Tonight is the first slate of games that feels just right. We began the season with a pair of three-game offerings, as well as a couple of overwhelming 12+ game schedules. Now, we can settle in for a six-game set of games for the first time.
If you’re new to NBA daily fantasy, you’ll probably find the medium-sized slates to be your favorite. The shorter dockets get you involved in each game, but feature a large amount of overlap between opponents. The huge 10-14 roster of games have so many choices that it can be overwhelming with where to begin.
The 6-9 game schedules offer the most variety while still keeping you invested in each game. The lack of overlap makes head-to-heads and 50-50s much more fun to play, but there aren’t so many choices that you find your head spinning.
Before we get set with tonight’s plays, here are some notes from last night:
- Lost in the mania surrounding Kevin Durant & Russell Westbrook was Victor Oladipo. With Elfrid Payton dealing with foul trouble, Oladipo took over point-guard duties, grabbing a triple-double. Scott Skiles is going to lean on this kid a lot, as evidenced by his ridiculous workload thus far.
- Don’t look now, but Giannis Antetokounmpo may be one of this season’s breakouts. He was on fire against the Wizards, scoring 27 points to go with nine rebounds. Part of his performance may have been the pace of the game, but he was aggressive.
- Karl-Anthony Towns is crazy-good, but don’t get too caught up in that 28-point, 14-rebound game against the Nuggets. It may be a sign of things to come, but it’s worth mentioning that the Nuggets are going to be brutal on defense, particularly on the inside.
- Speaking of brutal defense, the Los Angeles Lakers are going to be a matchup to exploit almost every night. They’ve allowed Ricky Rubio and Rajon Rondo to shoot a combined 19-of-30 from the floor (63-percent) in two games, and both players significantly outperformed their salary in the process.
BUILDING BLOCKS – Studs and Must-Have Values to Build Your Core Lineup
Chris Paul, PG, LAC ($9,600): Paul is the only superstar point guard on tonight’s docket who didn’t play last night, and he’s coming off a game in which he only played 24 minutes before the off day. In addition to the extra rest, he gets a fantasy friendly matchup: the Kings are tied for the second-fastest pace on this slate, and are indifferent on defense at best. Tonight’s games should allow you to play multiple studs, but I’m locking in Paul as one of mine.
Carmelo Anthony, SF, NY ($8,700): Carmelo has yet to find his shooting stroke for a full game, but appeared to get going a bit towards the end of his last contest versus the Hawks. His usage rate is still hovering around 29 percent, so a dynamite scoring game should be coming eventually. The Wizards have shifted to a small-ball preference, and that should suit Carmelo well here also.
Ryan Anderson, PF, NO ($5,000): After being limited to 29 minutes against the Warriors the first time around, Anderson was unleashed to the tune of 39 minutes against the Trail Blazers. The result was a 17 DraftKings point increase, and I expect Anderson to continue to see an enhanced workload against a team that has so much firepower in Golden State.
Three more studs to consider: Paul George, SF, IND ($8,100) – Blake Griffin, PF, LAC ($9,500) – DeMarcus Cousins, C, SAC ($10,000)
BARGAINS – Complementary Players Who Look To Have Favorable Pricing
Jarrett Jack, PG, BKN ($6,000): Jack gets an unfavorable matchup in the Grizzlies, but his price and projected workload are good enough to mention here. He’s the unquestioned starter for Brooklyn, and could simply get enough volume to be a great play. Be sure to watch the injury report on him leading up to the game, though, because he’s coming back from a hamstring injury and is on the second night of a back-to-back.
Klay Thompson, SG, GS ($7,000): I normally don’t pay up for shooting guards when there are lower-priced options I’m okay with, but Thompson’s price has fallen to the point where it’s difficult to ignore. He’s capable of scoring 40 points any given night, so if you can fit him in your lineups it’s certainly worth it. He left last night’s blowout with a stiff back, so check the injury report before tip.
Eric Gordon, SG, NO ($5,300): Gordon is still priced in the mid-tier range, even though his workload has been heavy throughout the first two games of the season for the Pelicans. Nothing should change here, and he could fare better than the 26 DraftKings points he put up in the season-opener against this Warriors team.
Kristaps Porzingis, PF, NY ($4,500): Porzingis still feels risky, but he’s one of the better cheap options at power forward on this slate of games. He isn’t afraid to hoist shots in his rookie season (10.5 FGA per game), and he does a bunch of other things to help him meet value. The Knicks rookie has registered at least one block and one steal in each of his first two games, while achieving double-digit scoring with five rebounds or better.
Festus Ezeli, C, GS ($3,100): Andrew Bogut is likely out again on Saturday, so Ezeli is line to start yet another game. He’s only $100 above the minimum price, and is coming off of a game in which he put up 22.25 DraftKings points in 25 minutes. He’s the perfect punt option at center, and a nice complement to DeMarcus Cousins if you want to roll with two centers.
LOTTERY TICKETS – High Risk, High Reward Plays
Raul Neto, PG, UTA ($3,000): Neto is one of the only point guards at minimum price with a solidified role worth using, but he’s a risk for a few reasons. The first is that he’s coming into the second game of a back-to-back into a bad matchup with George Hill. Second, the point-guard situation is still murky in Utah, with Neto sharing ball-handling duties with Trey Burke, Alec Burks and Gordon Hayward. Throw in a knee contusion he suffered in the opener, and he represents a risky option who could reward those who take that chance.
Bradley Beal, SG, WAS ($6,200): Beal has been awesome so far this season, but much of that has to do with him scoring at a high clip. He has registered only three assists and nine rebounds through two games so far, with one steal and no blocks. If his usage rate drops, he’s just not doing enough elsewhere to justify his price. However, a matchup with the Knicks is rather tempting, so I’m not completely off of him here.
Rodney Hood, SF, UTA ($3,900): Hood should start at shooting guard for the Jazz tonight, with Alec Burks coming off of the bench. The Pacers want to play fast, so if the Jazz get roped into running up and down the floor, Hood could have a big game. If the Jazz force their tempo to pound it inside with Derrick Favors, I don’t like the pick, but Hood could pay dividends in tournament formats.
Kyle O’Quinn, PF, NY ($3,700): O’Quinn has essentially seen the same amount of court time as Robin Lopez this season and made the most of it. He’s grabbed double-digit rebounds in both games so far, and looks like a phenomenal fit in the Triangle offense. The risk comes with his bench status, but I love him if you’re trying to increase upside on a budget.
BUYER’S REMORSE – Reasons for Skepticism
C.J. McCollum, PG, POR ($6,600): McCollum started out the season with a ridiculous 37-point game that ended with him scoring 51 DraftKings points. But it’s important to remember that he’s the second-fiddle to Damian Lillard here, and at only $400 less than Klay Thompson on the night, I’ll look elsewhere for my second guard.
Monta Ellis, SG, IND ($6,900): If you want to be contrarian in tournaments, maybe Ellis gets going against the Jazz tonight. You couldn’t pay me to play him tonight, though.
Joe Johnson, SF, BKN ($5,000): In the right matchup, and in adequate health, I don’t mind playing Johnson. Neither factor is on his side here, though, with a matchup with the Grizzlies on the horizon on top of a hand issue.
Zach Randolph, PF, MEM ($7,000): My heart really wants to play Z-Bo at home against the Nets. My head sees lackluster performances two games in a row and a not-so-fantasy-friendly 12-point spread in this contest.