chalk that’s certain to be there after posting a 60-burger at the near minimum. His price has only gone up to $4,100 on DraftKings, which means come 2 p.m. EST, I fully expect him to be one of the highest-owned pieces of value on the slate.
However, if you can hold off for seven hours, the Pelicans are depleted as can be, and one Josh Hart sits at the exact same $4,100 tag. With Williamson, Ingram and Holiday off the court, Hart sports 0.97 fantasy points per minute, albeit with a measly 17% usage rate. But much crazier things have happened in the bubble, and knowing 25 minutes should be there for him intrigues me. So if Rivers puts up a dud in the early game and we get news that Hart’s starting before tip of the night cap, a play like this could give you an incredible amount of leverage on the field (trusting Alvin Gentry with minutes, what could possibly go wrong?).
Parting Words for your NBA DFS lineups
DraftKings has a Christmas Day-esque seven-game slate spanning eight hours, while FanDuel starts up their five-game main slate at 4:30 p.m. EST. It goes without saying at this point, but accounting for every bit of news as quickly as possible tomorrow is essential. As value emerges throughout the day, be sure to check out the incredible NBA Boom/Bust tool to help make more informed lineup decisions, available through the Awesemo+ membership.
Best of luck, and see you right back here tomorrow!