We’re back! It was sooner than a lot of people anticipated and it might be taking a bit of a backseat to the NFL regular season winding down, but the NBA returns on Tuesday evening with a star-studded two-game schedule.
How should you be attacking a slate stuffed to the brim with talent and narrative? Let’s break it all down position-by-position.
Opt-in and if a player hits a 3-pointer in the last minute of the fourth quarter in tonight’s Brooklyn vs. Golden State game or tonight’s LAC vs. LAL game, you get an entry to an exclusive $100K contest on 12/28! See the DraftKings Big Trey Payday page for more details!
Stephen Curry, GS at BRK, $9,300 - Obviously the dynamics are a little different this season, but in the five games Curry played in 2019-20 without Kevin Durant ($9,800) and Klay Thompson (Achilles), he maintained an eye-popping 33.6% usage rate. The only reason he struggled to consistently hit value during that stretch was he happened to shoot a wholly unsustainable 24.5% from distance. This should also prove to be a good matchup for Curry, as the Nets figure to be an uptempo team with some defensive issues.
Patrick Beverley, LAC at LAL, $4,400 - This is a difficult slate for a number of reasons, yet the most concerning is that we don’t have any idea how the backend of these rotations will shake out. With that being the case, instead of shooting for potential with an asset like Bruce Brown ($3,700), I think it’s smart to invest in the safety of someone like Beverley. Sure, the veteran only averaged 0.84 DKFP per minute played prior to the bubble last season, but that efficiency matters less when you can count on Beverley being on the court for 25-plus minutes.
Paul George, LAC at LAL, $7,800 - The public perception of George has fluctuated wildly across the past half-decade, so, in general, I’m never really surprised with how he’s being presented at any given time. Still, it does seem odd that George’s price point on this slate is closer to Andrew Wiggins ($7,000) than it is Kawhi Leonard ($9,100). Say what you will about his playoff failures, but George posted a career-best .589 true shooting rate last season with a 29.6% usage rate. Try finding that every day for less than $8K.
Joe Harris, BRK vs. GS, $4,800 - Again, for as much as I’m intrigued by an asset like Luke Kennard ($3,600) on Tuesday, I simply have zero idea if he’ll get an opportunity to play. I have a similar feeling when it comes to Talen Horton-Tucker ($3,500), though the fear is only amplified by the fact the preseason sensation is sure to be popular. Instead, I’ll take the high-floor option in Harris, who was just paid $72 million to hit the open shots that will be created when teams are forced to double Durant and Kyrie Irving ($8,500). Harris also has some potential as an above-average rebounder in small-ball lineups, so his value isn’t completely one-dimensional.
Kelly Oubre, GS at BRK, $6,700 - While Wiggins will probably sit second on the Warriors in usage rate when it’s all said and done, Oubre is the more tantalizing fantasy option. The 25-year-old looked fantastic in the preseason playing next to Curry, stuffing the stat sheet in a number of categories, including 3-pointers, rebounds and blocks. When it comes to Tuesday’s matchup specifically, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Oubre inherit some minutes at power forward if Draymond Green (foot) is eventually ruled out, giving him even more opportunity to shine in Steve Kerr’s system.
Nic Batum, LAC at LAL, $4,100 - Look, it’s hard not to feel a cold shiver run up your spine when you even start to think about Batum as a viable DFS asset, but the forward is only 32-years-old and we’re not really that far from Batum being a productive player. More importantly, if Marcus Morris ($5,100) isn’t active against the Lakers, the Frenchman is probably going to start. In the Clippers’ final preseason contest, Batum logged 28 minutes, scoring five points and grabbing eight rebounds. It doesn’t quite blow you away, yet at this price, it’s perfectly acceptable.
Kevin Durant, BRK vs. GS, $9,800 - I mean, let’s just have some fun, right? We didn’t get much of a sample size in the preseason with the former MVP, but what we did get was very encouraging. Across two games, Durant averaged 28.2 points per 36 minutes, while also maintaining a .601 true shooting rate. It’s not like Brooklyn was easing him back in, either, as the Nets played at a 107.8 possession pace in the 51 minutes Durant was on the court. In his first real game since the 2019 NBA Finals, playing against his former team, you know Durant’s going to want to put on a show.
Montrezl Harrell, LAL vs. LAC, $5,300 - The Lakers will probably try to stagger the playing time of LeBron James ($9,600) and Anthony Davis ($10,000) to make sure one of their All-Stars is always on the court, but that might be a challenging ask for all 48 minutes this early in the season — especially with just a two-month break since the Finals. That could open the door for Harrell to do what he does best: Being a high-volume scorer within the second unit. It also doesn’t hurt that when the big man saw his former team on Dec. 13, he put up 19 points and 11 rebounds in 26 minutes.
Anthony Davis, LAL vs. LAC, $10,000 - I imagine that Davis will be one of this slate’s more popular plays — especially considering how thin the center position is — but that doesn’t mean he isn’t good chalk. Davis averaged a whopping 1.36 DKFP per minute played prior to the March shutdown last regular season and it still feels like the Clippers lack the bodies to truly pose a threat to the former first-overall pick. He’s the most-expensive asset for a reason, I guess is what I’m trying to say.
Serge Ibaka, LAC at LAL, $5,200 - I’m curious to see how Los Angeles plans to deploy Ibaka. Last season in Toronto, Ibaka was asked to be a primary scoring option, sitting second to only Pascal Siakam in terms of field goal attempts per 36 minutes (16.2). However, much of that was a result of Ibaka playing off the bench and with a sterling pick-and-roll point guard in Kyle Lowry. For the Clippers, things will be different, especially with Ibaka seemingly in line to start next to two high-volume superstars. I doubt he’ll end up as consistent a DFS asset as he was in 2019-20, but this is still a decent price for the veteran on Opening Night.
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