October 2, 2018, 4:35 pm
Welcome back to this year’s second preseason edition of my DFS picks. Last night was a good night as six players highlighted in the article were in the winning GPP lineup. If you follow me on Twitter you would have seen I began to pivot off of Anthony Davis and the rest of the Pelicans after reading a report of them seeing similar minutes as the day before (less than 20 minutes). It is important to always monitor any and all news up until the point of lineups locking.
Tonight we are looking at five games and out of the ten teams we have four making their first preseason appearance this season. I say this because it might seem easier to predict what is going to happen with the teams that have we have already seen play, but in fact it is the opposite. We generally have a few days of research, notes and information leading up to a team’s first preseason game appearance. A team’s first preseason starting lineup is usually easy to figure out, but as preseason games go on coaches tend to tinker with their rotations more, making it harder to decipher minutes and availability up until lineups lock. Our core plays need to be strong and these are some of the guys I will be rolling with tonight.
Rajon Rondo $5,900-To be honest, point guard is not a position I am thrilled about after going through some research. Don’t get me wrong, we have a lot of great players in the player pool, but I am not feeling confident in a lot of their minutes and when I am not confident in minutes I look to usage and players who could produce a double-double in limited minutes. Rondo fits that category and showed flashes of it in the Lakers’ first preseason game. He played 23 minutes and managed 11 assists, seven rebounds and two points. We know Rondo is not known for his scoring, but an extra bucket or two would have turned him into one of the leading point guard options on the slate.
Terry Rozier $5,800- Scary Terry has balled out in every opportunity he’s been given so far. He should have another tonight with Kyrie Irving being ruled out. He’s played 19 and 20 minutes in the Celtics’ first two-preseason games and head coach Brad Stevens recently said he would like to find a way to get him more minutes. Rozier is clearly a starting caliber player and even if he gets 20 minutes again could provide value, although I am expecting a few extra to be doled out to both Marcus Smart and Rozier.
Grayson Allen $4,700– I love targeting rookies when assembling preseason lineups and Allen is no exception. He is expected to be a solid contributor off Utah’s bench right away and with Dante Exum already ruled out this game he could end up leading the team in minutes. Head coaches try to get their inexperienced players as much run as possible and after romping an Australian team by 58 points it’s hard to imagine that was considered much of an experience-builder. Allen played 22 minutes in a game that was out of hand against non-NBA talent and only Jae Crowder saw more time on the court with 23 minutes played.
James Harden $8,600- He is the most expensive player in the pool on DraftKings and it is always for good reason. Harden could score in bunches and does not need a whole lot of minutes to get what we are looking for out of him. Of course, we are not expecting a 50 DK point game as we would in the regular season, but if he could get us 30 DK points we’d take that. We have to remember that no stars are playing huge minutes, but according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle, Mike D’Antoni plans on treating this game like a dress rehearsal and the starters could see 20-30 minutes. He could do damage in 20 minutes; give him closer to 30 and he’s a stone cold lock.
Miles Bridges $5,700- The rookie is certainly making a case to be a part of the Hornets’ rotation. He’s not afraid to shoot and it looks like head coach James Borrego wants to see how versatile of a player he is. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has been ruled out of Tuesday’s game and that will only help Bridges more. He’s likely to be chalk on tonight’s slate after playing 28 minutes and scoring 23 actual points, but he’s someone I will ride again.
Kyle Kuzma $6,400- In no way is Kuzma a discount, but he came off of the bench in the first preseason game against Denver and played 23 minutes and scored 15 points. What I am really looking into is how Luke Walton experimented with playing Kuzma at center. If this is something Walton is serious about he may want to continue giving Kuzma a little extra time at center while the games are not important. I’d really like to hear that Michael Beasley is missing the game after suffering a head laceration that was believed to have lead to a concussion (ultimately did not), but Kuz is in play regardless.
Larry Nance Jr. $4,900- He may not be starting, but Tyronn Lue stated Nance would play the five against more agile centers, while Tristan Thompson would face the bruisers. Well, the Celtics do have a bruiser in Aron Baynes, but it is preseason and we have to imagine Brad Stevens rolls out a ton of different lineups including some smaller fives. Nance is at a fair price considering he is a player with the potential to double-double in limited minutes, but I am slightly worried about the Cavs’ overall minutes. Last season Lue limited his starters to a little over one quarter in their first preseason game and played a deep rotation.
Carmelo Anthony $5,500– Again, if we are looking at the any of the Rockets starters or key players playing 20-30 minutes they are automatically in play. We already know P.J. Tucker and Nene have been ruled out so that bodes well for Anthony and Clint Capela being two players likely to see their minutes close to the mid-twenties. Anthony is also one of those new faces in a new place and D’Antoni will likely want to tinker with a few different rotations using him. I expect him to be somewhat timid as he was in his first few games with the Thunder, but Chris Paul and Harden will likely look to get him involved often to make him comfortable.
Nikola Jokic $7,500– The big names are always higher owned, but Jokic, even in limited minutes, could provide double-double or even triple-double upside. We saw how popular Ben Simmons was last night because of that same potential and the winning lineup had him on it. We have some solid options at center other than Jokic that we could roll with, but if you read the DFS strategy guide you would know to never play anyone 100 percent if you are doing multiple lineups.
Hassan Whiteside $6,900– After seemingly being in Erik Spoelstra’s doghouse for most of last season, the head coach had nothing but high praises after the Heat’s first preseason game versus the Spurs. Whiteside came out and dropped 20 points and 13 rebounds in 23 minutes. He looked good, but most of all he looked healthy. If we look at last preseason Spoelstra played his starters between 23-30 minutes for the first few games and began expanding the rotation a little more during the final two. He may not see big minutes, but Whiteside is certainly capable of putting up another big double-double and getting us that bonus.
*Kelly Olynyk at $5,700 makes for a strong option as well with all of the injuries to Miami’s frontcourt. I expect him and Whiteside to see close to equal minutes which puts them both in play. While it is tough to play both in the same lineup it will sure be a way to differentiate a lineup, but is not recommend unless you’re playing multiple lineups.
Clint Capela $6,300– I said it before and I will say it again, I think all of the major contributors for the Rockets are in play. D’Antoni said he would pull his starters was he noticed they were getting winded, but would like them to see 20-30 minutes if they could. This only scares me slightly off of Chris Paul due to his past health concerns and veteran status. Capela showed massive improvement over the course of last season and proved to be one of superior pick and roll big men in the game. Just like last night I am going to be targeting centers I believe are capable of grabbing a double-double and blocking some shots in limited minutes. We cannot expect big minutes from anyone, so having confidence in the ones you know are playing a decent amount could round out your lineup.
SF Justise Winslow- He was inserted into the starting lineup last game due to injuries and it looks like the same will happen again tonight. Winslow looks to have taken a step forward this season and is playing with more energy, something Spoelstra has praised him for.
SF/PF Trey Lyles and Juancho Hernangomez – Lyles too was being talked about by his coach, with Mike Malone mentioning Lyles playing some of the small forward position this season, and he sure looked solid last game. Hernangomez is another candidate to see some time playing on the wing as well and looked good hitting 5-of-8 from 3-point land and scoring 19 points in this same matchup on Sunday. They are both in play, but the Nuggets are not a team I am looking to stack and would only look at one or two players max from them.
Thanks again for stopping by and if you have any questions or comments you could find me on Twitter @MikeApotria. I also tweet and retweet updates and how my construction may change throughout the course of the day. Good luck!