• Ten games are on the slate for tonight with many fast paced teams in action. As injury news breaks, I would expect there to be a few must plays since several of these match-ups should be high scoring. Point guard and center are fairly deep tonight, but finding value in the other three positions is not the easiest task. I have highlighted a few plays below for your consideration who should be valuable DraftKings performers. Let’s dig in.

     

     

    Point Guard

    Isaiah Thomas ($8,200)

    This price tag is downright puzzling. IT has been an elite DraftKings option all season and takes on Phoenix tonight. Barring foul trouble or a terrible shooting performance, he should blow past 40 DraftKings points. Since he was injured recently, I could understand if he was priced down due to potentially limited minutes. However, he has played 33+ minutes in both games following the injury.

    Against the Pacers last game, IT shot 9/21 (4/10 from three) en route to 37.5 DraftKings points in what was a very slow game. Phoenix is one of the league’s fastest teams, so if Isaiah has a similar game to last game, he’ll cruise to 40-45 DraftKings points. Almost half of his shots come from deep and he has a 32.7% usage rate over his last ten games. He’s taking a lot of shots and many of his shots turn into 3.5 DraftKings points.

    Outside of scoring, Isaiah is not too much of a fantasy threat which restricts his production to some extent. In his last ten games, he is averaging 4.6 assists. Due to the pace uptick tonight, I’d expect six or seven assists. Something like a 25-7-2 line with a couple steals is reasonable tonight. At $8,200, that’ll work. Fire him up in cash games and own a few tournament shares.

     

    Shooting Guard

    Eric Gordon ($4,900)

    Similar to Isaiah Thomas, Gordon is another high floor shooter. The addition of Lou Williams has not been helpful for Gordon’s production, but he has scored in double digits in all but two games since All-Star Break. A major factor in his consistency is that 2/3 of his shots come from behind the arc. Even on a poor shooting night, he tends to be reasonably valuable.

    Gordon has been a key ingredient in the success of the Rockets this season, and his minutes are stable as a result. Following the break, he has still averaged 31.1 minutes per game despite the addition of fellow scorer Lou Williams. Houston plays the struggling New Orleans Pelicans tonight at home.

    The Pelicans are decent defensively, but Gordon’s game is tough for anybody to match up against. He can drive and finish at the rim or hit a quick three off a James Harden pass. Gordon was a Pelican last season, so perhaps a little bit of extra motivation will propel Gordon to a big night.

     

    Small Forward

    Paul George ($8,900)

    Man, it feels really good to watch Paul George play at a high level again. He torched Boston last time out for 37 points in 42 minutes. Yeah, 42 minutes. The Pacers need Paul George on the floor as much as possible as they try to find a rhythm before playoffs begin. To stimulate the offense, PG has been letting it fly lately, averaging 32.4% usage in his last ten games.

    He is shooting about as often as Isaiah Thomas, assisting less, and rebounding significantly more. The problem with Paul George is that the Pacers have been playing at such a slow pace. However, tonight they face the Denver Nuggets, one of the league’s fastest teams. Additionally, the Nuggets are one of the league’s worst defenses.

    George was taking Jae Crowder to school on Wednesday, and no Denver wing can defend like Crowder. Expect Paul to continue his hot streak as the Pacers get a rare quick-tempo game. I’m optimistic that a signature PG game could be in store.

     

    Power Forward

    Nikola Mirotic ($5,400)

    So far, the theme of this post is three-point shooting. Mirotic likewise is a three-point shooter. The Bulls are a wildly inconsistent, terrible shooting team without much fluidity on the offensive end. Mirotic’s performance against Detroit was a refreshing departure from the bad brand of basketball we’ve seen from the Bulls throughout the year.

    Mirotic shot 12/15 including 4/6 from three in 39 minutes to help bring down the Pistons. He also had a +22 rating. Although Lopez will be back from his suspension, the Bulls are still going to need Mirotic’s minutes as Chicago looks to beat the Sixers. Without Nikola, the Bulls’ three point shooting is almost nonexistent.

    Shockingly, Jimmy Butler had an 11.1% usage rate last game. If Jimmy isn’t aggressively looking to score, the Bulls need somebody else to step up and hit shots. It was Mirotic last game and could be Mirotic again tonight against a lackluster 76ers defense.

     

    Center

    Marcin Gortat ($4,300)

    Marcin Gortat is a low risk cash game option in what should be a DFS-friendly matchup with the Brooklyn Nets. Jason Smith and Ian Mahinmi are taking on bigger roles in the Wizards rotation, and Gortat’s minutes have suffered as a result. Thus, the Wizards center’s price has steadily fallen over the past few weeks, but this is about as low as it should drop.

    Gortat should play about 24 minutes tonight which is ample time to be valuable. Since All-Star Break, Marcin has a 20.3% rebounding rate and a 16.2% usage rate. At those rates and a pace like tonight’s, he does not need many minutes to hit value. I think tonight’s game should look similar to his game against Chicago four games ago. In that game, Marcin had a 17.1% usage rate and a 19% rebound rate in 21:45 minutes of game time. He shot 4/9 and scored 19.5 DraftKings points without a block or a steal.

    Tonight, Gortat should rack up a couple blocks or steals given how many possessions there will be in this game and Brooklyn’s sloppy play. His ceiling is not high, but his floor is high (about 16 tonight in my projections). Getting to 5x will not be much of a challenge, so I am rolling with him in cash.

Fantasy News

  • Furkan Korkmaz
    SG, Philadelphia Sixers

    After an injury-plagued sophomore campaign for the Sixers, Furkan Korkmaz knows this season will be crucial for his future and he is hoping to make big strides this year.

