After yesterday’s picks of Terry Rozier (solid), Dario Sario (not-solid) and Kevon Looney (straight fire), I’m back with the goods for the real start to the NBA season. We’ve got 11 games to pick from, and there are a few spots where value is outpacing ownership.
Regardless of site, Hassan Whiteside looks like the best combination of upside and price among the center options tonight. I try not to overreact to individual match-ups over multiple seasons, but Whiteside has seen some success against the Magic over the past 3 years. With James Johnson out, I’m looking to the possibly invigorated Whiteside as a mid-tier play with the ceiling of guys that are priced much higher. On FanDuel, where blocks are worth 3 FP, Hassan makes for a perfect GPP play. Plus, the Magic team is devoid of shooting, which should allow for some potentially ridiculous rebounding numbers. He’ll be my most owned center, barring late news.
It makes me super uncomfortable to recommend D’Angelo Russell, but here we are. Russell is set at $6700 on FanDuel and $6600 on DraftKings. If he sees 30+ minutes as I’m expecting, then I’m confident in his chances to be a top scorer/value for his position. While the Nets are short on talent, their team shot profile from last season fit the modern game to a T. I expect that to continue, which means Russell should have some looks from deep. Similar to Whiteside, I like Russell quite a bit in GPPs. He’s a bit too scary for my liking in cash. It looks like he’s a little popular, so keep an eye on our projected ownership as we get closer to lock. If he creeps over the 30% mark, I’ll likely be closer to the field. If he can stay in the low 20s, I’ll be pushing a bit higher than that.
Dennis Smith Jr.
If D’Angelo Russell is too tough to stomach, maybe DSJ will tickle your fancy. Smith is similarly priced to Russell, but I see him with a slightly higher floor and slightly lower ceiling. The biggest benefit for Smith will be a match-up with the Suns, who aren’t very good. If you really want to get crazy, pair him up with DeAndre Jordan. Ayton isn’t exactly known for his defense, so a DSJ/DAJ pairing could be a sneaky, low owned pair capable of putting up score.
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