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The NBA Slate Starter for DraftKings + FanDuel | August 14

Eric Lindquist



Josh Walfish gives out his favorite NBA picks based of NBA oddshopping for September 8 including Rockets vs Lakers Player props.

Good morning, and welcome to the final day of the completely-regular, totally-not-different-at-all 2020 regular season! Let me start by saying this: good on the Brooklyn Nets. In the modern NBA where players get pampered, rest on back-to-backs and don’t always compete for competing’s sake, respect to an organization that makes another team earn their way into the postseason like that. And good on the Trail Blazers, too: they embraced the challenge, snuck out the W and now should feel even more battle-tested heading into Saturday. Feels like a win for everyone, especially us the fans and NBA DFS players.

Enough about yesterday, though—this is daily fantasy sports after all. Let’s get to work and close out the season strong.

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Friday’s NBA DFS Slate

Where Do I Even Start With This Slate?

Today we’ve got a unique four-game slate where each matchup is, in essence, a glorified exhibition game. All eight teams are already playoff-bound, so if any starter or role player is remotely banged up, expect them to sit or get the quick hook. You’re going to see some coaches that want their usual starters to get a bit of run to stay sharp before next week, and others that say “screw it” and exclusively ride scrubs for crazy minutes. Which ones will that be? No idea yet, and not sure we’ll have that news by lock.

Which leads me to another major problem with this slate: the DraftKings and FanDuel main slates go from 1:30 p.m. ET all the way up until 9 p.m. ET, with two more games sandwiched right in the middle. This makes it extremely unlikely we’ll have any pertinent news for the evening games before lock. What will the Clippers starting lineup look like? Will James Harden even play? We probably won’t know the answers, so accept it and embrace some risk by playing both top- and bottom-end salary plays of those late-night hammer games, and pivot accordingly when the news hits.

Related NBA DFS Content

Instead of Stars-and-Scrubs, Try Scrubs-and-Scrubs

I touched a bit on this yesterday when discussing Showdown slates, but I wanted to reiterate that leaving salary on the table in late-season NBA DFS is not just viable, but sometimes necessary. Today’s optimal lineup on DraftKings left $1,400 on the table, and in a low-variance, easier-to-project sport like basketball, that’s a considerable amount.

DFS sites use a lot of factors to arrive on specific salaries for players, but it’s based most heavily on past performance. Tomorrow, however, past performance is practically irrelevant, and locking in minutes (if humanly possible) is most important. Multiple sub-$4,500 plays will out-perform high-end options purely based on opportunity through more playing time. DraftKings took a stab at increasing the salaries on some of the deep-bench guys we’ll be considering tomorrow, but it still won’t be enough if there aren’t studs available to pay up for.

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Here We Go Again

It’s too early, but something tells me the most popular NBA DFS value pieces are going to come from this Indiana/Miami matchup. Most of the starters from both sides have already been ruled out, and Miami has some veterans in Andre Iguodala and Jae Crowder who could use some rest before the playoff push. Tyler Herro would be just fine with that: it might be jarring to see $5,700 next to his name on DraftKings, but after outings of 45.5, 29.25 and 51 fantasy points in his last three, I’m going to keep riding the wave. And don’t sleep on Meyers Leonard. With Bam Adebayo out and Kelly Olynyk starting almost every game in the bubble, Leonard could be asked to eat up a bunch of junk time in this one.

On the other side of the ball, you could blindly click on just about anyone and it’s viable. If TJ Leaf gets the start, he’d be my preferred option at the stone-minimum. Aaron Holiday is on everyone’s naughty list after the clunker as chalk two days ago, but I’m willing to go back to the well if he’s in the starting unit. I could see Nate McMillan try and let him play through this cold-streak in preparation for next week.

Keep your eyes peeled to the Awesemo’s ownership projections and Boom/Bust tool throughout the day tomorrow to assess various value pieces as they roll in. Trust me: you’re going to need them.

NBA DFS Parting Words

I love what Dave Loughran said on the Live Before Lock show yesterday: “If someone tells you they know what’s going to happen today, they’re lying.” I absolutely agree with that, but we can still make some educated guesses. Watch as news pours in over the day, and think about who should be a part of each respective team’s playoff rotations, who probably won’t be, and play more of who won’t be. If you have any sort of warranted lean on a stud or piece of value, don’t be afraid to take an overweight position. This is the kind of day where avoiding plays who only get single-digit minutes can lead to profit, and guessing right on one stud who ends up seeing extended run can lead to a GPP takedown.

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