USA! USA! U....Womp womp. After losing to France on Sunday, Team USA will look to bounce back on Tuesday, and unfortunately for Iran, it won’t be pretty for them. DraftKings Sportsbook has the US of A favored by a whopping 42 points. Kevin Durant ($10,400) was in foul trouble against France, so he should bounce back, but I question whether he can pay off the price tag as the entire roster could play around 20 minutes each. Spoiler: I’m fading Team USA from a DFS perspective since everyone seems overpriced. In addition, the ownership should be elevated. There are three other games in which to select high-usage players who should play over 30 minutes. Germany faces Nigeria and is favored by 4.5 points with an implied total of 85.25. Australia battles Italy is favored by eight points with an implied total of 90.25. The last game of the slate has France squaring off against Czech Republic with France favored by 9.5 points with an implied total of 87.25.
Let’s dive into some of my favorite plays at each position on DraftKings.
Tomas Satoransky, Czech Republic vs. France ($7,400) – As mentioned in the opening, I’m fading Team USA. Damian Lillard ($10,200) and Jrue Holiday ($8,700) seem too high-priced in a game that they will handle easily with the minutes and usage distributed evenly amongst the whole group. Could I be wrong? It wouldn’t be the first time but this is the flag I’m planting on this slate. I know that it could go horribly wrong but the scenario I present seems to be one that is well within the range of outcomes. If Team USA garners a ton of ownership, even better. Ok, enough rambling. Let’s get back to Satoransky. He’s a grizzled vet in the NBA streets, having played five seasons with two teams. He is not the most proficient scorer but he can get a triple-double on any given night and will contribute in steals. In the opening game against Iran, he shot horribly from the field (2-for-14) but he grabbed eight rebounds, dished out eight assists and pilfered five. He also played a team-high 35 minutes. In four Olympic qualifying games, Satoransky averaged 33.8 minutes, 54.2%/34.8%/82.4%, 5.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists, one steal and 16 points.
Other Options – Patty Mills ($9,800), Maodo Lo ($6,800)
Andreas Obst, Germany @ Nigeria ($3,900) – In the opening game against Italy, Obst led the team with 30 minutes played and went 4-for-9 from downtown. He contributed 12 points with only one assist and looks to be the sniper for the Germans. He will play a ton of minutes and get plenty of shot attempts. If he gets hot, then yahtzee. The downside to his game is that he doesn’t contribute much in the other categories but he’s sub-$4,000. In four qualifying games, Obst averaged 25.3 minutes, 50%/33.3%/0%, 2.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists, one steal and seven points.
Other Options – Behnam Yakhchalidehkordi ($4,000)
Evan Fournier, France @ Czech Republic ($7,500) – Fournier went bonkers against Team USA, racking up 28 points on 11-for-22 shooting. He’s well-versed with the American players as he’s played 10 seasons in the NBA since he was a little pup at 20 years of age. He played 34 minutes and should be in the 30s again for this one. He will likely garner the highest usage rate on the French team and score the most points. That said, if he doesn’t shoot the ball well from the field, the lack of assists doesn’t provide a high floor but the volume should mitigate that somewhat.
Behnam Yakhchalidehkordi, Iran @ USA ($4,000) – The point guard for the Iranian team played professionally in China two years ago and most recently was in the German Bundesliga. He’s adept at pick-and-roll action, can bomb from downtown and attack the basket against bigs. In four qualifying games, he shot 45% from the field and 36% from beyond the arc. In the opening game against Czech Republic, he scored 23 points on 9-for-16 shooting while racking up three rebounds, four assists and one steal. The length and defense of Team USA will likely give him problems but he played 36 minutes in Game 1 and should see a similar workload. The usage rate will also be high. A ceiling outcome is unlikely, but at the price, it’s not required.
Other Options – Stefano Tonut ($4,800)
Joe Ingles, Australia @ Italy ($9,200) – I know that Durant and Jayson Tatum ($9,400) are right above Ingles, but If you’re questioning Ingles here then I know you didn’t read the intro. Scroll back up, read it, then return here. <insert Jeopardy music> Ingles played 33 minutes in the opening game with Nigeria and minutes are half the battle. Yo, Joe! If you don’t know, Ingles has played seven seasons with the Utah Jazz in the NBA. He’s not the most athletic player or a prolific scorer but he does everything well. He shoots a high percentage from the perimeter, can navigate pick-and-roll action and is an adept passer. He’s an instrumental piece of the Aussie squad and should be heavily involved.
Other Options – Danilo Gallinari ($8,300)
Simone Fontecchio, Italy vs. Australia ($6,200) – In the opening game against Germany, Fontecchio played 30 minutes and contributed 20 points, four rebounds, two assists and three steals on 7-for-13 shooting. Fontecchio stands six feet and eight inches, weighing in at 209 pounds. He’s got a nice shot and has range out to downtown but he’s not strictly a spot-up shooter. He is not afraid to venture into the paint and rise up and flush. In three qualifying games, Fontecchio averaged 30 minutes, 57%/53%/100%, 6.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists, one block and 19.7 points.
Other Options – Nicolas Batum ($5,600)
Jan Vesely, Czech Republic vs. France ($6,900) – The Czech Jet! Vesely has played four seasons in the NBA. He’s averaged more than 15 minutes per game only once in his young career but that’s 15 more than many of the players in this tournament. The free-throw shooting is horrendous and he has no range out to downtown but he’s an athletic, rim-running big who takes to the skies to flush down oops. In the opening game, Vesely played 25 minutes and produced 11 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals. His size will be needed against Rudy Gobert ($10,000). Just pray that he doesn’t get into foul trouble.
Nicolo Melli, Italy vs. Australia ($4,500) – Against Germany, Melli tallied 13 points, nine rebounds, one assist and two steals in 26 minutes of action. He shot 5-for-10 from the field. Melli has played two seasons in the NBA so he is no scrub. That said, in three qualifying games, he only averaged 22 minutes and shot 18% from the field and 20% from downtown, but he did contribute four rebounds, two assists, 1.3 steals and 0.7 blocks. I’m thinking that this should be a close, competitive affair so his size and ability to stretch the floor will have him out there for a significant portion of the game.
Rudy Gobert, France @ Czech Republic ($10,000) – Gobert played 29 minutes in the meeting with the US and produced 14 points, nine rebounds and one assist. He did not notch a block, which is unusual but it’s a difficult endeavor when the opponent just jacks up threes all day. The price is high and it will be difficult for Gobert to pay it off. As a result, I won’t go here but the floor is super high and there is a chance at a ceiling game.
Other Options – Hamed Haddadi ($9,300)
Isaac Bonga, Germany @ Nigeria ($4,600) – Bonga is only 21 years old but is already a seasoned three-year vet of the NBA. Against Italy, he played 28 minutes and stuffed the stat sheet with 13 points, three rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks. He is just too cheap for the amount of minutes he will likely see.
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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 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.
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