Boston Celtics @ Chicago Bulls (-1.5) – 210
All the players in this game are priced pretty attractively on Draftkings for playing in a game with the highest total and tightest spread on the night. Boston is on a back-to-back, but I’m hoping that doesn’t negatively affect them too much in this spot, none of the starters played over 34 minutes (Avery Bradley) because the game was out of hand at the end of the third quarter. The Celtics’ starting five carried the fastest pace last night for any lineup to begin the season, but that may have something to do with the non-defense the Nets were playing. Isaiah Thomas led the team with 18.5 shot attempts (I count Free Throws as 0.5) and Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder were second with 15. Al Horford only shot the ball 8 times and played 27 minutes, but I think that may have been a function of game-flow, the Bulls should provide more resistance and put a little more on Horford’s plate. Horford may go under-owned after his relatively poor statistical output last night and should make for a nice tournament play tonight. Avery Bradley is still way too cheap at 4.9K, Isaiah Thomas has a nice matchup with Rajon Rondo, his price came down to 7.2K, and he should lead the team in shot attempts again tonight. Jae Crowder has a tough matchup with Jimmy Butler, but I think he should play a ton of minutes and remain involved in the offense. The biggest concern I have for the Celtics’ fantasy output tonight is their rebounding prowess, they only out-rebounded the Nets by 3 last night and they should be one of the worst teams on the glass this year. The starting 5 for the Bulls are all plus rebounders, so I think there’s potential for the Bulls to limit the possessions for the Celtics. The Celtics could look to counteract this by giving Tyler Zeller a little more run off the bench to add some size to their front line, so I think he’s an interesting tournament dart at 3K.
We don’t have much to go on with the Bulls outside of the pre-season, where we saw a pretty clear lead usage trio of Dwayne Wade(26%), Taj Gibson(25%), and Jimmy Butler (24%). Taj Gibson seems like a great value at only 4.1K, but obviously we’re betting on him to maintain his increased usage from the pre-season. Butler and Wade should be strong plays as well, Rondo will always be a better bet on Draftkings and he’s got a pretty attractive price point at 6.2K. Robin Lopez will probably be very low owned, and he’s definitely got a ceiling against a team which may be soft at the rim, I like him in tournaments for sure. Doug McDermott looks like a viable punt play at 3.4K, he should lead the Bulls in shot attempts off the bench, and we just saw a couple of no-name Nets bench guys light the Celtics up from beyond the arc last night.
Primary Plays: Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Al Horford, Taj Gibson, Jimmy Butler, Dwayne Wade
Secondary Plays: Doug McDermott, Tyler Zeller, Rajon Rondo, Robin Lopez.
Los Angeles Clippers (-2.5) @ Portland Trail Blazers – 208.5
I touched on this in my season preview and we saw it in their first game, Portland is a great team to target in Daily Fantasy because we know exactly where the shot attempts are going: Damian Lillard (24.5) and C.J. McCollum (19.5). We also saw Allen Crabbe (11 shot attempts in 29 minutes) assert himself as the main bench scorer in the first game. I’m interested in all 3 of these guys tonight, despite the seemingly tough match-up with the Clippers. The Blazers played at a very slow pace in their first game, 94.86 as a team, and Lillard played at an individual pace of 92.66. This may have had something to do with the match-up with the Utah Jazz, but I definitely think it’s something to keep an eye on as a possible trend.
Outside of the big 4 for the Clippers in Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, J.J. Redick, and Deandre Jordan, I’m not exactly sure what to expect. These guys should all be productive, but their salaries are fairly high in what could potentially be a slower paced game. I expect Blake the lead the team in shot attempts with Paul a close second. Their bench unit is a little more crowded than it has been in the past, with Austin Rivers, Jamal Crawford, Raymond Felton, Marresse Speights, and Paul Pierce all potentially vying for shot attempts. I’m staying away until we get some kind of clarity with how the minutes and shot attempts will be distributed.
