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Opening Night of the NBA’s Return DraftKings Classic Guide

Jul 30, 2020

The NBA is BACK!!!!! Night one of the league’s restart will include 2 games beginning with the Jazz vs. Pelicans at 6:30 EST followed by the Clippers vs. Lakers at 9:00 PM EST.  We will breakdown the injuries to watch, the players who could stand to gain the most value if those injured players don’t play or see a decreased workload, and we will talk a little about our favorite plays at each position.

Injuries to Watch

Anthony Davis Rank Fantasy Sports

Anthony Davis PF/C, LAL

$10,000
EYE
It does seem like there is some sort of injury to monitor on AD every single night, but it is always worth watching because AD is a DraftKings point scoring machine, and one of the best players in the league. This injury did not sound serious initially to us since it came from being poked in the eye, but ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Wednesday morning that AD’s status is still unclear. AD did practice in full after that report on Wednesday. I would expect AD to play, but if he doesn’t there will be several value players on the Lakers that become almost must-starts in DK due to the Lakers’ DraftKings scoring being so heavily dominated by AD and LBJ that the rest of the team is extremely affordably priced. LeBron James will be given a bump to his projected DK points per minute if AD misses as well.

Players who will receive a significant boost if AD does NOT play

Dwight Howard ($3200), Kyle Kuzma ($4500), JaVale McGee ($3600).  We will also monitor Markieff Morris news if AD is out because he could have a boosted role as well. 

zion williamson Rank Fantasy Sports

Zion Williamson PF/C, NO

$7,500
post-quarantine

Zion had to leave the bubble in mid-July to attend to a family matter, and he was dealing with some minor calf issues before he left as well.  We are not concerned at all about the calf, Zion is back in the bubble, has cleared quarantine, and has returned to practice.  We fully expect Zion to play with how important each of these 8 games are to the Pelicans playoff chances, but the main question will be about his conditioning and how many minutes he plays.  Our best guess is that Zion plays but runs closer to the mid-upper 20’s range of minutes as opposed to pushing 30 like he will once he is back to full strength.  The decreased minutes lead us to bump Derrick Favors and a couple of the Pelicans’ rotation big-men up a little in our rankings, but nothing too significant as long as Zion plays.

Players who will receive a significant boost if Zion does NOT play

Derrick Favors ($5800),  Nicolo Melli ($4000) Kenrich Williams ($3000), Jahlil Okafor ($3000), Jaxson Hayes ($3,000). 

Patrick Beverley Rank Fantasy Sports

Patrick Beverley PG, LAC

$4,100
post-quarantine

Beverley had to leave the Orlando bubble on the 21st of July to attend to a personal situation.  He has returned to the bubble, but we are not yet sure if he will clear the required return to bubble-quarantine in time to be ready.  Beverley missed pregame shootaround Thursday, but we have not heard anything definitive on that yet.

Players who will receive a significant boost if Bev does NOT play

Reggie Jackson ($4600), Landry Shamet ($3200).  We suggest looking at McGruder and Mann news if Beverly is ruled out as well, but they are likely not going to be near as intriguing as Jackson or have the role that Shamet will. Buyer beware on Shamet though, even if he does play a lot of minutes he is typically a miserably low DK Point per minute player.

Favorite DraftKings Plays per Position

Center

Joakim Noah Rank Fantasy Sports

Joakim Noah, LAC, C

 

$3,100

Joakim Noah was signed by the Clippers ahead of the NBA restart, and that is starting to look like a really timely move. Montrezl Harrell will miss Thursday’s game as he is out still for a private matter. Ivica Zubac has only recently arrived in the bubble and was only able to play in one exhibition game. We do think the Clippers will play JaMychal Green at Center a little bit as well, especially if Anthony Davis sits for the Lakers, but we do not see Zubac getting over 20 minutes and you can’t guard AD, McGee and Howard with the smaller Green all night, so we think Noah is a pretty solid bet to get over 15 minutes with 18+ upside. Considering what Noah has shown across his career in terms of DK Points per minute played, he is worth the $3100 price.

