Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 10/16/18
Can you believe we are back? It was just four short months ago that the Warriors were on their way to another NBA championship but man it feels like a lifetime ago. Since then, Lebron James headed off to LA, Kawhi and Derozan swapped teams, the Hawks traded down out of Doncic and much more. It's been an action-packed summer, but now the season is on us. Let's get to the first night of NBA action for FanDuel and DraftKings.
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Stephen Curry FD - $9600 DK - $8600
Opponent - OKC
Proj Pts FD - 46.63 DK - 49.03
It’s NBA Day One and we are already talking about just stacking the Warriors and maybe calling it a night. Such is the Golden State Machine that enters Tuesday night with a 119 implied total, 12 points higher than the next closest team (the Thunder, their opponent). OKC is working without their best defender (Roberson) and could have a less than 100% Westbrook (who also might sit). Last season, Curry averaged 26 points per game without ever having to really extend himself in the regular season (only 32 minutes per). He shot 42% from three and also had his best, per minute, rebounding numbers yet. OKC didn’t give it up to PGs last season (8% less scoring than league average) but again that was with a top 5 defender in Roberson. They are markedly worse without their small forward. Curry doesn’t cost all that much on DK where the 3-pointer snags you an extra .5 points. He’s an easy cash game play on this opening slate.
Markelle Fultz FD - $5700 DK - $5000
Opponent - BOS
Proj Pts FD - 27.46 DK - 27.2
He’s listed as a PG on FD and PG/SG on DraftKings. He’ll open the season in the starting lineup, though Brett Brown has already said he'll start Fultz for the first half and then Redick for the second. Fultz played the 4th-most preseason minutes for Philly after Simmons, Embiid, and Covington and was able to find ways to contribute in the offense. The Sixers’ situation looks fluid and I do think they’ll stagger him and Simmons some to get more ball handling duties Fultz’s way. The shooting could be an issue still and was a reason his rookie season was much maligned. The pedigree is there and he showed flashes toward the end of last year with a triple-double in the final game and a 7/5/3 line in only 17 minutes per game over the last two weeks of the season. If the minutes stand to push near (or above) 30 then he’s a clear bargain on both sites for this slate. The Celtics are a bad matchup of course but these two game slates do push some of the defensive metrics aside.
A note on Russell Westbrook: if he’s relatively healthy and good to go for Tuesday night, then he’s a clear cash game lock on DraftKings at only $10,200. That might be the lowest salary we see for him for a while. It’s closer on FD where he’s above $12K.
Dennis Schroder FD - $6100 DK - $6300
Opponent - GS
Proj Pts FD - 26.9 DK - 27.59
The Thunder brought Schroder over in a trade during the offseason and it looks like their plan is to have him spell Westbrook and also share the court together at times as well. We saw how well that went for Victor Oladipo two seasons ago so I’m not holding out any great hope that Schroder thrives in the offense when Westbrook is on the court. But the minutes alone should pop him into lineups with a couple of different scenarios helping to boost the potential floor. If Westbrook is less than 100% OR the Thunder start getting blown out OR both then Schroder is an easy cash play. Even if the game stays close and he’s part of their crunch time unit (albeit a big *if*) then we are gravy as well. This is all to say that Schroder is a solid cash game option on FanDuel where thankfully he qualifies at shooting guard.
Klay Thompson FD - $6800 DK - $5900
Opponent - OKC
Proj Pts FD - 30.26 DK - 31.74
It’s never easy rostering this guy for cash because he’s just so scoring dependent. If the three-ball isn’t dropping you are probably coming up short on value. In fact, among players with more than 1,500 FanDuel points last season (152 players total) Thompson had the 5th-highest Points/Fantasy Points ratio with only Eric Gordon, J.J. Redick, Devin Booker and Bojan Bogdanovic being more reliant on scoring to contribute fantasy-wise. And he’s still in a good spot because OKC can’t defend the two and Klay should see plenty of looks. He’ll see some combination of Terrance Ferguson and Dennis Schroder which should free him up a ton and I especially like the DK price. On FanDuel, stacking Curry, Durant (one sec, we’ll get to him) and Klay in cash gives a very high floor if you can make the money work.
Strongly consider Hamidou Diallo if he starts for the Thunder over Ferguson. The dude played the most preseason minutes for the Thunder and was decent. He’d be a punt play for sure if in the starting lineup.
Consider J.J. Redick coming off the bench for Philly.
Kevin Durant FD - $10600 DK - $9000
Opponent - OKC
Proj Pts FD - 45.02 DK - 45.66
The 2018 NBA Finals MVP had a magnificent season last year, averaging 26.4 points per game along with seven rebounds and six assists while shooting 42% from three and placing daggers directly in the hearts of the Cavs during the Finals. He’ll draw almost exclusively Paul George in this matchup, which doesn’t rate as a fantastic spot, but Durant still has about as high a floor as anyone not named Russ on this slate (and the latter might not be 100% going into the game). Durant’s 34 minutes per game in 2017-18 were about as safe as it got for the Warriors considering they were involved in so many damn blowouts. This one could go that direction as well, but his rotation at least gives him all of the third quarter (and maybe part of the fourth) to get there on the minutes. Considering the $9K price tag on DK and FD’s new *eliminate the lowest score* rule, Durant makes for a very difficult fade on this two-game slate.
