Another exciting NBA season is upon us, and of course that means another opportunity to again — or at last — hoist the championship trophy in your daily fantasy sports league. A focal point with this series will be highlighting top plays and favorite Los Angeles Lakers (when applicable) on that day’s DraftKings slate.
A breakdown of two high-priced players, two players in the mid-range, and two value plays will be provided in order to help build your lineups.
High Priced Plays
Damian Lillard, PG, Portland Trail Blazers ($10,400): The suspension of C.J. McCollum for opening night has set us up with a free square on this slate. Lillard gets an excellent matchup against the Phoenix Suns who allowed the fifth-most fantasy points per game to opposing point guards last season.
The Suns didn’t add anyone in the offseason to change their defensive makeup, meaning we will be able to attack them all season long with point guards.
Without McCollum in the lineup last season, Lillard averaged 1.32 DraftKings fantasy points per minute while sporting a 33.2 percent usage rate.
Lillard already stated that he would play the whole 48 minutes if he needed, so we can rest assured knowing that he is in line for a huge game tonight.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, PG/SF, Milwaukee Bucks ($10,300): Probably one of the most exciting young players in the NBA right now, Giannis starts the season off in an absolute dream matchup against the Boston Celtics.
After trading away their best defensive player in Jae Crowder, the Celtics will rely on Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, and Marcus Smart to be their defensive anchors on the wing, but none of those three have the size or ability to slow down Antetokounmpo.
He averaged over 47 DraftKings points per game last season and looked phenomenal in the preseason where he averaged 20.5 points, five rebounds, four assists, one steal, and 2.5 blocks in roughly 25 minutes.
Antetokounmpo posted a usage rate over 34 percent in those preseason minutes and will shoulder the offensive load for the Bucks tonight. You have to love Giannis this season, and especially love him in this matchup.
Myles Turner, C, Indiana Pacers ($7,700): The Brooklyn Nets head into Indiana tonight to take on the Pacers, and there is fantasy goodness all around in this game. One of my favorite plays, and one that could go overlooked on a night with a lot of great plays at center, is Myles Turner.
Coming off a strong sophomore season, expectations are high for Turner to have an even better season this year. Turner averaged 31.18 DraftKings points per game last season but against the Nets, he averaged 38 DraftKings points, including a massive 58.3-point performance last January.
The Nets allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing centers last season, along with being one of the worst rebounding teams in the NBA, and things don’t look to be improving for them anytime soon.
Turner makes for one of the best center options tonight on DraftKings and an excellent pivot off the higher priced options on the slate.
Jusuf Nurkic, C, Portland Trail Blazers ($7,500): Locking two centers into your lineups on DraftKings is often a successful strategy, and tonight it looks like a great way to go with the likes Jusuf Nurkic and Turner offering great value.
Much like Turner above, Nurkic gets an excellent matchup tonight against the Suns. They allowed the fifth-most points per game to opposing big men last season while allowing opponents to gobble up 44 rebounds per game.
Nurkic ranked in the 89th percentile among centers on the offensive glass with the Trail Blazers last season, and in the 78th percentile on the defensive glass, putting him in line for plenty of boards tonight.
The Trail Blazers will be playing in a fast-paced game with a very high projected total and will be without one of their offensive weapons because of the aforementioned McCollum suspension. Meaning, Portland will need another player on the offense, outside of Lillard, to step up and score.
When Nurkic was on the floor with Lillard last season, the big man averaged 1.31 fantasy points per minute. Expect a big game from Nurkic against the Suns.
Jeremy Lamb, SG/SF, Charlotte Hornets ($5,700): When the Charlotte Hornets lost Nicolas Batum early on in the preseason, it pushed Jeremy Lamb into the starting lineup.
In addition to the absence of Batum, the Hornets will also be without Michael Kidd-Gilchrist tonight, which leaves them with very little depth on the wing for their matchup against Detroit.
Lamb was an excellent source of value for DraftKings when Batum and Kidd-Gilchrist were off the floor, putting up 1.04 DraftKings points per minute, and averaging 31.6 DraftKings points per game in games he started.
In games that Lamb played over 28 minutes, he averaged 31.1 DraftKings points per game. Lamb should eclipse 30 minutes tonight for the banged-up Hornets.
Jaylen Brown, SG/SF, Boston Celtics ($3,900): Jaylen Brown started opening night for the Celtics and absolutely balled out, dropping 25 points with six rebounds and three steals.
Brown showed confidence rarely seen in a second-year player, taking LeBron James to the rack early on, and attacking the Cleveland Cavaliers in the paint.
Due to a very gruesome injury to Gordon Hayward, Brown is going to be forced into an increased role and increased minutes for the Celtics this season.
Brown had a team-high 29.1 percent usage rate on opening night, and while that number will definitely go down as the season goes on, he is the best offensive weapon alongside Kyrie Irving for the time being.
Brown’s price is way too cheap to ignore right now and he will continue to be an excellent source of value until it rises.