The Season kicks off with a three game slate, but there are several studs to choose from. If you take the studs and duds approach, there’s a good chance that you’d be able to roster the three headed monster of Lebron James, Stephen Curry, and Anthony Davis. Let’s take a look below at some targets for the first game of the season.
Stephen Curry ($9,500) – Curry is the best player at his position and will face a team he had much success against last season. In eight games against the Pelicans, he averaged 51.1 fantasy points per game. In those game he averaged 28.6 points, 8.4 assists, and 4.9 rebounds. This game has the highest over/under of all games on opening night with 214.5 points. Curry will be matched up against Nate Robinson who isn’t known for his defense. He should have no trouble filling up the stat sheet and producing plenty of fantasy points to kick off the season.
Other Options – Reggie Jackson ($7,800), Jeff Teague ($7,000)
Mo Williams ($4,900) – With Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert out for this game, Williams should receive plenty of minutes at point guard. Last season, Williams averaged 28.4 fantasy points per game, but when he played 30+ minutes he averaged more than 30 fantasy points per game. He’s now in Cleveland so the scoring opportunity may not be there as it was last season, but he should still receive plenty of minutes. He’s flashed his upside and also provides a safe floor at a reasonable price.
Other Options – Derrick Rose ($6,500), Dennis Schroder ($4,400), Nate Robinson ($3,000)
Jimmy Butler ($7,600) – Butler has a tough task ahead of him as he will have to cover Lebron James, which could affect his offensive numbers. However, the Cavs allowed the fifth most fantasy points per game to opposing shooting guards last season (44.8). Shooting guards averaged over 21 points per game while shooting 42.7 percent against Cleveland. Aside from Klay Thompson, Butler arguably offers the highest floor. He averaged 37.8 fantasy points per game against the Cavs last season. He’s safe for cash and offers enough upside for tournaments.
Other Options – Klay Thompson ($7,200)
Eric Gordon ($5,200) – Tyreke Evans and Norris Coles will not play in this game, which leaves Gordon to potentially get plenty of scoring opportunities and receive a good amount of minutes. This game has the highest over/under of the evening and the Pelicans are projected to score 104.5 points. In six games played against the Warriors last season, Gordon averaged 25.8 fantasy points per game. In a potential high scoring game, Gordon should have no issues hitting value, especially if he plays more minutes than usual. He makes a good tournament play.
Other Options – Tony Snell ($3,000), Kent Bazemore ($3,000), Jodie Meeks ($3,000)
LeBron James ($9,800) – You’re either paying up for LeBron or not playing an elite small forward. Hands down, James is one of the better plays tonight and the best at his position by far. Last season, he averaged 51.2 fantasy points per game, but averaged 55.5 fantasy points per game against the Bulls. He averaged more boards, assists, and points per game against the Bulls in comparison to his season average. Kyrie Irving will not play this game, which leaves James as the team’s distributor and will have more scoring opportunities.
Other Options – None
Dante Cunningham ($3,000) – Cunningham was hit or miss last season. At times, he had some big games, while in other moments it was frustrating watching his bottom line. The Pelicans are dealing with tons of injuries and are expected to be without Omer Asik, Tyreke Evans, Norris Cole, Alexis Ajinca, and Quincy Pondexter. This should open the door for plenty of minutes and potential scoring opportunities for Cunningham. At the stone cold minimum price, he’s worth a flier in tournaments. After all, he only needs 15 fantasy points to hit value and averaged 13.5 fantasy points per game last season in 24.4 minutes per game. There’s a good chance he exceeds 24 minutes in this game.
Other Options – Marcus Morris ($4,500)
Anthony Davis ($10,400) – Davis averaged 49.9 fantasy points per game last season, but ended the season strong as he topped 52 fantasy points in each of his last six games. He also fared well against the Warriors last season, averaging 57.8 fantasy points per game. He has 60+ fantasy points upside and fills the stat sheet just about every night. He’s the most dominant player in the NBA as far as DFS is concerned and is almost always worth paying up for.
Other Options – Pau Gasol ($8,000), Paul Millsap ($7,700), Draymond Green ($6,900)
Ryan Anderson ($5,000) – Anderson is an ideal tournament play because of his ability to shoot the ball. He made 127 three pointers last season and averaged 23.2 fantasy points per game. The Warriors surrendered 45.2 fantasy points per game against power forwards last season, but allowed over 50 fantasy points per game in their last 10 games. With all the injuries to this Pelicans team, Anderson could see more opportunities than usual. Hitting value isn’t unrealistic for him.
Other Options – Nikola Mirotic ($6,400), Tristan Thompson ($4,600)
Andre Drummond ($8,200) – Drummond could be in for a breakout season and it could start as early as the first game. During the preseason, he averaged 15.9 points and 12.6 rebounds per game while playing over 30 minutes per game. Now that Greg Monroe is out of the picture, there aren’t any big men that threaten Drummond’s numbers in Detroit. In fact, he had better averages in games that Monroe did not play in. At this price, he’s tough to pass on as he offers a 50+ fantasy point ceiling. Considering everything, he makes a great tournament play.
Other Options – Al Horford ($7,300)
Andrew Bogut ($5,000) – Bogut should be ready to go after suffering a broken nose a couple weeks ago. The Warriors did a good job at monitoring his playing time last season, but he was still a solid contributor. In 24 minutes per game, he averaged 6.3 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks. That was good for 23.8 fantasy points per game. Against the Pelicans, he played much better, averaging 27.8 fantasy points per game. New Orleans struggled against opposing centers as they allowed 48 fantasy points per game against them. Keep an eye on Bogut’s status heading into tonight’s game, but he could make a sneaky tournament play if active.
Other Options – Timofey Mozgov ($4,600), Anderson Varejao ($3,400), Marreese Speights ($3,000)