We got the 2017-18 daily fantasy basketball season rolling last night, as we rode hard with the elite options and ended up nailing several picks. Terry Rozier was a gem with 27 fantasy points, Marcus Smart was about as good as any other point guard on the night and LeBron James, Kevin Durant and James Harden all worked out.
Our only gaffes were Derrick Rose and punting center with JaVale McGee.
We’re back it it again on Wednesday, where we get our first big slate of the year. There will be 11 teams in action, with a slew of studs available, including several that just played last night. We’ll surely want to consider fatigue and travel into our decision-making process, in addition to matchups and salary.
Our hands were tied for the most part on Tuesday, but there is way more value on Wednesday, as well as more star power to consider. Let’s dive in and see what the best team is that we can come away with based on some of our favorite NBA DFS picks at FanDuel:
PG: Darren Collison – Indiana Pacers ($4.9k)
There is a lot to like about Collison, who averaged nearly 25 fantasy points per game last year despite having his role yanked around by the Kings. He’s in Indiana now, where he replaces Jeff Teague as the team’s top point guard. He should be in for solid minutes and a nice overall role.
He isn’t a superstar, but he can score and create and should have a solid role to start the year. He’s too cheap at this price, especially with a favorable date with the Brooklyn Nets at home. This is a high level value play and a salary saver I’m not sure we can pass on.
PG: Damian Lillard – Portland Trail Blazers ($8.8k)
John Wall, Chris Paul and Kyrie Irving are the only other stud point guards on this list, so Dame was looking like a terrific play on Tuesday, no matter what. The fact that C.J. McCollum (suspension) is sitting this one out puts Thrillard on the map even more and an explosive showdown with the Suns pushes him into elite status.
That may have been the case anyways, seeing as Lillard averaged 33.8 points per game across four games against Phoenix last year. I’m not seeing the Suns stopping him in this spot, while he’ll have to hoist more shots than usual with his backcourt running mate sidelined.
SG: Victor Oladipo – Indiana Pacers ($6.1k)
In the same vain of Collison, we can get value with Dipo as he heads over to the Pacers. He was not used properly as Russell Westbrook’s sidekick last year and he could surprise early as a go-to scorer for the Pacers.
Indiana not only gets a tasty matchup with the Nets, but Oladipo can rack up steals, dimes and long balls with ease. He’s a natural scorer and he may be out to prove he should be the new face of this franchise. I wouldn’t at all be shocked by a huge performance in his Indy debut and I love the value we get here.
SG: D’Angelo Russell – Brooklyn Nets ($6.6k)
Most will try to force James Harden into their teams in this spot, but Harden will be playing for the second straight night and actually put up some of his worst scoring numbers against Sacramento last year. I’m sure he’ll easily top 40+ fantasy points, but I don’t think we need to pay up for him tonight to get a winning lineup.
D’Lo is a huge reason why. Russell showed he can carry an offense during the preseason and you have to think he wants to flex his scoring muscle early for his new team. The Nets get a palatable matchup with the Pacers and this game projects as one of the fastest with a lot of shots and hopefully a lot of scoring. Russell should be part of the latter and feels like a decent value at this price.
SF: Justise Winslow – Miami Heat ($4.6k)
I think we need one or two punts tonight, but I only want to go that route if it makes sense. It absolutely makes sense with Darren Collison and I think it will make sense with Winslow, as well. Early word is the Rodney McGruder injury will still have Winslow from coming off the bench, but he is expected to have a pretty big role early on.
Winslow is not a reliable shooter, but he can score the ball decently and can quickly rack up defensive stats. We’re using him for the latter, especially with FD changing their scoring to beef up steals and blocks. He’s in a solid spot against a pretty weak Magic team, who he happened to drop a nice 14-6.5-3-1 line on across two meetings last year.
SF: Jimmy Butler – Minnesota Timberwolves ($8.7k)
Kawhi Leonard is off limits thanks to a quad ailment, so if we want to land an elite SF option on Wednesday, it’s going to be Jimmy Butler. Obviously we need to consider Gordon Hayward and Khris Middleton, bu Hayward could be tired after playing the night before and you could argue Middleton is a bit over-valued at this price.
All roads lead me to punting both SF spots or at least grabbing Butler, who obviously can be a beast when everything is clicking. With no Leonard, he’s not likely to face much resistance against the Spurs and Coach Thibs should look to get him acquainted in the offense early. I don’t know if we can book 50+ fantasy points here, but Butler feels rock solid and should be worth his $8.7k price tag.
PF: Ben Simmons – Philadelphia 76ers ($5.6k)
I’m all about the versatile Simmons to start the year, as his price may only climb from here as he starts to post a wide array of helpful numbers. He lacks a reliable jumper, but FD is giving up more points for steals and blocks and this guy can do a little bit of everything. He’s going to be a potential triple-double threat every time out and all signs to this point have pointed to no restriction for Simmons (foot), either.
A date with the Wizards on the road could end in a disastrous blowout, but with Markieff Morris out, the Wiz have a little less defensive resistance. The flow of this game as a whole also greatly favors Simmons’ style of running the floor and creating offense for himself and others. I don’t think he dominates in his first game, but he should do enough to top 30+ fantasy points and at this price that’s a win.
PF: LaMarcus Aldridge – San Antonio Spurs ($7k)
I’m not sure I can pass up on Aldridge while Kawhi Leonard is banged up. Leonard is expected to miss San Antonio’s opener against the Timberwolves, which puts a ton of scoring pressure on Ridge. If he’s the passive guy we saw last year that makes him more problematic, but he tore it up during the preseason and actually seems ready for the task of shouldering the Spurs’ scoring.
Minnesota was one of the better matchups for Ridge last year, too. The 32-year old big man put up nearly 20 points per game against the T’Wolves across four meetings and with a huge role in the team’s home opener, he feels like a must. Most will force Anthony Davis or Giannis Antetokounmpo into one (or both) of these PF slots at FanDuel, but I think we get too much value with Aldridge and can pay up elsewhere.
C: Jusuf Nurkic – Portland Trail Blazers ($7.5k)
I don’t like going cheap at center, but I do like using value when I can get it. I think we get that in Nurkic, who has a fine matchup with the Suns on paper and will also be needed more than usual with C.J. McCollum out. That makes Nurkic and Lillard the top scorers for Portland tonight, which means he should be fairly busy.
Nurkic is busy on the defensive end, too, as he can block and alter shots and has no qualms about cleaning the glass, either. He’s a solid two-way fantasy option and may be a fun pivot off of the popular Joel Embiid (also $7.5k). Most will roll with Embiid or find a way to pay up for KAT or Boogie. I might just stay down here with what should be a relatively low owned Nurk Alert to close out Tuesday’s slate.