Plays of the Day
Value: I’m looking to save at the PF position on this slate and if Derrick Favors (knee) is inactive or limited tonight, Trey Lyles will emerge as a quality value play. When Favors missed extended time last year, Lyles proved more than capable of stepping up, and he'll look to build on a solid rookie campaign by running with this opportunity to either start or play 20-25 minutes as the first big off the bench.
Fade: Klay Thompson seems to be the most likely shooter to go hungry now that Kevin Durant is in the fold and his matchup on Opening Night is a tough one against a Spurs team that led the NBA in 3PT defense by holding opponents to a 32.9% shooting mark from beyond the arc last year.
Game to Target
- Golden State Warriors (-9) hosting San Antonio Spurs (Over/Under = 212)
Steph Curry (GSW) vs. SAS DK:$9,600/FD:$9,300
Curry seems to be under priced to open the season because of the assumption that the Warriors will be blowing the competition away on a nightly basis now that Kevin Durant is in town. Yet they're unlikely to pull away from a Spurs team that should serve as the biggest challenger in the Western Conference and all Curry needs is a relatively close game to go nuts at Oracle Arena and meet or exceed value. He scored 27 points on 11-of-19 shooting the last time he faced Gregg Popovich's defense, so it's safe to say that he's figured some things out. Additionally, while Durant squares off with Kawhi Leonard, Curry can also abuse Tony Parker or whomever the Spurs play in the backcourt this evening, which makes him a great GPP play on a short slate.
George Hill (UTA) @ POR: DK:$5,300/FD:$5,600
Hill is an extremely steady performer, who should serve as a solid safe play in the mid-tier price rang this evening. You can pay up for Damian Lillard on the other side of the ball, but Hill is obviously much cheaper, and he’ll be able to take advantage of Lillard’s shortcomings on the defensive end. Portland coughed up the sixth-most FPPG (44.54) to opposing PGs last season and played with plenty of pace at home. Hill produced solid averages of 12.2 PPG and 25 DK PPG while competing for touches in the Pacers crowded back court last season and now he should see more usage with Gordon Hayward (finger) and Alec Burks (ankle) both unlikely to play for the Jazz on Opening Night.
Derrick Rose ($5800/$6000) turns over a new leaf in a Knicks uniform and he’s a risk/reward play at this mid-tier price tag.
Damian Lillard ($8500/$8900) is less of an individual play and more of a way to fade Steph Curry on this short slate. I wouldn’t have a problem using both superstar PGs in certain lineups either.
Rodney Hood (UTA) @ POR: DK:$6,000/FD:$5,400
Shooting Guard is going to be a tough position to fill all season and it might be the best spot to save on a short Opening Night slate, but if you want a player with upside, you could roll with Hood. Utah’s shoot-first lefty is going to have the green light tonight with Burks and Hayward and potentially Derrick Favors (knee) inactive. He draws a fantastic matchup against a Blazers squad that coughed up the sixth-most PPG (22.43) to opposing SGs and ranked 26th in 3PT defense, as they allowed the opposition to shoot 37.1% from beyond the arc. Hood hit 9-of-20 threes and averaged 28.8 DK PPG over three meetings with Portland last year, but those numbers could certainly increase if he’s asked to carry the offense tonight.
Courtney Lee (NYK) @ CLE: DK:$3,700/FD:$3,900
While he doesn't exactly go to an offensive juggernaut now that he's in a Knicks uniform, Lee should see more usage and more opportunities than he did in Charlotte last year. He's coming off a promising preseason in which he shot over 60 percent (15-of-28) from the field while playing limited minutes, but he should be locked into heavy playing time with Justin Holiday serving as his only backup. The Cavs are probably weakest defensively at the SG position, because J.R. Smith is more focused on the offensive end than he will be on shutting down a solid pro like Lee.
Joe Johnson ($4300/$5400 as SF on FD) should start for Gordon Hayward and he’s a risk/reward value option as he looks to resurrect his career in a new location.
He’s erratic to say the least, but J.R. Smith ($4100/$4500) is always worth a look in tournament formats, especially in a revenge game against the Knicks.
LeBron James (CLE) vs. NYK: DK:$9,000/FD:$9,600
The notion that LeBron doesn’t play his hardest throughout the regular season is not unwarranted, and it’s the primary reason that he’s fallen so far on seasonal fantasy draft boards. Yet he remains one of the safer DFS plays on this specific night with the defending champs opening their schedule against a Knicks group that apparently fancies themselves as contenders to the King’s throne. Carmelo Anthony has not fared particularly well in his head-to-head matchups with James and the Knicks defense allowed LeBron to average 26.3 PPG, 7 RPG, 6.3 APG and 50.3 DK PPG over 3 meetings last year. Lock the King into cash game lineups while considering riskier plays such as Melo and Durant in GPPs.
