Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 10/17/17
Can you even believe it? It seems like almost yesterday we were watching the Warriors finalize their relatively inevitable championship run and dispatching the Cavs in the finals. And then the NBA offseason happened. What an offseason it was; with more franchise-changing moves than we’re likely to ever see again in a three-month span. It was nuts. More than 50% of teams saw, what I would call, “major” overhauls to their starting lineups either through mass player movement or the addition/ subtraction of an NBA star (some teams had both). It’s a nuts way to start the season and will make this early season of basketball one of the more (if not most) interesting in recent memory.
We start the year with an intriguing two-game slate featuring an Eastern Conference Finals rematch* between the Cavs and Celtics and a tilt between the champion Warriors and Chris Paul-added Rockets.
*Term used incredibly loosely here as these two teams are like 70% different in their starting lineups from when they squared off last May.
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Kyrie Irving FD - $8200 DK - $8300
Opponent - CLE
Proj Pts FD - 39.51 DK - 42.06
Great price + great player + great narrative = this Flat Earth truther. Irving heads to the Celtics in what most season’s would have been the biggest offseason move by a wide margin. This year it rated as merely “top news.” He looks to take over a major scoring role for a completely revamped Celtics team returning only one starter from last season (Horford). Irving average a 25/6/3 line in 2017 on 19 shots per game. You know who put up 19 shots per game for the Celts last season? Thomas, who Irving effectively replaces. This seems like a standard baseline for the latter’s usage. The assists have never come in great numbers for Irving and even with the change of scenery I doubt they spike now. But the scoring is elite and his FanDuel price is right in the cash game zone of value. It’s a little closer on DraftKings where he’s priced in line with Curry and CP3. Oh and he’s going to see a steady helping of Derrick Rose “defense”.
Derrick Rose FD - $5500 DK - $5000
Opponent - BOS
Proj Pts FD - 28.02 DK - 29.37
On a very short slate of games with a ton of superstars running, we are going to need some mid-tier value to make up for some of the bigger salaries. Rose is interesting here as the Cavs are incredibly thin at point guard until Thomas returns (hopefully) in the new year. Rose doesn’t fit the mold of the type of PG who thrives with Lebron (he can’t shoot threes) but he does fit the mold of a guy who should log minutes. The Cavs’ depth at the position is practically non-existent and there’s even some chance they stagger Rose’s minutes off Lebron to add dribble penetration with the second unit. Look, the Cavs’ are kind of a mystery right now with their off-season moves and it will take some time to see their true intentions on offense. But I’m fine “risking” Rose at his prices on this two-game slate.
Strongly consider Chris Paul
Shooting guard seems like the deepest position on this slate. There are a bunch of viable options really and I think this is where you see ownership most spread out, especially on FanDuel.
James Harden FD - $11000 DK - $10000
Opponent - GS
Proj Pts FD - 55.87 DK - 60.48
What will the addition of Chris Paul to this offense do for Harden’s offensive game? The short answer, I think, is: not much. They didn’t share the court all that much in the preseason so it’s tough to gauge exactly how much different the Rockets’ offense will look. But I don’t see the addition of CP3 hindering Harden’s game all that much. Their minutes will surely stagger some and if anything Paul eases a significant amount of up front ball pressure Harden saw on the regular. He’ll still run pick and rolls but now has another PG (who can also shoot) keeping defenses honest (think Patrick Beverley but way, way better). I love the Rockets this season and see Harden as having the potential for even another leap forward in his game with this addition to the team.
Jaylen Brown FD - $3700 DK - $3700
Opponent - CLE
Proj Pts FD - 18.73 DK - 18.96
After all of their offseason moves, Brown will enter the Celtics’ starting lineup at shooting guard replacing Avery Bradley. It’s a big step forward in expected at a minimum. It’s tough to imagine him finding a ton of shots in this offense so overall fantasy expectation should be tempered a bit. But we are looking for run at a cheap price on this two-game slate and Brown should see minutes in at least the mid-to-upper twenties (at a minimum). Again, finding a solid cheap play on this slate isn’t easy and we’re mostly looking for starter’s minutes in cash games. Take the savings here and use the salary freedom elsewhere in your lineup.
