Golden State Warriors (-4.5) @ Portland Trail Blazers – 227.5
Highest total on the slate by about 10 points, this is definitely a game to get a piece of. Damian Lillard (36% USG, 9.5K) and C.J. McCollum (27%, 7.2K) are the clear pieces to own for Portland. Mason Plumlee (18.3%, 4.6K) is definitely in consideration, his ability to produce across the board always put him in consideration even though he’s not a great shooter, especially in a high paced game like this. Small sample, but Golden State has been 4th worst on the boards at 45.2% REB, while Portland hasn’t been much better at 47.6%. Kevin Durant (28.1% USG, 10.5K) and Steph Curry (27.5% USG, 9.2K) are the clear leaders in Golden State, with Klay Thompson (21.7% USG, 6.5K) a very viable play. Klay’s only shooting 3/21 from behind the arc to begin the season, that will not last forever, so he’s at least a good tournament play today. Draymond Green (16.7% USG, 7.7K) leads the Warriors in assist rate at 28.2% AST, and should have no problems getting to double digit rebounds in this game, he’s got triple double upside here. Durant’s AST% is 20.9, right behind Curry at 22.2. Curry’s the cheapest we’ve seen him in a long time, but Durant is eating into a lot of his productivity because he’s so great on the glass and he’s handling the ball a lot. Steph’s not going to be getting a ton of rebounds, assists, or defensive statistics on a nightly basis. We know he’s an all-time great shooter, but it’s hard to trust him to score enough fantasy points to pay off this kind of price tag. I do think he gets a bump because he’s seeing a much easier individual defensive match-up than Durant.
Primary Options: Damian Lillard, Kevin Durant
Secondary Options: Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Steph Curry, Mason Plumlee, C.J. McCollum.
Los Angeles Lakers @ Indiana Pacers (-9) – 216
Myles Turner (23.4% USG, 7.3K) had a tough match-up last game against Robin Lopez and the Bulls, the best rebounding team in the league at 58.4% REB. Today he gets Timofey Mozgov and the Lakers, one of the worst rebounding teams at 48.2% REB. He’s got a strong chance at a double-double, and he’s posted at least three blocks in every game so far, he should be able to rack up some defensive statistics in this game. Paul George (24.2%, 8.3K) is also in a prime spot against Luol Deng. The starting guards for the Pacers have the easiest individual match-up against D’Angelo Russell and Nick Young, but Monta Ellis is only posting a 16.8% USG, and Jeff Teague has a True Shooting percentage of 29.5%. It’s difficult to trust either of them. C.J. Miles is an interesting punt play at 3.2K with Rodney Stuckey out. Keep an eye on Joe Young (3K) as well, he’s seen an increase in minutes from 13 to 20 in the two games Stuckey has missed time, and I think he’s a very talented player.
The Pacers have traditionally been thought of as a solid defensive team, but they’ve allowed a 110 defensive rating through the first 3 games, tied for worst in the league with my Wizards… 🙁 I think this is a sneaky spot to get in on the Lakers, and their usage leaders are D’Angelo Russell (29.3%, 6.7K), Jordan Clarkson (25.8%, 5.5K), and Lou Williams (22.2%, 4.1K) Julius Randle (6.3K) has been very productive despite a low 18% USG rate, posting a True Shooting percentage of 69.4%, a Rebounding rate of 23.4%, and an Assist rate of 20.4%, third on the team behind Russell and Clarkson. Randle attempted a season high 14.5 shots last game, I think we may see him stay more involved today.
Primary Options: Myles Turner, Julius Randle, Paul George
Secondary Options: D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Lou Williams
Milwaukee Bucks @ New Orleans Pelicans (-3) – 206
Anthony Davis (37.8% USG, 10.8K) makes for a great bounce back candidate after a tough match-up with the Spurs. Hopefully the low score last game against an elite defense on the second night of a back to back will scare some people off him, but he’ll still probably be very heavily owned. The Bucks do have a ton of length on their team, but I don’t think any of them can match Davis’ physicality. Davis is such a usage monster that no other play on the team has a usage rate over 20%, but Tim Frazer (19.2%, 5.9K) is handling the ball a lot and posting strong assist and rebound numbers. I think the Pelicans should be able to find some offensive rhythm against the Bucks defense, which is allowing a 104.8 defensive rating, and Frazier should benefit. Lance Stephenson (15.2% USG, 3.6K) deserves consideration as a punt, I think his size will be necessary for the Pelicans in this match-up and he should see 25+ minutes off the bench.
