Houston Rockets @ Dallas Mavericks (-1.5) – 220.5
No surprise here, but the Rockets game is the highest total of the night. Based on what we saw from these two teams in game one, I think we can expect a couple of things: great pace, and poor defense. Dallas was behind most of the game, but posted a 105.46 pace in game one, and Houston posted a 103.28. Houston allowed a 115.7 offensive rating to a young Lakers team, and Dallas coughed up 112.1 to the Pacers.
Dallas’ Game 1 shot attempts (in OT): Dirk (20), J.J. Barea (20), Wes Matthews (19), Deron Williams (18), Harrison Barnes (14). Dirk (6K) wound up playing a lot of the 5, I guess his body is up to it at this point in the season, and one of the results from this was an absolute monster stat line from Myles Turner. Houston doesn’t have a big guy that’s really going to score the ball like Myles Turner, but I would expect James Harden to attack the rim relentlessly and see no resistance. Clint Capela and Nene Hilario split the minutes at the 5 26/22, they may both see an increase in rebounding opportunities and easy shot attempts at the rim in this game. Harrison Barnes gets the match-up with turnstile Ryan Anderson, but his price took a bump up to 5.9K on Draftkings, and it’s hard to trust him to make shots, but he’s definitely in play here. J.J. Barea at just 3.9K is probably my favorite play from this game, and without having looked at any of the other games or salaries, I’d wager that he will be the highest point per dollar play on the night. Dirk’s minutes at the 5 allowed the Mavs to get Barea into the lineup and push everyone down a slot, and I expect them to use those lineup combos again this game. Deron Williams (5.7K) is priced really attractively considering his shot volume, efficiency, and ball handling responsibilities in this match-up. Wes Matthews (4.8K) was only 3/16 from the floor against the Pacers, he should see some increased efficiency in this game and makes for a solid play.
Houston’s Game 1 shot attempts: Harden (27), Eric Gordon (17), Ryan Anderson (15), Capela (11). You really have to pay for Harden at 11.3K, but he’s worth every penny. Eric Gordon (5.2K) is probably the second best play here and could spend a considerable amount of time matched up with J.J. Barea. Anderson (6.3K) and Capela (5.9K) deserve consideration, but will probably be a bit too expensive for me.
Primary Plays: Dirk Nowitzki, Wes Matthews, Deron Williams, J.J. Barea, James Harden, Eric Gordon
Secondary Plays: Harrison Barnes, Ryan Anderson, Clint Capela
Golden State Warriors (-9.5) @ New Orleans Pelicans – 219.5
The Pelicans played with a pace of 110.5 in game one, while the Warriors played with a pace of 101.68. The Warriors were severely limited by the physical play of the Spurs in their game, and I’d expect that to pick up a bit in game two against the Pelicans as they find more offensive success. The Warriors shot distribution from game one: Stephen Curry (21), Kevi Durant (20.5), Draymond Green (15), Klay Thompson (13). Andre Iguodala played 27 minutes but only took 3 shots, however he deserves consideration at 3.5K in a game where the Warriors will probably get loose on offense. Draymond Green erased any questions I had about him in game one, and at only 7.5K, he is a very attractive option. He will most likely be tasked with guarding Anthony Davis, which could prove challenging given their size difference. Steph Curry (9.3K) and Kevin Durant (9.6K) are both priced below some of the other studs on the slate, but could not be in a better spot. Klay Thompson (6.5K) should also have much more offensive success in this game.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably aware of what Anthony Davis did in his first game, but just in case: 41 minutes, 42.5 shot attempts, and a truckload of fantasy points. I don’t think we’ll see the same kind of performance in the defensive categories as this is a much more capable opponent, but the shot volume, efficiency, and overall talent level is off the charts, and he’s not even the most expensive player on the slate. The main question I have is whether or not he’ll be able to produce similar offensive numbers in a much tougher match-up, the Warriors should go all out to stop him from catching the ball, but once he’s got it, there’s not much you can do. The only other player on the Pelicans with double digit shot attempts was Tim Frazier with 12, his price jumped up to 5.4K, but I think he’s definitely in consideration after seeing 37 minutes in game one. E’Twaun Moore (4.3K) and Lance Stephenson (3K) are potential pivot options if you think Golden State will be able to drive shot attempts away from Davis.
Primary Plays: Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, Tim Frazier
Secondary Plays: Andre Iguodala, E’Twaun Moore, Lance Stephenson
Indiana Pacers (-6.5) @ Brooklyn Nets – 213.5
All of the Pacers’ primary offensive players played with a pace around 105 in a cake match-up with the Mavericks, and I expect more of the same in a cake match-up with the Nets. Jeff Teague (6.2K) and Myles Turner (7.1K) led the team in game one with 21.5 shot attempts. I’m not willing to pay 8.4K for Paul George when it seems that his shot volume is going to be limited a bit with so many other competent options in the lineup now. He posted a 19.2% USG rate in game one. He could very well pay off his tag by producing in other categories against this terrible team, but I think there will be better point per dollar plays at the position. Monta Ellis (5.3K) posted 13 shot attempts, I think he’s a strong play in this game as well. Thad Young (5.7K) deserves consideration because of the match-up, but I’ll be looking for someone with higher shot volume and efficiency.
