While Tuesday was the “soft opening” of the NBA season, we were officially welcomed back with ten games last night. The first full slate of the year seemed to be a little strange – to say the least. Tournament winning scores climbed past the 400 mark and it took over 340 points to claim a spot in the money. Not what we’re accustomed to seeing. Tonight we again go back to a smaller slate of games with four on tap, which should normalize the scoring a bit.
I am going to switch things up today. My post for 10/25 contained an overview of starting players from all three match-ups and included players that I did not recommend – instead just giving write-ups for several players. Today, I am ONLY going to focus on players that I believe to be worthy of rostering. Let’s get to it.
Chris Paul ($9,500) – While Chris Paul is certainly a few years past playing his best basketball, he will still continue to be a elite option at the PG position due to his play-making ability and supporting cast. The Blazers were torched by an average George Hill on opening night and the story should be no different tonight. The combination of the Blazers pace and lack of defense at the Point Guard position make it hard to ignore CP3 tonight. With a healthy Blake Griffin back at the forward position, look for their pick and roll tandem to be effective early and often.
Projection: 19 points, 5 rebounds, 13 assists, 3 steals, 2 turnovers 1 (48.5 FanDuel points)
Isaiah Thomas ($8,000) – After a strong start to the season against a horrible Nets team (46.7 FD points), Thomas looks to keep it on track against the Bulls tonight. Although new Bulls PG Rajon Rondo averaged 2 steals per game last season, he is mostly known for taking risk-reward chances in the passing lanes. The Kings were ranked 23rd against the PG position last year. While I am not expecting a point total in the high 40s tonight, Thomas should have no problem getting into the 35-40 point range tonight.
Projection: 22 points, 3 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal, 2 turnovers (34.6 FanDuel points)
Dennis Schroder ($6,500) – One day after inking Schroder to a 4 year, $70 million dollar extension, the Hawks are set to open their season at home against the Washington Wizards. With Jeff Teague now in Indiana, this is now Schroder’s backcourt to dominate. The matchup tonight is certainly beatable as the Wizards ranked 17th in PG defense last season. Atlanta’s new $70 million dollar man is due for a breakout campaign. His price tag is sure to climb. Getting him for under $7k makes him a must play for me.
Projection: 23 points, 7 assists, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, 4 turnovers (37.1 FanDuel points)
Ty Lawson ($5,100) – In last night’s opener against the Suns, Ty Lawson managed 30.7 FanDuel points in 36 minutes of action. With Darren Collison serving an eight game suspension, Lawson is going to be a volume play in DFS. He is cetainly not the most talented player at this point in his career but he is going to continue to rack up minutes which should provide full stat lines. The match-up with the Spurs (ranked 9th against PGs last year) should scare people off but with no one else to turn to on the bench, Coach Joerger will give Lawson in the low to mid thirties.
Projection: 14 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, 2 turnovers (25.1 FanDuel points)
Dwayne Wade ($7,000) – Getting a change of scenery for the first time, 13 years into his NBA career, Wade kicks off his debut campaign for the Chicago Bulls on TNT. A Bulls beat writer reported that Wade will receive 30-32 minutes a game to begin the season. Clearly Wade is not capable of stringing together performances of 40-50 points a night at the age of 34 but I expect that he will want to make a statement to the rest of the league to begin his Bulls career. Avery Bradley is a top of the line defender but the DvP ranks from last year are middle-of-the-pack (Boston 15th against SGs) . Wade should do enough to get into the 30-35 point range tonight.
Projection: 20 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 block, 1 steal, 4 turnovers(32 FanDuel points)
CJ McCollum ($6,900) – With Damian Lillard expected to be facing off with Chris Paul for most of the night, CJ McCollum will be getting a much friendlier match-up against the likes of JJ Reddick and Jamal Crawford. After putting up 25 real points in Tuesday’s opener against the Jazz, I expect that McCollum will put up more of the same with a boost in rebounds and assists on Thursday night. He is my pick for top-scoring shooting guard of the night.