It’s difficult to trust any Bucks player outside of Giannis Antetokounmpo (27% USG, 8.9K) on the Bucks. Greg Monroe is second on the team in usage, but has played under 20 minutes in two straight games. The Pelicans have played relatively strong defense, posting a defensive rating of 103.2, despite facing the Warriors, Spurs, and Nuggets. This is a pace up game for the Bucks, as the Pelicans are second in the league at 105.85 possessions per 48 minutes. Jabari Parker (21.4% USG, 6K) deserves consideration, but there are probably better point per dollar and ceiling plays.
Primary Options: Anthony Davis, Tim Frazier
Secondary Options: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Lance Stephenson
Memphis Grizzlies @ Minnesota Timberwolves (-3.5) – 201
Ricky Rubio is out indefinitely for the Timberwolves, and Kris Dunn will step into the starting line-up to take his place. I don’t see this changing what they do a whole lot, they’re both low usage, poor shooting, defensive first Point Guards. If anything, I think Zach Lavine will see some increased ball handling responsibilities. Andrew Wiggins (32.2% USG, 6.4K) is the clear usage leader in Minnesota so far, but he’s not doing much outside of scoring, and James Ennis has been a solid individual defender this year. He did post 35.25 DK points in the first match-up this year between these teams. Karl-Anthony Towns (23.9% USG, 8.5K) and Zach Lavine (22.3% USG, 5.7K) have been seeing playable usage as well. One of the biggest early season surprises for me is Karl-Anthony Towns’ mediocre usage, I was expecting him to at least be in the 27-28% range. I’ll need to see him start getting a bigger piece of this pie before making him a primary target. I think Lavine makes for a very strong play tonight, he posted a strong 32.25 DK points against Memphis this season, and he may see an uptick in usage as well as minutes as the back-up Point Guard. Kris Dunn (14.3% USG, 4.1K) is the unknown here, Ricky Rubio posted an 11.3% USG with the starting line-up ,and I’d expect Dunn to be in that range, but at his 4.1K price point, he may be a must in cash lineups with the expectation that he sees over 30 minutes tonight. He has committed 5 fouls in 35 minutes of court time so far this year. Gorgui Dieng (15.1% USG, 6.2K) has quietly been a very strong fantasy performer this season, posting back to back double doubles in 35 minutes of court time. I think he makes for another strong point per dollar play tonight.
Memphis has a clear big 3 in usage, with Mike Conley (29.3%, 6.6K) and Marc Gasol (29.0%, 6.1K) leading the way for the starting unit, and Zach Randolph (34.2% USG, 5.9K) coming in and chucking with reckless abandon on the second unit. These guys are all solid plays at their price points, but both of these teams have been playing at a very slow pace, right around 95 for both teams, so there may be more upside on the slate.
Primary Plays: Kris Dunn, Zach Lavine, Gorgui Dieng
Secondary Plays: Karl-Anthony Towns, Marc Gasol, Mike Conley, Zach Randolph
Sacramento Kings @ Miami Heat (-3.5) – 200.5
Sacramento will be in Miami to play the second leg of a back to back. Hassan Whiteside (26.9% USG, 8.7K) and Goran Dragic (25.8% USG, 6.7K) are both squarely in play against a Kings defense allowing a 108 defensive rating, third worst in the league. Justise Winslow (23.1% USG, 5.2K) has been used quite a bit as well, he has a nice price point, and he should see little resistance on the wing. Dion Waiters has the usage at 21.3%, but his True Shooting percentage of 38.1% makes it tough to trust him. Hopefully he can see increased efficiency in this cake match-up, and I’ll definitely at least be considering him tonight.
