by Will Overton
After a small slate of games last night I am looking forward to a broader schedule and more player choices tonight with eight games to be played. More games means more opportunities to diversify your lineups from the others. That said, you want to make the right choices and when you have this many options that can be tough.
I’m going to give you my take on three guys I plan to use in all of my lineups and then add in some extra notes as well:
James Harden – Houston Rockets @ Dallas Mavericks: With so many of the league’s top players on the slate tonight it may be difficult to choose who to pay up for and who to avoid. The featured piece of my lineup and the one guy I will pay up for no matter the cost, is James Harden.
In the season opener Harden blew up with 34 PTS, 17 ASTS and 8 REBS. I don’t think Harden is going to average 17 assists or anything, but he will have the ball in his hands almost all the time in a very up tempo offense, so the double-double’s will be piling up.
The Mavericks aren’t a bad team, but their defense leaves a bit to be desired and their aging guards will have a very difficult time keeping up with Harden and the Rockets pace. I fully expect another 30 PTS and 10 ASTS at least in this game, plus all the other stuff he does.
Ersan Ilyasova – Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Phoenix Suns: This is a bit of a tricky play, but one I like personally as a value. On opening night the Suns were taken to task by both Rudy Gay and Matt Barnes of the Kings and Ersan Ilyasova has a similar game in terms of a tweener forward who can shoot and stretch the floor.
The risky part is that the Thunder’s rotation is a little tricky to predict with Domantas Sabonis and Andre Roberson starting and Ilyasova and Enes Kanter getting minutes off the bench. If Ilyasova can get 22 – 25 minutes in this game he is capable of upwards of 25 fantasy points which is great for $4,100.
George Hill – Utah Jazz vs. Los Angeles Lakers: I had George Hill as one of my favorite plays on opening night and that panned out, so I am going to be riding him again here. Hill put up 19 PTS, 6 ASTS, 2 STLS and 1 BLK against the Trail Blazers and his price didn’t go up much at all for this game. Hill still checks in at $5,500 on Draft Kings which is great.
The Lakers are clearly going to be a very fun team to watch this season, but there are still holes on this team and their defense can be scored on obviously. Hill is going to rack up some solid point scoring totals while Gordon Hayward is out and I think that continues here in this one. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Hill with 20 PTS and 6 – 8 ASTS which will more than surpass his price tag in value.
Bonus Notes For The Night
- The first game of the season for Andre Drummond was a massive disappointment as his minutes were limited when he took a hard shot to the face and then later got into foul trouble. Because of that I can see fantasy players being off Drummond tonight, but I’ll be doing the opposite and I’m going to be playing him. Nikola Vucevic has a history of being exploited on defense and Drummond could blow up in this one and at $7,900 the price is right.
- I’ve already talked about James Harden, but I am going to have more exposure than just Harden in the Rockets/Mavs game. The game total line in Vegas is currently set at 220.5, the highest of the night. The Rockets pace helps them, but it also leads to more possessions for their opponents and with the Mavs having no one over $6,000 on their roster you can fit in a few guys on your roster. There are even a couple interesting guys at $3,900 with J.J. Barea and Seth Curry who should get plenty of run and could make nice punt plays.
- The Pacers are an interesting team to watch for tonight’s action. The Pacers have one of the highest team totals of the night, but a problem we’re going to run into a lot this season is that the Nets could be getting routed in this game. If the Pacers get up big the backups could come in early limiting the value of the Pacers players. One guy I will probably play is Monta Ellis, who isn’t the same top scoring option, but is a stat stuffer and will put up numbers against the woeful Nets.