• Tonight’s slate is odd because DraftKings decided to separate the late games from the main slate. For that reason, those games will not be included in this write-up. That gives us eight games to work with, so let’s dive in.

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    Point Guard

    Stud: James Harden ($12,200)

    The Pelicans and Rockets game is currently sitting at a 231.5 O/U and it’s by far the most appealing game of the night. Harden is surprisingly just $12,200 despite the fact that he’s been on an absolute tear over the last couple weeks. He obliterated the Pelicans for over 80 DK points in his first meeting and it’s fair to hope for 70 points or so tonight. Harden is a near lock for cash games.

    Value: Ish Smith ($4,800)

    See what I mean? Embrace the chalk. Typically fading the chalk is a strategy within itself but I can’t see anyone fading Ish Smith in cash. He’s going to be over 50 percent owned as he’s the new starting PG for the Pistons. Smith may still see under 30 minutes in this contest, but if the game stays close, he shouldn’t have a problem eclipsing that number.

    Shooting Guard

    Stud: Jimmy Butler ($9,200)

    A tough, but a doable strategy for tonight is to pair Harden and Butler together. Even at $9,200, Butler remains severely underpriced in a favorable matchup against the Sixers. Hopefully, more punt plays open up as we inch closer towards lock time, but do what you can do match Butler and Harden — you could be locking in 120-plus points.

    Value: Leandro Barbosa ($3,200)

    This is a bit of an unconventional play or under-the-radar but he’s just $3,200 and playing for a Suns team that only has eight active players. Barbosa played 31 minutes last game and there’s a decent chance he hovers around 30 minutes again tonight. If you plan on playing Butler and Harden together, you’re probably going to need a guy like Barbosa.

    Small Forward

    Stud: LeBron James ($10,500)

    LeBron disappointed plenty of DFS owners last night against the Nuggets, but we can’t hold grudges in the cruel, unforgiving world of DFS. His price finally returned to the $10k range and he has a juicy matchup with the Hornets. LBJ is averaging a cool 60 fantasy points per game through three appearances against the Hornets. Look for him to bounce back in a big way tonight.

    Value: E’Twaun Moore ($3,900)

    Hoopball’s own, Dawson Shyne, is one of the few E’Twaun Moore truthers that still exist. Face it, he’s washed up. Jokes aside, Moore is actually a decent value option tonight. He’s unlikely to score anything more than 25 fantasy points, but he’s also a good bet for 20 fantasy points or so. As I’ll keep saying, if you’re in need of capital, Moore is arguably the best SF play under $4,500.

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    Power Forward

    DeMarcus Cousins ($10,000)

    If you want to go against the grain a bit, DMC is your guy. In one of Cousins’ first games as a Pelican, he squared off against the Rockets and he scored over 70 fantasy points. That’s not going to happen again, but 55-60 fantasy points is a very fair expectation. Most will flock towards Butler and Harden tonight, so we may get low ownership on Boogie.

    Marquese Chriss ($5,900)

    As stated previously, the Suns are down to just eight active players for tonight’s matchup against the Celtics. While it is highly probable that the Celtics run away with this one, Chriss should still play 30-35 minutes. He’s a fouling machine and that’s the only thing holding him back from exploding tonight. Give him a very long look…

    Center

    Stud: Dwight Howard ($7,300)

    Andre Drummond is a very close second here, so if you have the extra $300 left, upgrading to Drummond may be the play. Howard’s reliability as a DFS option is solidified with Millsap out for the foreseeable future, but it’s not a major boost. He’s a pretty safe bet for a double-double but he hasn’t been scoring the ball very much. Howard has scored over 15 points just once over his last 10 games. Luckily, the Bucks are very susceptible to giving up big games to opposing centers so there’s hope Howard can notch a 15-15 game.

    Value: Richaun Holmes ($5,600)

    Holmes burned plenty of owners in his last start as he could not stop fouling. With Jahlil Okafor doubtful to play, Holmes should earn another start. He’s a bit risky, but he flashed his upside with a 54 fantasy point performance against the Magic a couple of days ago. The Bulls aren’t a cupcake matchup by any means, but they’re beatable and Holmes is skilled enough to do some damage. Alex Len is also in consideration tonight.

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    Good Luck!

