We have 11 games on today’s slate. This will be the second game for most teams so we still don’t know about teams or players. That probably won’t happen for a few weeks, so matchups, usage, rotations and defensive/offensive efficiency are still relative unknowns. We can assume and glean some things from earlier in the week but have some cynicism. The big injuries for today’s slate consist of Jarrett Allen, Nic Claxton and Draymond Green all out. Day’Ron Sharpe ($3,300) will likely be the chalk du jour of the day.
DraftKings Sportsbook has two games with a total of at least 230 - DAL/BKN (231.5) and GS/SAC (238). The biggest favorite is BOS -8.5 over MIA. MEM, UTA and POR are home dogs.
Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks vs. Brooklyn Nets ($11,400) – Luka is expensive but for good reason. He’s a threat to mess around on any given night and is the engine of the Mavericks offense. In the opener, the usage rate was 37.1%! The floor is high and he has access to a ceiling that is rivaled by few. That said, there is merit to fading him because the chances of him putting up a score that you need to have are low, especially with so many options on this slate. That said, the Mavericks played fast in the opener and the defense was suspect. The Nets were porous on defense as well. As mentioned in the opener, be wary of small sample size data, but there could be points in this one as the total is a healthy 231.
Cade Cunningham, Detroit Pistons at Charlotte Hornets ($8,800) - Cade was fantastic in the opener, literally doing it all with 30 points, four treys, three boards, nine dimes, a steal and a block while shooting an efficient 48% from the field. That was good for 51.8 DKFP. The usage rate was 34.8%! Many predicted a breakout this season after an injury derailed his sophomore campaign and it looks like it’s coming to fruition. Granted, it was only one game, but Cade looked so smooth and in control. Now he gets to face a Hornets team that plays fast and will likely have LaMelo Ball ($9,700) guarding him plenty.
Other Options - Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ($10,600), Steph Curry ($9,300), Chris Paul ($6,600)
Jeremy Sochan, San Antonio Spurs vs. Houston Rockets ($5,000) – Sochan surprisingly got the start in the opener and played 29 minutes, contributing 13 points, eight rebounds, five assists and one steal. The usage rate was a healthy 25.1%. Watching the game against the Mavericks, I had some thoughts that maybe Sochan got the start so that he could match up defensively with Luka Doncic. We will get clarity today, as the Rockets have Fred VanVleet ($7,600) at point guard, so Tre Jones ($5,400) may be better suited to cover him. That said, Sochan is going to play regardless, and his well-rounded game means that he can produce fantasy goodies in a variety of ways. The price is palatable with access to ceiling if he in fact continues to be the point guard for this team.
Immanuel Quickley, New York Knicks at Atlanta Hawks ($5,500) - Quickley is the microwave off the bench for the Knicks and put up 41 DKFP in the opener. He played 28 minutes while garnering a 23% usage rate. With the Knicks not extending him, he is highly motivated to ball out even more now. The Hawks play fast, are at home and should put up points so the Knicks will have to maintain pace. That should benefit Quickley. Man, sometimes the universe just delivers things right to my plate. I am but a messenger.
Other Options - OG Anunoby ($5,900), Dennis Schroder ($5,600), Markelle Fultz ($5,500), Killian Hayes ($4,900)
Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers at Utah Jazz ($8,900) – Kawhi may not be the most exciting fantasy asset or the funniest guy, contrary to what he tells us. The injuries and sitting out of games dent the perspective for sure. That said, he is really freaking good, as he is so steady and contributes across the board. He may not have the capacity to put up a 70-burger, but somewhere in the 40 to 50 range is a likely outcome. Could he score in the 30s? Sure, he’s human even though I question that at times. The environment should be a good one today against the Jazz. The total is 227.5, the Jazz play at an elevated pace and their defense looks to be in the bottom third of the league again.
Scottie Barnes, Toronto Raptors at Chicago Bulls ($6,900) - With VanVleet taking his talents to Houston, and Toronto giving the hand to all who inquired about Scottie in the offseason, this Raptors team is Scottie’s. In the opener, he garnered a usage rate of 26.4% and delivered 17 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Known as a defender coming into the league, Scottie has underwhelmed in the defensive stats to start his career. 1.1 steals and 0.8 blocks aren’t bad, but more was expected. In the opener, he racked up two steals and five blocks. Those are obviously unsustainable numbers, but it’s encouraging to see and could portend for good things for the rest of the season. Oh, he also played a whopping 37 minutes. His skill set, well-rounded nature of his game and the matchup against a Chicago team that gave up 124 points to OKC have me bullish on Scottie’s prospects.