Kawhi Leonard (SAS) @ GSW: DK:$7,800/FD:$7,900
Of course, there’s another excellent cash game play that could compliment LeBron by providing a floor of around 35 FPs on either main DFS site tonight. Provided the Spurs remain competitive at Oracle Arena tonight, Leonard should be locked into heavy minutes and heavy usage as this team looks to continue its’ transition away from the Duncan-Ginobili-Parker era. Leonard logged a career-high 25.8% Usage Rate last year and he’ll be asked to keep Kevin Durant honest on the defensive end while potentially giving KD some trouble by guarding him tough. Take away his lackluster production in a 30-point loss to the Warriors last season, and Kawhi averaged 20.3 PPG, 10 RPG and 3.7 APG over 3 meetings with WCF champs, so he is clearly productive while playing in fast-paced contests.
Joe Ingles ($3500/$3500) is a bottom-barrel option to consider as a punt play with Hayward out.
Al-Farouq Aminu ($4400/$5000 as PF on FD) is a grinder, who can fill up the stat sheet in a variety of ways and doesn't necessarily need to play in a fast-paced shootout to exceed value.
Kristaps Porzingis (NYK) @ CLE: DK:$7,400/FD:$6,900
The top options at PF tonight can be considered in GPP formats, as we’re not sure how LaMarcus Aldridge will perform alongside Pau Gasol and how Draymond Green will produce with Durant in the fold now, but Porzingis is a young player that should take a significant step forward in his sophomore campaign. The rookie phenom was on a roll before suffering a shoulder injury that hampered him over the final months of the season, but he’s reportedly healthy now and certainly looked spry while producing 20 points, 3 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2 steals over just 23 minutes in his final preseason tune-up. The Cavs are a great defensive team, but Kevin Love is a poor individual defender, and Porzingis is a matchup nightmare anyone with his ability to hit threes and finish with an array of post moves down low.
Trey Lyles (UTA) @ POR: DK:$3,600/FD:$4,000
I’m looking to save at the PF position on this slate and if Derrick Favors (knee) is inactive or limited tonight, Lyles will emerge as a quality value play. When Favors missed extended time last year, Lyles proved more than capable of stepping up, and he'll look to build on a solid rookie campaign by running with this opportunity to either start or play 20-25 minutes as the first big off the bench. Lyles flirted with a double double several times and went 7-for-13 from deep throughout the preseason, so he has plenty of upside on DraftKings and comes at a very reasonable rate on that DFS site.
David Lee ($3600/$4000) is a risky punt play on Opening Night, but he could definitely find a role within the Spurs sophisticated offense.
Use the assumption that Draymond Green ($7200/$8200) will see diminished production now that KD is in Golden State to your advantage by paying up for the triple-double threat in GPP formats.
Pau Gasol (SAS) @ GSW: DK:$6,900/FD:$7,600
As a basketball fan, I'm very excited to see a marriage between Pau Gasol and Gregg Popovich. One of the smartest big men to ever play the game will look to replace Tim Duncan as a leader on and off the floor for this veteran-laden team, and his versatility as a shooter and facilitator probably excited Pop all summer as he sat drinking wine with his assistant coaches in a remote cabin. On Opening Night, Gasol will see tons of opportunities to rebound and score while facing a Warriors team that played at the second-fastest pace in the NBA last year and you can trust that this elite competitor will do his best to keep the Spurs in the game late.
Rudy Gobert (UTA) @ POR: DK:$7,000/FD:$6,200
Gobert might seem like a risky play given his inconsistent production last season, but he’ll be a popular play if Derrick Favors (knee) is inactive or sounds limited tonight. With Favors throughout most of January, Gobert averaged 10 PPG, 10.1 RPG and 2.7 BPG while seeing an increased Usage Rate. His numbers continued to trend upward into February, as he grew more confident and recovered from his own nagging injury, and now he’s set to begin his fourth NBA season as a key part of Utah’s future plans. He’ll battle an under sized Portland front line on Opening Night that gave up the second-most FPPG (50.35), BPG (2.77) and third-most RPG (16.20) to opposing centers last season, so it’s hard to beat his matchup.
Mason Plumlee ($4900/$5500) remains a solid mid-tier option as the Blazers starting center.
I loveJoakim Noah ($5500/$5000) as a GPP play at that price tag on FanDuel. He could turn over a new leaf in New York and he always seems to bring maximum effort in tilts against LeBron.