Tuesday, Oct. 19, gets the 75th year of the NBA started in style, featuring the 2021 champion Milwaukee Bucks. Let’s look at the opening night player pool and discuss the top NBA DFS picks for DraftKings, FanDuel and Yahoo lineups. Do not forget to head over to the Awesemo NBA DFS home page for more great written daily fantasy basketball content.
NBA DFS Picks: Building Blocks, Tuesday, Oct. 19
Yahoo Play of the Day — Giannis Antetokounmpo: Milwaukee Bucks vs. Brooklyn Nets
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 53.61 | DraftKings: 55.29
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 55.2% | FanDuel 55.1% | DraftKings 48.7%
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $52 | FanDuel $11,000 | DraftKings $10,000
It was just three months ago that Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks hoisted the NBA Finals trophy after a spirited 4-2 series win over the Suns. While Antetokounmpo won the Finals MVP, Nikola Jokic ended Giannis’ two-year run as the regular-season MVP. Tonight Milwaukee will be hosting former MVPs James Harden and Kevin Durant in a must-see matchup.
Bobby Portis (hamstring) will be out tonight, which means Antetokounmpo should play more as the nominal center when Brook Lopez is off the court. Grayson Allen was acquired from Memphis in August for Sam Merrill and two second-round picks. Veteran Rodney Hood was also signed on a veteran-minimum contract for additional depth.
The key players remain the same, with Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday rounding out the Bucks core four. Tonight there are several guard options on Yahoo, so a big decision point will be working in two of Giannis (PF), Durant (PF) and Anthony Davis (C) into lineups. It is hard to go wrong, though on Yahoo the 3 points for blocks and steals give Giannis and Davis the edge.
Anthony Davis: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Golden State Warriors
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 39.78 | DraftKings: 38.96
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 32.0% | FanDuel 23.3% | DraftKings 21.1%
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $43 | FanDuel $10,000 | DraftKings $8,800
There has been a lot of chatter about the addition of Russell Westbrook to the Lakers adversely impacting the rebounding numbers for Anthony Davis. However, that seems to be an ill-informed opinion considering Davis has failed to produce double-digit rebounds with any consistency in his two seasons with Los Angeles.
The Lakers had a major overhaul of their roster in the offseason, with Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Montrezl Harrell dealt to Washington in exchange for Westbrook. Talen Horton-Tucker is out with an injury, Andre Drummond is now in Philadelphia, Alex Caruso is in Chicago, and Quinn Cook and Marc Gasol are looking for a landing spot. New to the team are Rajon Rondo, DeAndre Jordan, Carmelo Anthony, Kendrick Nunn, Malik Monk and Wayne Ellington. Kent Bazemore is back after seven seasons away, Trevor Ariza is back for his second round as well, though he is out with an injury. Finally, Dwight Howard is returning for a third stint and will be sharing the non-Davis center minutes with Jordan.
Tonight utilizing Davis as a center where available is going to be a savvy strategy. On Yahoo Lopez will be the next-best option, and on FanDuel it will be Lopez and Draymond Green. There will be plenty of other ways to differentiate lineups, so looking to capture the most raw points at this position will be key on Tuesday.
James Harden: Brooklyn Nets at Milwaukee Bucks
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 51.8 | DraftKings: 54.3
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 54.6% | FanDuel 52.6% | DraftKings 57.8%
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $52 | FanDuel $10,600 | DraftKings $9,300
Once again Kyrie Irving will be out of the mix for Brooklyn, and that means James Harden will be the primary facilitator and co-offensive option with Durant. Things drop off dramatically after this duo, with Joe Harris and Bruce Brown likely to see heavy minutes on the wing. Blake Griffin, Paul Millsap and LaMarcus Aldridge are likely to divvy up 60 to 70 frontcourt minutes each night, at least until Nicolas Claxton is ready to assert himself. Then there are new backcourt options in Patty Mills, Jevon Carter and DeAndre’ Bembry. Nets games are likely to be a nightly triple-double watch for Harden, depending on his rebounds.
Yahoo Daily Fantasy Basketball Discount Dandies
Jordan Poole: Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Lakers
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 27.26 | DraftKings: 29.0
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 70.0% | FanDuel 71.0% | DraftKings 65.8%
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $11 | FanDuel $4,900 | DraftKings $4,800
Tonight Jordan Poole should be in the starting lineup for the Warriors after a strong preseason. Last year he converted 35.1% of his 5.4 3-point attempts per game while chipping in with a couple of assists in 20-ish minutes. Until Klay Thompson is back, Poole should approach 30 minutes most nights and likely will be a little more efficient heading into his third year.
Joe Harris: Brooklyn Nets at Milwaukee Bucks
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 21.96 | DraftKings: 23.3
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 42.4% | FanDuel 52.1% | DraftKings 7.8%
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $13 | FanDuel $4,300 | DraftKings $5,800
The absence of Irving’s offense will provide consistent field goal volume for Harris. Though he stumbled somewhat in the postseason, making “only” 40.2% of his attempts behind the arc, he has been arguably the best marksman in the league while leading the NBA in 3-point percentage in 2018 (47.4%) and last year (47.5%) while attempting half a dozen per game. While it is tricky counting on steady fantasy production from a scoring-dependent player, the salary is taking that into account.
Kevon Looney: Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Lakers
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 16.77 | DraftKings: 16.6
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 10.0% | FanDuel 29.3% | DraftKings 13%
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $10 | FanDuel $3,900 | DraftKings $4,100
James Wiseman (knee) will likely be out for a couple more weeks, which opens the door for Kevon Looney, who is entering his seventh season in the league. Los Angeles has a giant frontcourt, and Golden State will need someone to match up with Howard and Jordan until the final frame when the teams will likely be pitting Green and Davis against each other as the nominal centers. Though far from a sexy option, Looney could flirt with a double-double, and there is value with that on the two-game opening slate.
Final Thoughts on NBA DFS picks for the Tuesday, October 19 Slate
Tonight should be a lot of fun. There are question marks for each of the teams when it comes to rotations and reserves. That uncertainty will provide an advantage for those who have been paying attention to the offseason moves, preseason action and coach speak. Keep in mind that salaries and scoring formats differ across the various fantasy sites, and a slam-dunk play on Yahoo may be a below-average NBA DFS pick on DraftKings or FanDuel.
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