    The one thing Korkmaz has going for him is his shooting ability and that is something the Sixers could surely utilize on this roster. It did not click last season, but Korkmaz will get another chance to prove his worth at some point this season. Still, it is hard to picture him coming out of the gate with a big role on opening night.

    Source: Sixers.com

  • Nikola Mirotic
    PF, Milwaukee Bucks

    On Sunday, Nikola Mirotic dropped 14 points on 6-of-14 shooting for Barcelona.

    Mirotic's opening appearance for his new EuroLeague club, Barcelona, resulted in a victory, and he did not have to work too hard for most of his buckets at the Supercopa Endesa versus Valencia. Mirotic should find quick success during his return to European basketball, but NBA fantasy players will surely be missing his presence stateside.

    Source: Eurohoops

  • Bruce Brown
    SG, Detroit Pistons

    Coach Dwane Casey spoke highly of Bruce Brown’s defensive play, calling him an ‘elite defender.’

    Brown remains in contention for a starting spot with the Pistons, but he is not a high-usage player, and the Pistons have stocked up with offensive threats such as Derrick Rose and the immortal Joe Johnson. It will be tough for Brown to rack up enough touches or minutes this season.

    Source: Pistons.com

  • Kevin Durant
    SF, Brooklyn Nets

    There is some optimism in league circles about Kevin Durant's (Achilles) chances of playing this season, according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post.

    Looking back on Durant's decision to return during the Finals, the Nets may want to exude caution when considering KD's return to action. However, Durant is pursuing his rehab with a sense of purpose, and it would be great to see him get back on the court this season. We'll keep you posted when a real timeline on Durant's rehab emerges. This news does not make him a target on draft day for standard leagues.

    Source: New York Post

  • Larry Nance Jr.
    PF, Cleveland Cavaliers

    Larry Nance Jr. is the presumed favorite to start at PF heading into training camp according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com.

    Fedor went on to speculate that Nance Jr. could see a lot of time at the four while Kevin Love starts at center and Tristan Thompson and John Henson compete for back up minutes behind those two. Any uptick in playing time would be a huge boost to the per-minute dynamo that Nance Jr is, and a starting role with a new coaching staff bodes well for that. He's trending in the right direction.

    Source: Cleveland.com

  • Kevin Knox
    SF, New York Knicks

    Coach Fizdale told the Knicks players that no starters have been determined and players had to earn their minutes.

    Kevin Knox will battle with veteran Marcus Morris for the starting small forward spot. Knox has been working on getting his body stronger to be able to take on more contact on drives to the basket. Last season as a rookie, he averaged 12.8 points on a putrid 37 percent from the field. Knox will look to get more looks closer to the basket and increase his field goal percentage to more respectable levels. Knox provided little else outside of points and rebounds last season and will need to improve his shooting and defense to be considered a standard-league player.

    Source: New York Post

  • Bol Bol
    C, Denver Nuggets

    According to Nick Kosmider of The Athletic, Bol Bol could spend his entire rookie season in the G-League.

    Bol Bol was not drafted to be an immediate impact player, but just fell too late fore the Nuggets liking. The 44th overall pick needs to bulk up and show that he could take the bumps and bruises before having his chance on the big stage.

    Source: Nick Kosmider of The Athletic

  • Kawhi Leonard
    SF, Los Angeles Clippers

    After speaking with Doc Rivers and Lawrence Frank, Dan Woike's takeaway is that Kawhi Leonard's "load management" will not be as strict as it was last year.

    It was reported in July that Kawhi said he wants to play all next season fully and approach load management on a game-to-game basis so this is further confirmation that he will most likely play more than the 60 games he played last year but surely won't play all 82 either. Kurt Helin of NBC Sports speculates that this could be for several reasons. One could be that Leonard can take on more now that he is a little healthier while he believes the Clippers might also limit his per-game minutes to help him play more games. The other idea is that because the Western Conference is so deep, the Clippers will not be able to get a good seed if Leonard sits too many games. Fantasy wise, Leonard finished last season seventh in per game value but 18th in total value since he played only 60 games. Near the top of the second round would be a great place to snag him if he plays around 70 games this season.

    Source: Dan Woike on Twitter

  • Malik Beasley
    SG, Denver Nuggets

    The Nuggets want to extend Malik Beasley and Juan Hernagomez before the October 21 deadline.

    The Nuggets already locked up one of their 2016 first-round picks (Jamal Murray) to a long-term deal and now want to do the same with their other two 2016 first-round picks, Hernangomez and Beasley. If not, the two will likely become restricted free-agents at the end of the season. Both players saw stretches of big minutes last season due to injuries but at full health, Beasley was around 20 minutes per game while Hernangomez was at around 10. Fantasy wise, neither player puts up big defensive stats but Beasley is a very efficient shooter with low turnovers, knocking down 2.0 triples per game last year, putting him near top-150 value at only 23.2 minutes per game. Hernangomez is a decent rebounder and knocked down 0.9 triples per game but he would need closer to 30 minutes per game to be a factor in standard leagues.

    Source: Denver Post

  • OG Anunoby
    SF, Toronto Raptors

    Coach Nick Nurse intends to put OG Anunoby "back out there in a primary role."

    With Kawhi Leonard vacating the starting small forward spot, Anunoby is the leading candidate to take the role. Before the arrival of Leonard, Anunoby started 62 games in his rookie season. Last season he started 6 out of 67 games, and missed the entire playoffs due to an emergency appendectomy. He averaged 7.0 points, 2.9 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 0.7 steals and 0.3 blocks over 20.2 minutes per game, while shooting 45.3 percent from the floor, 33.2 percent from 3-point range and 58.1 percent from the free-throw line. He can be picked up as a late round flier in drafts.

    Source: The Athletic