Russell Freakin’ Westbrook ($11,500 DK | $12,000 FD). I don’t think I need to say much here since this has been one of the biggest storylines in the NBA over the past few months. With no more Kevin Durant, Westbrook’s is suspecting to take over every aspect of the Thunder offense and probably threaten one of the highest usage rates in League History. He’s going to be expensive, but no team gave up more fantasy points last season to opposing guards than the Philadelphia 76ers.
Poised for a breakout season is Devin Booker ($6,500 DK | $6,200 FD) who actually led the league in preseason scoring. In his rookie campaign, Booker was awesome down the stretch for the Suns as he averaged 34.1 DraftKings points over his final 22 games. Booker is certainly not going to be afraid to shoot the ball and he jacked 55 shots in his final 98 minutes of preseason action. His shot is still developing and he will go cold at times, but this matchup with the Kings is a classic, high scoring, fast paced Western Conference bout.
You can’t overlook Ish Smith ($4,700 DK | $6,400 FD) who has been handed the starting PG job while Reggie Jackson is sidelined. Smith can do a lot of damage on the court as he showed in his 50 starts with Philadelphia last season. In those 50 games, he averaged 33.1 DraftKings points per game and handed over seven assists per contest. In the Pistons system, I expect him to take fewer shots than last season (14.8 per game) but increase his assist numbers. He’s definitely a turnover threat, so I prefer him on sites with only a negative half point turnover decrease.
The Sixers aren’t always the prettiest team to watch, but they should have plenty of fantasy value this season. They are coming out of the gate with injuries to Nerlens Noel and Ben Simmons with Jahlil Okafor and Joel Embiid on minutes restrictions. That leaves Dario Saric ($4,700 DK | $4,900 FD) as really the only healthy threat in the front-court. Saric is in line for major minutes and has shined this preseason. He scored 61 real points in only 128 minutes of action and is trending upwards, coming of a 19 point game in the preseason finale. Saric is still adjusting to the NBA game and will go through growing pains, but the Sixers are going to have to lean on him offensively at the start of the season.
Hassan Whiteside ($8,600 DK | $8,700) appears poised for a massive season. With the departure of both Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, Whiteside will be the focal point of this Miami offense. He is a double-double machine with insane upside in the blocks department. Remember, this is a guy who record a 19-17-11 game last season and that 11 was BLOCKS!! As long as Whiteside can stay out of foul trouble, he should be looking at a great matchup down low with Nikola Vucevic.
That’s all folks! Be sure to follow me on Twitter for more player analysis as news and injuries break closer to tip-off! Commentary based on DraftKings strategy and scoring.