WATCH: 3 IN THE KEY: MIKE CONLEY – SWISH ANALYTICS
Welcome to the first of many NBA Saturday nights! We have a very nice eight game set with the first tipoff at 7:00pm ET and then some short slates at 8:00pm ET and 9:00pm ET. There are superstars and value plays with plenty of options in between, for what should be a fun puzzle to solve. Let’s get to the good stuff.
If you have any questions, you can reach out to me on Twitter @EmacDFS.
Damian Lillard – POR at DEN – $9,100 – Lillard faced Emmanuel Mudiay twice last season and averaged 31.1 mpg, 25.5 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 6.0 apg, 1.5 spg and 3.0 three-pointers made for a solid 42.1 DraftKings Fantasy Point average (DKFP). While the altitude is a suppressor for visitors in the Mile High City, Lillard is a veteran who has played in Denver many times and will know how to handle it. He is the deluxe option at the point guard position Saturday night.
Isaiah Thomas – BOS at CHA – $7,200 – The former University of Washington star is clearly the top option on the Celtics this season and he should see plenty of opportunity against Kemba Walker in this matchup. Charlotte played on Friday night in Miami for their first back-to-back game which should give a slight edge to Boston. In his last three matchups with Walker, IT2 has held his own with an average of 35.9 DKFP. I think he is a fine play in all formats tonight.
Other Options – Kyrie Irving ($7,700), Tim Frazier ($5,600), Ty Lawson ($5,600)
Patty Mills – SAS vs NOP – $3,800 – Mills should see an extra turn or two in the rotation with Coach Gregg Popovich likely using this game as a good time to give PG Tony Parker an easy night against the Pellies who played against Golden State last night in New Orleans. This sub $4,000 price point provides some much needed roster flexibility in tournament lineups.
Other Options – Brandon Jennings ($4,200)
C.J. McCollum – POR at DEN – $6,800 – In his last three meetings against the Nuggets, the number two scoring option for Rip City has averaged 31.9 mpg, 23.7 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 5.3 apg, 1.0 combined blocks/steals and 2.0 made three-pointers, which are worth a half point bonus on DraftKings scoring for a robust 37.0 DKFP average. ENJOY!
Jimmy Butler – CHI vs IND – $7,600 – I think Butler is a fine tournament option against the Pacers at either the two-guard or small forward position. He will likely see a fair amount of Paul George defense- however, he has been solid in their last four meetings averaging 35.0 DKFP.
Other Options – Dwyane Wade ($6,400), Evan Fournier ($6,100)
Justin Holiday – NYK vs MEM – $3,000 – This is the fifth team in three years for Holiday, but he looked good getting minutes on opening night against Cleveland. It will be interesting to see how the rotation shakes out, but in the first game he came in as the third man off the bench at the end of the first quarter, played the whole second quarter then played another thirteen minute turn in the rotation beginning in the middle of the third quarter. I think he is most definitely in play as an extreme discount option as there is a good chance he is eventually going to supplant Courtney Lee as the Knickerbockers starting shooting guard. While his upside is capped at around 25 DKFP, he should be in the mix for a solid 15-19 DKFP in this game.
Other Options – J.R. Smith ($4,200), Arron Afflalo ($3,900)
Carmelo Anthony – NYK vs MEM – $7,400 – This is the lowest price tag that ‘Melo has carried in the last three seasons on DraftKings. This is the first regular season game in Madison Square Garden this season, and we all know how Anthony loves the spotlight. It is hard to envision anything less than 40 DKFP, and I think he is a terrific option in all formats.
Kawhi Leonard – SAS vs NOP – $8,900 – With most of the other top small forward options playing last night, the edge goes to Leonard in this matchup against the Pelicans who are coming off a spirited loss at the hands of the Golden State Warriors. The Spurs offense is entirely up to Kawhi who has topped 50 DKFP in each of the first two games this season. The upside is capped, unless the Pellies manage to keep things close, but we should see another efficient 50 fantasy points from Leonard tonight and we can slot him in at any forward position.
Other Options – LeBron James ($9,600), Paul George ($8,400)
Will Barton – DEN vs POR – $5,000 – It looks like fellow swingman Gary Harris will miss another game with a groin injury. As long as he remains out, Barton should see 32-36 minutes in this fast paced game that boasts a 211 projected total which is the highest on the slate.
Other Options – Jae Crowder ($5,500), Lance Stephenson ($3,300)
Anthony Davis – NOP at SAS – $10,900 – Ho Hum, through two games The Brow is averaging 89.9 DKFP. Over the last two seasons, Davis has played against the Spurs seven times (Tim Duncan only made appearances in two of those games) averaging 38.4 mpg, 23.7 ppg, 12.7 rpg, 2.0 apg and 5.9 combined blocks/steals for an average 54.4 DKFP. Yes, EIGHTY-ONE minutes of action in the last 72 hours is concerning for someone as injury prone as AD, but at this point I think we need to keep playing him until the music stops.
Kevin Love – CLE vs ORL – $7,000 – Last night the Cavaliers reserves played just 57 out of 240 total minutes for Cleveland with all five starters exceeding 33 minutes. LeBron James and Kyrie Irving led the way with 38 and change. The Cavs are going to need to get Kevin Love untracked at some point, so why not in a home game against the weak Orlando frontcourt with the victory pretty much locked in as the second highest favorite on the night.
Other Options – Gorgui Dieng ($5,900), LaMarcus Aldridge ($7,200)
Trevor Booker – BKN at MIL – $4,300 – Booker is a solid option since he should be locked into 25-28ish minutes as the Nets starting power forward. While he is not one to create his own shots, he gets a lot of putbacks and fills the lane on the fast break which allow him to flirt with a double double on a nightly basis, and we have seen him reach the forty fantasy point plateau when everything goes his way.
Other Options – Taj Gibson ($4,600), Thaddeus Young ($5,800)
DeMarcus Cousins – SAC vs MIN – $10,600 – In his only meeting last season against Karl-Anthony Towns, Boogie danced his way to 24 points, 12 rebounds, four assists and five combined blocks/steals on his way to 54 DKFP. I think he is the perfect contrarian play with so many gamers likely focused on Anthony Davis at a similar price point.
Jusuf Nurkic – DEN vs POR – $6,100 – Portland does not have an answer for Nurkic, and he should patrol the paint at will in this matchup on his way to approaching a 20/10 performance.
Other Options – Karl-Anthony Towns ($9,000), Marc Gasol ($6,000)
Gorgui Dieng – MIN vs SAC – $5,900 – Last spring in two games against the Kings, Dieng posted 44.5 and 40.3 DKFP. Not much has changed with regards to Sacramento’s frontcourt, and he is a solid contributor happy to do the dirty work on the glass for his teammates giving him a very solid floor.
Other Options – Robin Lopez ($4,800), Tristan Thompson ($4,700)
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is emac) 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.