Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Doug Norrie

FanDuel NBA Picks and DraftKings NBA Picks - Opening Night Tuesday, 10/19/21

The NBA is back and set to begin a new season and we are ready to roll with FanDuel and DraftKings plays. This first slate is just a two-gamer, but there is plenty of star power to take in. Plus, there are some cheaper plays to speculate on as well. 

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Point Guard

Stephen CurryStephen Curry FD - $9800 DK - $9400
Opponent - LAL
Proj Pts FD - 46.23 DK - 49.1

For this first slate, we are going to need to make some distinctions between sites to find the best value. On FanDuel, Curry looks like the play at one of the point guard slots, coming in as the sixth-most expensive play behind some of the other A-listers. That kind of “savings” could help here. He’s coming off one of the best statistical seasons of his career, which is really saying something. He took almost 22 shots per game with a whopping 33.4% usage rate. With Jordan Poole in the starting lineup, the Warriors have a bit more scoring, but Curry should still be in line for a ton of shots in this offense against a Lakers’ team lacking much in the way of point-of-attack defending.

George HillGeorge Hill FD - $3900 DK - $3900
Opponent - BKN
Proj Pts FD - 21.52 DK - 22.01

On a two-game slate, we are going to probably have to roster a couple of bench players simply to have enough salary relief to fit a superstar or two. Hill likely represents that opportunity for the Bucks, coming back to the team in the offseason. He isn’t projected to start and didn’t in the Bucks’ final two tune-ups during the preseason. That being said, he projects to be the sixth-man and will take over some ball-handling responsibilities for the Bucks’ second unit. The price is cheap enough on both sites for a slate that will likely see a stars-and-scrubs approach to cash games. 

Shooting Guard

James HardenJames Harden FD - $10600 DK - $9300
Opponent - MIL
Proj Pts FD - 48.92 DK - 52.11

There are only two games, but a bunch of superstars going on this slate. When that’s the case, we can’t roster everyone and will need to pick and choose our spots accordingly. The Nets will begin the season without Kyrie Irving which isn’t exactly where they wanted to be opening things up, but it will help with some of our projections. Last season, with Irving off the court, Harden had a 31.5% usage rate in almost 800 minutes (per AddMoreFunds) and the assists tick up as well. Harden is a bit underpriced on DraftKings especially and he should dominate the on-ball time for Brooklyn early in the season at least.

Jordan PooleJordan Poole FD - $4900 DK - $4800
Opponent - LAL
Proj Pts FD - 24.17 DK - 25.16

Poole is going to start for the Warriors at the two to start this season and spent much of the preseason showing that, at least offensively, he deserves to run with these guys. Adding some much-needed secondary scoring is important for this iteration of the team without Klay Thompson. And in their final preseason game, Poole took the second-most shots on the team (15). The previous preseason game that he shared the court with Steph, Poole took 19 shots (no Wiggins) and dropped 28 points. He is score-first for sure, but the price is too low on both sites for the new opportunity.

Small Forward

Giannis AntetokounmpoGiannis Antetokounmpo FD - $11000 DK - $10000
Opponent - BKN
Proj Pts FD - 63.82 DK - 65.93

In a rematch of the epic seven-game, second-round series from last year, the Bucks will host the Nets on Tuesday. They’ll get their rings and Giannis will begin his title defense. He’s a tough fade on this slate considering the Nets still don’t have a ton of interior defense (though Blake was admirable in their playoff series last year) and the Nets' overall pace of play and lower-tier defensive efficiency mean the Bucks are in a good spot. Giannis had a “down” statistical season last year that had him averaging 28 points, 11 rebounds, and six assists. He’s expensive on both sites but has the highest floor of anyone going on this two-game slate.

Kent BazemoreKent Bazemore FD - $4700 DK - $3600
Opponent - GS
Proj Pts FD - 22.06 DK - 21.92

He isn’t going to be asked to do much in the Lakers’ offense, but it does look like he is going to be in the starting lineup to start the season and LA is a little banged up at the wings with Talen Horton-Tucker out, Malik Monk questionable and Wayne Ellington unsure as well. If Bazemore is running with the starters and see minutes in the high 20s then I think we hope and pray on the value with the understanding that the slate if short on punts.

Power Forward

LeBron JamesLeBron James FD - $10500 DK - $9000
Opponent - GS
Proj Pts FD - 51.11 DK - 53.07

Last season didn’t end anything close to what the Lakers wanted and one has to think, at least to start, there is something to prove with this group. It was a good sign, that at the end of the preseason, we were still seeing a high usage rate out of Lebron while sharing the court with Russell Westbrook. And in the last game, the former took 20 shots on his way to 30 points, six assists, and six rebounds in *just* 29 minutes. His price is very palatable on DraftKings especially and think you can stack three superstars on that site.

Jordan NworaJordan Nwora FD - $3500 DK - $3000
Opponent - BKN
Proj Pts FD - 14.32 DK - 14.44

Nwora is listed as a PF on both sites so we might be getting away with something here in terms of roster construction. He isn’t likely to start but has earned himself a spot in the rotation after a strong preseason. He started for Middleton in the last game and was the first man off the bench in their other, full-strength tune-up game. It’s a bit speculative for sure, but he’s the minimum on both sites and showed the ability to get his own shot even when playing with the superstars.


LaMarcus AldridgeLaMarcus Aldridge FD - $4100 DK - $3900
Opponent - MIL
Proj Pts FD - 21 DK - 21.09

Even with the multi-position eligibility, the center position is a bit weaker here. Giannis qualifies as center on DraftKings and it probably behooves you to play him there with some other wings and guards at other positions. Aldridge is likely to come off the bench here for the Nets which makes him risky, but from a fantasy perspective, this could help him also. The usage is likely to be a bit higher with one of Durant or Harden off the court. I think if he can push towards 20 minutes then his floor is high enough to warrant a play on both sites.

What to make of Nicolas Claxton (FD 4600 DK 4000)? On the one hand, he is coming pretty cheap on both sites and has been able to pile up rebounds and defensive stats per minute when given the opportunity. It’s the latter part that is the question. He started the final preseason game for the Nets, but Blake Griffin was out that game. This was after being effectively buried most of the preseason. He’s worth a flyer.



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