We have a nine game slate for the NBA today, but the Bulls and Timberwolves game starts an hour early and is not included on the main slates. We do have two games with totals in the 210+ range and both of them have large spreads and some blowout risk. The other six games are are all in the 195-205 range and have close spreads with the Spurs game being the only exception. There are a lot of way you can go on this slate and here are some ideas of solid spots and plays for you to use today.
Orlando Magic vs. Philadelphia 76ers
Line: Magic -4
This is an interesting matchup for both teams. Orlando has not looked great to start the season and have played recently without starting center Nikola Vucevic. They have tried to piece together a solid rotation without their big Center and it has led to some young unknown guys having to step up and take on bigger roles. Guys like Gordon and Dedmon have had to step up for the Magic and the surprise of the early season has been the good play of Evan Fournier who has but up some huge numbers. The Magic are playing at a high pace while scoring and allowing over 103 points per game. They are favored here, because the 76ers have one of the lowest scoring averages in the league currently. The young Sixers squad is still trying to find a rotation that works. Guys like Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor are staples, but the other pieces have been changing on a near daily basis. The Frontcourt is young and talented, but the backcourt is sub par for an NBA team and that has been the major issue for them here in the early going.
Nerlens Noel ($7000)
Jahlil Okafor ($6300)
Victor Oladipo ($7700)
Tobias Harris ($6100)
Washington Wizards vs. Atlanta Hawks
Line: Hawks -3
This is a game which features a contrast in styles. Most people remember Washington as a slow it down defensive team from 2014, but they have been playing a paced up game this year which has seen them both scoring and allowing a lot more points. Atlanta is the same efficient offense that moves the ball we remember from last season and are also playing some really solid defense here in the early going. These are two of the better teams in the Eastern conference and both should be playoff bound as long as nothing crazy happens to either on the injury front. Th Wizards have a slight advantage in the frontcourt as the duo of Wall and Beal have looked very good to start the season. The Hawks frontcourt is the huge advantage they have and will likely be the difference in the outcomes of this game. The total is pretty high so we should see some scoring and the close spread likely means we are in for a good game here where the starters see a full allotment of minutes.
Bradley Beal ($6800)
John Wall ($9000)
Paul Millsap ($7600)
Kent Bazemore ($4600)
Charlotee Hornets @ San Antonio Spurs
Line: Spurs -10
The Charlotte Hornets are playing at a much higher pace to start the season and have kept the defensive intensity they were known for last year. This is no longer just a slow down, dump it inside to Big Al kind of team. They added some nice pieces in the off season and we have already seen that pay some dividends with solid early play. They are averaging close to 103 a game while holding opponents under 100 often in the early part of the year. The Spurs are still an efficient offensive team, but they are playing at a slower pace and the totals show that. They are averaging just a tick under 100 points, but are keeping opponents down in the low 90s range as well. The Spurs also made some off season acquisitions, with the biggest piece being Lamarcus Aldridge who they brought over from the Trailblazers. This should be a hard fought game between two playoff caliber teams and while I do think the Spurs win it, I was a little surprised to see how big Vegas has the spread in this one. Charlotte has looked good early and this would is likely to remain a little closer than you would think at first glance.
Al Jefferson ($6800)
Jeremy Lamb ($4200)
Kawhi Leonard ($7900)
Marvin Williams ($5400)
Brooklyn Nets vs. Milwaukee Bucks
Line: Milwaukee -5
The Nets/Bucks game is likely to be lower scoring and slower paced. The Bucks have a pretty solid defense with lots of long lean defenders and the Nets have an offense that lacks major scoring punch. The injury to Michael Carter-Williams is a big blow for the Bucks who have been scrambling and rolling different players around as they try to compensate for him being out. The Nets just have an overall lack of scorers on the roster and have rotated guys in and out of the lineup from Bogdanovich to Hollis-Jefferson that are nothing more than role players on any other team. The Nets basically have one scorer in Brook Lopez who handles most of the offensive load. The Bucks have a couple guys like Greg Monroe, Giannis Antetekounmpo, John Henson, and Kris Middleton who can all chip in. It’s tough to nail down the top options for them as it seems a different guy leads them in scoring every game. While that balance is solid for team chemistry, it makes it tough for us as daily fantasy players to know who to target. This game has one of the lower totals on the day and a projected slower pace, so it is probably better to leave it alone anyway.
