Hello Razzball Nation! I am the self-proclaimed BBall Oracle (results may vary) here to provide you with my picks and insights for NBA DFS this season. We’re kicking off this year with a massive post-election day 14 game slate. On a slate this large there are so many viable plays that you don’t need to intentionally get different with ownership. Play the guys you think will score the most points even if you think that guy might be chalky.
My number one piece of advice for NBA DFS in general, but especially on a slate this large, is to be on top of injury updates. Contests are won and lost on backups becoming starters and starters getting increased usage from injuries. In the NBA random injuries happen every night, players get rested for no reason despite the NBA’s best efforts to deter it, and tank-itis is a horrible disease that will luckily not rear its ugly head for another few months. You need to be on top of your lineups up until lock and to give yourself the best chance to win even after lock to monitor late scratches and lingering questionable designations. There will be injury plays that open up with news tomorrow that we just don’t know yet.
That being said, with our current knowledge of injury news (Tuesday night) let’s get down to it. Pricing is always (Fanduel/DraftKings). I play tournaments and my picks will always bias towards volatility and upside.
Spend ups (9k and over)
Luka Doncic ($12,300/$12,000)
Wowee Luka is expensive, but he’s Luka and he’s been worth this price on DK so far averaging 61.8 FPPG, which is more than a 5x on his price. In NBA DFS this 5x mark is something we want to always pay attention to as a quick shorthand to determine whether a play is optimal or not. There’s nuance here but if you can reasonably project a player to hit 5x on a given night they’re almost always a good play. If you can reasonably get up to his price, he’s worth playing especially on DK.
Donovan Mitchell ($10,100/$9,600)
Mitchell has been on an absolute tear to start the season averaging over 50 FPPG on both sites, which puts him in that 5x category as well. He’s shooting an unsustainable percentage from the field and the stocks will regress, but there’s no reason we can’t ride the hot streak while it’s still happening.
Tyrese Haliburton ($10,000/$9,800)
For what Tyrese has been averaging he’s underpriced on both sites, but the big reason why I’m highlighting him here is he’s in a matchup against the Jazz with a projected total of 242.5. Both the Pacers and the Jazz play at a fast pace and are near the bottom of the league on defense. This game should be very up and down with tons of possessions and as long as it stays competitive it should be a great environment for fantasy production.
LaMelo Ball ($8,800/$8,900)
LaMelo is most likely going to be one of the most popular plays on this slate for 3 reasons. One his price is on the lower side for him because he’s had a rough start to this season, two he finally had a good game with a 30-point triple double in his last matchup, and three he’s playing the Wizards. Just like Jazz vs. Pacers the Hornets vs. Wizards matchup is at a 240.5 total and both of these teams play fast and play no defense. If you needed more reasons to play him Terry Rozier will also be out for this game, giving even more usage to LaMelo. He’s my favorite play out of all of these higher priced guards, but he’s also probably the riskiest given how up and down his play has been this year.
Damian Lillard ($8,600/$9,100)
Lillard’s price is down pretty low here on FD for him, but it’s warranted as his stats are down with the move to the Bucks. I’m going to bet on Lillard figuring out the fit with Giannis sooner rather than later and they’re playing the Pistons who are terrible. The risk here is a blowout or that more of the stats go to Giannis. I wouldn’t have Lillard in my player pool on DK but on FD he’s an interesting tournament play to get different.
Tyrese Maxey ($8,600/$8,200)
With no James Harden around Maxey has taken the reigns as the lead guard in Philly and done incredibly well. This is a tough matchup with a very very good Celtics team and Jrue Holiday to deal with, so he’s definitely risky. I would not play him on FD, but he’s just a bit too cheap on DK.
Cam Thomas ($7,600/$7,000)
Cam Thomas is 7th in the NBA in scoring at 28.7 a game, which is absolutely absurd. Look, the wheels are falling off of this at some point but with Claxton and Cam Johnson out for the foreseeable future Cam is going to keep putting up as many shots he can handle as a starter. His price is better on DK, but he’s playable on both sites.
Jordan Poole ($6,700/$7,400)
Poole has been a massive bust at ADP in re-draft leagues so far, but that doesn’t mean we can’t play him in DFS! He’s not in play on DK, but his price is at a good spot on FD in a good matchup.
Austin Reaves ($6,000/$5,800)
Reaves has been up and down to start the year, but he’s at a reasonable price here. Anthony Davis is questionable and if he does not play Reaves move up the pecking order.
Tyus Jones ($5,800/$5,600)
I really like Jones to get between 30 and 35 fantasy points in this shootout of a game. The problem is that it’s tough to reasonably project him for more than that with Kuzma and Poole taking all of the shots. His ceiling isn’t quite as high as I’d like but his floor seems very safe in this matchup.
Value Town (Under 5k)
Bennedict Mathurin ($4,900/$4,900)
The minutes have been all over the place for the Pacers to start the season and Mathurin’s production has not been amazing. This is a bet on him getting his shot right in a great matchup where he’s priced very fairly.
