Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
FanDuel NBA Picks and DraftKings NBA Picks - Thursday, 10/24/19After a wild mega-Wednesday slate, we see a slight return to sanity with a three game primetime slate on Thursday. It's not without intrigue, though. The two front-runners for MVP in 2018 go head to head in Houston, Kawhi returns to Golden State to pour salt on their wounds, and... Atlanta and Detroit are playing as well? Sure, why not. Let's get to the picks!
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Point GuardStephen Curry FD - $10500 DK - $9400
Opponent - LAC
Proj Pts FD - 49.21 DK - 52.12
Much has been made about how the Warriors will look without Klay and Durant this season, but I think I have a pretty good idea. It involves Curry shooting the ball an absolute ton, and making an MVP run on the back of gaudy offensive numbers. You're seeing a slight uptick in price over last year's numbers, but the usage uptick should more than make up for it. When Durant, Klay, and Curry shared the court last season Curry's usage was 25.4%. When he sat? That number jumped to a staggering 41.5%. Now, it shouldn't sit that high this season with D'Angelo Russell's arrival and the simple unsustainable nature of such a pace, but one thing is clear: this man is shooting the rock. I love him in the Warriors' home opener.
The rest: I'm not running Reggie Jackson with Derrick Rose in town. I'm not running Russell Westbrook until I see how the heck that Rockets offense is going to look. Trae Young costs $9,000 and averaged 36 fantasy points last year. So, yeah, I'm just going to play Hill and Curry in all likelihood.
Shooting GuardKhris Middleton FD - $7600 DK - $6900
Opponent - HOU
Proj Pts FD - 38.06 DK - 39.45
With Brogdon gone and Bledsoe out of the picture, it's pretty much going to be the Giannis and Middleton show. Both of them averaged better than 34% usage with Bledsoe and Brogdon off the court last year, and that's how they're getting started with things this season. Of the two, Middleton is super cheap at a very tough position today. So, I am pretty sure he'll wind up making the cut in cash games on a three game slate.
I said I wouldn't touch Westbrook after he joined Harden's team, but man, these prices are really tempting on Harden himself. Will the arrival of Russ really make Harden go from being a $13,000 player to an $11,400 player? And how about the fact that he'll be squaring off against the guy who he probably feels robbed him of the MVP? Listen, there are more mouths to feed in Houston for sure, but it's not like Chris Paul was just sitting in the corner trying to get a few catch and shoot threes. Harden has played with ball-dominant point guards in the past and still put up plenty of points. On a short slate I'd be happy with him as my big payoff play today against a Bucks team that played a top 5 PACE last year.
Lou Williams FD - $6900 DK - $6700
Opponent - GS
Proj Pts FD - 31.86 DK - 33.13
So this one feels just a litttttle bit crazy, but I think you could see really high ownership on Lou-Will tonight. The man played 38 minutes off the bench against the Lakers, and is very obviously a part of the crunch time lineup for the Clips this season. The only thing you're moderately concerned about is that he needed every single one of those minutes to pay off these prices against the Lakers, eventually amassing 38.5 FanDuel points. It's hard for a bench guy's minutes to go up when they are sitting at 38 minutes, so there is definitely some downside here, but given that the Clips appear ready to treat all these early season challenges as playoff practice I think Williams has plenty of floor here.
Keep an eye on: Derrick Rose. He provided a real spark off the bench for the Pistons in their opener, supplying 18 points and 9 assists in more than 26 minutes off the bench. He's cheap, and it's obvious that he's doing sort of his own poor man's Lou Williams impersonation.
Small ForwardGiannis Antetokounmpo FD - $12200 DK - $10300
Opponent - HOU
Proj Pts FD - 59.45 DK - 61.37
You can't play all of the top dollar plays on any given night, especially on short slates, but with George Hill's punt already built into the equation you can actually get pretty close. Like I mentioned in Middleton's write-up, Giannis was (obviously) a huge beneficiary when the other shot creators were down, and he rates to do the same here. Houston is one of the few teams that feature a defender that can slow him down in Tucker, but it shouldn't matter much here. The transition from Paul to Westbrook should see the Rockets playing a faster pace, and I'll happily take the extra possessions from Giannis given how motivated he seems to be to top last year's MVP campaign.
Eric Gordon FD - $4900 DK - $4300
Opponent - MIL
Proj Pts FD - 22.81 DK - 24.06
Just a cheap high floor option if you're strapped for cash. While it's not good for anyone's usage when Westbrook shows up in town, it's easy to forget that Russ is also nearly a lock for double digit assists per game these days. With Harden and Westbrook on the attack, aren't there just going to be infinite shots available for Gordon? The team is saying all the right things about their commitment to Gordon as a key piece of their future, and during the playoffs last year many people were calling him the 2nd best player on the team. I'm not so sure that's the case, but he is the third option on offense, and the minutes should be relatively secure. He seems like just the kind of high floor play you'll need to pay up for the superstars in good spots today.
Power ForwardJohn Collins FD - $8300 DK - $7300
Opponent - DET
Proj Pts FD - 40.62 DK - 42.48
Collins is currently listed as questionable with an illness, but if he is a full go, these prices (particularly on DraftKings) look pretty good to me. Listen: power forward is an absolute slog on these small slates, and there isn't a whole lot you can do about it. We'll break down the other options in a minute, but if I can get a guy who was playing 34-35 minute rotations at the end of the year last year I know that the floor isn't going to kill me. His 19.5 points on 56% shooting last year was just excellent, and while he isn't going to make any magic on defense, the Hawks absolutely need his offense to spread the floor for all of their young talent.
Draymond Green FD - $8000 DK - $7100
Opponent - LAC
Proj Pts FD - 38.14 DK - 37.46
While Green doesn't necessarily see huge usage at this point in his career, it's hard to imagine him still not being a focal point of this team on both ends of the floor. Durant's departure means that he'll be banging bodies with the best opposing big, and it also means the ball will have to pass through his hands even more on offense. With Durant and Klay out at the end of the finals Draymond averaged a triple-double in his last three games, and while we can't expect him to play 40 minutes a game in the season opener, you can bet your ass that he'll be trying to prove that this team doesn't need Durant to move forward.
The rest: Really it's just PJ Tucker as a cheap option who should get a lot of opportunity to chase Giannis around. The Pistons, Bucks, and Clippers don't field the position for DFS purposes. Hooray for FanDuel's restrictive power forward qualifications.
CenterAndre Drummond FD - $10300 DK - $8300
Opponent - ATL
Proj Pts FD - 51.09 DK - 50.65
We ran Drummond on DraftKings last night thanks to the absurd prices, and he went ahead and put up 32 points, 23 rebounds, 4 blocks, and 3 steals. Which is, you know, pretty good. It's pretty insane that the Pistons ran him out there for more than 40 minutes in the first game of the regular season, and this is a back to back, but they can't possibly have decided to give him this many minutes just to sit him in an even better match-up with Atlanta on a 3 game slate, right? Right!? The price might be too much to ask on FanDuel, but on DraftKings this comically low price shield yield huge ownership.
Montrezl Harrell FD - $7000 DK - $6100
Opponent - GS
Proj Pts FD - 37.07 DK - 36.01
The other half of the Clippers deadly bench pick and roll combo, Harrell was solid on these prices on an incredible 38 minutes off the bench in game 1 as well. The Clippers are really doing something unorthodox with their rotations right now, but ultimately it seems somewhat trustworthy. Like Williams, Harrell needed every single one of those 38 minutes to pay value, but as a cheap option against a team that looks determined to go super small this season I certainly won't balk at playing Harrell in cash games, particularly if I can get him as a power forward on DraftKings.