If there is anything better in the daily fantasy world than NBA season we’d be very surprised. Opening day is upon us and so is a mammoth $20,000 Moneyball GPP. Here’s our NBA Opening Day DFS primer to help get you prepared!
Before we get stuck into the preview and our best plays for opening day, here are some handy resources that might help to get you back in the NBA swing of things!
NBA Opening Day
There are only three games on the opening night slate so there will be a stack of similar lineups out there.
We’ll be focusing on making very solid cash lineups as venturing too far off the beaten path might be troublesome. Thursday’s slate will be much better for those looking at low ownership GPP options.
We’ve spoken at length about the advantage of using betting odds to help with winning DFS lineups, so let’s start with the odds for the three games on opening day.
As there is still 48 hours before tip-off the points totals markets are not for the games. Also, across the three games on the slate we see three obvious clashes of styles that will make setting the totals hard for the bookies and also mean that we can pay slightly less attention to the totals markets at this early stage of the season as the accuracy in the number won’t be as high as it will be in week six when things are more established.
The Golden State Warriors were the best offensive team in the NBA last year. However, the Spurs had a stifling defense and in the four meetings between the teams they scored above 200 total points only twice.
Utah last season, were a slow-paced defensive oriented team and Portland a run and gun offensive powerhouse.
The Knicks played slow (Carmelo effect) and didn’t score a lot while the Cavs scored more points per game than any other team in the Eastern Conference not named the Celtics.
Bargain basement to mid-tier picks (below $6,000)
Small Forward – Utah Jazz – Joe Johnson $5,500
Joe Johnson is said to be so overrated that he’s become underrated. His DFS value has dropped over the years and this year will be no different. However, he gets a chance to fill up the stat sheet early in the absence of the Utah offensive leader. Gordon Hayward is out injured maybe until the start of November. He’s Utah’s primary ball handler and scorer. As a result, it will create a nice void for the new Jazz acquisition in Johnson to fill. Johnson is a more than capable scorer but can also create in the pick and roll using his superior frame to create angles for himself and players around him. Given Hayward is out Johnson looks to be underpriced by as much as $1,000 and a must play in a few lineups.
Centre – Portland Trailblazers – Mason Plumlee $5,400
Plumlee is a true professional and he gets better each time he steps on the court. This season will be no different with his latest trick looking to be his improved passing from the post meaning more assists points. We like the matchup against the Stifle Tower (Rudy Gobert) because he should be able to outwork him and doesn’t need to worry as much about foul trouble. Not a crazy ceiling but a nice solid floor and he’s one of two players we’ll be targeting at the center position.
**Special mention to Cavs center Tristan Thompson who had a terrific 2015/16 NBA Finals Series once Andrew Bogut got hurt. He missed out on a spot (taken by Plumlee) here by the skin of his teeth. Unfortunately, he has to deal with the Kardashian curse and also comes in with some injury concerns and they were ultimately the deciding factors. Absolutely worth a GPP shot though!
Shooting Guard – Utah Jazz – Rodney Hood $5,300
Happy to play both Rodney and Joe in cash or GPP games considering the load that Gordon Hayward has left on this team both in terms of playmaking and shooting. George Hill (new Jazz PG) isn’t exactly a high volume player either and Gobert is still limited offensively. Hood and Johnson will likely be given the most opportunity to score. Hood is and he can score against the Blazer wings who although brilliant offensively can leak fantasy points on the other end. On his best form from last season (even with Hayward in the team) he seems to be underpriced and he should have only improved.
Premium plug and plays ($6,000+)
Shooting Guard – Golden State Warriors – Klay Thompson $6,600
Klay Thompson is close to our play of the night. Kawhi Leonard will likely play Kevin Durant very close which will benefit both Curry and Thompson. Curry is priced at his absolute premium ($9,300) considering the spread of points to be scored this season while Klay at just $6,600 still has some nice upside. He’s looked pretty slick in recent preseason outings and looks a safe play for both cash and GPP contests.
Power Forward – Cleveland Cavaliers – Kevin Love $6,900
Love is well suited against the slower paced Knicks as it will allow him to establish his presence inside and gather rebounds. He wasn’t fully healthy last year and as he has alluded to in recent weeks wasn’t able to put in the same time in the weight room as usual. He is set for a bounce back year and looks a nice double-double candidate. He’s certainly more suited as a GPP play compared to cash though.
Small Forward – San Antonio Spurs – Kawhi Leonard $8,000
Tim Duncan has retired and if it wasn’t already official, this is Kawhi Leonard’s team. He’ll get a stack of minutes against the Warriors because;
A) he’s fresh and fully fit
B) because they’ll need him to stop Curry, Durant and Thompson!
He’s healthy and happy and flying under the radar like he and his San Antonio Spurs do best. Expect a big showing here as he challenges himself against the so-called unbeatable Warriors. We like him slightly more in cash games than we do in GPP’s.
Brandon Jennings is the ultimate wildcard on opening night.
Scratch that, he’s the ultimate wildcard on any night!
Jennings is a player who has unlimited self-confidence and playing for a new team on opening night against the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN. Melo has pumped his tyres up in the New York media over the last week and he could easily fire off 15+ field-goal-attempts.
Derrick Rose is a GTD (we are expecting that he plays) but if he doesn’t Jennings becomes a MUST in GPP contests. Even with Rose playing Jennings is worth some ownership though given that the Knicks will nurse Rose through the start of the season and damage Jennings can potentially do against Kyrie Irving on the perimeter.
Draymond Green gets a favorable matchup against Gasol and Aldridge and should be able to do some real damage as a scorer and playmaker. Triple double watch for him is in play, big time!
Finally, Damien Lillard fresh off the launch of his latest mixtape has slightly more upside on paper than Steph Curry. Lillard is also likely to have lower ownership and is slightly cheaper.