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The plays below in this daily article are low owned pivots and GPP plays. This means that these players will be RELATIVELY low owned and ‘contrarian’ relative to the more highly owned, chalky plays of the night. Remember you can access the more “safe”/”cash” plays by visiting dfskarma.com under the “Basketball” tab.
Top GPP Play: Frank Mason – I will admit that Frank Mason did win me A LOT of money last year in NBA DFS towards the end of the season so I do have a special spot for him in my GPP lineups. However, on opening night I think he makes for an ELITE GPP play on Draftkings at only 3.7k. A point guard who is heavily involved, usage % above 20%, who is projected to see 26-28 minutes on the floor is a steal sub 4k. The defensive factor of the Jazz is going to scare people off of him here leading to suppressed ownership which really isn’t warranted considering Rubio was one of the worst on-ball defenders last year with a 100.1 defensive rating. Mason is my top salary saver GPP option tonight.
FADE: James Harden – This may come to a surprise to some people as Harden is projected for over 25% ownership tonight. I am not saying he is going to bust to the point where he doesn’t score 30-40 fantasy points, what I am saying, however, is that his 11.5k DK price tag is way too high and he is NOT going to pay it off. With this being an extremely projected high-scoring slate (a ton of high vegas totals) we can get the 6-8x value we are digging for in GPP’s from other players. Harden was generally inefficient in the preseason, sloppy with turnovers, and we don’t really know how Carmelo will affect his usage this season. There are a ton of shooters on the Rockets this year and I believe it’s going to lead to a decrease in Harden’s usage compared to last season. Full fade for me tonight.
Top GPP Play: Kawhi Leonard – Leonard is SG eligible on Draftkings which is something that will be huge for my lineups as unless you’re paying up for Harden, SG is one of the most volatile NBA DFS positions. With Leonard eligible at only 8.1k on Draftkings tonight he really raises the overall consistency and ceiling of your builds while keeping ownership appropriate for GPPs at a sub 10% projected rate on this slate. Leonard’s shaky preseason performance shooting wise is going to scare a lot of people off him this opening night. But he did average over 2 steals in addition to his other peripherals in only 22 MPG this preseason. Leonard is a top 5 player in the game and the recency bias of last year is going to keep people off of him.
FADE: Jrue Holiday – Holiday is expected to be a fairly popular option tonight and one that I will be fully fading across my main GPP teams. With Cousins and Rondo completely out of the picture, people will assume Holiday’s usage will see a significant spike. However, Elfrid Payton is the projected starting point guard and I have some suspicions that the Rockets will have CP3 on Holiday as Payton is known for air-balling from the paint due to his insane hairstyle. At a lofty price tag on Draftkings against an elite on and off ball defender, needing around 40 fantasy points to pay off his salary, Holiday is a clear fade for me.
Top GPP Play: Tyreke Evans– Don’t we love a great #Narrative? Evans is grading out as one of the highest value SF’s on this slate and I don’t see why he wouldn’t be. The Pacers are projected for 106 points in a game with a high-total. Although I have some concerns about the pace of play, usually the team that is winning (the Pacers according to Vegas) will be dictating the pace of play. At only 6.2k on Draftkings Evans offers a true 8x ceiling. Get exposure to him in cash games and GPPs.
Fade: Giannis ABC – New rule this year is that I am not ever going to type out Giannis’s last name. He is now known in my articles as “Giannis ABC”. Giannis is going to be very popular considering what he did in the preseason game last week where he dominated all facets of the court. While I do think Giannis is going to have a HUGE year, I do think his shooting is overrated where his true shooting % saw a 10% spike in 3 preseason games compared to last year. While he probably will improve on his shooting it is not going to improve by 10%. Again recency bias is a huge thing here and the public will be on Giannis. This is actually a tougher matchup for him with long defenders (Batum, Williams, and Zeller) who matchup up well with him.
Top GPP Play: Kyle Anderson – Power Forward is usually a tough position to get usage from so I think I’m going to settle with a player who’s usage may be a bit more volatile on this new Grizzlies team. Tyreke Evans being out of the picture is huge and I think we can see Anderson soak up that heavy usage off the bench for the Grizzlies. By being on with the second-unit he will probably avoid some Conley/Gasol usage allowing him to produce at a slightly higher rate than if he played with the starters. At only 4.4k and power forward eligible on Draftkings I think Anderson warrants the top GPP play from the position when paying down.
Fade: Kevin Love – I am taking the wait and see approach in Cleveland before I buy into Kevin Love returning to his old 20/20 form. At 8.6k you really have to have a lot of conviction to play Love where his efficiency with this new team will be lower. The defense will be primarily focused on him and we know this will be a tough individual matchup with Ibaka around the rim. At 8-10% projected ownership this is a clear fade for me.
Top GPP Play: Brook Lopez – We saw what Brook Lopez was able to do last year on the Laker’s when trusted with minutes. Lopez is still one of the craftiest big-men in the league and while leaving his prime, the 30-year old center still has a lot left in the tank. With his added three-point shot in addition to a starting role with ~30 projected MPG and a usage rate over 20% I don’t see how you don’t JUMP on this 4.8k price tag for Lopez against Cody Zeller who got torn up in the paint this preseason (also leveraging Cody Zeller 20% projected ownership by taking Lopez over him).
Fade: Cody Zeller – This is probably going to be the toughest fade for me as I don’t necessarily think Zeller is a terrible play, I just think leveraging Lopez against him is the #sharp play. Zeller is not going to see high usage and is likely going to lose a lot of minutes to Bioymbo and Hernangomez. If you want to rely on Zeller getting 10 and 10 in his 25 minutes tonight take that shot in cash. But in GPP’s he really doesn’t have the upside we’re looking for.
Written By: Robert Viafora