Other Options - Jayson Tatum ($10,500), Paul George ($9,100), Jimmy Butler ($8,500), Jaylen Brown ($7,900), Aaron Gordon ($6,000)
Jalen Johnson, Atlanta Hawks vs. New York Knicks ($4,700) – Jalen was fantastic in the opener, playing 29 minutes and contributing 21 points, seven rebounds, two assists, one block and two steals. He shot 9-of-13 from the field and drilled one of three attempts from downtown. He thrives in transition, so the matchup may not be the best against a Knicks team that prefers to muck things up. In the opener, New York went out in transition just 13.8% of the time, the second-lowest mark. Last season, they were middle of the pack. That said, if he’s going to get close to 30 minutes, his ability to contribute in all areas provides a nice floor for his price, with access to the 39.25 DKFP upside he produced in the opener.
Isaac Okoro, Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder ($4,400) - With Jarrett Allen out, Okoro got the start in the opener and played very well. In 32 minutes, he contributed 18 points, six rebounds, four assists, two steals and one block. The usage rate was a surprising 19.9%. I have been bullish on this Cavs offense all offseason because they acquired players to space out the offense better and they’ve talked about playing with more pace. I have also been a believer in Okoro for quite some time, and have seen his development over the years, so my perspective is obviously clouded. Now, he’s not going to shoot 6-of-10 from the field every game, but he has worked hard on his shooting over the years. He has always been known as a good defender, though, so the rest of the counting stats aren’t a surprise. He has been a low-usage player so I’m not buying the 20% number. But if he’s going to play 30 minutes, then he definitely has utility.
Other Options - Ausar Thompson ($5,400), Keegan Murray ($5,200), Grant Williams ($4,700), Isaac Okoro ($4,400)
Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets at Memphis Grizzlies ($11,600) – Jokic is the most expensive player on the slate, which could keep his ownership number low. He averages the most FP/Min, has the highest floor/ceiling combo and the highest projection on the slate. He played 36 minutes in the opener. Not sure that’s sustainable, but if that is the New World Order, then that changes things because he averaged 33 per game last season. Really, there’s not much to say. Jokic is awesome. It comes down to roster construction and value. Oh, he also will be matched up against Xavier Tillman ($5,800), who is 6-foot-7 and has averaged 26.6 points, 13.2 rebounds and 7.9 assists in nine games against him.
Alperen Sengun, Houston Rockets at San Antonio Spurs ($7,000) - I just wanted an excuse to write about Sengun because I love his game so much. He is Jokic-esque. He only played 28 minutes in the opener but that’s because the Rockets got blown out by 30 points. In that span, Sengun produced 14 points, eight rebounds and six assists. The Spurs play fast and have been putting up a ton of points all summer. That translated to 119 points in the opener while allowing 126 to the Mavericks. This game has a healthy total of 225 with a tight three-point spread.
Other Options - Domantas Sabonis ($10,200), Julius Randle ($8,400), Derek Lively II ($6,400), Ivica Zubac ($6,100)
Day’Ron Sharpe, Brooklyn Nets at Dallas Mavericks ($3,300) – With Nic Claxton out, Sharpe should get the start and play a ton of minutes. How many? That remains to be seen. Sharpe averages 1.13 FP/Min and should crush his price tag. He will likely be heavily owned, but it’s probably chalk you should eat and differentiate elsewhere because few players can match his playing time and production.
Mark Williams, Charlotte Hornets vs. Detroit Pistons ($5,800) - Williams just looks different out there on the court. He’s a mountain of a man but moves with such fluidity and grace while snatching balls out of the air. It didn’t take him long to earn Steve Clifford’s trust last season as a rookie and he is now THE guy at center. In the opener, he played 30 minutes and produced 13 points, 15 rebounds, one assist, three steals and a block.
Other Options - Clint Capela ($5,900), Xavier Tillman ($5,800), Jalen Duren ($5,600), John Collins ($5,400), Dario Saric ($3,700)
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is sontzu) 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.