And we are back! It feels like we just concluded the last NBA season but things start anew tonight. With just two games, it is merely an appetizer for our journey but there are no complaints here.
Attacking a two-game slate is a very different and unique process. Based on the lack of options there is generally a lot of overlap in lineups that makes finding a big day in GPP’s that much more difficult. I’m not saying you shouldn’t try, as it’s the thrill of the chase that gets us but it’s also about being smart and building that bankroll. But a slate like today generally calls on DFS players to be a little more conservative regarding the percent of their bankroll that is put into play and trend more towards cash games.
For those who have yet to subscribe, what are you waiting for? Until then you will get one free pick to whet your appetite. On a short slate positional scarcity does come into play a little more than normal (but we will dig more into this shortly) so that brings us to Serge Ibaka ($5,200 DK, $5,500 FD). The Clippers’ new off-season addition was named the starting center in training camp and he was a full participant in practice this weekend so there are no health concerns to worry about. Last season Ibaka averaged 15.3 points and 8.1 rebounds per game last season and we have solid track record of success to go off of. Los Angeles will lean on Ibaka in the post and based on his price he doesn’t have a high hill to climb for a positive return on investment.
Subscribers can now expect us to continue digging into today’s slate. We have our first injury related absence which means there is also a potentially value opportunity available. So, keep on going and take a look at what we have to offer. This is just the beginning though. For a one-time fee of $99 per year we have all sports covered here including NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, PGA, NASCAR, and League of Legends. We know how profitable these picks can be so you can even try it out for one month for free.
Before we dig into any more players let’s take a quick look at the slate. Of the two games, the match-up between Golden State and Brooklyn (over/under of 231) is expected to have more offense than the battle for Los Angeles (222.5) with the Nets favored by 7.5 points and the Lakers favored by 2.5. Both games will be competitive affairs with plenty of offense but the Warriors and Nets offer a bit more offensive upside.
The NBA is a superstar driven game. We are also in an era of “position less” basketball. That means when doing my initial research, I’m not necessarily concerned with going position by position tonight. I want to find superstars but it’s also not at the expense of the rest of my lineup as it is a balancing act here.
You don’t need me to tell you that Stephen Curry ($9,300 DK, $8,700 FD) is a good player. The same goes for LeBron James ($9,600 DK, $11,000 FD), Kawhi Leonard ($9,100 DK, $9,500 FD), and Anthony Davis ($10,000 DK, $10,600 FD). You also don’t need an advanced degree in math to know fitting all four of those players in your lineup is impossible.
Before we get into what direction I’m leaning you might notice some omissions. Two players I neglected to include above both happen to play for Brooklyn. The Nets have the highest implied point total of the evening but I’m still unsure how to feel about Kevin Durant ($9,800 DK, $8,500 FD) and Kyrie Irving ($8,500 DK, $9,000 FD). Neither are cheap and both are unknown factors. Durant hasn’t played, aside from two pre-season games, in almost two years and I would expect Brooklyn to take things slow with their superstar. After seeing Durant score 25 points to close out the pre-season it’s hard not to be optimistic but at that price, I prefer to be cautious and that is especially the case if Brooklyn gets out to an early lead. Brooklyn is still working through their rotation and we haven’t really seen them in action with their full squad and Steve Nash as coach so I want to see a little more prior to investing.
Davis is the most expensive option, not to say he isn’t worth it, but at close to half the price Ibaka allows us to fill out the center position at a more reasonable hit to the budget. They will be facing off against each other but the burden on Davis is a lot higher. If we are straying from Davis, it makes sense to get a piece of the Lakers with James and save a little bit of cap space while doing so and Curry speaks for himself as the clear number one option with the Warriors.
I know it’s not what we saw in the bubble this summer, but I’m not sure how much of a difference there is between Paul George ($7,800 DK, $7,600 FD) and Leonard. To conclude the pre-season George scored 16 points against the Jazz and my expectation is that he will put last year’s late season struggles behind him. No complaints with Leonard but George does allow us to fit three “stars” into the lineup without taking too many chances elsewhere.
When we last saw Eric Paschall ($3,700 DK, $4,900 FD) in March he was consistently putting up 30-plus Draft Kings points in Golden State’s starting lineup. With Draymond Green sidelined on Tuesday, Paschall reprises that role while he is priced as a backup. Even based on Paschall’s season averages of 14 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game this is a clear value. The problem though is that you likely won’t be alone on Paschall but you can’t ignore him either as you need him to fit the aforementioned stars in your lineup. It is this lack of lineup diversity that brings us more into the direction of cash games.
There is still more work to be done when building a lineup so a few other names on are our radar include Joe Harris ($4,800 DK, $4,300 FD) who will likely be in the starting lineup for the Nets and the recipient of open shots, Dennis Schroder ($5,800 DK, $5,000 FD) starting at point guard for his new team, Caris LeVert ($6,500 DK, $5,800 FD) likely leading the second team for Brooklyn as the sixth man, and Kelly Oubre ($6,700 DK, $6,400 FD) as Golden State’s new offensive weapon. Two budget friendly options off the bench we are considering are Damion Lee($3,700 DK, $3,900 FD), and Luke Kennard ($3,600 DK, $4,000 FD).
At the root of things, tonight isn’t unlike any other slate. Target your superstars, find a few cheap options, and then fill in the rest with high usage players. Most importantly, it is important to know which site you are playing on. Eligibility on Fan Duel is vastly different than Draft Kings and while your lineup may make similar at the core, it is not the same.
Draft Kings limits me to James, Curry, and George while Fan Duel allows me to add Davis to the mix. Research the players the first and then get site specific and don’t fall into the trap having the same lineup on multiple platforms if it doesn’t make sense.
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