I didn’t deliver a winning lineup last night in daily fantasy basketball, but I sure did hand out some solid NBA DFS picks. Goran Dragic, Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge, Kawhi Leonard and even Trae Young were all good to great last night, while Tim Hardaway Jr. was one of the best plays of the entire slate.
My lone gaffes were Alex Len and Chandler Parsons. Len was a tough pill to swallow as a chalky value pick, but with the new “drop your lowest score” aspect to FanDuel’s game, Parsons at the bare minimum price was a total non-issue.
It was a good team on the surface, but it didn’t take home the big prize. Let’s go back to the drawing board for Thursday’s three-game NBA DFS slate at FanDuel:
PG: Cameron Payne – Chicago Bulls ($4k)
Kris Dunn is out and Payne will draw the start. He’s an immediate free square option with FanDuel’s “lowest score dropped” rule. Payne is facing a likely blowout on the road, but he’s dirt cheap. Here’s to hoping he can pile it up early before Chicago’s almost certain housing.
Rajon Rondo is an elite pivot here at $4.5k if he starts and quite possibly even if he doesn’t.
PG: John Wall – Washington Wizards ($9.3k)
There are three elite PG options tonight, but I’m not paying $11k for Ben Simmons in what I think will be a blowout. Damian Lillard is the other option, but with Wall being the cheapest and in Washington’s season opener in D.C., that’s where I’m going.
This isn’t the greatest matchup, but Wall averaged almost 47 fantasy points per game at home last year and looked ready to rock in the preseason.
SG: Bradley Beal – Washington Wizards ($8.2k)
This Heat/Wiz game projects to be the closest of three games tonight, so I’ll get another Wizards scorer in Beal here. He’s a solid price given his 40+ fantasy point upside and he had some nice success (39 fantasy points per game) across four meetings with the Heat last year.
If you want value, try to figure out the Lakers SG situation or roll the dice with Zach LaVine ($6.8k). LaVine’s matchup is garbage but he’ll be chucking all day in Philly.
SG: C.J. McCollum – Portland Trail Blazers ($7.1k)
I don’t think you have to pay up at SG spots, but unless we catch wind of what the Lakers are doing that’s probably where I’m headed. McCollum is a potentially elite play at home against a Lakers team that doesn’t yet know their identity. He averaged over 20 real points per game against them last year, too, so he feels like a rock solid play.
SF: LeBron James – Los Angeles Lakers ($11.7k)
King James in La La Land, everybody. I don’t know how you fade him in this spot. He’s on a new team and they’re on the road in their season opener, but he offers more upside than anyone on this slate. Ben Simmons is a great pivot, but I don’t think we get four quarters of him and he’s at a different position.
No other SF touches what James can do, so I’m eating the salary and moving along.
SF: Derrick Jones Jr. – Miami Heat ($3.5k)
This is a free square candidate. Jones started last night and only logged 17 minutes, but thanks to a rash of Miami injuries, he’s a decent bet to see 20+ minutes. If he isn’t any good, it’s fine. He’ll just be the guy dropped from my lineup at the end of the night.
PF: Dario Saric – Philadelphia 76ers ($5.9k)
Saric got off to a hot start before running into foul trouble in his last game. Hopefully he can do so again and actually stay on the court. He’s at home with a nice matchup and is a fine price. I think he’s in for a solid outing, but like most Sixers, don’t anticipate him playing all four quarters.
PF: Kyle Kuzma – Los Angeles Lakers ($6k)
I’ll keep it balanced at PF tonight. Markieff Morris ($5k flat) is another solid option, but Kuz is a great shooter and has a nice role with the Lake Show. He should be busy tonight against the Blazers, a team in which he put up 30 fantasy points per game against last year.
C: Ian Mahinmi – Washington Wizards ($3.5k)
Here’s a third free square. Obviously the plan is for two of these guys to actually work out, but this is the GPP life so we need to live with some risk. Dwight Howard (back) is no lock to suit up tonight, so if he’s out the Wiz may end up handing Mahinmi a ton of minutes to try to stop Hassan Whiteside.
Joel Embiid leads the way at center and there are quite a few options at the position tonight, but why pass up a minimum play if he’s in for a big role? Be sure to keep tabs on Dwight’s status if you decide to go this route.
Update: It’s sounding like Dwight is going to play in some capacity tonight. I would consider paying up at center (I like Nurkic at his $7.8k price tag) and pay down elsewhere.