Dwight Howard Rank Fantasy Sports

Dwight Howard, LAL, C

$3,200
Probable, knee

Howard has been dealing with some soreness in his knee, but it does not seem like anything serious and he should be out there for Thursday’s game. We like Howard for his skill level, role, and price whether Anthony Davis plays or not. But with the extra minutes, he will likely get if AD sits he will become a no-brainer play.

Rudy Gobert Rank Fantasy Sports

Rudy Gobert, UTA, C

$7,100

Rudy Gobert saw a decently big decrease in his DK Points per minute this year from last year, but it was still very strong and well over 1. The positive is that his minutes also increased by almost 3 minutes per game this year, so he turned in yet another 40 DK point per game season. There is no reason to believe that Gobert will not play a normal role on Thursday seeing that the 4th-7th seeds in the West are all within one win of each other, and nobody wants that 6th or 7th seed as there is a pretty good chance you will be playing the Clippers in round 1. For someone who has the floor that Gobert does with the likelihood of scoring over 40 DK points, $7100 is just too cheap for us so we love Gobert as a Utility pairing with Howard or Noah, or as a pivot, if you don’t want a cheaper center like Howard or Noah.

Power Forward

JaMychal Green Rank Fantasy Sports

JaMychal Green, LAC, PF

$3,500

JaMychal Green has been mentioned many times in relation to the Harrell news as far as how he is a potential option for the Clippers at Center. They did sign Noah and Zubac looks like he’s ready to play, but with Harrell out and the fact the Green is a solid member of the rotation even when Harrell is in the lineup, we really like JaMychal Green on this slate. He is a solid rebounder and capable scorer who can even stretch the court at times. $3500 is a great price for a player with skills that we think is a lock to play over 20 minutes and a threat to see minutes into the mid to low-upper 20s if he gets hot.

Kyle Kuzma Rank Fantasy Sports

Kyle Kuzma, LAL, PF/SF

$4,500
Probable, ankle

Kyle Kuzma is easily the Lakers most intriguing young player. He has flashed the potential to be a big-time player at times during his short career, but this year was honestly a let-down in terms of fantasy for Kuzma. However, reports of Kuzma’s game have been glowing and it really does feel like he is going to breakout during this restart, especially if LBJ and AD don’t play quite their usual volume with the 1 seed out West just about secured. He has the talent when he is on to be a mid-30s scorer even with AD and LBJ playing normal workloads. If AD does not play, we will make Kuzma a must play, but he is one of our favorites on the slate either way.

Anthony Davis Rank Fantasy Sports

Anthony Davis, LAL, PF/C

$10,000
Probable, eye

AD was mentioned in the injuries to watch if you want to refer to the top of this article and read that again. If he does play AND the news comes out that he will not be limited, AD is capable of going for upper 60s + DK Points any night he hits the floor. With Harrell out the Clippers just do not have a guy that we think can defend AD’s versatile skill-set consistently. If all is good on the AD injury-front prior to tip, we have no problems with playing AD at $10k flat.

Marcus Morris Rank Fantasy Sports

Marcus Morris, LAC, PF/SF

$4,700

Harrell being out definitely helps Marcus Morris as well. Morris is a scrappy defender and can get extremely hot from 3 at times. He seems to be the type of guy that could see a lot of minutes in this matchup if it is a close game helping guard LBJ to free up Paul George and Kawhi on the offensive end. If he gets those minutes and gets hot from 3, we could see him pushing 30 DK points on the high end. We wouldn’t suggest playing both Green and Morris unless the pricing just fits perfectly for one of them to be your last man in, because they could be each other’s competition if Green doesn’t play much Center.

