With the 2017-18 NBA season entering its second week, it’s time to examine which players are expected to excel Monday for daily fantasy sports league purposes. 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
Giannis Antetokounmpo, PG/SF, Milwaukee Bucks: ($10,900)- I feel like I am cheating by picking Giannis as one of my high-priced options tonight but he has just been so good to start the season, and that should continue tonight as he takes on the Charlotte Hornets.
Antetokounmpo is averaging 38.3 points, 9.7 rebounds, five assists, and two steals per game over the last three contests, good for a massive 63.8 DraftKings points per game mark. Antetokounmpo is second in the NBA in usage rate, behind DeMarcus Cousins, at 35.5 percent, and has accounted for over 36 percent of the team’s total points this season.
The Charlotte Hornets just don’t have anyone on their team that can matchup with Antetokounmpo’s size and athleticism and he should be in line for another huge game tonight. If you are playing cash games, just lock Antetokounmpo in at either PG or SF and move on.
John Wall, PG, Washington Wizards: ($10,100)- The Washington Wizards will head to Denver tonight to take on the Nuggets, and John Wall comes in as an excellent high-priced option in this matchup.
Wall has started the season hot, posting back-to-back games of 49.25 and 48.75 DraftKings points, and he faces a Denver Nuggets squad that was one of the worst in the NBA last season against opposing point guards, allowing over 49 fantasy points per game to them.
The Nuggets allowed opponents to shoot over 37 percent from beyond-the-arc last season and allowed the second-highest FG percentage in the NBA at 47.7 percent. This is a spot where Wall can have a monster game being aggressive and attacking Denver’s young guard duo of Jamal Murray and Emmanuel Mudiay.
Building around Wall and Giannis is a great start in cash games, albeit a little restrictive on salary, and using Wall over Antetokounmpo is an excellent ownership pivot in GPPs.
LaMarcus Aldridge, PF/C, San Antonio Spurs: ($8,500)- With injuries to Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker the Spurs needed someone to step up for them, and Aldridge has done just that through the first two games.
His first two opponents, the Chicago Bulls, and the Minnesota Timberwolves aren’t necessarily tough matchups, so tonight will be a true test for Aldridge as the Spurs take on the Toronto Raptors.
Aldridge is averaging 50 DraftKings points per game through those first two contests, and perhaps more importantly, he is sporting a 33.3% usage rate in the offense while averaging 36 minutes.
The Raptors have been a tough matchup for opposing forwards so far, this season, allowing only 43.41 DraftKings points per game to them, but considering the competition they have faced (Chicago and Philadelphia without Embiid) I am not ready to write this matchup off yet. I like the combination of price, usage, and minutes for Aldridge tonight, making him an excellent play in cash games and one that will garner low ownership in GPPs.
Otto Porter, SF/PF, Washington Wizards: ($5,900)- After a huge game against the Pistons where he scored 28 points while pulling in 9 boards, four steals, three assists, and a block, Otto Porter saw his price rise a whopping $100 as he heads to Denver to take on the Nuggets.
This matchup will be fast-paced and high-scoring and this is a great spot to take advantage of Porter’s misprice on DraftKings. One of the most impressive parts of Porter’s first two games is his active hands, as Porter has notched 7 total steals in two games.
The Denver Nuggets are surrendering 63.5 points, 15 assists, 25.4 rebounds, and 5.4 steals per game to opposing forwards so far, this season, all of which are pretty impressive numbers considering they have only played the Jazz and the Kings in the first two games. This game will be a popular one to target tonight, and getting some exposure to Porter is a great, cheap way to attack this game.
Alex Len, C, Phoenix Suns: ($4,100)- The Phoenix Suns had possibly the worst season debut that any team could imagine, losing two of their first three games by over 40 points each, and they subsequently fired head coach Earl Watson on Sunday afternoon.
There is going to be a lot of uncertainty surrounding the team for the next few games and figuring out their rotations tonight will be a little bit of a headache. What I imagine happening, however, is Tyson Chandler will get moved to the bench opening up minutes for Alex Len and Dragan Bender at the center position. Len should be in line for about 22-24 minutes against the Kings, putting him firmly in play at a meager $4,100 tonight.
The Kings are currently giving up 61.33 fantasy points per game to opposing centers, the sixth highest mark in the NBA, and while that is only a three-game sample size, we know we can trust it given they were one of the worst teams in the NBA against centers last year as well.
Len is one of the better rebounding centers in the NBA, ranking in the 80th percentile overall on the defensive glass last season, and he is coming off an excellent game against the L.A. Clippers where he put up 15 points and 7 rebounds. I like Len in cash games to hit 5.5x value, although I don’t think he has a lot of upside for GPPs.
Malcolm Delaney, PG, Atlanta Hawks: ($3,000)- This is a pretty straightforward pick tonight, as Delaney will be filling in for the injured Dennis Schroder as the Hawks take on the Miami Heat. Delaney has performed admirably as the backup in Atlanta since last season, averaging 5.3 points, 1.7 rebounds, 2.6 assists in 17 minutes per game.
So far, this season, Delaney has seen a slightly increased role, playing over 20 minutes in back-to-back games and averaging 15.1 DraftKings points in those games. Delaney doesn’t have a lot of upside, but at only $3,000, he can get you 20-22 DraftKings points and makes an excellent fit if trying to cram Giannis and another stud in your lineups.