As we get ready for the first monster DFS NBA slate of the season, let’s talk about five players that you’ll be able to rely on among the 22 active teams tonight. Even though the stats and trends aren’t there yet, we can rely on other resources such as Vegas totals to get some insight as to which games will be most lucrative when it comes to fantasy production. Look at teams who don’t have many options and that’s where you can find your value early before their stock and price point rise quickly.
PG: Spencer Dinwiddie, WAS: We only saw Dinwiddie for three games last season, but with Russell Westbrook sent west, the Wizards, the fastest team in the league from a pace standpoint, don’t have a lot of depth behind Bradley Beal. Dinwiddie shouldn’t be restricted, looked good in the preseason and Beal banged his Knee up a few days ago. Beal will be active tonight, but may not be at full strength. Dinwiddie should take double-digit shots as time of possession will be in his favor as the starting point guard. Rui Hachimura will be inactive for tonight’s game meaning more of the scoring burden will be on the guards. The Wizards put up the third most points per game in the league last year and even without Westbrook, Dinwiddie has proven he can be a 20-point per game scorer as he did 2 seasons ago. The Raptors frontcourt is a bit banged up as well as they will start their season without Pascal Siakam and they may even be without Chris Boucher tonight.
SG: Fred VanVleet, SG: Let’s go to the other side of this match up because with Kyle Lowry gone and Pascal Siakam hurt, VanVleet will toggle between running the point and setting himself up at the arc for shots. Last season with Siakam off the floor, VanVleet saw nearly a 5.5 percent usage bump and without an effective frontcourt, expect VanVleet to have a limitless floor when it comes to shots in this pace-up spot dating back to last year. Goran Dragic is around, but he won’t get in the way of VanVleet producing and OG Anunoby is going to have to play in the paint a lot and try to split the Wizards interior defense. The Wizards were horrible defensively last season and they haven’t done much at all to upgrade defensively and VanVleet took a career high 16.7 shots per game last season and as the Raptors prioritized scorer, expect similar shooting numbers and hopefully a better percentage than he did last year. VanVleet never has an issue attacking the rim and that’s where he’ll be able to take advantage of the Wizards weak frontcourt.
SF: Anthony Edwards, MIN: Between bad matchups and injuries small forward is a bit of a challenge and sitting their coming off of a rookie campaign in which he saw a 27.1 usage percentage, Edwards should be able to take advantage of Jae’Sean Tate or even the rookie Jalen Green if he gets put on Edwards. Minnesota was very injured last year and that gave Edwards more room in the rotation and late in the season he was playing into the mid and late-30’s regularly. With the Timberwolves favored by 6.5 and a high 230 Vegas total, Edwards is absolutely in play even as the team’s third option. The Rockets are very unproven and even with a healthy Christian Wood, he’ll have to chase around Karl-Anthony Towns all night and when the Rockets defense tries to trap Russell with the ball at the arc, Edwards should be left open for a handful of shots. He should take at least 12 in this contest and he grabbed nearly 5 boards per game and at least 1 steal per game as well. The Timberwolves defense was very bad last year and both teams played at a very fast pace which should lead to a good amount of scoring.
PF: Tobias Harris, PHI: With Ben Simmons suspended for tonight’s game, Harris will see more time with the ball and certainly more shots. Harris saw a 4.1 percent usage increase with Simmons off the floor last year and he scored 17 and 23 points against the Pelicans last season. The Pelicans will be without Zion Williamson and because Joel Embiid will be a very tough assignment for Jonas Valanciunas to the point in which he’ll have to guard him outside the paint, the lane should be open for most of the evening for Harris. I don’t expect him to settle on taking jumpers all night. He has strong attacking ability and with Williamson out, the Pelicans don’t have the muscle to keep him out of the paint. Harris is coming off an incredible season in which he shot 51.2 percent from the field. He took fewer three-pointers per game and he pulled down nearly seven boards per game.
C: Domantas Sabonis, IND: The Hornets still haven’t addressed their issues when it comes to defense in the post. Mason Plumlee is a step above Cody Zeller and Sabonis should have no issues eating him up in the post. It will be hard for PJ Washington and Miles Bridges to switch on him and when that happens Sabonis will be able to use his size to power his way down the paint. The Hornets were one of the worst teams in the league at defending big men and have been for the last few years. Remember, the Pacers still have Myles Turner and the Hornets big men will have to keep an eye on him as well. The Pacers backcourt is injured coming into the season as they are already down Caris LeVert and now they may be without Jeremy Lamb and Justin Holiday tonight. Sabonis scored a career-best 20.3 points per game last season and grabbed 12 rebounds per contest as well. It’s a very strong match up for Sabonis, who played 36 minutes per game last season.