The Nets showed us some very interesting rotations in game one. After falling behind by about 20 to the Celtics, they let their bench players shoot them back into game and almost upset the Celtics. I’m going to project the Nets to get blown out pretty much every game because I think they’re terrible, but this bench usage situation is very attractive for DFS purposes. I get playing Jeremy Lin at 6k, he posted a 26 usage rate in 28 minutes in what’s likely to be a much tougher individual match-up against the Celtics, but I think he’s tournament only. Really, all of the Nets are probably tournament only. Bojan Bogdanovic posted a juicy 33.6% USG in 27 minutes in game one, but I’m always concerned with his lack of skills outside of shooting. Where I’d really like to go here on the Nets is the combination of Justin Hamilton and Joe Harris at 3.5K. Both played 25 minutes, Harris posted a 27% USG with 2 steals, 2 blocks, 3 assists, and 4 boards, while Hamilton double-doubled on a 21% USG and 71.3 TS%. We’ve seen both of these guys have reasonably productive games in the NBA before, and with all the high priced studs on this slate, I think they’re reasonable risks with upside to try and fit them in and chase a big score.
Primary Plays: Myles Turner, Jeff Teague, Monta Ellis, Paul George, Joe Harris, Justin Hamilton
Secondary Plays: Thad Young, Rodney Stuckey, Jeremy Lin, Bojan Bogdanovic, Brook Lopez
Phoenix Suns @ Oklahoma City Thunder (-9) – 209
Both of these teams played very poorly to begin the season, but I think the Thunder will bounce back and show well here. Russell Westbrook posted a 105 pace and 31.8% USG in game one, and the usage was actually a little lower than I thought it would be without Durant. Russ missed a triple double by one assist, but the Suns could legitimately be an easier match-up than the Sixers this year, I think he gets the triple double in this one. He needs to legitimately get you 70 fantasy points to pay off his 11.8K price tag, but that’s very well within his reach. Steven Adams (5.8K) was a bit underwhelming in game one, but, again, I think Joel Embiid could very well be a tougher draw than Tyson Chandler at this point, and I think he makes for a strong play again. The USG (21.8%) and minutes (36) were there for Adams in game one. Enes Kanter was a usage monster off the bench at 27.6% in his 26 minutes, and he actually led the Thunder in Net Rating and made a couple nice defensive plays, I think his minutes and shots are secure and he makes for a great play in this spot. Victor Oladipo shot the ball very poorly and only played 26 minutes, but he posted the same USG rate (31.9%) as Westbrook. He’ll probably be very low owned and it’s clear he’s going to be able to get his shots up, but I still won’t be going there just yet.
The Suns are tanking and tanking hard this year. The most noteworthy happening in game one for the Suns was T.J. Warren (4.4K) playing 30 minutes and seeing a team-leading 16 shot attempts. Veteran P.J. Tucker came off the bench and only played 6 minutes. They may increase P.J.’s minutes as he’s working back from injury, but for now, T.J. is the only fantasy option I’m going to consider from this team until we see minutes and usage condense.
Primary Plays: Russell Westbrook, Steven Adams, Enes Kanter
Secondary Plays: Victor Oladipo, T.J. Warren, Devin Booker, Eric Bledsoe
Cleveland Cavaliers (-2.5) @ Toronto Raptors – (203.5)
We should be in for a treat in this re-match of last year’s Eastern Conference finals. The Cavaliers were a little shaky to start game 1, but they really turned it on in the second half and ran the Knicks out of the building. Kevin Love actually posted the highest USG% at 34.7 for the Cavs in game 1, with Kyrie a close second at 29.6, and Lebron bringing up the rear at 22.4%. I’m not sure the Raptors will keep this game all that close, I was down on them coming into the season and one win against an inferior Pistons squad isn’t going to change my mind. Kevin Love (7.1K) is probably my favorite point per dollar play in the match-up, and Lebron (9.4K) could produce a monster stat line if the Raptors do keep it close, I think he makes for a strong correlation play with Demar Derozan in tournaments. Kyrie (7.7K) came down in price and led the Cavs with 22.5 shot attempts in game one. Richard Jefferson and Mike Dunleavy are both 3K, and you can do much worse in that price range.
