• It is Friday, October 19 and it is only the second slate of the season with nine or more games. A new NBA season means a new DFS season and that means the sharks are hard at work researching and gaining an edge on those looking to dive into the deep end. Things could seem crazy in the beginning of the season, but this is where we take advantage of the “casual” NBA fans playing DFS. Let me remind you that Hoop Ball is partnered with Draftkings and we will be using their position eligibility and pricing.

    Like any night with more than four games, we have plenty of superstars to choose from. We have the Greek Freak, Anthony Davis and Golden State all on the board forcing us to make some tough decisions when constructing a lineup. These guys could all go off on any night and I would never talk you out of playing any of them; they could break the slate, it is that simple. It is an early season, but so far I have been treading along the fair and balanced approach. DraftKings has done an excellent job with their pricing adjustments. It is still early and value generally opens up as the day goes on, but as of now I am not seeing too many low-priced options I am thrilled about. This makes it hard to feel comfortable about trying to insert two studs. So for all intents and purposes I left out Anthony Davis, Giannis Antetokounmpo and the members of the Warriors because they are all obviously in play, it just comes down to lineup construction.

    Point Guard

    Kyrie Irving vs. Raptors $6,600– This should be one of the more competitive games on the slate and Irving is just mispriced. Irving only played 29 minutes on opening night and had a subpar line to his standards, but he still boasted a 25 percent usage rate while on the court. The Celtics are extremely deep and may continue to limit Irving’s minutes over the next few weeks, but at $6,600 Irving could still produce value in limited minutes and a close game could increase his playing time.

    Elfrid Payton vs. Kings $5,800– Payton’s triple-double debut with the Pelicans was slightly overshadowed by their frontcourt. I am not the biggest Elfird Payton fan and I am surely not expecting another triple-double, but this is just too low for someone with Payton’s upside. He looks like he is going to see consistent playing time with Jrue Holiday spending a lot of time playing off of the ball. This is a pristine matchup versus the Kings and with that being said there is a chance for a blowout. I will have shares of Payton and will likely look to get someone on the other side in case this game stays intact.

    Derrick Rose vs. Cavs $3,900– It is 2018 and anytime I recommend Rose it is not a settling feeling, but hear me out. Rose came out during the season opener and played 31 minutes versus the Spurs. The usage was dominated by Jimmy Butler on that night, but Rose still managed to hoist 12 shots and while he only sunk 3 the fact that he is shooting and playing solid minutes is encouraging. Let’s not forget Rose once suited up in a Cavs uniform and the matchup is one that is a plus on paper. By no means is Rose a cash play, but if you need some salary relief at the guard position you could worse.

    Shooting Guard

    D’Angelo Russell vs. Knicks $6,400– Russell’s debut is one to forget. He only played 21 minutes as Spencer Dinwiddie outplayed him off of the bench. Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said he is not afraid to ride the hot hand and on most nights that is expected to be Russell. It is a fantastic matchup versus the Knicks and the DvP looks excellent versus Trey Burke. Russell is a scorer and is known for getting off to hot starts. While many will target Caris LeVert (who is a good play as well) I am going to back Russell in hopes of deflated ownership.

    E’Twuan Moore vs. Kings $4,300– Moore came out and played 34 minutes for the Pelicans in their season opener and managed to drop 21 points, three rebounds and two assists. I do not love a lot of the options at shooting guard on the slate and will likely spend up, but if I am looking to save some salary Moore is surely not a bad option given his price and matchup.

    Small Forward

    Kawhi Leonard vs. Celtics $8,500- It is safe to say Leonard looks comfortable and healthy on his new team after hoisting 22 shots in the team’s opener. The Raptors face off against the Celtics tonight in a matchup that most believe we will be seeing during the Eastern Conference Finals. Leonard produces in so many categories and now that he is off of the Spurs he has a chance to score more in a faster, small ball lineup.

    Cedi Osman vs Timberwolves $5,200– After being severely underpriced on opening night, Osman got hit with a $1,000 price increase and it is rightfully so. Osman is expected to be a major part of this offense and has a well-rounded game that enables him to produce in multiple categories. It is isn’t the best matchup, but Osman produced admirably while spending some time being matched up against Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors have a much stronger team defense than the Timberwolves.