     

     

     

Fantasy News

  • Nikola Vucevic
    C, Orlando Magic

    In an interview Wednesday, Magic head coach Steve Clifford said he could see Nikola Vucevic improving across all areas of his game, and echoing his player's belief that he is in his prime.

    One of the areas Clifford thought Vucevic could improve upon was his 3-point shooting percentage, and also seemed to indicate that he could contonue to up his play on defense. He's unquestionably solidified himself as the anchor of this team, and the Magic as a whole are likely eyeing to improve upon their momentum as a rising young playoff team in an Eastern Conference that looks pretty weak after the top four to five teams. Expect Vucevic to produce safe second-round value this season.

    Source: NBA.com

  • Deandre Ayton
    C, Phoenix Suns

    Suns General Manager James Jones said in a recent interview that Deandre Ayton is capable of playing PF if needed.

    One could chalk this up to either Ayton continuing his development in becoming a more dynamic offensive player, or the Suns covering up for the lack of depth on their roster at PF. In reality it's likley a mix of both, and is a positive for Ayton's value heading into this season. If he does end up spending meaningful time at the four, it would not bode well for the value of Dario Saric, who is already barely going at the end of drafts in 9-cat leagues.

    Source: NBA.com

  • DeMarcus Cousins
    C, Los Angeles Lakers

    The Lakers have been granted a $1.75 million Disabled Player Exception for DeMarcus Cousins (torn left ACL).

    This now officially rules DeMarcus Cousins out for the season. The Lakers will now have the ability to go out and acquire a player that will in all likelihood occupy the end of their bench. Because they signed Dwight Howard, using this cap space on a center isn't necessarily as big a priority as it once was when Cousins initially went down.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Mohamed Bamba
    C, Orlando Magic

    Mo Bamba will enter training camp second on the depth chart behind Nikola Vučević.

    Head coach of the Magic, Steve Clifford, told a reporter that he plans on having Bamba as his primary backup center while Khem Birch will be third on the depth chart. The Magic also have Vučević, who was re-signed in the offseason to a four-year, $100M contract. As long as Bamba is backing up Vučević, his fantasy ceiling is capped outside of standard redraft leagues.

    Source: NBA

  • Nerlens Noel
    C, Oklahoma City Thunder

    Brett Dawson of The Athletic believes that Nerlens Noel could see a slight bump in minutes if the Thunder limit Steven Adams' usage.

    Noel is a great per-minute producer of steals and blocks but only appeared in 13.7 minutes per contest last season. Additional playing time would make him more useful in deeper leagues.

    Source: Brett Dawson of The Athletic

  • Joel Embiid
    C, Philadelphia Sixers

    In a video, Joel Embiid announced that he lost about 25 pounds over the summer.

    Embiid is one of the best fantasy players around but has struggled at times with conditioning. The Sixers will gladly accept any improvements from last season's averages of 27.5 points and 13.6 rebounds.

    Source: NBC Sports

  • TJ Warren
    SF, Indiana Pacers

    According to Pacers beat writer Scott Agness, Pacers forward T.J. Warren has no injury worries heading into the season.

    Warren has missed 56 games during the last two seasons, but he hopes to stay healthy for all of 2019-20. Warren is likely to start for the Pacers and could hold top-100 value if he can stay on the court.

    Source: Scott Agness on Twitter

  • Damian Lillard
    PG, Portland Trail Blazers

    Damian Lillard expects to play for Team USA during next year's Summer Olympics.

    Lillard skipped this year's World Cup but is planning to play in Tokyo. He should be a late first-round or early second-round fantasy pick this year.

    Source: news.com.au

  • Stephen Curry
    PG, Golden State Warriors

    Warriors guard Stephen Curry expects to play at next year's Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.

    Curry will have a busy year ahead of him. Still, it's no surprise that many potential members of Team USA skipped this year's FIBA World Cup in favor of an Olympics appearance. Curry will be a popular early first-round pick in fantasy drafts.

    Source: ESPN

  • Isaiah Thomas
    PG, Washington Wizards

    Wizards guard Isaiah Thomas will be sidelined for 6-8 weeks after undergoing surgery on his left thumb.

    This is rough news for the Wizards, who already have John Wall on the shelf. Thomas was a candidate to start at point guard, but instead he'll have to recover from yet another injury. Thomas averaged 8.1 points and 1.9 assists in limited action for the Nuggets last campaign.

    Source: Washington Wizards on Twitter