Top Tier: Chris Paul- Kicking off the first big slate of the season, I don’t see a ton to like at the upper level at point guard. Kemba Walker and Mike Conley have tough matchups, and I don’t really want to count on the ceiling of Kyle Lowry. That leads me to Chris Paul if spending up, who provides access to the best overall DFS game of the night and we know that Jrue Holiday will have to spend time focusing on James Harden. I like the mid-low tier more for cash games at PG, but Paul’s ceiling is undeniable.
Mid Tier: Luka Doncic- This might be my favorite overall play of the night when you factor in his price on both FanDuel and DraftKings. On FanDuel, he is Shooting Guard eligible making him a near must-play for me, while he comes in at PG only on DraftKings, which will (should) change as we progress into the season. The Mavericks stole Doncic in this past NBA draft and he looked the part of a dynamic, franchise changing player in the preseason. The Suns played at the slowest pace in the entire NBA in the preseason under new Head Coach Igor Kokoskov, so that will be worth monitoring as we get further into the season but Vegas still has this game at a solid 215 O/U. Doncic will be locked into big minutes alongside Dennis Smith Jr, and he has the ability to absolutely stuff the stat sheet. I want to take advantage of this price while I can.
Low Tier: Trey Burke/Jeremy Lin- The value situation at Point Guard is very clear to me depending on what site you are playing on. For FanDuel, I would pretty much be locking in Trey Burke ($4,900) for cash games in a fantastic matchup with the Atlanta Hawks. I’m not scared of Trae Young/Jeremy Lin defense whatsoever, and Burke’s minutes should be secure with Emmanuel Mudiay ruled out for tonight. Burke joined the Knicks late last season and posted some huge games, and ended up just over a fantasy point per minute in his time there (FPPM).
On DraftKings, you can easily look at the other side of this game in Jeremy Lin ($4,000). He won’t start ahead of Trae Young, but the Hawks are extremely thin in the backcourt and he should be locked in to mid-20’s in minutes. He, like Mudiay, has shown FPPM ability when healthy and I love grabbing the savings on a site where the pricing is much tighter.
Top Tier: James Harden- This is one of the more obvious recommendations of the night, as Harden and the Rockets square off with the Pelicans in a game with a monster 232 O/U. You are going to want exposure to this game, especially in cash games, but I think I am leaning towards spending more for Anthony Davis than I am Harden. That’s not to say I think Harden is a bad play, he’s one of the top options on the slate, but if I had to pick one I think I would go AD…but it’s close.
Mid Tier: Jimmy Butler- I think you could easily slot Devin Booker into this exact spot, and I’ve been going back and forth on them since they released the salaries for this slate. Booker should be ready to go after missing some time in the preseason, but I can’t ignore Jimmy Butler’s price of just $6,700 on DK. I can’t do it! Yes, this matchup with the Spurs is not good, but they also are missing some key defenders from the past in Dejounte Murray, Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Anderson. I assume that Butler will be tasked with defending Demar Derozan, and we know that he will be run into the ground by Thibs. I really don’t think he will be highly owned given the matchup, but I want to take advantage of the price tag.
Low Tier: Caris LeVert- I love this play on both sites, as Allen Crabbe is set to miss this game which allows LeVert to start and see a locked in workload. You also have the #narrative of him returning to Michigan where he went to school, but he has a very fantasy friendly game and he looked great in the preseason. He is under-priced on both websites and will be one of my highest owned players on Wednesday night.
Top Tier: Giannis Antetokounmpo- This is my MVP pick this season, and it looked like he did in fact add in a much needed jump shot to his arsenal this offseason. If he can consistently knock down the three ball, he is going to be pretty much impossible to guard in today’s NBA, if he isn’t already. The Hornets lost Dwight Howard this offseason, taking away their rim protecting presence that Cody Zeller will not be able to replace. Giannis should have his way when driving tonight, despite the Hornets length, and I think he is a fantastic tournament leverage play off of the Harden/AD chalk.
Mid Tier: Josh Richardson- One of my favorite overall options on this slate, and anyone that has read my content before knows I’m a huge Richardson fan. He has an extremely fantasy-friendly game allowing him to pick up defensive stats while stuffing the stat sheet offensively. He will pick up some ball-handling duties with Justise Winslow looking out for this game, and he should be on the floor a ton with the Heat also dealing with injuries to Wayne Ellington and James Johnson. He makes for a strong play in all formats.
Low Tier: Cedi Osman- Oh boy, now we are talking. I love Osman, and I’m excited to see him progress this season as a Cavs fan. He should be locked into minutes with JR Smith and Larry Nance both ruled out for the Cavs, and while he has a tough matchup against the Raptors frontcourt, he is also extremely cheap across the industry. He learned under LeBron James last season, and he literally plays his game like a lite version of him. He can pick up boards and assists and he should be able to smash his price should his minutes be secure.
Top Tier: Anthony Davis- Again, like Harden, this is the obvious play of the night in such an attractive game environment. It’s going to be fast-pacdd, and with Boogie Cousins out of town Anthony Davis has free reign to do whatever he pleases.
Mid Tier: LaMarcus Aldridge- I really like this spot for Aldridge, and he potentially will go under-owned. I do think that he will see a lot of Taj Gibson defense, but there is a chance he can switch and get matched up on KAT which is definitely something I can get behind. We saw stretch fours post some monster games against the Timberwolves last season, and with Butler potentially bothering Derozan all night the offense could filter more towards Aldridge, and with nobody else there in SA now he will have all of the shot attempts he wants.
Low Tier: Montrezl Harrell- I’m assuming this play will be pretty popular on FanDuel given their new scoring format (dropping the lowest score) and is just too cheap not to put in enabling you to spend up for some studs. Harrell has shown FPPM ability both on the Rockets, and with the Clippers last season, and I anticipate that the Clippers are going to need his size on the floor against a big Nuggets frontcourt. At under $4,000 on FanDuel, I will gladly accept 20-22 minutes from him in one of the most attractive games of the night.
Top Tier: Andre Drummond- Drummond has apparently added a three point shot to his arsenal, but he failed to make a three ball in the preseason so that is yet to be seen. Either way, he should dominate this Nets team on the glass and probably will go under-owned when factoring in his price. The Nets gave up a few huge rebounding performances to guys like Enes Kanter in the preseason, and I love Drummond in tournaments tonight.
Mid Tier: DeAndre Ayton– Antoher rookie that had a fantastic preseason, Ayton looked the part of the number one overall pick and he should be able to dominate this Dallas frontcourt on the glass. I think he has big double-double potential in this matchup and he has the typical “rookie” discount.
Low Tier: Marc Gasol- This isn’t your typical value play at Center, but he is under-priced on DraftKings at $6,600. I’m a big Myles Turner fan as you guys know, but he isn’t a great defender and Gasol is going to have the ball in his hands a ton. He is one of the few centers in the NBA that possesses triple double upside, and it’s another player that I’m willing to take an opening night discount on. If you need more savings at C, I’ve highlighted Cody Zeller and Brook Lopez as viable cheap options, along with Harrell.
Written by Ben Hossler (Follow @BenHossler on Twitter)