Projection: 26 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, 2 turnovers (37.1 FanDuel points)
Avery Bradley ($5,600) – Bradley always seem to be one of those players that flies under the GPP radar on most nights. His game is far from exciting and his peripheral stats seems to fluctuate greatly. However, I expect him to have a very strong season. He opened up against the Nets with a full stat line (17 points, 9 boards, 5 assists, 1 steal, and 1 TO) which was good for 34.3 FanDuel points in the opener. While he might not be grabbing 9 rebounds each night, Bradley is going to have big nights. I think he keeps rolling against the Bulls.
Projection: 21 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 turnover (31.3 FanDuel points)
Allen Crabbe ($4,300) – If you are looking for a nice pivot away from the field in tonight’s games, Crabbe may be a decent GPP flier. He came off the bench opening nights but managed to score 24.1 FanDuel points in 29 minutes of action. In a game that features an Over/Under of 208.5 points, look for Crabbe to get involved on the offensive end.
Projection: 14 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 turnover (20.8 FanDuel points)
Kyle Korver ($3,800) – Looking to squeeze an extra superstar in to your lineup tonight and need cap relief? A safe option to give you some breathing room is Hawks sharpshooter Kyle Korver. He definitely had a down year in 2015-2016 but his price does not reflect that of a scorer who can play 30 minutes a night. If he gets hot from three point range than he is more than capable of paying of his modest price. On a night where other positions are loaded with talent, there is no harm in burning a SG spot on a player like Korver.
Projection: 15 points, 2 assists, 2 rebounds, 1 turnover (19.4 FanDuel points)
Kawhi Leonard ($8,200) – If you watched the Spurs’ opener against the Warriors on Tuesday night than you probably noticed two things. 1 – It is weird seeing Kevin Durant in a Warriors uniform and 2 – Kawhi Leonard is good at basketball. In a match-up that included Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, LaMarcus Alridge, Pau Gasol, and Draymond Green – Kawhi Leonard looked like the best player on the court. That’s pretty damn tough to do. It appears Pop is letting Leonard take control of the offense for the Spurs and in a match-up against the Kings on Thursday night he should have no problem doing this again. While I don’t think he will reach the lofty 53.5 FanDuel points he scored on Tuesday night, 45+ is not out of the question.
Projection: 21 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 block, 2 steals, 2 turnovers (40.2 FanDuel points)
Jimmy Butler ($8,200) – With an identical price t0 Kawhi Leonard, Butler could be a nice transition in a GPP if you expect a lower ownership. He flashed 50 point upside many times during the 2015-2016 season and was talented enough for the Bulls to trade former-MVP Derrick Rose without hesitation in the off-season. While the newly acquired Dwayne Wade might bite into his scoring a little bit, Butler does more than enough on the court to make up for it. His move to three spot means he faces a difficult match-up with Jae Crowder but Butler should have no problem filling up the stat sheet on his home floor.
Projection: 18 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 steals, 1 turnover (40.7 FanDuel points)
Jonathan Simmons ($4,000) – Simmons proved to be a GPP different maker on opening night against the Spurs. I, like most, did not expect hims to outperform Kyle Anderson, who received the starting nod, on opening night. However, Simmons looked great – going for 20 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and a block in 28 minutes (29.3 FanDuel points). I don’t expect him to go for another 20 point outburst on the offensive end but he clearly is in line for a decent amount of minutes against a so-so Kings team. He should be able to do enough to pay off his price tag.
Projection: 11 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal (22 FanDuel points)
Blake Griffin ($8,600) – After an up and down, injury-plagued season, Blake Griffin looks to start fresh against the Blazers. When he was on the court last year, he flashed his All-Star talent by averaging 21.4 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game. He should get right back to performing at this level against a Blazers team that ranked 17th against PFs last season. He is a safe play.
Projection: 25 points, 12 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, 3 turnovers (41.4 FanDuel points)
Paul Millsap ($8,000) – The Hawks made a big move this off-season by bringing on the career-long black cloud Dwight Howard. A lot of people expect this to eat into Paul Millsap’s production but I am not buying into this theory. Millsap has earned a name in the league as a hustle player he can rack up offensive rebounds, steals and blocks. If anything, the addition of Howard clears the way to earn more points on the offensive glass when teams are focusing in on Dwight Howard. He should be able to start off the season strong against Markief Morris, who has not been known as a tough defender.