Demar Derozan (7.2K) put up an impressive 40 points on 30 shot attempts in game one. Unfortunately, he does little else, and I can’t imagine the Cavaliers allowing him any air space in this match-up. The volume should still be there, but I’m worried about his efficiency I think Kyle Lowry (7.6K) makes for an interesting, lower-owned pivot in tournaments, although I’ll probably be looking elsewhere. Jonas Valanciunas really showed out in game one, I think he’s a very talented player, but again I’m expecting him to take a hit in efficiency against a much tougher opponent, his price has jumped to 6.7K, and I’m still wary from the years of Dwayne Casey limiting him to 22 minutes and 8 shot attempts. I think he’s a great tournament play, probably my favorite one of the 3.
Primary Plays: Kevin Love, Lebron James, Kyrie Irving
Secondary Plays: Jonas Valanciunas, Demar Derozan, Kyle Lowry, Richard Jeffeson, Mike Dunleavy
Los Angeles Lakers @ Utah Jazz (-8.5) – 201.5
The Jazz are sporting a nice, concentrated usage tree for us, and they’re in a home spot against the Lakers. Money. I was off of old man Joe Johnson and Rodney Hood coming into the season, but I’m doing a quick 180 after one game and jumping right on those trains, Johnson looked spry and Hood looked really comfortable in the offense in game one. Johnson (4.9K) led the team in usage at 29.9% but only played 31 minutes, spry or not he’s still old and I’m sure Quin Snyder wants to keep those minutes down. George Hill (5.5K) was second in usage at 25.9% while playing 39 minutes, and Rodney Hood (6.2K) played 38 minutes with a 23.5% usage rate. At 7.3K, Rudy Gobert’s 13.4% USG is very concerning, but he does tend to take high percentage shots, play a ton of minutes (41 in game 1), and contribute heavily in blocks and rebounds, he’s still a strong play.
The Jazz played in the 92-95 range of pace in game 1, and they’re a much better defensive team than they showed in Portland. The match-up does not bode well for the Lakers, I think D’Angelo Russell (6.9K), Julius Randle (6.2K) and Jordan Clarkson (5.9K) are secondary plays at best. Also concerning for the Lakers’ fantasy outlook is the fact that no starter saw 30 minutes in game one.
Primary Plays: George Hill, Rodney Hood, Joe Johnson, Rudy Gobert
Secondary Plays: D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson
Orlando Magic @ Detroit Pistons (-4) – 198.5
The Detroit Pistons are pretty easy for me. Tobias Harris (5.6K, 24.7% USG, 36 min) and Marcus Morris (5K, 27.7% USG, 32 min) are the only guys I’d consider using for cash. Andre Drummond (7.9K) is too volatile mentally for me, and he also can’t shoot, which goes against the Buckets brand. However, he did post a 33.3% USG rate in his 24 minutes, and the Heat did outrebound the Magic by 8 in their first game. The Magic get Bismack Biyombo back for this game, which should help there. Drummond has monster upside every time he takes the court, but he’s a tournament play at best for me.
The aforementioned Bismack Biyombo (4.5K) will be throwing a wrench into this frontcourt rotation with his return in this game. I’m still comfortable with Elfrid Payton (5.7K) and Evan Fournier (6.2K) in the backcourt, the Magic should be running a 9 man rotation, and I think they’re both locked into 36+ minutes per night. Vucevic (6.5K) had a big game last time and may be popular again, and Valanciunas, another talented offensive big man, absolutely worked this Piston frontcourt last game. I think he’s fine for tournaments, but I’d like to see exactly what the rotation will look like with Biyombo back before investing heavily in any of the front court members.
Primary Plays: Tobias Harris, Marcus Morris, Evan Fournier, Elfrid Payton
Secondary Plays: Andre Drummond, Nikola Vucevic
Charlotte Hornets @ Miami Heat (-2) – 198
Roy Hibbert v. Hassan Whiteside, the match-up we’ve all been waiting for. Hibbert (3.6K) got over in a big way against a soft Milwaukee frontcourt. He’s going to see as many minutes as he can manage without fouling out to try and counteract Whiteside’s size. I understand the play. I may even use him in a tournament or two, but I’d still strongly recommend avoiding getting heavily invested in him. Whiteside, on the other hand, I’m very interested in at 8.3K. He posted a 23.6% usage rate in game one, Goran Dragic (27.3%) and Justise Winslow (21.7%) were the only other Heat over 20. Dragic (6.6K) played a terrible game in game one, and I’m still high on him for this season, but I think I’ll stay away on this slate in the lowest total game with two strong defensive teams. Winslow (5.1K) is the type of player that seems like he could thrive in a scrappy, defensive battle like this. Tyler Johnson (4.3K) is priced attractively, and saw 28 minutes and 11.5 shot attempts in game one. You can play Dion Waiters (4.1K) if you want, I won’t be. Marvin Williams (4.8K) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (5.4K) are interesting because of their lower price points for sure, but this game may just not be very fantasy friendly.
Primary Plays: Hassan Whiteside
Secondary Plays: Goran Dragic, Roy Hibbert, Justise Winslow, Tyler Johnson, Marvin Williams, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kemba Walker