October 18, 2017, 12:56 pm
The NBA season opened last night with two terrific games that both came down to the wire. However, a dark cloud was cast over the start of the season when Gordon Hayward went down with a horrific injury that resulted in a dislocated left ankle and fractured tibia. We want to send out our well wishes to Hayward on a healthy and speedy recovery.
Moving onto tonight where we get our first basketball packed night of the season with 11 games where 20 teams will be making their season debuts. The start of the year is probably the craziest time period for basketball DFS. No one really knows what to expect so player prices are all over the map. The start of the year is the best time to get a great bargain but also a time where some players may be priced way above than they should be. But that’s why I’m here – to try and sort through the mess to give you the best buys at each position at various price points. Follow me on Twitter @awalia100 for fantasy updates and news. Let’s dive right in!
Damian Lillard ($8,800 DK/FD)- With C.J. McCollum suspended tonight Lillard will handle the ball as much as he can. This sets up Lillard for, at the very least, a high floor against a Phoenix Suns team that likes to get up and down the floor. This game has the highest point total of the night at 219 with the Blazers being favored by 2 points which bodes well for Lillard to have a big game.
John Wall ($9,800 DK, $10,000 FD)- The third most expensive point guard on DraftKings and the top guard on the FanDuel, and for good reason. Last year Wall was one of the most consistent DFS plays as he averaged 49.4 DraftKings points per contest and had the ability to go off any given night. Tonight he gets the 76ers in a game with one of the higher point totals at 217.5, so Wall is in a good spot to get his season off to a strong start.
Kyrie Irving ($8,500 DK, $8,200)- Last night Irving finished with 48.8 FanDuel points as he scored 22 points and dished out 10 assists. It looks like Irving will have to do the heavy lifting for the rest of the year, which helps his fantasy outlook. Tonight is a tricky spot though as the Celtics are playing a back to back against a Bucks team that should be good on the defensive side of the ball this year.
Ricky Rubio ($7,000 DK/FD)- Ricky Rubio will now be running the show in Utah as he tries to keep the Jazz relevant after they lost their lone all-star during the off-season. Rubio was a monster after the all-star break last year as he looked like one of the best point guards in the league. If he can keep up that production he should have no problem having a good game against a Nuggets team tonight that offers little defensive resistance.
D’Angelo Russell ($6,600 DK)- In Brooklyn, Russell should have plenty of opportunities to prove that he’s a much better player than his first two years in L.A. showed. To be fair, when given the minutes Russell showed he could produce and, based off the preseason, it looks like Kenny Atkinson will give him plenty of room to flaunt his talent. It starts tonight against a Pacers team that may be one of the few teams worse than the Nets.
Dennis Smith ($4,300 FD)- If you need to go cheap tonight on FanDuel, I highly recommend Dennis Smith. He provides great upside at an affordable price as he will be going up against the Hawks and Dennis Schroder, who hasn’t been a good defensive point guard in his career so far. Despite being a rookie it looks like Rick Carlisle is ready to hand over the keys of the offense to Smith and his low price should mitigate the risk of him struggling in his first NBA game.
Other good plays- Elfrid Payton ($7,100 DK, $6,500 FD), Jamal Murray ($5,600 DK, $5,300 FD), Marcus Smart ($5,000 DK, $4,500 FD), Dejounte Murray ($4,100 DK, $3,800 FD).
James Harden ($11,000 DK/FD)- Harden dropped 27, 6 and 10 last night as he led the Rockets to a win against the defending champion Golden State Warriors. The Rockets may be without Chris Paul tonight so The Beard may have to revert back to the James Harden of last year which led to plenty of fantasy outbursts. Despite coming off a game last night the only thing that can cap Harden’s night against a weak team is the risk of a blowout.
Jimmy Butler ($8,100 DK)- It remains to be seen how Butler fits in with his new team but I think he’s in a good spot tonight against the Spurs who will be without their best defender, Kawhi Leonard. Butler should be the Wolves main ball handler in the half court right out the gate which should give him added fantasy value.