Projection: 19 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks, 2 steals, 2 turnovers ( 41.8 FanDuel points)
LaMarcus Aldridge ($7,800) – The one pick I was way off the mark with on opening night was LaMarcus Alridge. He faced a tough match-up in Draymond Green and was playing alongside a newly acquired Pau Gasol. It clearly did not seem to matter as LA was able to dominate the paint for most of the game against the Warriors (47.3 FanDuel points). I am concerned about a blowout against the Kings but I still think he will have a good game.
Projection: 22 points, 10 points, 1 assist, 1 turnover (34.5 FanDuel points)
Markieff Morris ($5,600) – After spending the first half of the 2015-2016 NBA season in a dysfunctional relationship with the Suns, Morris seemed to find his way in Washington at the end of the year. Nene moving to the Rockets opens up a few more frontcourt minutes for Morris this season and I expect him to take full advantage of them. The match-up against Millsap isn’t ideal but he is a great GPP target on a night where there are three big name PFs that seem likely to fill up rosters.
Nikola Mirotic ($5,000) – Mirtoic should see minutes in the mid-twenties to begin the 2016 season. The Bulls frontcourt has been one of the most confusing situations in the NBA for the past few years and has been hard to peg the minutes for their big men. (formidable veteran Taj Gibso, Mirotic, and young rebounder Bobby Portis). I expect this to change a bit this year now that Pau Gasol has departed. They will need a big man on the court who can space the floor on offense. New center Robin Lopez is a good defender but offers little on the offensive end. Mirotic should be in for a bigger offensive role in 2016-2017 and I think he’ll get off to a good start in the opener.
Projection: 15 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 turnover (25 FanDuel points)
DeAndre Jordan ($8,000) – Jordan opens up the year with a solid match-up against the Blazers. Now that Blake Griffin is back in the mix, we should expect Jordan’s scoring totals to fall back into the single digit range but he still should have no problem having monster rebound games. The Blazers were second to last against opposing Centers last year and they have done nothing to improve on that in the off-season. They were also torched by Rudy Gobert on opening night. Look for Jordan to dominate the glass in this game and fall somewhere into the 15-20 rebound range.
Projection: 8 points, 17 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 blocks, 1 turnover (34.9 FanDuel points)
Al Horford ($7,000) – The Celtics’ signing of Horford in the off-season was one of the best pick-ups in the NBA based on need. The Celtics have not featured a dominant big man in a few years and Horford is an extremly solid player on both sides on the court. He managed 32 FanDuel points in his debut against the Nets last night but the game was not as close as the final score suggested and Horford was limited to 27 minutes. Although Lopez is a decent defender, I don’t think he’ll be able to keep up with Horford in this one. He should have a nice night. I am projection somewhere between 38-43 FanDuel points.
Projection: 20 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks, 1 steal, 2 turnovers (39.3 FanDuel points)
Robin Lopez ($5,700) – On the other end of the ball in the Chicago v Boston match-up, Robin Lopez makes his Bulls debut. He provides modest point totals on most nights but his proficiency as a rebounder makes him a solid option in DFS. If he can run into 10-15 actual points, he should be able to pay off his price tag.
Projection: 12 points, 10 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 blocks, 1 turnover (28.5 FanDuel points)
Dewayne Dedmon ($3,900) – This is a similar play to Kyle Korver if you are looking to free up some cap space in GPP. Dedmon provides limited upside but he provides a boost to the Spurs defense against physical big men. He saw 17 minutes of playing time against the Warriors on opening night and made the most of it by turning it into 16.6 FanDuel points. With a match-up with DeMarcus Cousins on the docket, the Spurs will have their hands full down low. Pau Gasol and/or LaMarcus Aldridge could see foul trouble against Boogie and Dedmon would be the next man up to try and stop the big man. If you are predicting this type of game flow than Dedmon could be worth a GPP flier.
Projection: 8 points, 9 rebounds, 1 block, 1 turnovers (19.8 FanDuel points)