It’s the first big Wednesday of the NBA season, and we have a huge 14-game slate to deal with. There are some excellent games to target this evening, and with 28 teams in action, we have plenty of great players from which to choose. Let’s take a look at who I think can get your daily fantasy NBA season off on the right foot tonight on FanDuel.
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers, $9000 – When I think of Lillard this season, I think of Russell Westbrook when Kevin Durant was injured. Lillard’s usage rate during the preseason was extremely high, and with four of Portland’s five starters from last season gone, he figures to shoulder much of the offensive load each night. Whether it’s through assists or scoring himself, Lillard is going to be involved in a very large percentage of Portland’s offense. He draws a great matchup with New Orleans tonight. With Jrue Holiday on a cap of 20 minutes, Lillard should see a fair amount of time against either Ish Smith or Nate Robinson. Nobody on the Pelicans can slow him down, and given his very high floor and ceiling tonight, he’s a player I’m definitely looking to spend on tonight.
Rajon Rondo, Sacramento Kings, $5200 – I’m willing to take a shot on Rondo at this very low price. His preseason numbers were a bit inconsistent, but he also didn’t play over 30 minutes in a single game. It’s difficult to shake the memory of just how brutal he was in Dallas, but we’re also talking about a guy who put up monster assist totals in Boston while flirting with triple-doubles on a regular basis. He may be a bit risky in cash games, but I love him as a GPP option that I think will go low owned today. A matchup with Chris Paul isn’t good, but I think Rondo is just too cheap to completely ignore.
Jimmy Butler, Chicago Bulls, $7500 – Butler is one of the few players we’ve already seen as Chicago held off the Cavaliers for a two-point victory last night. Butler played 37 minutes, and that’s right around where we can expect him to be each night. He managed a solid 32 fantasy points, which is very impressive considering he was tasked with guarding LeBron James, and was guarded by James for much of the night. He’ll have a much easier time against Brooklyn tonight as the Nets don’t have anyone capable of slowing him down. With Derrick Rose looking as inefficient as ever and Pau Gasol getting in the Halloween spirit with his best ghost impersonation last night, Chicago is clearly Butler’s team. Jump on him now before his price is around $1000 higher in the near future.
C.J. McCollum, Portland Trail Blazers, $5200 – McCollum appears to be the number two option behind Damian Lillard in Portland’s offense. With Wes Matthews and Nicolas Batum no longer in front of him, McCollum should be in line for big minutes, and, more importantly, a big role in Portland this season. He had a great preseason, and the numbers he put up should be somewhat indicative of what we can expect from him on a nightly basis. I think he has safe floor of around 20 fantasy points with upside to 30 or more, making him a strong value at shooting guard.
Andrew Wiggins, Minnesota Timberwolves, $7600 – Wiggins is set be the focal point of Minnesota’s offense this season, and his price isn’t likely to stay under $8000 for too long. Despite being listed as a small forward, Wiggins is starting at shooting guard, though it doesn’t really matter where he plays for our purposes. He’s almost certainly going to lead the Timberwolves in shots, and he’s a matchup nightmare for whomever the Lakers decide to put on him. Los Angeles projects to be one of, if not the worst, defensive team in the league this season, and Wiggins is a safe bet to land somewhere in the 30 to 40 fantasy point range tonight.
Danilo Gallinari, Denver Nuggets, $6600 - With Ty Lawson gone, expect Gallinari to be the focal point of Denver’s new offense. He posted some big numbers toward the end of the season, and that should carry over. He can contribute points and assists to go along with defensive stats as well, and should be in line for big minutes as long as he stays healthy. I think he’s mispriced to start the season, and he’s likely going to be over $7000 soon. Tonight’s matchup with the Rockets is likely to be high-scoring and fast-paced (the Vegas odds currently have this game as the highest scoring of the evening), and I think Gallinari finishes around 30 fantasy points tonight.
Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans, $11200 – Davis couldn’t buy a shot last night, but he still managed nearly 30 fantasy points. Clearly we’re not rostering Davis to get 30 fantasy points, but if he can put up that many shooting four of twenty, imagine how many he can put up when his shots are falling. He draws a much better matchup tonight against a Portland frontcourt of Meyers Leonard and Mason Plumlee, and I fully expect him to post a monster stat line tonight. He was heavily owned on last night’s three-game slate, so hopefully some players are hesitant to roster him tonight thinking he might not hit his value threshold again.
Terrence Jones, Houston Rockets, $6000 – Jones draws a terrific opening day matchup against a Nuggets team that has struggled against opposing frontcourts for the past couple of seasons. With no significant change in personnel, expect that to be a theme again this season. Jones will start at power forward tonight, and with Dwight Howard suspended and Donatas Motiejunas out, he should enjoy ample rebounding and scoring opportunities along with a heavy dose of minutes. For me, he’s an easy play at $6000.
Clint Capela, Houston Rockets, $4400 – Dwight Howard is suspended for the season opener and Donatas Motiejunas is out, so Capela is in line to both start and play heavy minutes. Houston is extremely thin in the frontcourt, and although Capela won’t be heavily involved in the offense, his $4400 price tag and the minutes he’s likely going to log make him an excellent value play against a Nuggets team that, once again, projects to struggle against opposing centers. If you’re looking for a cheap play at the center position, Capela is an intriguing option.
Roy Hibbert, Los Angeles Lakers, $5200 – I’m going out on a limb a bit here considering Hibbert has been a nightmare for daily fantasy players the past couple of seasons. I think a new team and a new role is what he needed, and with the Lakers having little frontcourt depth, he should play heavy minutes on a nightly basis. He should amass plenty of rebounds for an under-sized Lakers team, and he’s always a threat to post double-digit fantasy points in blocks alone. If you can get about 10 real points from him, I think he’s a lock for a solid game at this depressed price tag. Tonight’s matchup with Minnesota should be fast-paced, and I like Hibbert to post an easy double-double with a handful of blocks.