Bradley Beal ($7,000 DK, $7,300 FD)- Beal really stepped up last year and was a borderline All Star. He will have to continue the strong play this year if the Wizards hope to compete against the Cavs in the East. Beal will be in a good spot to show last year wasn’t a fluke as he goes up against the 76ers in a contest that should feature a lot of scoring.
Devin Booker ($7,000 DK, $6,800 FD)- Booker enters his third year looking to build on his strong first two years. He gets the Blazers tonight, who will be without starting shooting guard C.J. McCollum, which means Booker will be going up against back-ups. Booker is in a great spot as this game features the highest point total at 219.
Victor Oladipo ($6,800 DK, $6,100 FD)- Another guard making his debut for his new team in that same Nets game is Victor Oladipo. He didn’t have the year we expected from him last year but I think he should bounce back nice this year on a Pacers team where should be the lead playmaker. Oladipo is going up against a fast paced Brooklyn squad in a battle of bad teams so he should be in for a good game.
D’Angelo Russell ($6,600 FD) – The same logic applies to his point guard writeup above, only he’s a shooting guard for FanDuel purposes.
Other good plays: Rodney Hood ($5,800 DK, $4,500 FD), Kent Bazemore ($5,600 DK, $4,900 FD), Avery Bradley ($5,500 DK, $5,300 FD), Jaylen Brown ($3,900 DK, $3,700 FD).
Giannis Antetokounmpo ($10,300 DK)- Another star with a high ceiling is Antetokounmpo, who has made it clear he is gunning for MVP this year. The only weakness in Antetokounmpo’s game has been his jump shot but the good news is the only way he can go is up in that area and he showed off an improved jumper in the preseason. He should get off to a strong start against the Celtics this year.
Jimmy Butler ($8,700 FD) – Much like D’Angelo Russell, Butler appears here given the difference in his position eligibility.
Ben Simmons ($7,100 DK)- Good thing DFS rules don’t take field goal and free throw percentage into consideration otherwise Simmons would not be on this list. Everything about Simmons besides his shooting looks great. With Joel Embiid playing limited minutes tonight Simmons should be able to exceed value with his ability to distribute and rebound the ball, especially in what should be a high scoring affair with the Wizards.
Khris Middleton ($6,400 DK, $7,000 FD)- With Jabari Parker out Middleton will have to be the number two scorer on a Bucks team trying to make a move up in the Eastern Conference. Middleton has been a pretty consistent performer the past few years with his all around play, so while he may not have the most upside he still makes for a solid choice.
Otto Porter ($5,700 DK, $5,800 FD)- Fresh off getting a max contract this offseason, Porter will look to show he deserves that money this year. Facing off against Philly in what should be an entertaining game tonight, Porter should get minutes at the four and should be able to grab a few more rebounds than he normally does.
Jayson Tatum ($3,500 FD) – With Hayward going down there will be multiple Celtic wings with increased fantasy value and Tatum is one of them. Tatum dropped 14 and 10 last night and makes for a good cheap play tonight if you want to save up for another position.
Other good plays: Rudy Gay ($5,500 DK/FD), Taurean Prince ($5,000 DK, $3,400 FD), Joe Ingles ($4,500 DK, $3,800 FD), Kelly Oubre ($3,800 DK, $3,300 FD) and, if T.J. Warren sits, Josh Jackson ($4,900 DK, $4,800 FD).
Anthony Davis ($10,500 DK, $10,800 FD)- Last year in his season debut Anthony Davis went off for 50 points and 15 rebounds. While it may be a little much to expect a performance like that from Davis again tonight it just goes to show you the massive potential he offers every time he takes the floor. Davis is always an in-game injury risk but is more than deserving of the highest price tag among power forwards.
Giannis Antetokounmpo ($10,300 FD)- Antetokounmpo qualifies as a power forward for those of you playing FanDuel.
