Let’s talk a few studs out of the gate. Russell Westbrook ($10,300) is the best player on the slate and I don’t think it’s particularly close. He’s scored 55 and 76.75 DraftKings points in the first two games of the season. Obviously the 2OT game against Orlando was nice for his fantasy output, but he doesn’t need extra minutes to put up massive lines. What was really encouraging is that both Westbrook and Kevin Durant ($9,600) can both have massive games. Their presence on the court together does not hurt either. This game has the highest total on the board. Westbrook is a walking triple-double and should feast on Denver tonight.
I am concerned about James Harden ($10,000). I know it’s early, but only 46 and 34.75 DraftKings points in the first two games this season and shooting a dismal 10-39 from the field. Now he has to travel to Miami and face the toughest team vs. SGs this season in a game with a significantly lower than normal O/U for the Rockets. I suppose you could argue he’s a contrarian GPP play, but I will wait until we see a pulse from Harden before rostering him.
Derrick Rose ($6,300) is incredibly frustrating, but it’s hard to look away from his upside on a slate of only five games. Rose was brutal in his last time out and didn’t score his first points until there was five minutes left in the game! Expect many owners to stay away, but there are some good factors in play for Rose. You know he’s going to play 30 minutes and take 10-15 shots. He’s facing off with the Magic who have allowed the most points to opposing PGs this season. A reasonable price and plenty of opportunity is a great combination.
Demar Derozan’s ($7,400) price won’t stay this low if he keeps scoring the way he is. Two straight games of 43.75 points to start the season and now he’s going to get the best matchup he’s seen yet. The highest O/U of the season at 204 and Milwaukee has given up the 5th most DraftKings points to opposing SGs this season. What’s incredible is that he’s already shot 30 (!!) free throws in two games. If he keeps that up, he is going to provide a massive floor to his owners.
The Lakers/Mavs game is full of fantasy juiciness. This game has a massive 212 total, behind only the DEN/OKC game (212.5). The game will be headlined by Kobe Bryant ($6,800) who hasn’t cracked 30 minutes in either game this season, but I think that could change tonight. Kobe was nursing an illness two nights ago and didn’t play much after SAC got up early. He should be well rested and ready to roll against DAL as only 3.5 point underdogs. If you’ve watched any of the Lakers this season, you know that the offense runs through Kobe as he is still sporting a 33.5 usage rate this season which is 8th in the league.
An interesting value play in Evan Fournier ($3,800). He was leaned on heavily against OKC on Friday night, playing 45 minutes in that 2OT contest. He filled up the stat sheet with 22-5-3 for 36.75 DraftKings points. He’s earning the trust of his head coach and teammates. I don’t expect another 21 shots in this game, but he could push double digit FGAs which should provide plenty of value for only $3,800.
Keep an eye on Giannis Antetokounmpo ($6,100) who had a MASSIVE game in his first (and only) game this season. The Greek Freak sat out the first game of the season with a suspension, but exploded for 44.75 DraftKings points on Friday night versus WAS. He is an exceptionally skilled athlete who is going to be volatile while he works through his development but when he is going well, he has an enormous upside. It’s obviously a tiny same size, but Giannis earned a 31.3 usage rate in the only game he played this season. If he can stay anywhere close to that number, he is going to be well worth the $6,100.
There’s something comforting in rostering Demarre Carroll ($5,500). He’s literally one of the safer options on any slate due to the sheer number of minutes he plays. Carroll has played 41 and 35 minutes in the first two games of the season, returning 34.25 and 33.5 DraftKings points. He started terribly slow against BOS in his last start, but still found a way to get it going in the second half. He’s tacked on 4 steals, 6 assists and 13 rebounds in the first two games which provides a nice solid floor for cash games or use as a core player in GPPs.
One of the safest PFs so far has been Nikola Mirotic ($6,700). He’s scored 33, 33.25 and 37.75 in the first three games of the season. The Bulls are still working out the kinks under a new head coach and finally having (almost) everyone healthy. What’s clear is that Mirotic is going to be a integral part of the offense with double digit shots in each game. Mirotic is a two category player who has flirted with a double-double of points/rebounds in every game this season.
Clint Capela ($4,000) is going to be the value play of choice this evening. Dwight Howard will not be playing tonight which should allow us to pencil in 25 minutes of action for Capela. In the first game of the season, also without Dwight, Capela finished with 9 points and 7 rebounds, earning 27.25 DraftKings points. A similar stat line would provide nearly 7x value today.
Center is pretty thin tonight. The options are to spend up on Nikola Vucevic ($7,700) who can provide high-end scoring for the position. Vucevic is going to earn a ton of minutes and be heavily involved in the offense against a Chicago team that has allowed the 3rd most DraftKings points to opposing Centers. He’s the safe play, but will most likely be the highest scoring center of the evening.
If you’re looking to save, Steven Adams ($4,000) has caught my eye. He’s starting ahead of Enes Kanter and should threaten 30 minutes every night. He’s certainly not one of the top scoring options with Westbrook, Durant and Ibaka on the court at the same time, but he is a sneaky double-double threat. A line of 10 points and 10 rebounds is certainly not unheard for Adams who would provide enough value with just 20 DraftKings points.
With a small slate of only five games on the DraftKings main contest, it’s leaving a few positions very thin. Commentary based on DraftKings strategy and scoring.