Brook Lopez ($6900)
Jarret Jack ($5600)
John Henson ($3800)
Giannis Antetekounmpo ($7300)
New Orleans Pelicans vs. Dallas Mavericks
Line: Mavericks -5
This is a matchup of two bad teams. The Mavericks are favored, mostly because New Orleans plays at a higher pace and can not stop anyone on the defensive end. The Pelicans are giving up 116 points a game and scoring barely over a 100. That 14 point differential will not lead to many victories for them. Dallas is not much better as they are only averaging about 97 and have allowed closer to 106 so far in the early going. This is why the high total of 208 makes a lot of sense, because neither team has shown the ability to stop anyone on the defensive end. Both teams have poorly constructed rosters with groups of players that do not really fit or play well together and some big holes at certain spots on the floor. The four headed point guard attack of the Mavs should have a good game here as the Pelicans have struggled to stop anyone at that position this year. The unathletic frontcourt of the Mavs should also have it’s hands full trying to figure out Anthony Davis. Neither team matches up well with the other in this game and we should see some points scored here, even though the game should be pretty ugly overall.
Anthony Davis ($10600)
Eric Gordon ($5200)
Zaza Pachulia ($5400)
Dwight Powell ($4500)
Memphis Grizzlies vs. Utah Jazz
Line: Jazz -1
The Memphis Grizzlies have not looked good to start the year, but we have known them to be a slow it down defensive team for years. The Utah Jazz have been the best defensive team in the league since trading Kanter and inserting Rudy Gobert into the starting lineup last season. As you can see by the total here, this is easily the worst game to target for fantasy goodness. Both teams play slow, have low scoring averages and do not give up a ton of points (Except for Memphis who has been blown out a few times early). In fact a 179 total is so low and the pace here is so bad for fantasy purposes that I can not even recommend any plays from this game. Maybe a cheap option like Alec Burks or Tony Allen does enough to make value, but for the most part you should be staying far away from this one when building your Fantasy rosters.
There are no good targets in a game with a total under 180
Golden State Warriors vs. Sacramento Kings
Line: Warriors -13
This is going to be a bloodbath. The Warriors are fresh off a big win over the Denver Nuggets last night where they were up thirty in the first half. This game features two really high paced teams so the total makes a lot of sense. Unfortunately for the Kings, the Warriors not only are one of the best and most explosive offensive teams in the league, but they also are one of the most efficient on the defensive side of the ball. Sacramento is playing without their best player as Boogie Cousins will remain out until Monday at the earliest. The Kings want to run and play fast, but they are just not as good at doing it as the Warriors are. This one could feature a ton of points, but the Warriors are likely to be up by a ton of points in the third quarter in this one as well. The only drawback to this game is the likelihood of a big lead which sees the starters on the bench in the fourth quarter.
Stephen Curry ($10400)
Harrison Barnes ($5000)
Darren Collison ($4800)
Willie Cauley-Stein ($4600)
Houston Rockets vs. Los Angeles Clippers
Line: Clippers -8
This game features two teams that pay at a high pace as well. The Clippers are averaging just shy of 110 a game while giving up just over 100. The Rockets are averaging just over 100 while allowing opponents to score just shy of 110. The Rockets biggest proble now is the myriad of injuries in their frontcourt. Howard, Jones, and Montiejunas are all banged up and have missed recent games. That leaves them with guys like Clint Capela playing a major role and the other players all filling in with huge minutes to compensate for the short bench. The Clippers are healthy and playing good ball right now. Chris Paul leads the attack and Blake Griffin has handled much of the scoring load for them early. At full strnegth this would be a pretty solid game, but with the Rockets missing all their frontcourt pieces, it is likely to turn into an easy victory for the more talented Clippers.
James Harden ($10000)
Trevor Ariza ($5500)
Blake Griffin ($9600)
DeAndre Jordan ($7800)