    Jae Crowder vs. Warriors $4,600– The Jazz gave the Warriors fits over the course of last season. They have one of the league’s top defenses and are versatile enough to matchup against the likes of Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant. Crowder played 33 minutes on opening night and I expect his minutes to be similar in a matchup where he will have to be utilized on defense. Anytime the Warriors are involved in a game that is expected to stay intact I want some action and Crowder is an easy way to save salary and get exposure to the Jazz. He does not have the highest ceiling, but the floor and playing time will be there.

    Power Forward

    Kevin Love vs. Timberwolves $8,000– It may not show up in the box score, but Love looks like he is back to his old ways. Love shot poorly on opening night, but he had a usage rate of 33.3 percent on the night. I expect better shooting percentages against the Timberwolves and Love is always a threat to get a potential double-double.

    Tobias Harris vs Thunder $7,400– I am all aboard the Harris bandwagon this season in both season long leagues and DFS. He is their top scoring option and the subtraction of DeAndre Jordan and addition of Marcin Gortat bodes well for Harris’ rebounding numbers. It should be an up-tempo game and I expect Harris to have his way with the Thunder defense as their best defensive option in Paul George is being matched up against Danilo Gallinari.

    Nemanja Bjelica vs. Pelicans $4,600– The Kings paid for Bjelica during the offseason leading to the expectations of him seeing solid playing time. Well he did, on opening night he came out and played 27 minutes and dropped 18 points, 8 rebounds and 2 assists. It is no secret that the Kings have a deep frontcourt, but so do the Pelicans and I expect Bjelica to maintain a similar workload, as he is one of the better matchups to cover Nikola Mirotic. Again, this could potentially be a blowout, but if I am playing any Pelicans Bjelica is one of the first names on the Kings I am playing. It helps that he is also small forward eligible.

    Center

    Enes Kanter vs. Nets $7,400– Kanter only played 27 minutes on opening night, but if you have played DFS or fantasy basketball in the past than you already know that Kanter does not need 30-plus minutes to produce massive numbers. The matchup is as good as it gets against the Nets and one Knicks head coach David Fizdale would be foolish not to exploit. They struggle against bigger body centers and Andre Drummond just dropped 24 points and 20 rebounds against them.

    Steven Adams vs. Clippers $6,900– Adams was questionable heading into the season opener with a back strain but managed to suit up and managed to drop 17, 11 rebounds and two steals while playing 36 minutes. I expect him to take advantage of the matchup versus Marcin Gorat and if Russell Westbrook is forced to sit out again he should be looking at double digit shot attempts again.

    Alex Len vs. Grizzlies $5,100– I was high on Len on opening night and was a let down. But the game was an absolute blowout and Len only played 21 minutes. I generally do not look to target centers facing off against Marc Gasol, but the Hawks simply do not have enough healthy bodies in their frontcourt. They are already without Dewayne Dedmon (ankle), John Collins (ankle) and now their rookie Omari Spellman is being listed as doubtful with an ankle injury of his own. I am expecting the minutes to be there for Len.

    Honorable mentions

    Julius Randle vs. Kings $7,100- Randle left the opener with foot soreness, but it appears he is good to go for tonight’s game. This is a picture perfect spot for Randle on paper. The Kings play a lot of big men and Randle should have his way with the second unit. I may scale back my love for Randle throughout the day given the injury and blow out factors, but as of now I will surely make some room for him in some lineups.

    Willie Cauley-Stein vs. Pelicans $6,300– WCS came out and played a whopping 38 minutes in the opener against the Jazz and held his own against Rudy Gobert. Tonight is another spot where WCS is just going to have to play big minutes. He is the team’s best and most experienced healthy center and has shown he could be a fantasy contributor if given the playing time. Foul trouble could easily be an issue and again there is the inherent risk of a blow out, but making a few lineups involving some Pelicans and Kings could prove to be profitable.

    Well that about does it for this season’s first edition of my DFS picks. If you have any questions or comments you could always find me on Twitter @MikeApotria. Good Luck and as always take down a GPP!

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