Thursday night was a disaster. Michael Beasley made his first bucket as a member of the Knicks and immediately exited with an injury. He lasted 11 seconds and with him going down, so to did our chances of doing any damage in daily fantasy basketball contests at FanDuel.
We otherwise nailed most of our FanDuel NBA DFS picks. C.J. Miles was a fantastic punt play (28 fantasy points) at small forward, while studs like Russell Westbrook, Blake Griffin and Paul George all worked out (all with 41+ fantasy points).
There were a lot of weak performances on such a small slate, so by comparison Lonzo Ball (23) and Enes Kanter (24) really weren’t that bad. Lou Williams was also a fine play at a really terrible SG position (28). Fading the likes of Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan and Tim Hardaway Jr. (7 fantasy points!) proved to be wise, too.
While our picks for the most part worked out, Austin Rivers (10) was an utter failure. He inexplicably didn’t start and proceeded to play horribly in the face of an awesome matchup. He and Beasley combined (12 fantasy points) sunk us pretty easily, but it was encouraging to get so many hits on a tough 3-game slate.
Friday brings back a healthy 10-game slate, so we can try cash games again if we so choose. There are a number of picks we love for tonight’s slate, so let’s see how many we can fit in this lineup:
PG: Darren Collison – Indiana Pacers ($5.6k)
The pricing on FanDuel is truly absurd for this slate. It started last night and it leaked into this big 10-game slate. Anyone who was an elite value play on Wednesday is now $5k or way more expensive. It’s actually great, as it evens everything out and forces us all to do some research and make some really tough decisions.
I think we can bypass doing that at one PG slot, as Collison was awesome in his Pacers debut and gets a really nice matchup against the Blazers. Neither Damian Lillard or C.J. McCollum are particularly good defenders, so I’m not seeing a ton of resistance here. Collison might not get 45 fantasy points again, but he feels like a lock for 32+.
PG: D’Angelo Russell – Brooklyn Nets ($8k)
D’Lo’s price has gone way up, but with Jeremy Lin out for the year, we can understand why. He is now officially the face of the Nets and is going to be in for a massive role going forward. We probably will want to get in on that upside now, before his price really gets out of hand.
I like his matchup with the Orlando Magic enough, but this is really all about role and upside. If all goes well, we’re getting two elite fantasy point guards without really paying for it.
SG: Donovan Mitchell – Utah Jazz ($4.5k)
I honestly covet a few shooting guards tonight, but they’re all kind of the same guy. Devin Booker and Klay Thompson both seem like a lot of fun, but they don’t do much other than score. Victor Oladipo is also in play, but his price jumped by $1k and Collison (his teammate) is way cheaper.
There is not an elite SG stud on this slate, which is something I actually love since this position is typically a place where DFS folk go to die. I’m loving the idea of flat out punting both spots and Donovan Mitchell is a big reason why I feel we can get away from it.
The talented rookie started in his Jazz debut (which was a surprise) and logged 26 minutes. He played fairly well, so it wouldn’t be shocking if he started again and logged close to 30 minutes. If that’s going to happen, we can’t ignore this cheap price tag. The kid is a lights out scorer and Utah can use his offensive ability. He’s on the road against a Minnesota team that has two long defenders, but hopefully he’ll be able to score, anyways.
SG: Malik Monk – Charlotte Hornets ($3.3k)
The two main reasons I am enamored with paying down at shooting guard are a lack of truly reliable options and the fact that these two rookies I want to use have loads of scoring upside. People won’t be on Monk, either. Yeah, he’s dirt cheap, but he laid a serious egg in his Hornets debut (1 for 9 shooting!). He still got 21 minutes off the bench, though, so I think he continues to get chances to prove himself.
Monk certainly did that during the preseason and he is just dripping with scoring ability. Jeremy Lamb is the popular play right now with Nicolas Batum on the shelf. Batum is out again and if MKG is also out, I like Monk even more. He has to be itching to shake off that rough debut and I think he does that tonight in a up-tempo game with a bad Hawks team. If these two SG punts work out, we’re looking at insane value and the ability to completely open up our roster.
SF: T.J. Warren – Phoenix Suns ($5.2k)
Everyone will be looking at Eric Bledsoe and Devin Booker as the Suns prepare to battle the hapless Lakers, but I want Warren. He’s really too cheap given his role and offensive upside, plus the Lakers don’t defend.
This pick is partially about savings, but Warren has a lot of upside to his game. After averaging a stellar 16.7-7.3-3.0-1.7-1 line across three meetings with the Lakers last year, it’s easy to see why. If he comes close to those numbers, we could be looking at 35-40 fantasy points.
SF: Kevin Durant – Golden State Warriors ($9.6k)
We probably need one of KD or King James tonight, so I’ll just take the cheaper of the two. James is on the road, is facing a Bucks team with a lot of length and also has a sore ankle. He’ll be fine, but Durant is cheaper and with a shaky performance in a season-opening loss, he feels like a candidate to pop off.
Durant has a better pace matchup, as he’ll battle with the Pelicans team that wants to run the floor and fire up shots. Durant hasn’t lit up New Orleans in the past, but Golden State needs him to step up in this one and I think he will. He’s usually good for 45-50 fantasy points and we’re getting him at an arguable discount.
PF: Anthony Davis – New Orleans Pelicans ($10.9k)
This is a great slate to just start with your core plays and work your way down the line. Davis is the 7th player in line here, but this is the first blurb I wrote for this article. He’s a lock for me, as there are two stud power forwards (Giannis Antetokoumpo is the other) available here. The rest of the PFs are way over-priced.
Giannis is in play, but facing the Cavs has me a little gun-shy. LeBron James and Jae Crowder could help keep him out of the lane and if he’s shooting jumpers all night, I doubt he goes nuts like he did in Milwaukee’s opener.
The Brow will go nuts, though. First, because he has to. The Pelicans have two studs and little else. He and/or DeMarcus Cousins are going to wreck almost every night. I think both could explode tonight against the Warriors, but Brow averaged 35 actual points per game against them a year ago and he’s always thrived in this fast-paced matchup. I love him tonight as my top overall play and given the upside at PF, we need to at least pick one of these guys if we want to compete.
Brow is cheaper and a little more reliable, so for me, he’s the easy call.
PF: Derrick Favors – Utah Jazz ($5.7k)
Power forward is a mess tonight and if we can shake it, pairing Giannis and The Brow might be the way to go. Ben Simmons is now way over-priced, Aaron Gordon and Draymond Green are both dealing with injuries and nobody else really stands out.
Favors might, as he was serviceable in his season opener and will face a Minnesota defense that got torched by LaMarcus Aldridge. Favors was held back by injuries last year, but we shouldn’t forget that he’s a good power forward when healthy. If he can get 28-30 minutes, he has a shot at reaching a double-double and chipping in a couple of blocks.
C: Kevin Love – Cleveland Cavaliers ($6.8k)
I’m going to ride and die with Love tonight. He wasn’t terrible in Cleveland’s home opener (15 points, 11 rebounds), yet the Cavs were vocal about feeding him the ball more on offense going forward. Perhaps they realized that Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade are ball-stoppers and can’t shoot.
Love can feast down low or destroy defenses from the perimeter, plus we know his upside on the glass. The reality is he’s just too cheap in this spot. The Bucks have a lot of length and are at home, but Al Horford produced 39.2 fantasy points against them the other day. Love is arguably the better overall player, so I’d like to think he can do something similar if he’s dialed in tonight.
Center is loaded tonight, but Love gives us a cheap shot at 40+ fantasy points. If he gets there and we didn’t use him, we’ll be kicking ourselves.