Small Forward

Kyle Kuzma Rank Fantasy Sports

Kyle Kuzma, LAL, PF/SF

$4,500
Probable, ankle

Kyle Kuzma is easily the Lakers most intriguing young player. He has flashed the potential to be a big-time player at times during his short career, but this year was honestly a let-down in terms of fantasy for Kuzma. However, reports of Kuzma’s game have been glowing and it really does feel like he is going to breakout during this restart, especially if LBJ and AD don’t play quite their usual volume with the 1 seed out West just about secured. He has the talent when he is on to be a mid-30s scorer even with AD and LBJ playing normal workloads. If AD does not play, we will make Kuzma a must play, but he is one of our favorites on the slate either way.

Marcus Morris Rank Fantasy Sports

Marcus Morris, LAC, PF/SF

$4,700

Harrell being out definitely helps Marcus Morris as well. Morris is a scrappy defender and can get extremely hot from 3 at times. He seems to be the type of guy that could see a lot of minutes in this matchup if it is a close game helping guard LBJ to free up Paul George and Kawhi on the offensive end. If he gets those minutes and gets hot from 3, we could see him pushing 30 DK points on the high end. We wouldn’t suggest playing both Green and Morris unless the pricing just fits perfectly for one of them to be your last man in, because they could be each other’s competition if Green doesn’t play much Center.

lebron james Rank Fantasy Sports

LeBron James, LAL, PG/SF

$10,700
Probable, groin

LeBron has had yet another awesome season averaging a double-double with 25.7 Points per game and 10.6 Assists per game. He added almost 8 rebounds a night to that as well. With that type of point forward responsibility on a nightly basis King James is always in position to score DraftKings points. His matchup for this slate is tough in that Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are both exceptional defenders, so LBJ’s job will be more difficult than on his average night. The other side of that coin is that his motivation should be up against his main competition to get out of the West. Great defenders can slow LBJ down, but there is still no stopping him when he is on his game. We will raise LeBron’s projected DK Points per minute if AD sits out, but that could hurt the potential of the game to be a great game and the stars playing good minutes for a first game back, so the AD playing or not dilemma will be pretty close to evening out LBJ for us, we like him either way. If you feel comfortable with the value plays on the slate, we suggest getting the King in your lineup. He is sure to be highly involved, especially if it is a great game.

JJ Redick Rank Fantasy Sports

JJ Redick, NO, SG/SF

$3,600

Redick is not a very pricy option for as hot as his shooting stroke can get. The Pelicans’ are a loaded team and he does have to compete for minutes with Josh Hart. We would expect JJ to get close to half of the minutes that are dished out to Hart and Redick, and even if he is slightly below half of that share it will still be at least 20+ minutes. At Redick’s price and his typical production level when he is on the court we are comfortable with Redick as a value option with upside. If JJ gets the hot hand he is capable of and gets the better half of the minutes between him and Hart, he will be a difference maker in your lineup.

Paul George Rank Fantasy Sports

Paul George, LAC, SF

$7,200

$7200 is so affordable for a player at the skill level of Paul George. Sure there are questions about exactly what type of workload stars will play right out of the gate, but George could play 28 minutes and I would like his chances of paying off on $7200. The thing is too that this is a big game that the Clippers surely want to win. PG is a superstar when he is on and he’s a very productive player even when not at his best. Add in that Harrell and Lou Williams are both out and we love the play.

Kawhi Leonard Rank Fantasy Sports

Kawhi Leonard, LAC, SF

$9,200

Kawhi is the best player on the Clippers and you can make the case that he is going to be the best player on the court on Thursday night. The fact that he is priced well below LBJ and AD is enough to make Kawhi a play that we like. His workload is always a question, but again this is a big game that the Clippers want to win. They are also without two of their best players in Lou Williams and Harrell, so Kawhi’s usage when on the court could be even higher than usual. We like his chances of paying off big with a 55+ point outing and are comfortable saying his floor is around 5x value of his price.

Shooting Guard

Donovan Mitchell Rank Fantasy Sports

Donovan Mitchell, UTAH, PG/SG

$7,000

As mentioned above with Rudy Gobert, these games are very important for the Jazz with the log jam that they are in in the West standings. Donovan Mitchell is their playmaker and is sure to have the ball in his hands over and over Thursday night. Bojan Bogdanovic is not playing in the restarted season with a wrist injury, so that will increase Mitchell’s usage a little bit as well and we do not think that is reflected in his price either. If his stroke from 3 is on and paired with his tremendous ability to get to the rim, he will soar past 5X value and push 6X+ value.

