There is nothing better than a Sunday full of football and basketball games, and that’s exactly what we have today. We have a fun six-game slate, so let’s get right into today’s FanDuel picks.
Remember, these are all subject to change in the event of injury news. Similar to running backs stepping into big roles when the guy ahead of them goes down (Devontae Booker, for example), much of NBA is figuring out who is going to benefit from the absence of a starter. Good luck today.
Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder, $13,000 – The price tag might be scary, but what’s much more frightening is actually fading this guy. Westbrook just posted the first 50 point triple double since Kareem, so that should give you a good idea of what his ceiling is on a nightly basis. With Kevin Durant gone and a huge chip on his shoulder, Westbrook is going to continue to post some of the gaudiest lines you’re ever going to see. He draws a terrific matchup with a Lakers team that defended opposing point guards very poorly last season. They’ll be better now that they have a competent coach, but they still have no one who can slow Westbrook down. Expect another huge performance from Westbrook. He’s a must for me in cash games.
J.J. Barea, Dallas Mavericks, $5,100 – Barea drew the start last game against this same Houston team with Dirk Nowitzki unavailable with an illness. As of this writing, Nowitzki is questionable, and if he’s out, I’d expect Barea to draw the start again. Regardless of Nowitzki’s status, however, Barea is going to see plenty of minutes. In fact, he played 39 against the Pacers in an overtime loss. He’s going to produce when he’s on the court, and his prospects are certainly improved facing an up-tempo Rockets team that has little interest in playing defense. We’re going to be attacking the Mike D’Antoni-coached Rockets all season, and Barea makes a lot of sense as a high upside value play to pair with Westbrook.
Eric Gordon, Houston Rockets, $5,300 – Gordon is locked into a big role as Houston’s starting shooting guard, and with James Harden taking over full-time point guard duties, he’s seeing plenty of open looks. He’s a very safe cash game play as the minutes are always going to be there, and while this Rockets team offers little resistance on the defensive end, they’re always going to put up big numbers on offense. Harden’s ability to drive and kick out to open three point shooters should help both Gordon and Ryan Anderson put up solid numbers this season, and Gordon makes a lot of sense as a value play at just $5,300 today. I think he has a floor of 20 with upside over 30 today.
Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors, $6,300 – Thompson dropped a dud against the Spurs in the opener, but bounced back with a big game against New Orleans. I’ll give him a pass for the poor performance as the Warriors looked bad all game and the Spurs are an elite defensive team. The Suns, however, are not, and while this game could get out of hand, I think Phoenix can stay reasonably close. The Suns were dreadful against opposing shooting guards last season. Devin Booker is a blossoming offensive player, but he leaves a lot to be desired on the defensive end of the floor. Golden State’s pristine ball movement is going to open up plenty of looks for Thompson, and give we’re talking about a player well over 30 or 40 point upside, $6,300 is a bargain. Both teams love to push the pace (as we can see by the high total on the NBA odds board), so we should see a high-scoring affair, with plenty of fantasy points to go around.
Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors, $9,700 – For the first two games, Durant has been the man for Golden State. Even in the blowout loss to San Antonio, Durant put up a 53 fantasy point line. He’s a lock for me against an up tempo Suns team that plays terrible defense. It’s not like Durant is guardable anyway. What I really like is that Durant subs out halfway through the first quarter, which means he sees a lot of second quarter time with other starters on the bench. He’s just not sharing much production during those times, giving him the ability to rack up fantasy points. He’s a steal at just $9,700, and a lock cash game play.
T.J. Warren, Phoenix Suns, $5,000 – It was either Warren, Harrison Barnes, or Marcus Morris here, and I elected to go with Warren because he’s a bit cheaper. All are solid value plays, however. Warren just had a huge game against the Thunder while P.J. Tucker has played a grand total of 10 minutes over two games since returning from back surgery. Don’t expect him to steal minutes from Warren any time soon. With the Suns starting the likes of Tyson Chandler and Jared Dudley, the scoring responsibilities fall on Eric Bledsoe, Devin Booker, and, of course, T.J. Warren. Expect another solid game against a fast-paced Warriors team that is going to be worth targeting all season. Warren is in play in all formats.
Markieff Morris, Washington Wizards, $5,600 – Power forward is a position I’m looking to save at today, and Morris looks like a terrific value. He posted 35.8 fantasy points against a tough Hawks team in the opener, and with new head coach Scott Brooks encouraging him to shoot more, he should be in for a fine season. The matchup against Memphis doesn’t sound great, but both JaMychal Green and Zach Randolph are poor defenders, and I’m not too concerned about Morris getting open looks. He’ll supplement his scoring with rebounding and the occasional block or steal, and at just $5,600, he’s a solid bargain.
JaMychal Green, Memphis Grizzlies, $5,000 – I don’t like much at the power forward position today as I feel like most of the players have little upside relative to their price. Green is cheap at just $5,000, playing just under 30 minutes, and has a fantasy-friendly game that offers significant upside. He hasn’t had one of those big games yet, but he certainly hasn’t been bad from a fantasy perspective either. He offers a floor of around 20 fantasy points, and he has the ability to exceed 35. I’ll take that floor/ceiling combo any day for only $5,000 at a position I have no interest in spending at.
Steven Adams, Oklahoma City Thunder, $4,700 – Like power forward, I’m not looking to spend at center. Adams is typically not a guy you look to target for fantasy purposes as he offers more on the defensive end of the floor, but he’s cheap, going to play big minutes, and facing the Lakers. It could be a lot worse. The other option is Clint Capela, but the matchup with Andrew Bogut is difficult, and last game he was pulled because Mike D’Antoni was afraid of intentional fouling due to his poor free throw shooting. I prefer Adams whose minutes are never going to be in question, but Capela is in play in GPPs due to his upside.