Wednesday went well for us in daily fantasy basketball, as we had a slew of our FanDuel NBA DFS picks work out. That didn’t mean we’d cash everywhere on an insane night, however, one in which first place in big tourneys required an insane 411 fantasy points.
Damian Lillard was one of the chalky plays we probably had to make, while we missed out on a major chalk play in Giannis Antetokounmpo (62% owned!). We didn’t fail at PF, though, as Ben Simmons chipped in 45 fantasy points in his debut and LaMarcus Aldridge delivered with 46 fantasy points of his own.
Victor Oladipo and D’Angelo Russell were two more stellar plays, with both topping 40 fantasy points in a crazy game between the Nets and Pacers. Our lone gaffe was Justise Winslow. In hindsight, we should have updated our lineup to feature one of Jayson Tatum, Jeremy Lamb or Taurean Prince, who were all more attractive dives at SF.
Jimmy Butler (21) and Jusuf Nurkic (23) also weren’t great, but were logical plays going into the night.
An 11-game slate was as busy as we feared, so we’ll be looking forward to tamer slates (6-8 games) in the future. Things slow way down on Thursday, though, as Russell Westbrook leads OKC into a light three-game slate. Let’s dive in and see what the best team we can come up with looks like:
PG: Lonzo Ball – Los Angeles Lakers ($6.8k)
FanDuel continues to have weird pricing. Ben Simmons was just $5.6k and Dennis Smith Jr. was $4.3k yesterday, yet a banged up Ball is nearly $7k in his pro debut. I still find myself wanting to pay for him, as Ball looked great during the preseason and his style of play should translate to strong fantasy numbers.
We will need word that Ball is 100% starting and not limited, as he did deal with an injury to wrap up the preseason. Point guard is not loaded on this small slate, but Ball feels like a strong play and a pretty popular one. From here, we’ll have to decide whether or not we want to try to pay up for Russell Westbrook or Kyle Lowry, or just punt the other side of this position.
PG: Russell Westbrook – Oklahoma City Thunder ($11.8k)
I’ve been going back and forth on Westbrook, but ultimately fading him on such a small slate feels like a mistake. He can put up better numbers than any other PG on this slate and with Kyle Lowry also facing a likely blowout, the only other option is punting this second spot with a banged up Patrick Beverley.
I don’t see the upside in doing that, so despite Westbrook having an inflated price tag, I’m all about the Russ Train tonight. What would be really awesome is if a good amount of the field scoffs at this restrictive price and he comes in with low ownership.
SG: Austin Rivers – Los Angeles Clippers ($4.3k)
Rivers has been a little banged up during the preseason but he’s projected to start for the Clips and should get good run. He’s got a nice matchup right away tonight against the Lakers, who he enjoyed solid success against last season.
A nice role is there for the taking for Rivers, who averaged over 27 minutes per game last season, even with Chris Paul, J.J. Redick and Jamal Crawford in town. As one of the main guards, he could be locked into 30+ minutes per game and has the ability to rack up buckets, as well as defensive stats. He’s a must for me tonight, provided we don’t catch wind that he’s limited in some fashion.
SG: Lou Williams – Los Angeles Clippers ($4.7k)
Norman Powell might be popular in this spot, while DeMar DeRozan ($8.8k) is obviously the top shooting guard on the board. The only problem is the Raptors are favored by 13 points against a truly terrible Bulls team. Chicago is going to be even worse than usual, as Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine, Nikola Mirotic and Bobby Portis are all out of this one.
That has me off of Raptors starters completely, both because of a blowout threat and they’re pricing. Sweet Lou is a fine second SG option, as he can score in bunches and should have a solid role in the Clips’ rotation right away. He’s also facing a Lakers team that traded him away last year, so blowout or not, there could be a revenge narrative here to chase.
SF: Paul George – Oklahoma City Thunder ($8.6k)
George is priced like he’s a one-man show in Indiana still, but I actually love that on this slate. With more star talent around him, defenses can’t focus on him as easily and he may actually be way more difficult to stop now.
There is some fear OKC will feed Melo the ball with this game being against the Knicks, but of the two Thunder players not named Russ, PG-13 is the one who does way more beyond just scoring at an elite level.
I’m hoping this steep price drives people away from George, but let’s be realistic; what other SF options can rival his upside on this slate? I think the answer is none, so for a strictly GPP team (and really, I’m anti-cash games on slates with fewer than 4 games), I love paying for George here.
SF: C.J. Miles – Toronto Raptors ($4k)
When I first put this team together, I had Danilo Gallinari and really didn’t think twice. However, he felt a little over-priced at $6.8k, especially since he’s on a new team and all he really does is score. The story is similar with Miles, but Toronto is going to need his offense and he was awesome during the preseason.
I don’t know if Miles wrecks here, but at this cheap price, he probably doesn’t have to. The one thing I love is that Toronto is favored by 13 points and a blowout feels very likely in this spot. If that’s the case, we’re going to be really glad we used Miles off the bench.
PF: Blake Griffin – Los Angeles Clippers ($9.5k)
Griffin is a must for me. He’s in the best game for fantasy goodness and with CP3 gone, he’s in full control of this offense. He’s a threat to be the top player on this board, yet with the Thunder players pulling some ownership off of him, there is some mild hope he could go a little under-owned tonight.
That probably won’t happen, but we can dream. Griffin being chalky is even more reason to ride with him tonight, as PF isn’t overly enticing as we move down the board.
PF: Michael Beasley – New York Knicks ($4k)
I love Beasley in this spot, as he can score in bunches off the bench and could get extra run in what should be an easy Thunder win. New York is not loaded with scoring talent, so one way or another Beasley should get on the floor tonight and hoist.
There is also the case of Kristaps Porzingis not being completely healthy. He hasn’t even been confirmed to start in this game at the time of this writing, so he could sit out or be taken out early if this game gets out of hand. Considering the Thunder boast a -12 spread heading into this one, that’s not a crazy notion.
C: Enes Kanter – New York Knicks ($5.9k)
We need to ride harsh narratives on smaller slates sometimes and I’m digging two angles with Kanter; the Knicks get housed and he goes nuts against the team that traded him away. Kanter did something similar before after the Jazz traded him and he should be plenty busy as a scorer off the bench for New York, regardless of how the game plays out.
My favorite center by far is DeAndre Jordan on this slate, but I’m not sure yet how he’ll look without Chris Paul setting him up. I’ll take a wait and see approach there, while it’s also unclear how Brook Lopez is going to fit in with the Lakers. If we’re not secure with those guys, what’s the harm in punting and riding the revenge narrative at center?