Paul George FD - $9000 DK - $8000
Opponent - GS
Proj Pts FD - 39.28 DK - 40.07
Like I wrote in my usage replacement article, George does stand to see something of a usage bump early in this season (and probably throughout) because of the Carmelo Anthony’s exit from the team. The Thunder didn’t replace the latter with anyone who will take a ton of shots away (Schroder aside I suppose, but that’s not a 1-1 comp) and the burden will fall even more on Russ and PG. Last season, George took 18 shots per game in an average of 37 minutes and it wouldn’t be crazy to think that number gets closer to 20 per game this season. He is already basically locked into big-time minutes because of his versatility on both ends of the floor and the defensive numbers do help to pad the stats some. The game will have to stay relatively close for him to see complete run and there’s some chance OKC gets dogged here.
Patrick Patterson FD - $3500 DK - $3800
Opponent - GS
Proj Pts FD - 14.29 DK - 13.92
Jerami Grant FD - $4700 DK - $4300
Opponent - GS
Proj Pts FD - 19.02 DK - 18.37
It still remains to be seen how the Thunder deploy these two, but without Andre Roberson and with Carmelo Anthony gone, there are plenty of minutes for these two. I thought we’d see more than 20 minutes per game last season for Grant, but Anthony stood in the way of more run. The former still averaged an 8/4 line with some defensive stuff around the margins. If he gets the start (unlikely) or just sees mid 20’s minutes off the bench (much more likely) then getting there on these lower tier salaries really isn’t a stretch at all. Against the Warriors, he could see more minutes as well when Golden State goes small.
Patterson will probably draw the start early in the season and will need to hit threes in order to really pay off his salaries (which are near the minimums to begin with). From a fantasy perspective, he doesn’t contribute all that much though the odd rebound here and there helps I suppose. He’ll need to hit corner threes and play enough minutes to raise the floor. But if he starts, then punting away the PF position isn’t all that rough a shout.
Draymond Green FD - $8000 DK - $7300
Opponent - OKC
Proj Pts FD - 34.6 DK - 34.46
I get that you aren’t going to be able to play all four of the Warriors stars on this slate which is why I’m listing Green under the guys above. I see him as possibly the worst deal of the four Dubs’ guys though he comes into play especially on FanDuel because we need to roster two power forwards. If you don’t feel comfortable stacking the OKC guys then you are basically left with choosing one of Green, Jayson Tatum or Dario Saric (among guys who will actually see solid minutes). Green averaged around 36 FanDuel points per game last season, which really isn’t getting there on these prices. But I get where his salary lands because PF does have some positional scarcity. I suspect he has the highest floor of the top PF plays on this slate, making him something of a *safe* pick. But we need to worry about blowout potential and I’m just not sure I want to overpay for the guy. Quick update: There's some concern about Green's minutes being monitored to start the season. This position just got a little thinner.
Consider Dario Saric on FanDuel especially if the Sixers are short on bigs.
Al Horford FD - $7000 DK - $6100
Opponent - PHI
Proj Pts FD - 29.4 DK - 29.38
If you’ve played DFS long enough you know that rostering Horford on any given night can leave you sweating about the fantasy production. The nature of the Boston offense and how they use Horford (especially away from the basket) can see the rebounding numbers really fluctuate and the scoring come in fits and spurts. He is coming at something of a value on this slate though because I suspect his minutes are locked in because of the mismatch he causes for Philly as well as his ability to defend multiple positions. Last season he averaged a 13/7/5 line in 32 minutes per game. I don’t suspect we see a dramatic increase in the run. If anything it could dip some but he isn’t in the Boston wing logjam so I think his playing time is rather safe. He should see mid 30’s minutes in this game and at a thin center position makes for a cash game consideration.
The one guy possibly worth punting on is Warriors’ starting center Damian Jones. He’s going to get the start, Draymond Green is banged up and FanDuel is going to wipe the lowest score anyway. He's the minimum price on both sites and could push up to about 20 minutes. I think could end up being the *safe* play and you’ll need to manage your expectations.
Other center notes: I originally had Mike Muscala written up here as a punt play for a short slate but he looks highly questionable/ closer to doubtful. That leaves the pick-ins very thin. We can overpay on Joel Embiid but I’m worried about the early season minutes. There’s Steven Adams who could play a lot of minutes if the game stays close, but that’s looking iffier and iffier. After that you are stuck with low-minutes Aron Baynes, Jordan Bell off the bench or Nerlens Noel in a new situation for the Thunder.
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- Warriors Lakers Basketball: (AP Photo/John Locher)