Happy Saturday, all! We have an eight-game slate this evening and a couple of games with some high projected totals. Although it is still early in the season, there is still some news to keep an eye on. As always, I will go over some players to target for tonight’s slate, so let’s jump right into it.
Damian Lillard ($8,800) – This is the second time this season that Lillard will face the Suns, and the first time out, he dropped 27 real points with five assists, five boards, three blocks and a steal, which was good for 50.75 fantasy points. The Suns are 26th in defense rating and are playing at the third fastest pace this season, so Lillard should once again get plenty of scoring opportunities. This matchup has the highest projected total of the slate at 219 points, and Portland has an implied team total of 114.75 points. Lillard offers both a high ceiling and a safe floor in this matchup and can be considered in all formats.
Other Options – Russell Westbrook $11,200, Mike Conley $7,600, Ricky Rubio $7,300
Patrick Beverley ($5,600) – Beverley has played at least 34 minutes in each of his last two games, averaging 31.5 minutes per game for the season. He sports a healthy 20.8 usage rate and is also averaging 14.3 points per game, but also gets it done with his peripherals, averaging four boards, two dimes and 2.8 steals per game. In addition, he is averaging 0.88 fantasy points per minute and has exceeded expectations 50 percent of the time by an average of 5.07 points. Although this is not the most favorable matchup, Beverley still makes a lot of sense considering the price and role on this offense.
Other Options – Jrue Holiday $6,200, Jerian Grant $5,800, Mike James $4,600
James Harden ($10,600) – To no surprise, Harden is amongst the top in the league with a 33.8 percent usage rate. He struggled in this same matchup several nights ago, but if you look at last season, he did average 55.06 fantasy points and exceeded expectations by an average of +1.04 points against them, with a consistency rating of 50 percent. Harden makes a lot of sense in tournaments because of the upside he possesses.
Other Options – C.J. McCollum $7,500
Dennis Smith Jr. ($6,000) – Smith is starting at the one, but is shooting guard eligible and considering all of the options at point guard it makes some sense to roster him at the two. He is averaging 30.1 minutes per game and sports a healthy 24.1 percent usage rate. He also faces a Sixers team that plays up in pace and rank 18th in defense rating. Despite some tough matchups, he has managed to be productive, so in this plus matchup, he should have no trouble being efficient.
Other Options – Marcus Smart $5,600, Lou Williams $4,900, Wesley Matthews $4,800
Paul George ($7,600) – George is fitting in just fine with the Thunder, averaging 19.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 2.4 steals and 35.8 fantasy points per game, playing 34.2 minutes per game and sporting a healthy 26 percent usage rate. This is a favorable matchup against a Bulls team ranked 25th in defense rating. George has topped 39 fantasy points in all but one game this season, with three 40+ fantasy point games.
Other Options – LeBron James $10,700
Josh Richardson ($5,300) – Richardson is off to a nice start this season, averaging 12.3 points with 4.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.3 steals per game. He is also playing big minutes for the Heat, averaging 35.4 minutes per game. Both the Heat and Celtics are amongst the top 15 in the league as far as game pace is concerned. Richardson is not a high-usage player at just 16.5 percent, but his peripheral stats increase his upside, and with the Celtics averaging 15.2 turnover per game, there is steal upside here. He is volatile, so he should only be considered in tournaments, but does offer the upside to easily exceed expectations at this price point.
Other Options – Danilo Gallinari $5,700, Harrison Barnes $5,700, Rodney Hood $5,100
DeMarcus Cousins ($11,900) – Cousins has been incredibly efficient to start the season, leading the league with a 36.6 percent usage rate and 1.75 fantasy points per minute. He has topped 50 fantasy points in every single game this season, with three 60+ fantasy point outings, including his 83.75 fantasy point game the other night. Since joining the Pelicans, Cousins has a 38.8 percent usage rate and averaged 1.63 fantasy points per minutes with Anthony Davis off the court, and Davis is questionable for tonight’s game.
Other Options – Blake Griffin $9,600, Kevin Love $7,400, Carmelo Anthony $7,100
Al-Farouq Aminu ($5,100) – Aminu is playing well, averaging 1.04 fantasy points per minute to start the season. Despite a 14 percent usage rate, he is getting done with his peripherals, account for 9.5 percent of the assists and 16.9 percent of the rebounds for Portland. He faces off against the Suns who rank 26th in defense rating and play up in pace. They have also allowed +8.61 points above expectations to opposing power forwards. Aminu scored just 25 fantasy points against the Suns to start the season, but did grab 12 boards. He is in a good position to pay off his salary and has the upside to exceed expectations like he has done in 80 percent of the games this season by an average of 7.99 points.
Other Options – James Johnson $6,600, Tobias Harris $6,500, Lauri Markkanen $6,300, Robert Covington $5,900
Andre Drummond ($7,700) – Drummond has exceeded expectations 80 percent of the time this season by an average of 2.03 points. He gets a good matchup against the Clippers who have allowed +4.23 above expectations to opposing centers this season. Drummond has double-doubled in three consecutive games and has 10 or more rebounds in every single game this season. Since the 2014-15 season (six games), he has averaged 41.92 fantasy points per game against the Clippers, exceeded expectations by an average of +3.70 points and with a consistency rating of 83.7 percent. So far this season, Drummond is averaging 1.27 fantasy points per minute and is playing 30.4 minutes per game. Aside from a solid matchup, he comes at a reasonable price and can be deployed in all formats.
Other Options – Marc Gasol $8,000, Rudy Gobert $7,900
Steven Adams ($6,000) – There are not many appealing value options at center tonight, so paying up may be the best route, but if you are trying to save at this position, this low $6K range is what I’d suggest. Adams is averaging 31.6 minutes per game and 1.06 fantasy points per minute. He has topped 32 fantasy points in all but one game, including two 40+ fantasy point outings. He has scored 17 or more real points in three straight games and has two double-doubles during that stretch. The Bulls rank 25th in defense rating, so this should be a matchup that Adams is capable of exploiting.
Other Options – Robin Lopez $5,800, Brook Lopez $5,500
Note: Keep a close eye on news prior to lock as this could open up some value plays that were not considered early in the day.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Armando28) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.