Only four games on tonight’s slate and three of them have a 7.5-point spread or higher. In addition, DET, NOP, TOR and UTA all played last night, so beware of shenanigans. Devin Booker ($9,500) is the big piece of news. It sounds like he’s close to returning and playing against the 24th-ranked team in terms of defensive efficiency is a nice set-up. If Booker plays, he will take usage away from Kevin Durant ($10,800), possibly making him overpriced, while Eric Gordon ($5,500) and Grayson Allen ($5,100) would obviously suffer as well.
DraftKings Sportsbook has PHI, NOP and PHO as 8.5, 7.5 and 8.5 favorities over TOR, DET and SAS respectively. The UTA/ORL game has UTA favored by only 1.0 point. TOR/PHI has the lowest total at 215.5 while PHO/SAS has the highest at 226.
Scottie Barnes, Toronto Raptors at Philadelphia 76ers ($8,200) – After a tumultuous sophomore season, many were down on Barnes and for good reason, as the shooting efficiency dipped significantly. But the front office always believed and never wavered in their belief of him. After Fred VanVleet took his talents to Houston, Toronto was to be Scottie’s team, and the early returns have been bright so far. Through five games, Barnes is averaging 20.8 points, 10 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.0 steal and 2.4 blocks while shooting 51% from the field and 42% from downtown. He’s attempting 4.2 treys per game and looking mighty comfortable shooting them. He’s garnering a usage rate in the 25% range and provides a high floor due to his ability to contribute across the board. He’s scored at least 44 DKFP in every game this season with two above 50. Against the 76ers three games ago, Scottie went for 46 DKFP.
Other Options - Tyrese Maxey ($8,400), Dennis Schroder ($6,200)
Marcus Sasser, Detroit Pistons at New Orleans Pelicans ($3,600) – More than likely, staying in the $5K range is the place to be for value, but Sasser has some intrigue. Tons of risk but plenty of room for profit as well. Alec Burks ($4,900) was a late scratch on Wednesday and there’s a good chance he will miss today’s game as well. Jaden Ivey ($5,300) hasn’t played more than 23 minutes in a game this season and received 22 minutes last night. Sasser, on the other hand, played 23 minutes and went for 30.75 DKFP. He scored eight points, grabbed three rebounds, dished out six assists, blocked a shot and racked up four steals. Four steals shouldn’t be expected on the regular but he’s shown the ability to contribute across the board at a high level in limited playing time.
Other Options - OG Anunoby ($5,600), Markelle Fultz ($5,500), Jordan Clarkson ($5,400), Cole Anthony ($5,200), Jalen Suggs ($5,000)
Editor’s Note: Pelicans PF Zion Williamson (rest) has been ruled out for tonight’s game vs. the Pistons.
Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans vs. Detroit Pistons ($9,200) – I kind of hate the price, especially since Zion has only two steals with zero blocks on the season. He’s exceeded 40 DKFP only once. That said, he does have 60-DKFP upside, something he did twice last season. He’s going to rack up defensive stats at some point and the points and rebounds are a given. There are two things that have me keep coming back to Zion. Granted, it’s early in the season, so the sample sizes are small, but the Pistons have boosted the fantasy points per minute to power forwards by a league-leading 20.99%. And this is with Jalen Duren ($6,800) in the mix. Duren missed Wednesday’s game, which means that Marvin Bagley ($4,400) could get another start.
Other Options - Paolo Banchero ($7,300), Franz Wagner ($6,700), Ausar Thompson ($6,600)
Cedi Osman, San Antonio Spurs at Phoenix Suns ($3,500) – Osman is shooting 58% from the field and 50% from downtown so far this season. This is obviously not sustainable and will regress back towards his 42% and 35% career numbers. That said, regression doesn’t mean it’s going to happen tonight. Osman will likely play close to 20 minutes and he’s attempted at least seven shots in every contest. He doesn’t contribute much in the peripheral categories, so it’s well within the range of outcomes that he scores single-digit DKFP. That said, he’s scored in the 15 to 19 DKFP range in every game this season.
Other Options - John Collins ($5,600), Jeremy Sochan ($5,600), Josh Okogie ($4,500)
Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers vs. Toronto Raptors ($11,500) – Embiid literally does it all and has the highest floor/ceiling combo on the slate. As a result, he is the most expensive player by a wide margin. I’m not sure there’s enough value to fit him in but if you can, he very well could score the most raw points tonight. After a season opener in which he shot 9-of-21 from the field and put up 41.75 DKFP, Embiid has scored 63.25 and 81.25 DKFP. The usage rate is a whopping 38.2%.
Other Options - Jusuf Nurkic ($7,000)
Marvin Bagley, Detroit Pistons at New Orleans Pelicans ($4,400) – Bagley received the start on Wednesday and played 33 minutes. If Duren misses again, he could be in line for a similar workload. Bagley is primarily a points and rebounds player, rarely contributing in the defensive categories. He’s scored at least 19 DKFP in every contest this year despite playing 15, 13 and 16 minutes in three of those contests. The range of outcomes is tight but 33 minutes are 33 minutes if Duren misses again.
Other Options - Jakob Poeltl ($5,900)
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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.