WATCH: 3 IN THE KEY
With a decent eight-game slate on Friday night, including a few of the top teams in the league, you have plenty of intriguing options to use for your fantasy rosters. Here are a few players at each position, from every price range, who I’m at least considering.
James Harden @ DAL ($11,300) – In this offense, it might not be long before he’s the most expensive player on the board every night. Everything flows through him, to the point that Coach D’Antoni said he wants him to average 15 assists a game. For a guy who has 30+ point scoring potential every night on top of that, it’s hard to go another way.
Stephen Curry @ NO ($9,300) – It makes sense for his price to be depressed with so many options on the floor, but against a Pelicans team that is going to offer virtually no resistance on the perimeter, this could be the traditional Steph/ Klay game we saw so many of last year. With the Warriors looking to bounce back in a big way from the opening-night fiasco, look to them to turn to the reigning MVP in a big way.
Other Options – Russell Westbrook ($11,800), Eric Bledsoe ($7,400)
Tim Frazier vs. GS ($5,400) – He’s going to get his minutes, even if it’s a blowout – and, in fact, some garbage time might help his cause. But with their best two guards out, the Pelicans have no one else to turn to, and that translated to 15 points, 11 assists and five rebounds in their opening-game loss.
Other Options – Deron Williams ($5,700), Ish Smith ($4,900)
DeMar DeRozan vs. CLE ($7,200) – It’s not a good matchup, obviously, but for someone who lives off perimeter two-point shots, he might still be able to find success – and the Raptors are going to need scoring from somewhere. If anything was obvious from his 40-point explosion last time out, it’s that he will get his looks, as he finished that night 17 of 27 from the floor.
Klay Thompson vs. NO ($6,500) – If the presence of all these guys together is going to depress prices this much for the Warriors’ starters, I think they are all automatically fantastic tournament considerations. Although Klay only put up 11 points in their opening night loss to the Spurs, he still put up six 3s – only making one. Against this New Orleans backcourt, I figure that number increases.
Other Options – Victor Oladipo ($6,600), Devin Booker ($6,400)
Monta Ellis @ BKN ($5,300) – In a nice matchup that could lead to a high-scoring performance from the Pacers in general, Ellis is a nice cash-game play tonight in my opinion. He is someone who does a lot of things out there for this team, and therefore is going to consistently get his minutes. He had 44 Wednesday night in that OT win over Dallas, and finished with 19 points (which is maybe slightly more than you should expect here), seven assists, seven rebounds and three steals.
Other Options – Eric Gordon ($5,200), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ($4,400)
LeBron James @ TOR ($9,400) – We all know how last season ended for LeBron and the Cavs, but this season got off to a nice start as well on Tuesday night, as LeBron became the first player since 2006 to start a season with a triple-double, going for 19-14-11. He is going to score in spurts when they need it and stay involved in every other aspect of the game when they don’t.
Paul George @ BKN ($8,400) – He had 25-8-6 in the Pacers’ opening night win, and is going to be the centerpiece of a diverse offensive attack this season. He is solid on defense and clears the defensive glass well, making that first game’s line something pretty close to a baseline for him. I think this makes him a great option every night in cash-game lineups, with plenty of upside when the matchup is right.
Other Options – Kevin Durant ($9,600)
Joe Johnson vs. LAL ($4,900) – As long as Hayward remains out, it looks like the Jazz are going to have no choice but to lean on Johnson at times, as they did Tuesday night. He responded with 29 points, including 27 in the second half, and got up 16 shots in 30 minutes of action.
Other Options – Harrison Barnes ($5,900), Jusice Winslow ($5,100)
Anthony Davis vs. GS ($10,900) – This is a much tougher spot than last time out for Davis because Golden State can throw some plus defenders with length at him. However, New Orleans very simply has no one else to turn to. In a game where they are going to need to put up points, you might not expect another 50 out of Davis (and 99.5 FPTS), but they will give him the chance. He got up 34 shots and 17 free throws on Wednesday, and there is no reason to expect him to get the ball any less tonight.
Kevin Love @ TOR ($7,100) – He played well in the Cavs’ opening-night win, and typically you are going to be able to expect more than 25 minutes. Even in that limited amount of time, he got you 23-12 with a pair of 3s, two assists and three steals. From the looks of it, he is going to be a bigger asset for Cleveland than ever before.
Other Options – Myles Turner ($7,100)
Clint Capela @ DAL ($5,800) – One of the featured players in Houston’s frontcourt, he got 26 minutes in its opener and managed 16 points and nine boards on 11 shots. There isn’t a lot of upside here, but he does give you at least a shot at a double-double for relatively short dollars.
Other Options – Dirk Nowitzki ($6,000), Serge Ibaka ($5,900)
Hassan Whiteside vs. CHA ($8,300) – With four blocks in the Heat’s win over Orlando, he displayed the elite skill that can make him more than just a very useful fantasy option. When you have a guy who you almost expect to see double digits in points and rebounds (18-14 Wednesday) who can throw 3-5 blocks on top of that on any given night, he is the type of player at this price who can be useful in any type of tournament.
Rudy Gobert vs. LAL ($7,300) – With a plus matchup against the Lakers, you have to turn your attention to the 41 minutes of run he got on Tuesday night in Utah’s loss to Portland. He ended up with 12 points and 14 boards, and there is room for improvement in terms of his scoring, especially with the injuries the Jazz have suffered opening up some looks.
Other Options – Andre Drummond ($7,900), Jonas Valanciunas ($6,700)
Steven Adams vs. PHO ($5,800) – The lesson from the Thunder’s first game is that Adams and Kanter are going to share minutes this year. But with the dearth of options on this squad, they both are going to be productive while they are out there. But the fact is Adams is $200 cheaper tonight and played 36 minutes on Wednesday to Kanter’s 24. They got up 30 shots between the two of them, so they can both return value here.
Other Options – Enes Kanter ($6,000), Timofey Mosgov ($4,400)
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theasquad) 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.