My goodness, was Wednesday night a disaster in preseason daily fantasy basketball. It wasn’t about us making bad picks, either.
No, instead it was more about shoddy NBA reporting and lineups locking on FanDuel. There were ridiculous amounts of conflicting reports about Paul George and Pau Gasol. Some said Gasol wasn’t starting and that George – who had been dealing with strep throat – was actually starting.
As it turned out, George indeed sat out and Gasol actually started.
Even worse? A lot of us suffered the harsh reality of the early lineup lock at FanDuel, as a slew of inactives were announced well after the first games tipped off. Guys like Jusuf Nurkic, Danilo Gallinari, Emmanuel Mudiay and Brandon Knight – all guys many were extremely high on going into the night – were ruled out beyond the point of being able to make changes to our lineups.
It’s just preseason and that goes with the territory, but this is a not so friendly reminder of the terrors of daily fantasy basketball when it comes to random inactives and awful NBA reporting. It also is another reason why we prefer DraftKings over FanDuel.
If you stay on top of the latest news, you still can gain an edge on those who don’t. But with that early lineup lock at FD, everyone potentially loses.
Oh, except now it’ll be on both sites. Ugh. DK just sent out an email detailing two huge changes for the upcoming daily fantasy basketball season:
We are excited to announce two changes to our NBA product for this upcoming season:
1. Some players will now be eligible for up to two positions. For example, Kevin Love would be eligible as a Power Forward and a Center (PF/C). We expect this to improve the drafting experience, creating more flexibility for lineup construction.
2. All lineup selections will lock at the start of the contest (i.e. you will no longer be able to swap players after contest lock). This change will allow our customers to enjoy the games and follow their teams rather than monitoring for late breaking news leading up to tip-off of each game.
These changes will go into effect starting with NBA contests on Tuesday, October 18th and will apply to all NBA contests for the remainder of the season. Note that these changes apply to NBA only.
That wasn’t expected, nor will it be well received. Regardless, we’ll all have to adapt.
For now, we’ll leave that nasty feeling in the rearview mirror and move ahead to an awesome Thursday slate (7 games!).
The big stars will largely be available, so you don’t need us to tell you to play Russell Westbrook, DeMarcus Cousins, Blake Griffin and the like. Just make sure they’re active and playing a decent amount of minutes.
In that same breath, if you want all the big names, you’ll need some solid value picks to help you load up your NBA DFS preseason roster. Here are the guys we’re eyeing at $6k or less at DraftKings for Thursday night:
Note: Keep in mind we’re pushing this out early in the day, but will be updating as big news comes out. Be sure to be diligent in checking starting lineups and inactives, however.
Update: We like Schroder (and Dwight) even more tonight with Atlanta releasing their starting lineup. Per coach Bud, the Hawks starters should play 22+ minutes tonight.
Again, the emphasis here is on value. