The Vegas Lines
Highest Scoring Games
Pelicans vs. Warriors – With an o/u of 210.5 this is the highest scoring game on the short slate. Look for the typical Warriors pace as Curry and company push the ball up the floor. With Jrue Holiday on a minutes limit and Tyreke Evans out, this game has the makings of a blowout. However, the Brow should keep them in the game and make it competitive enough for some fantasy goodness.
Detroit vs. Atlanta – With an o/u of 198.5 (only .5 higher than the Cavs game) this game intrigues me due to value. Every DK DFS player knows that SF is a pit of despair if LBJ and KD are off for the night. However, I see some sneaky value in this one. I also love using the Atlanta bigs when constructing lines, due to their effectiveness and lower price.
Lowest Scoring Games
Cleveland vs. Chicago – Coming in at the third highest o/u (198) this game should be the typical battle. It will be interesting to see how Blatt approaches “The King’s” minutes and how Hoiberg uses D. Rose. This game should be fun to watch, but I will be looking elsewhere for value.
Pace of Play
Fastest Projected Games
Pelicans vs. Warriors – When your PG is the reigning MVP things move quickly. The Warriors love to push the ball up and down the court, especially when they are at home. The Dubs played at the highest team pace of 100.7 (Hollinger Ratings) last season, while the Pelicans played at one of the league’s slowest paces, 93.7. In San Francisco you play at the pace of your host and this one should be a fast one.
Slowest Projected Games
Detroit vs. Atlanta – Detroit and Atlanta come in at 95.2 and 96.2 (Hollinger Rating) respectively. Both teams utilize their bigs to put points on the board. Look for this game to move rather slow and stock up on the rebounders.
Defense vs. Position
Best PG Matchups
Reggie Jackson vs. Jeff Teague – Jackson was shadowed by KD and Westy in OKC, this is no longer the case. Reggie is explosive in Detroit and based on preseason data Teague has given up 20.2 points against opposing guards. Reggie is one of Detroit’s elite scoring threats and should find his way into a lot of lineups.
Steph Curry vs. Nate Robinson – Do I really have to explain this? I’ll do it quickly, MVP against a Backup guard, You’re Welcome.
Worst PG Matchups
Nate Robinson vs. Steph Curry – You will have to use Nate in some lines because of his value. However, Nate draws the reigning MVP and best defensive player against opposing PGs. On any other night I would stay away.
Best SG Matchups
Jimmy Butler vs. JR Smith – Buckets makes for a great play against the weakest position on the Cavs team right now. With Iman Shumpert out, Smith will be tasked to guard one of the elite scorers in the NBA. Blatt may rotate LBJ over on him occasionally, but “The King’s” defense is suspect to say the least. I will have to have a strong dose of Jimmy on opening night.
Worst SG Matchups
JR Smith vs. Jimmy Butler – From the best to the worst, Buckets is also one of the elite SG defenders in the NBA. Hold the phone though, because I can almost guarantee Hoiberg will have Buckets defending LBJ at some point. This could make Smith a sneaky SG play.
Klay Thompson vs. Eric Gordon- I am a fan of Klay the basketball player, but not Klay the fantasy basketball player. If Klay doesn’t score baskets, he doesn’t score points for you. Gordon is a decent defender and has only allowed 20.4 points to opposing SGs. I think we see a lot of Curry in this matchup and an occasional splash from Klay.
Best SF Matchups
LeBron James vs. The Chicago Bulls – As a team Chicago ranks near the bottom when it comes to guarding SFs. Actually, anyone in the NBA ranks near the bottom when it comes to guarding LeBron James. There are only two people that will prevent LeBron James from getting his, David Blatt and LeBron James.
Worst SF Matchups
Tony Snell vs. LeBron James – SF is a wasteland if your name isn’t LeBron or Kevin, but this matchup could be interesting. Snell is a feisty player that will get his fair share of looks, but if the King is in your face it can make it hard to shoot. It will be interesting to see how this one plays out.
Best PF Matchups
Anthony Davis vs. Draymond Green – Green prides himself on being one of the league’s best defenders, but coming into this matchup during the preseason GSW has given up 20 points and 11 rebounds to opposing PF’s. The Brow will be forced to carry the load for the Pelicans and could easily be a Triple Double threat (Give me that DK Bonus!)
Worst PF Matchups
Kevin Love vs. Nikola Mirotic – Mirotic is a good defender and has given up only 19 points a game to opposing PFs. Kevin Love will be asked to do a lot for the Cavs with Kyrie Irving out, however, if there is a guy in the league that can guard Love’s stretch 4 ways it is Mirotic. I think there are better options than Love on the night.
Best C Matchups
Al Horford vs. Andre Drummond – Drummond is a rebounding machine. With Greg Monroe exiting stage left, Drummond will be the big man focal point of the Pistons. That is of course on offense. Drummond can’t guard opposing Cs and Horford is one of the best. With Horford coming in at a lower price it makes him one of my favorite Cs on the night.
Timothy Mozgov vs. The Chicago Bulls – Did any of you see the insane 25 minute performance by Hassan Whiteside against the Bulls last year? I did and guess what, the Bulls still can’t guard centers. Mozgov worries me a little because of his minutes uncertainty with Varejao back, but if he gets 25 minutes he should reach value.
Worst C Matchups
Andre Drummond vs. Al Horford – Here is another reason why I love Al Horford, he plays defense. Drummond will definitely be a strong play on the night due to the sheer volume of attempts he will get and his minutes. However, Al is no slouch and should limit Andre from scoring at will. The Hawks have only given up 15 rebounds to opposing centers. If they can hold Drummond to 10 they will be doing a great job!
Lineup Quick Hits
Superstar Worth Paying For
Anthony Davis – It would be very easy to put the reigning MVP or “The King” in this spot, but I am looking for fantasy production. If the Pelicans want to have a shot on opening night, The Brow has to come through in a big way. I will have him in close to 100% of my lines (and so will everyone else.)
Save Big Bucks By Drafting
Nate Robinson – In my last three plays you will see a Louisiana theme. Robinson will get most of the PG burn due to a couple of factors. Tyreke Evans is out for a couple of weeks with a minor surgery and Jrue is still on a minutes limit. Nate will 30+ minutes and has the ability to be extremely explosive on the offensive side of the court. He comes in at a bare min price and is in a great spot to reach/exceed value.
Dud of the Night
Jrue Holiday ($5,100) – On a short slate it is not surprising that all of the highlighted guys are from the same team. Jrue is an impact player and a top fantasy guy when he gets the minutes. Unfortunately, he is on a minutes restriction and will only get about 15 minutes a night. His price looks appealing and his projections will be high, but unfortunately Jrue will likely struggle to reach value.