LaMarcus Aldridge ($7,300 DK, $7,100 FD)- The news coming out of Spurs camp has been that Gregg Popovich has tried to implement new strategies to make Aldridge more comfortable in the offense. We’ll get to see those new wrinkles tonight as Aldridge squares off against the Wolves, who have struggled when it comes to interior defense the past couple of years. Aldridge will need to do the heavy lifting with Leonard out so he’s a good play if you don’t want to go after the top players.
Aaron Gordon ($6,900 DK, $6,300 FD)- Ever since Serge Ibaka was traded last year, Gordon has really taken off. He continued his breakthrough performance in the preseason where he looked like a much improved player. It’s always hard to go by exhibition games but Gordon looks like a much better player whose price tag should rise in the coming weeks and months.
Jayson Tatum ($4,100 DK)- Tatum, like Giannis, lands in this section of the list thanks to position eligibility.
Ben Simmons ($5,600 FD)- Yet another player who pops up in multiple spots thanks to his designated position.
Other good plays: Dario Saric ($5,700 DK, $5,500 FD), Derrick Favors ($5,500 DK, $5,800 FD), Rondae Hollis-Jefferson ($5,000 DK, $5,200 FD), Skal Labissiere ($4,800 DK, $4,100 FD).
DeMarcus Cousins ($10,000 DK, $10,200 FD)- How many touches do I expect Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins to get? All of them. That’s why I’m not worried about the two bigs coexisting on the court and being able to still put up great fantasy numbers. While he faces a good defensive center in Marc Gasol tonight, Cousins is virtually matchup-proof and his ability to distribute the ball gives him a slight bump.
Karl Anthony-Towns ($9,400 DK, $10,000 FD)- Just like I said earlier with Butler, it remains to be seen how Towns adjusts to the new look Wolves but I think he should be relatively safe and able to build off his strong first two years in the league. Tonight he faces a Spurs team which has been a good defensive team year in and year out, but KAT should still make for a solid play as one of the game’s very best.
Rudy Gobert ($8,800 DK, $8,100 FD)- Fresh off his breakout 2016-2017 campaign, Gobert should be able to continue his strong play into this year. He gets a fantastic matchup against the Nuggets and Nikola Jokic who, despite being great on offense, struggles on the defensive side.
Hassan Whiteside ($8,400 DK, $9,200 FD)- Whiteside faces off against the Magic tonight, and they don’t really have anyone to match up with him. Whiteside should be able to dominate against Nikola Vucevic, who’s been a bad defender for years, and Bismack Biyombo, who is too small for him. The only risk attached with Whiteside is his sometimes inconsistent play.
Dewayne Dedmon ($4,500 DK, $3,600 FD)- If you want to spend down on centers tonight, Dewayne Dedmon makes for a good bet as a cheap play. While he obviously doesn’t have the same upside as the top centers he should be able to return good value as he seems to have the starting center position locked up. As his price suggests, he does comes with risk as it’s not entirely clear what the rotations will be for Atlanta.
Other good plays: Jusuf Nurkic ($7,500 FD), Myles Turner ($7,700 DK, $7,100 FD), Willie Cauley-Stein ($5,900 DK, $4,700 FD) and if there’s anyone who can make an impact big enough to justify a $7,300 DK or $7,500 FD price tag it’s Joel Embiid.
February 18, 2019, 5:10 pmChandler Parsons - F - Memphis Grizzlies
Grizzlies coach J.B. Bickerstaff said he's open to giving Chandler Parsons (knee) some playing time going forward.
"I think it’ll be good that we’re coming out of the break and we’ll have a few days to practice just to get him on the court, get him back with the group, see where he is," Bickerstaff said. "It’s been a while since he’s played as well. So it’ll be good to have him on the floor, get up and down a little bit, see where he is physically and mentally and then we’ll go from there." This is softer than the Shams Charania reports about returning to the Grizzlies lineup, which were curious at best, and owners should take a wait and see approach to his playing time. He hasn't been playing for multiple reasons.