Jordan Hawkins ($4,300/$4,700)
The former UConn star was drafted to shoot, and that’s exactly what he’s doing. He went off for 31/7/3 with 7 threes made in his last matchup and with McCollum out Hawkins should continue to start and get big minutes. He’ll be a very popular play at this low of a price. If he continues to get 30+ minutes he’ll be in the low mid 5k range very soon.
Spend ups (9k and over)
Giannis Antetokounmpo ($10,100/$10,500)
You are not going to see Giannis this cheap very often. Like Lillard there’s been an adjustment with them playing together and it’s resulted in both a stats decrease and corresponding price decrease. Again the risk is a blowout against a very bad Pistons team, but I can’t fade him with the price this low.
Jayson Tatum ($10,000/$10,300)
Tatum’s price is pretty reasonable here and he’s in play as a tournament option.
LeBron James ($9,800/$9,500)
This price is too cheap for LeBron now that we know his minutes limit is as real as my chances of making the NBA. Add in that AD may not play in what projects as a competitive game against a decent Rockets squad and LeBron is looking like a really solid play.
Scottie Barnes ($9,500/$8,900)
It is wild that Scottie is this high of a price and I’m recommending him, but that is how good he has been. He’s averaging more fantasy points than all of these brand name studs above him. That is not going to stick for a full season, but he’s been good enough in the early going that he’s worth playing anywhere under 10k.
Anthony Edwards ($8,700/$8,800)
Ant is just too cheap here. I think he’ll be in the mid 9k range for most of this season.
Paul George ($8,500/$9,000)
Like the price on FD, but probably avoiding on DK.
Kawhi Leonard ($8,400/$8,500)
This is very cheap for Kawhi in general and even with the arrival of Harden he should be more expensive than this.
Kyle Kuzma ($7,600/$7,500)
Kuzma has been the lead guy in Washington over Poole early on and he’s just too cheap for his role in this matchup. He should get all the shots he can handle in a high scoring game.
DeMar DeRozan ($7,600/$7,300)
DeRozan is just too cheap here. It’s been a down year in the early going, but he’s still just underpriced.
Shaedon Sharpe ($7,300/$7,600)
With Scoot hurt Sharpe has gotten all the usage he can handle, and that should continue against an exploitable Kings team.
Ausar Thompson ($7,000/$6,900)
The lower drafted Thompson twin has exceeded all expectations in the early going from a fantasy perspective. He’s not very good at scoring, but the rebounds and stocks from a wing are absurd and show no sign of slowing down. The ceiling is limited just because he’s probably capped in the mid teens for actual points, but he’s a weirdly safe play for an inefficient rookie. Note that Ausar is listed at SG on FD.
I don’t love this range for forwards and will try to build my lineups spending up or down here. That said the two I don’t mind are:
Deni Avdija ($5,700/$5,900)
Another piece of the matchup I want the most stake in.
Brandon Miller ($5,600/$5,800)
With no Rozier Miller is starting and should see 30+ minutes. Like most rookies he’s very volatile and the floor is low, but he has a nice ceiling in this matchup.
Value Town (Under 5k)
Jaden McDaniels ($4,700/$4,200)
McDaniels’ price has not adjusted to his minutes restriction being lifted. He’s way too cheap and will be a popular value play.
Jae Crowder ($4,400/$3,900)
Middleton is out for this game, which means Crowder should have secure minutes in the high 20s. He’s not someone I want to play, but if the price fits for the last person in your lineup you could do worse.
Spend ups (9k and over)
Nikola Jokic ($12,100/$11,700)
This one is simple. It’s Jokic and he needs to be in your player pool. Jokic and Embiid are similar prices and I’d just rather go Jokic if I’m spending up at center here.
Alperen Sengun ($8,200/$7,900)
Sengun has broken out as the best player on the Rockets and he’s priced fairly here in a matchup I like if there’s no AD. If AD plays I’d avoid this, but if AD is out the Lakers do not have a ton of big depth behind him to stop Sengun from doing his thing.
Rudy Gobert ($7,600/$6,600)
This is a DK only play purely based on the price.
Jalen Duren ($7,400/$6,700)
He’s questionable with an ankle injury, but if he plays I like the price on DK. Duren has shown massive rebounding upside this year and his ceiling is very high for someone at this price. The ownership should be low with the questionable tag.
Mark Williams ($6,400/$6,100)
Mark has taken the leap this year and he’s at a nice price in the game I want pieces of the most.
Christian Wood ($5,600/$5,100)
Only if AD is out and don’t go crazy. The Lakers could trot out some weird LeBron at center lineups if they don’t like what Wood is giving them. That being said we know what his upside is when he gets minutes and usage.
Daniel Gafford ($5,300/$4,900)
Gafford is always a very risky play because he could get 5 fouls in 15 minutes and barely play, but his price is lower than it should be and he has big upside in this matchup.
Value Town (Under 5k)
As of now the cheapest center I’m willing to play is Gafford.