We have a sizable eight-game slate on tap tonight for FanDuel. The biggest roster decision that we are going to have to make is what two superstars we want to build around. Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Anthony Davis, LeBron James, and Kevin Durant are all on the slate, and given our salary cap restrictions, we have to make some difficult decisions. Here are my two favorite targets at each position.
Russell Westbrook: $12,000
The massive 95-fantasy point outing from Anthony Davis on Wednesday night overshadowed Westbrook’s near triple-double. Westbrook still finished the game with 58 fantasy points, which was nearly 5x his salary. If we can get 5x from our superstars, our lineup is going to be in great shape to cash in both cash games and tournaments. Westbrook draws a favorable matchup against the Suns, whose defense projects to be one of the worst in the NBA.
Tim Frazier: $5,300
Frazier is going to be the MEGA chalk at point guard tonight, and for good reason. With Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans out, he is seeing all of the minutes that he can handle in the Pelicans’ backcourt. Frazier was terrific in the season opener against the Nuggets, scoring 41 fantasy points in 37 minutes of action. He draws another exploitable matchup tonight against the Warriors in what is expected to be one of the fastest-paced games in the slate.
James Harden: $11,300
Harden was on pace for 28 assists at halftime against the Lakers. He “only” finished with 17, which was a career high. With Mike D’Antoni as the Rockets’ head coach and with Patrick Beverley out for the foreseeable future, Harden is going to make an early case for MVP. His usage is going to be massive in this offense and we could legitimately see him score 30+ points and dish out 10+ assists on a regular basis. He is an extremely tough fade tonight against the Mavericks in Dallas.
Eric Gordon: $5,200
Gordon didn’t have the most efficient outing in his first game with the Rockets, but he scored 26 fantasy points and threw up 15 shots. He is going to have plenty of looks behind the arc this season, as Mike D’Antoni is all about the quick shot on offense. Gordon is about a thousand dollars too cheap on FanDuel right now and I plan to take full advantage of it tonight. Deron Williams will likely defend him tonight, which is yet another reason to play Gordon.
Kevin Durant: $9,300
Everyone seems to be higher on LeBron James than Durant tonight, but I’m taking a stand. I would much rather save $600 and go down to Durant in a much more favorable matchup. James has to take on the Raptors in a very tough environment on the road, while Durant gets to face a Pelicans’ defense that is as soft as a stick of butter (not even from the fridge, I’m talking room temperature butter). Durant scored 53 fantasy points against the Spurs and could be in for a monster outing tonight.
Harrison Barnes: $5,100
I really wanted Barnes to be a sneaky play in the first couple weeks of the season, but the cat is out of the bag. He looked good on offense in a difficult matchup against the Pacers and he is still extremely underpriced on FanDuel. He should be at least $6,000 given his role in the Mavericks’ offense. Once you throw in a matchup against the Rockets, Barnes becomes close to a must play.
Serge Ibaka: $5,500
Ibaka had the DFS community on full tilt with his performance in the first half against the Heat. He didn’t have a great game from the floor, but he was constantly involved in their offense and he finished the game with 24 fantasy points. I know that Bismack Biyombo will be back for the Magic tonight, but Ibaka should still see minutes in the 30’s in an exploitable matchup against the Pistons.
Enes Kanter: $5,300
In daily fantasy basketball, we typically like to target players that have consistent minutes and that we can count on to be on the floor often. That’s not the case with Kanter, but he is such a per-minute monster that he deserves consideration at this price. In only 24 minutes against the Sixers, he finished with 35 fantasy points. He’s one of the only low-volume minute players that I trust in cash games tonight.
Hassan Whiteside: $8,500
Whiteside is coming off of a career season and he signed a huge contract this summer. A lot of people were concerned about his motivation after getting paid, but he looked as dominant as ever in the opener. He finished the game with 18 points, 14 rebounds, and four blocks. He is the top center available tonight if you want to pay up at the position. Roy Hibbert and the Hornets are far from a scary matchup.
Steven Adams: $4,800
Adams is my favorite points-per-dollar play at center tonight. He is one of the most underrated players in the NBA and I expect his price to be above $6,000 in the next couple of weeks. He is playing more minutes this season, he is a great rebounder, and he gets a lot of easy buckets at the rim thanks to Russell Westbrook. As long as he stays out of foul trouble, he is going to reach and exceed value on a consistent basis.