Written by: James R. Harrison Jr. – Founder, President, & CEO (@TheGrandstandUS)
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| Point Guards
Kyrie Irving – Cleveland Cavaliers – DraftKings: $8,000, FanDuel: $7,100
Kyrie Irving will be the cream of the crop Tuesday night at the point guard position as the reigning champion Cleveland Cavaliers take on the New York Knicks. One unfortunate thing about opening night (and the first several weeks of the season) is that we don’t have defensive information about any teams yet, so we’re going to be speculating a bit until we know what every squad is bringing to the table. The Knicks, however bad last season, brought in many new faces that should help their chances compared to last season, but I expect the Cavs to pretty handily steamroll New York. With Kyrie listed as the only true point guard on the Cavaliers roster going into this game, Uncle Drew should see about 30 minutes on the floor with a usage rate between 25-28, which I project to be third highest on the slate. This play is much easier on FanDuel, where Irving is $900 cheaper and is expected to carry a value close to 5.0. Irving is a riskier play on DraftKings, but should remain fairly contrarian considering Steph Curry and Damian Lillard are also partaking in opening night action.
Damian Lillard – Portland Trailblazers – DraftKings: $8,500, FanDuel: $8,900
On the flip side of things, if you’re primarily a DraftKings player, Damian Lillard should be your go-to at the point guard spot on Tuesday. Lillard, who should be on the floor closer to 40 minutes and represent a 30+ usage rating, is my highest rated point on the slate. A much easier play on DraftKings price-wise, expect Lillard to score at least 44 points and carry a 5.0 value. The Utah Jazz shouldn’t represent too much of an issue for the Blazers in an overall sense, but they should certainly have a near-impossible time stopping the game’s hottest rapper on opening night. Lillard shouldn’t be too contrarian on either site considering his soft pricing, but this is definitely a play you’re going to want to take advantage of on Tuesday.
Also Consider: Steph Curry (cash), George Hill, and Tony Parker (tournaments)
| Shooting Guards
Courtney Lee – New York Knickerbockers – DraftKings: $3,700, FanDuel: $3,900
As I’m scrolling through our shooting guard options tonight, Courtney Lee looks like the easy choice here. He’s not going to load the scoresheet, but his price on both sites is ridiculously soft to the point where anything less than a 5.0 value is going to be a travesty. Lee finds a new home in New York this season next to Derrick Rose, who should be able to get him the ball for some open looks against the Cavaliers on Tuesday night. At less than $4,000, Lee should see the floor for at least 30 minutes, and I find him to be a very attractive tournament play for significant salary relief.
Klay Thompson – Golden State Warriors – DraftKings: $6,500, FanDuel: $6,500
Although Klay Thompson is the same price on both sites tonight, his speciality is three point shooting, which, of course, is going to receive a slight bonus on DraftKings. A far superior option to Steph Curry in terms of creating a balanced lineup Tuesday, Thompson is going to do what he does best in Golden States opening game against the Spurs, and I expect him to light it up from beyond the arc as he usually does. Thompson is a great play in tournaments and cash, and I am projecting him as a 5+ value on DraftKings and a 4.7+ value on FanDuel.
Also Consider: C.J. McCollum, Iman Shumpert (tournaments), and Rodney Hood (tournaments)
| Small Forwards
Kawhi Leonard – San Antonio Spurs – DraftKings: $7,800, FanDuel: $7,900
Kawhi Leonard has been a beast in the NBA for the entirety of his career, but with the departure of Tim Duncan and the struggles of LeMarcus Aldridge since moving to the Lone Star State, I’m expecting Leonard’s usage and overall production to take an even bigger jump than it has in the past. At less than $8,000 on both sites, this is the most intelligent pivot from LeBron James and Kevin Durant on Tuesday’s slate, who will both be very highly owned, and at their price tags, should hinder many unexperienced players’ lineups. Leonard should see a usage close to 28 and more than 30 minutes on the floor. I would say, “with Pop, you never know,” but luckily for us, they’re taking on the Warriors, and this one should be an easy plugin.
Kyle Anderson – San Antonio Spurs – DraftKings: $3,500, FanDuel: $3,500
If you’re a novice NBA DFS player, let me begin by saying; please do not roster both of these players, you will regret it immensely. Well, probably, who knows. Kyle Anderson is a great value play on both sites Tuesday, as he should see about 25 minutes on the floor in a high scoring game. At this low price, he should hit 5.0 value fairly early, and everything after that is bonus points. Kyle Anderson is a great play in both cash and tournaments.
Also Consider: LeBron James (cash), Carmelo Anthony (tournaments), and Kevin Durant (cash)
| Power Forwards
Kristaps Porzingis – New York Knockerbockers – DraftKings: $7,400, FanDuel: $6,900
Look at this, day one of the campaign and I already get to write about one of my most beloved NBA DFS plays: The PorzinGod. Porzingis, understandably so, is priced fairly softly Tuesday, and should be relatively easy to roster provided you’re playing a more contrarian tournament lineup. I would not play the God in cash, but he should be able to nip at a 5.0 value on each site in his 2016-17 debut. Porzingis will have the privilege of matching up with defenseless Kevin Love, who will have an extremely tough time stopping him in the paint. If the Cavs rotate Tristan Thompson to cover Kris, he’ll roam around the perimeter and hit buckets. Overall, this is a great matchup to exploit on both sites.
Ed Davis – Portland Trailblazers – DraftKings: $3,800, FanDuel: $3,900
Not much to say here other than that Ed Davis is sitting here at a great price in an even better matchup. Derrick Favors is listed as questionable at the moment, meaning that Davis will likely matchup with Boris Diaw in the second unit. While he should only see the floor for about 20 minutes barring a very possible blowout, that should be enough time for him to hit that very attainable 5.0 value. I would only play Davis in tournaments on Tuesday.
Also Consider: Kevin Love, Draymond Green (cash), and Al-Farouq Aminu (DraftKings tournaments)
Joakim Noah – New York Knickerbockers – DraftKings: $5,500, FanDuel: $5,000
There really aren’t any great players to target at center tonight, as most of the options are projecting below a 5.0 value except for on DraftKings, where many power forwards are being listed as centers on Tuesday’s slate (which is where I’d go here). On FanDuel, however, you’re getting a very softly priced Joakim Noah at $5,000. Noah should be able to hit 5.0+ value on FanDuel due to his price and expected minutes/UR, but I wouldn’t expect much more. In other words, just pick somebody and hope for the best.
Also Consider: Zaza Pachulia (tournaments), Pau Gasol (tournaments), and Tristan Thompson (tournaments)