Kevin Durant FD - $9800 DK - $9600
Opponent - HOU
Proj Pts FD - 48.07 DK - 47.87
I suppose folks will worry themselves about whether to play Durant or Lebron at the small forward position on this opening slate. Thankfully, I think the prices make it pretty easy with LBJ clocking at $600 more on both sites. Though mired in some over-the-summer foolishness on Twitter, Durant’s 2016 move to the Warriors was an undeniable success. He put up a 25/8/5 line (in only 33 minutes per game) and daggered the Cavs in the Finals on his way to the series MVP. This game with the Rockets should play at a blistering pace and getting the Dubs leading scorer in the mix makes sense for cash games. The biggest issue with the Warriors last season was the propensity to lose minutes at tail end of games because of the blowout. This doesn’t project as the case with the such a good matchup to start the season.
Trevor Ariza FD - $5600 DK - $4500
Opponent - GS
Proj Pts FD - 26.4 DK - 26.55
Filling the second SF slot on FanDuel is no great shakes with the thought of either (possibly) overpaying for Lebron (or Hayward) or playing a sixth man like Iguodala. Ariza falls into an ok spot here considering his price and is coming off a season in which he chucked up six threes per game with an 11/6/2/2 line. The steals will help him some in the new FanDuel scoring though his minutes could for sure take a hit with the additions of P.J. Tucker and Luc Mbah a Moute making the Rockets’ bench quite a bit deeper going into the season. And of course adding CP3 likely cuts the usage slightly across the board on the Rockets. This is more of a price play and the assumption that he at least continues seeing low-to-mid 30’s minutes in the offense with increased floor-spacing allowing for solid corner and elbow looks from beyond the arc.
Consider Andre Iguodala
Kevin Love FD - $7000 DK - $7800
Opponent - BOS
Proj Pts FD - 38.41 DK - 41.58
Jae Crowder FD - $4500 DK - $4300
Opponent - BOS
Proj Pts FD - 25.4 DK - 26.12
If the starting lineup stays Rose, Wade, Lebron, Crowder, Love then these are basically the only two guys in the lineup who can shoot threes (Crowder improved to 40% last season) and that could be an interesting situation for the Cavs. Lebron’s thrived on floor spacing thanks to at least two-three shooters (one major one being Irving) sitting in the starting lineup and keeping defenses honest. Now the deep threats are basically Love and Jae (and Love’s playing center). Welcome to the new NBA folks. Power forward is already thin even on a regular slate of games. A two game slate? Forget it. DraftKings is a different story with multi-position eligibility.
Crowder averaged over four three-pointers a game in his limited preseason minutes with this starting unit which is a good sign he’s on pace to at least meet his 5.5 3pts/g average from last season. He won’t contribute much in the other categories, but he doesn’t really have to as long at these prices assuming the plan is to play him more than thirty minutes per game.
Love will start at center for Cleveland as the Cavs start the season going super small. Even with the move they don’t stand to be all that quick of team, but as mentioned above, Love will be their primary deep threat. It’ll be interesting to see how the minutes shake out for Love this season. Last year he saw only 31 per game, but the Cavs are in a different spot now. Their without one of the better scorers in the league in Kyrie and will need buckets from other spots. It stands to reason Love is asked to play more minutes (mid 30’s plus) and that could lead to a lot of chances. I know the Cavs have other scorer “types” (Rose, Wade, etc) but again they don’t shoot from three. There could be a lot of Kevin Love minutes to go around and that’s a huge thing from the power forward position.
Clint Capela FD - $6000 DK - $5600
Opponent - GS
Proj Pts FD - 28.21 DK - 27.86r
In four games against the Warriors last season Capela was a (fantasy) asset for the Rockets averaging 26 minutes and a 15/9 line. That sample size is small of course but it’s encouraging that his style of play is able to run with the Warriors. Center is an incredibly thin position and on FanDuel there are only two starters who realistically qualify to play for DFS purposes (sorry Zaza). Capela’s pick and roll responsibilities and ability to add some quick size do make him viable for minutes against the Warriors.
Al Horford FD - $7200 DK - $6000
Opponent - CLE
Proj Pts FD - 34.53 DK - 34.23
He’s really the only other viable starting center we have going on this first slate of games (sorry again Zaza). Horford, and this is kind of unreal for a team that will vie for the top seed in the East) is the only returning starter for the Celtics. That’s borderline unbelievable for a team that worked its way to the conference finals and speaks to the crazy amount of turnover we had in the off-season. He isn’t a fantasy dynamo mostly because for a “traditional” center the rebounding sucks (though the assists are solid and he can score in double digits). The problem with Horford usually is that he’s priced appropriately because he’s rather consistent.