We made it to one of my top five moments every season, the NBA trade deadline. Yes, that’s today, and paying attention can be crucial for DFS success.  We already saw a few exciting trades go down this week with CJ McCollum moving to New Orleans, while Domantas Sabonis (played for the Kings last night) and Tyrese Haliburton traded places. Hopefully we’ll see some big names move cities, but any trade, big or small, will open up minutes for the leftovers in tonight’s games. Some teams will be shorthanded and we should have a ton of value to choose from.  Since I’m writing this early in the day a lot may change so make sure you consult the blue bird before locking in your lineups tonight. Okay, on to the show.

If you’re new to this article, I break down tonight’s seven-game NBA slate and give you my starting five for both FanDuel and Draftkings.  These will be my core plays (guys I’ll be playing in my lineups with my money) for hitting the cash line.  Due to all the protocols, injury management, and general rest of players a lot can change from now until tip-off.  Theres a good chance I’ll use a player or two not listed here so make sure to follow me on Twitter for any important player swaps closer to lock.  At the end of the article, I’ll have a pool of three to five players I like that you can use to fill in the rest of your lineups. It’s important to have a process in DFS so let’s review the strategies you should be thinking about.

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  • Focus on teams with high game totals and a high pace of play. On tonight’s slate, Houston plays at the fastest pace in the league at 101.1 and has the worst defensive rating at 115.4. Using some Toronto players in our lineups should be a priority.  The Bucks and the Suns are both top-10 in pace and have the highest total of the night at 233, also a nice game to attack.
  • Select players who play a lot of minutes, have high usage rates, and/or produce a high FP/M (fantasy points per minute).
  • NBA may be the toughest DFS sport to play for a few reasons. Number one is time. Throughout the season players will get ruled out for rest, injury, or health and safety protocols. This tends to happen shortly before lock or even after lock as we experienced in the past. It’s imperative that you make yourself available for the 15 minutes before lock or you may lose some money for a simple user error.   

OK now that you know the basics, it’s time for tonight’s slam dunks.

Tonight’s seven-game slate: 

TIME7:00 PM ET7:30 PM ET7:30 PM ET8:00 PM ET8:30 PM ET10:00 PM ET10:00 PM ET

The Starting Five

Luka Doncic, PG, DAL (DK $12400, FD $11200)

The most expensive play on the slate isn’t always the best, but tonight Luka is in my starting five. Without Kristaps Porzingis or Tim Hardaway, Luka is averaging 1.71 FP/M to go with a 39% usage rate. Over his last five games, Luka has three triple-doubles, and has recorded 71,71, 79, 53, and 64 DraftKings points. Luka is averaging the most fantasy points in the league since January 30th. I don’t see that changing against the Clippers tonight who are bottom six against combo guards. I’ll pay the premium for Luka with lots of value likely to emerge when the trade dust settles.

Devin Booker, PG/SG, PHX (DK $8900, FD $8800)

For the first time since the NBA Finals the Suns and Bucks will square off in Phoenix tonight. Devin Booker has scored 30 real points in four of his last five, and is averaging 1.23 FP/M on the season. Now the Bucks are third-best in the league against scoring wings but we saw Booker light them up for 40 real-points twice during the NBA Finals.  This game has the highest total on the slate at 233, and both teams are in the top-10 in pace of play. The spread for this game is only three points so that bodes well for big minutes for Booker. As far as raw points go at the SG position tonight, Booker is a better value than both Kyrie Irving and Brandon Ingram.

Kyle Kuzma, SF/PF, WAS (DK $7400, FD $7900)

We just got word that Bradley Beal is having wrist surgery and will be done for the season. Spencer Dinwidde has been known to excel with Beal off the court but Kuzma has taken center stage. With no Beal, Kuzma is averaging 40.62 Draftkings points per 36 minutes (1.13 FP/M) and leads the team with a 26.3% usage rate. Brooklyn is winless in their last five games and has the worst defensive rating in the league during that span at 124.8. They will be once again playing without Harden, Durant, Aldridge, Harris, and possibly Claxton too. Kuzma is my top mid-tier play tonight.

Kelly Olynyk, PF/C, DET (DK $3700, FD $3700) 

I love when this happens, another Spiderman pricing job by DraftKings and FanDuel. Coming off a five-game streak of playing less than 20 minutes in each, Kelly Olynyk will be a nice value play tonight. Why? Well, for one, his price. Two, the Pistons just traded Trey Lyles (and Josh Jackson) to Sacramento for Marvin Bagley. I’m not sure what the long term situation looks like for Kelly but he’ll at least have a shot at 25+ minutes tonight with Lyles out of town and Bagley on his way to Mo-town. Kelly is averaging 1.14 FP/M and could be in line for more scoring if Cade Cunningham sits (he’s listed questionable).

Alperen Sengun, PF/C, HOU (DK $4800, FD $5100) 

Houston plays at the fastest pace in the league and in a game where the Rockets are big underdogs (+8.5) he should see solid minutes. Sengun has quietly earned himself a spot in the rotation after Houston said they enjoyed seeing him play with Christian Wood. Alperen has played at least 24 minutes and recored 23 or more DraftKings points  in each of the previous five games. As of right now, he’s a solid value play at the center position on both sites.

Other guys on my radar:

Before you go, do me a favor and leave a comment or question today. Much appreciated.

– Cousin Timmy