February 18, 2019, 5:08 pmMilos Teodosic - G - Los Angeles Clippers
Milos Teodosic will reportedly sit out the rest of the 2018-19 season.
Teodosic was never as good as the hype but he was fun to watch pass. Hopefully he can keep his career going overseas.
Source: Nikola Stojkovic on Twitter
February 18, 2019, 5:06 pmKevin Knox - F - New York Knicks
Knicks owner James Dolan is seriously considering selling the team according to The Ringer's Bill Simmons.
The team outright denied the report today but surely Knicks fans are rolling their eyes over that, and hoping that Dolan sells the squad with no haste.
February 17, 2019, 11:20 pmKawhi Leonard - F - Toronto Raptors
Kawhi Leonard (knee soreness) suited up for the All-Star Game on Sunday and scored 19 points on 7-of-14 shooting in 19 minutes of action in a Team LeBron win over Team Giannis.
He added five rebounds, five threes and two assists to the box score. Leonard has been in and out of the lineup for the Raptors quite a lot this season, but hopefully he can have a healthy second half of the season. If he can stay on the court, he should continue to hover around top-5 value in all formats. Expect Leonard to return for the Raptors' first game after the break ends.
February 17, 2019, 11:19 pmGiannis Antetokounmpo - F - Milwaukee Bucks
Giannis Antetokounmpo hit 17-of-23 shots on Sunday to score an All-Star game-high 38 points and 11 boards in the 164-178 loss to Team LeBron.
Steph Curry logged 29 minutes with 17 points but it wasn't enough as his teammates Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson combined for 51 points tonight. Giannis was second on his squad in minutes with 27 and everyone should be well rested coming out of the All-Star break.
February 17, 2019, 11:11 pmKyrie Irving - G - Boston Celtics
Kyrie Irving (right knee strain) put up 13 points on 6-of-13 shooting with nine rebounds and six assists in a Team LeBron win over Team Giannis in Sunday’s All-Star Game.
He hit a 3-pointer and made some clutch plays down the stretch to help his team seal the win. Irving missed two games from this injury and should be good to go after the break for the Celtics and is a top-10 option for the remainder of the season.
February 17, 2019, 11:08 pmKevin Durant - F - Golden State Warriors
Kevin Durant added some hardware to the mantle at home by taking Sunday night’s All-Star game MVP trophy.
Durant scored 31 points with six triples in the come from behind victory for Team LeBron 178-164 over Team Giannis. Durant got into it with Joel Embiid a few times, while swatting two shots in their matchup.
February 17, 2019, 11:03 pmAnthony Davis - F/C - New Orleans Pelicans
Anthony Davis made an appearance in the All-Star game on Sunday, logged only four minutes.
Davis finished with five points in four minutes, all in the first half, while appearing disinterested in giving it his all. Now owners will have to wait and see if the Pelicans try to shut him down despite the NBA’s insistence that he’s on the court if he’s healthy.
February 17, 2019, 7:48 pmAnthony Davis - F/C - New Orleans Pelicans
Anthony Davis confirmed in a live TV interview that he’s playing in Sunday’s All-Star game.
Davis owns the All-Star record for most points and while he might not push himself too hard tonight, he might still be motivated to put on a show. Davis can cast plenty of shade at the Pelicans if he plays well, as it’s rumored to Pelicans want to shut him down after the All-Star break, and the NBA wants to keep their top players active.
February 17, 2019, 7:05 pmAnthony Davis - F/C - New Orleans Pelicans
Anthony Davis (left shoulder contusion) is "good to play" for Sunday's All-Star game, according to Marc Stein.
The Pelicans probably don't like this as they don't want him on the court for regular games. If you're playing DFS for the All-Star game, count on Davis playing, and we respect your dedication to the game.
Source: Marc Stein on Twitter