I’m not sure who is going to be guarding Demarcus Cousins (36.3% USG, 10.4K) in this game, but say a prayer for them. Luke Babbitt and Derrick Williams don’t have the size, and Hassan doesn’t have the agility to stay in front of Boogie off the dribble, he would be forced to give Boogie wide open looks from three. Boogie’s on a back to back and is always mercurial, but this looks like a good match-up on paper, I think it’s a good time to use him in a tournament after the let down game last night. Rudy Gay (6.2K) has seen very solid usage (26.8%) without Darren Collison, but Justise Winslow has proven to be a tough individual match-up, he’s tournament at best for me.
Primary Plays: Hassan Whiteside, Goran Dragic, Justise Winslow
Secondary Plays: Demarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay, Dion Waiters
New York Knicks @ Detroit Pistons (-4) – 199
Detroit is carrying a pretty even usage tree, Andre Drummond (26.0% USG, 8.2K), Marcus Morris (25.8% USG, 5.3K), Tobias Harris (23.4% USG, 6.1K), and Ish Smith (22.1%, 5.3K) are all playing at least 30 minutes a game and seeing over 20% USG. Beno Udrih is actually a reasonable punt at 3.2K, he’s only playing 17 minutes a game, but sees a 23.8% usage rate off the bench. The Knicks have been pretty weak on the glass, posting a 47.7% REB rate. Joakim Noah’s best days are clearly behind him, Andre Drummond could post another strong rebounding game. After totally flopping in the first game of the season, he’s posted at least 20 rebounds and only committed 1 foul in back to back games.
I’m not considering any of the Knicks at their price points, Carmelo is still posting a 30.2% USG, but Derrick Rose (24.6%) has really made everyone here unplayable where they’re currently priced. I love Kristaps Porzingis as a player, but he’s just not getting the shot attempts (20.6% USG), and the Pistons have been a very strong Defensive (95.4 DRating) and Rebounding (52.8% REB) team.
Primary Plays: Andre Drummond
Secondary Plays: Marcus Morris, Tobias Harris
Orlando Magic (-5) @ Philadelphia 76ers – 197.5
Elfrid Payton (20.9% USG, 5.6K), Evan Fournier (22.6% USG, 6K), and Aaron Gordon (19.4% USG, 5.7K) are the only Magic players seeing over 30 minutes a game, and they have the easier match-up in this game, the Sixers have been solid at limiting big men, mostly because of my boy Joel Embiid. The frontcourt trio of Nikola Vucevic, Serge Ibaka, and Bismack Biyombo are all unplayable for me.
Joel Embiid will play today and sit tomorrow against Charlotte, but his price has continued to rise despite only seeing 15 minutes last game. Hopefully this game stays more competitive, and he will be in the 20-24 minute range. He is still posting an insane 45.5% usage rate at 5.7K. Jahlil Okafor and his monster 29.9% usage rate in 16 minutes off the bench will be sitting out tonight, Richhaun Holmes and Jerami Grant figure to pick up most of his frontcourt minutes with the second unit, and Nik Stauskas may see a couple extra shots off the bench, so he makes for an interesting punt play at 3k. Sergio Rodriguez (20.8% USG, 4.7K) seems to have locked down the starting Point Guard role, and he deserves consideration tonight.
Primary Plays: Elfrid Payton, Evan Fournier, Aaron Gordon
Secondary Plays: Joel Embiid, Sergio Rodriguez, Nik Stauskas, Jerami Grant, Richhaun Holmes
Utah Jazz @ San Antonio Spurs (-10) – 186
This is the lowest total on the night by 10 points. The only guy I would consider playing is Kawhi Leonard and his 34.3% usage rate at 8.6K, but I’m betting there will be stronger point per dollar plays at the position tonight. This could change if we find out that the Spurs will rest members of the rotation, so stay tuned to news before lock, as always.
Primary Plays: None
Secondary Plays: Kawhi Leonard