After a brief two-game appetizer on Tuesday, the NBA is serving up the main course on Wednesday. There’s a 12-game main slate starting at 7:00 p.m. ET, and there are plenty of big contests to choose from on DraftKings.
Let’s dive into some of my favorite plays at each position.
Terry Rozier, Charlotte Hornets at San Antonio Spurs ($7,300) – This matchup between the Hornets and Spurs is going to be chock full of fantasy goodness. Both teams are dealing with some major absences. The Hornets are currently without LaMelo Ball, while the Spurs traded away Dejounte Murray in the offseason. That leaves both squads with plenty of additional usage compared to last season.
Rozier figures to be one of the biggest beneficiaries for the Hornets. He increased his usage rate by 2.0 percentage points with Ball off the court last season, and he increased his assist rate by 7.8 percentage points. He should get to play more traditional point guard in this matchup vs. the Spurs, giving him far more fantasy upside than usual. Ultimately, he averaged 1.05 DKFP per minute with Ball off the floor last year, and he could play upwards of 35 minutes in this matchup.
Tyrese Haliburton, Indiana Pacers vs. Washington Wizards ($7,200) – Haliburton is a phenomenal young point guard, and he really got to spread his wings once he was traded to the Pacers. He no longer had to share the ball with De’Aaron Fox, and he responded with averages of 17.5 points, 9.6 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game. Altogether, he averaged more than 41.5 DKFP in 26 outings.
With Malcolm Brogdon now in Boston, the coast is clear for Haliburton to run the show full-time in Indy. He draws a solid first matchup of the season with the Wizards, who ranked just 25th in defensive efficiency last year.
Other Options – Luka Doncic ($10,200), Cade Cunningham ($7,000)
Tre Jones, San Antonio Spurs vs. Charlotte Hornets ($4,200) – Jones is entering this third year as a pro, and he’s had a pretty quiet start to his career. He averaged just 16.6 minutes per game last season, but he did average a respectable 0.91 DKFP per minute.
However, he’s poised for a massive leap this season. He’ll get the opportunity to serve as the team’s starting point guard, and he thrived when given that opportunity last year. In eight games without Murray and Derrick White, Jones averaged 34.47 DKFP over 33.4 minutes per game. If he can duplicate those results this season, he’s someone who deserved to be priced in the $6.5K range. That makes him one of the best values of the day at just $4.2K.
Other Options – Jalen Green ($5,400), Devin Vassell ($4,600)
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Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets vs. New Orleans Pelicans ($10,000) – Tonight’s slate seems perfect for a balanced roster, with plenty of players in the mid-tier range standing out as elite values. However, that still gives you room for a stud, and Durant is worth consideration.
For starters, the forward position is significantly weaker than guard. It falls off pretty quickly after Durant, with only five other players priced above $7.9K. Most of those other options have at least one major question mark at the moment, so locking in the safety of Durant makes a lot of sense.
Durant also remains one of the best pure scorers in basketball. Last year’s season was obviously a bit of a disaster, but Durant still averaged 29.9 points per game while shooting 51.8% from the field. You could make the case that no one in history has combined shooting volume and efficiency better than KD.
Durant is also in a solid spot vs. the Pelicans. New Orleans might be improved this season, but the Nets still have the third-highest implied team total on the slate.
Keldon Johnson, San Antonio Spurs vs. Charlotte Hornets ($5,900) – Johnson is another player who should see a massive bump in value for the new-look Spurs. He averaged 35.65 DKFP in five games without Murray and White last season, which was the top mark on the team. He trailed only Lonnie Walker in usage in those contests, and Walker is now plying his trade for the Lakers. Johnson has the look of a potential superstar, and he’ll have plenty of opportunities to put his skills on display on Wednesday.
Other Options – Kyle Kuzma ($6,600), Gordon Hayward ($5,800)
John Konchar, Memphis Grizzlies vs. New York Knicks ($3,700) – Konchar is not someone who feels super exciting to roster. He’s had a minimal role through his first three NBA seasons, culminating in just 17.9 minutes per game last year. However, the Grizzlies figure to have some minutes available on opening night. Dillon Brooks ($5,600; thigh) is doubtful, while Ziaire Williams and Jaren Jackson Jr. are both sidelined. That leaves the team pretty thin on the wing.
There’s a chance that Konchar moves into the Grizzlies' starting lineup, but he should see a pretty sizable role regardless. That gives him a chance to provide a decent bit of value at just $3.7K.
Other Options – Cameron Johnson ($5,000), Jalen Smith ($4,400)
Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat vs. Chicago Bulls ($6,400) – Some salaries on opening night just flat out don’t make sense. I can understand why guys on the Spurs and Hornets are underpriced, but why is Adebayo down at just $6.4K? This isn’t a new player stepping into a larger role; Adebayo has been one of the best centers in basketball for a while now. He averaged a career-best 41.43 DKFP per game last year, and nothing about his role figures to change much this year.
If anything, Adebayo could be asked to do more this season. The coaching staff reportedly wants him to be more aggressive on offense, and he showed that during the preseason. He posted a usage rate of at least 29.5% in his three preseason outings, which represents a sizable increase from his mark of 25.0% last year. If Adebayo can add a bit more scoring to his repertoire, he has the potential to become one of the best centers in all of fantasy.
Other Options – Nikola Jokic ($10,200), Domantas Sabonis ($8,100), Deandre Ayton ($6,200)
Jakob Poeltl, San Antonio Spurs vs. Charlotte Hornets ($5,800) – It’s hard to look past Adebayo at center, but Poeltl is an elite option in his own right. He was a per-36 stud last season, averaging 1.17 DKFP per minute, but his playing time was a bit inconsistent. However, in his 54 games with the Spurs with at least 30 minutes, he averaged 36.56 DKFP. He should be locked into 30 minutes per night this season, at least until the Spurs shut him down with a phantom injury in their chase for Victor Wenbamyana.
Other Options – Alperen Sengun ($5,900), Day’Ron Sharpe ($3,000)
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is mlamarca) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.