Primary Plays: Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum, Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, Allen Crabbe, J.J. Redick
Secondary Plays: Deandre Jordan
Washington Wizards @ Atlanta Hawks (-4.5) – 202.5
Both of these teams played very strong defense in the pre-season, limiting opponents to an offensive rating under 96, but obviously the regular season is a different animal. I love John Wall’s price point at 8.2K on DK, and Dennis Schroder doesn’t worry me in the least. Otto Porter is very under-priced at 4.5K, and the rest of the starters are also priced attractively: Bradley Beal (5.7K), Markieff Morris (5.4K), and Marcin Gortat (5.3K) are all strong plays. The main targets off the Wizards bench will be Andrew Nicholson (3K) and Kelly Oubre, Jr. (3.4K). Marcus Thornton and Trey Burke are theoretically in play because they’ll see minutes and shot attempts, but I prefer to roster good basketball players that have a shot at converting on their shot attempts. Gortat will probably go very under-owned, and he could be the recipient of plenty of easy looks at the rim as John Wall and Brad Beal collapse the defense and force Dwight Howard to rotate. Andrew Nicholson is the only frontcourt bench player I expect to see legitimate run out of tonight, and he could easily 6x his salary if he sees 20-25 minutes.
Paul Millsap (7.9K) and Dwight Howard (7.5K) are my favorite plays from the Hawks tonight, but I think I’d prefer the guys on the other side of this match-up because they’re priced much more attractively, and I expect the Wizards to win this game. Dennis Schroder (6.5K) will probably be very popular given his new role in the offense, but he’s not a guy I’m very high on tonight. John Wall is fully healthy this year and is an elite on-ball defender, and if Schroder isn’t able to break down the defense, I don’t think he has a lot of fantasy appeal. The Hawks will probably run a lot of high pick and roll with Millsap and/or Howard to try and free Schroder up, so there’s definitely opportunity for him to overcome the tough individual match-up, but I think there are better point per dollar plays tonight at the guard position. Also, to take a little stroll down narrative street, John Wall is a guy that takes things very personally, and he does not care for Schroder after Schroder was taking obvious shots at John’s broken arm in the 2015 playoffs, so you can expect him to be very locked into shutting Schroder down tonight. Kyle Korver (3.3K) seems like a steal at that price considering his projected minutes and shot volume, even though he’s not a guy I like to target at all because his skill set outside of catching and shooting leaves a lot to be desired. Kent Bazemore (5.1K) should see plenty of minutes and can produce in every category, I think he’s squarely in play. I have no interest in the Hawks’ bench until we can identify who will be asked to shoot the ball consistently.
Primary Plays: John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Markieff Morris, Marcin Gortat, Paul Millsap, Dwight Howard, Kyle Korver
Secondary Plays: Dennis Schroder, Kent Bazemore, Andrew Nicholson, Kelly Oubre, Jr.
San Antonio Spurs (-8.5) @ Sacramento Kings – 202.5
We’ve seen both of these teams play so far, so hopefully we can get a good grasp of where the shot attempts will be coming from. For the Spurs, Kawhi Leonard (28.5) and Lamarcus Aldridge (23) were the clear leaders in shot attempts, and are both guys I’m aggressively targeting tonight against the Kings. I may have sprained my ankle trying to catch up to the Jonathan Simmons (28 minutes, 15.5 shot attempts) hype train before it left the station, but I am definitely on board. This is a guy the Spurs have been high on for some time, they really let him out of bag against the Warriors, and I don’t see any reason to expect a dip in usage against the Kings. His price point is also very attractive at 4.2K. Tony Parker and Pau Gasol hardly played against the Warriors, but this is a spot that should suit them much better against Ty Lawson and Kosta Koufos. They certanly have rebound potential and figure to be lightly owned in tournaments. Manu Ginobili (10 shot attempts) and Patty Mills (9 shot attempts) are also relevant salary relief options for the Spurs.
The Kings rolled over the Suns last night, but they’re going from a match-up with one of the worst teams in the league to a match-up with one of the best teams in the league, they should be a little more pressed in this game. Demarcus Cousins only played 25 minutes last night, but still managed to get 18 shots up, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him over 25 shot attempts tonight as he tries to keep his team in the game. Rudy Gay should spend most of his court time matched up with Kawhi Leonard, which takes him immediately out of play for me. Rudy Gay being locked up by Kawhi should allow Ty Lawson to see more usage in this game, and even though he’s a guy I just don’t like from a talent perspective, I cannot argue with the minutes and shot attempts he should get in this game, and he’s only 5.5K. I’ll still be looking for ways to avoid him against a much better basketball team in the Spurs, but I won’t talk you out of using him. Matt Barnes played 28 minutes off the bench and was fourth on the team with 9 shot attempts, I think he’s a very interesting punt play at only 3.4K.
Primary Plays: Kawhi Leonard, Lamarcus Aldridge, Jonathan Simmons, Demarcus Cousins
Secondary Plays: Ty Lawson, Matt Barnes, Manu Ginobili, Patty Mills, Tony Parker, Pau Gasol.