JJ Redick Rank Fantasy Sports

JJ Redick, NO, SG/SF

$3,600

Redick is not a very pricy option for as hot as his shooting stroke can get. The Pelicans’ are a loaded team and he does have to compete for minutes with Josh Hart. We would expect JJ to get close to half of the minutes that are dished out to Hart and Redick, and even if he is slightly below half of that share it will still be at least 20+ minutes. At Redick’s price and his typical production level when he is on the court we are comfortable with Redick as a value option with upside. If JJ gets the hot hand he is capable of and gets the better half of the minutes between him and Hart, he will be a difference-maker in your lineup.

Jordan Clarkson Rank Fantasy Sports

Jordan Clarkson, UTAH, PG/SG

$4,200

We think Clarkson is going to be one of the beneficiaries of Bogdanovic’s injury to the point that we feel mid-20s minutes are a safe bet on Thursday. Clarkson is pretty consistently close to 1 DK point per minute, so if his role is in that mid-20’s minutes plus he will have a rock solid floor. He is a scorer who can get hot, so he has a ceiling of low 30s DK Points, which would be killer at the $4200 price.

Point Guard

Jordan Clarkson Rank Fantasy Sports

Jordan Clarkson, UTAH, PG/SG

$4,200

We think Clarkson is going to be one of the beneficiaries of Bogdanovic’s injury to the point that we feel mid-20s minutes are a safe bet on Thursday. Clarkson is pretty consistently close to 1 DK point per minute, so if his role is in that mid-20’s minutes plus he will have a rock solid floor. He is a scorer who can get hot, so he has a ceiling of low 30s DK Points, which would be killer at the $4200 price.

Donovan Mitchell Rank Fantasy Sports

Donovan Mitchell, UTAH, PG/SG

$7,000

As mentioned above with Rudy Gobert, these games are very important for the Jazz with the log jam that they are in in the West standings. Donovan Mitchell is their playmaker and is sure to have the ball in his hands over and over Thursday night. Bojan Bogdanovic is not playing in the restarted season with a wrist injury, so that will increase Mitchell’s usage a little bit as well and we do not think that is reflected in his price either. If his stroke from 3 is on and paired with his tremendous ability to get to the rim, he will soar past 5X value and push 6X+ value.

lebron james Rank Fantasy Sports

LeBron James, LAL, PG/SF

$10,700
Probable, groin

LeBron has had yet another awesome season averaging a double-double with 25.7 Points per game and 10.6 Assists per game. He added almost 8 rebounds a night to that as well. With that type of point forward responsibility on a nightly basis King James is always in position to score DraftKings points. His matchup for this slate is tough in that Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are both exceptional defenders, so LBJ’s job will be more difficult than on his average night. The other side of that coin is that his motivation should be up against his main competition to get out of the West. Great defenders can slow LBJ down, but there is still no stopping him when he is on his game. We will raise LeBron’s projected DK Points per minute if AD sits out, but that could hurt the potential of the game to be a great game and the stars playing good minutes for a first game back, so the AD playing or not dilemma will be pretty close to evening out LBJ for us, we like him either way. If you feel comfortable with the value plays on the slate, we suggest getting the King in your lineup. He is sure to be highly involved, especially if it is a great game.

Patrick Beverley Rank Fantasy Sports

Patrick Beverly, LAC, PG

$4,100
post-quarantine

Beverly is an injury to watch and we talked about that at the top of the article. If he does play we do feel there is a decent chance that he could not be restricted and play into the upper-20s minutes. Beverly is a premier defender and is a huge part of the Clippers’ team. With Lou Williams out, Beverly has the chance to be a little more involved in the scoring than he usually is, and he is a great rebounder for a guard as well.

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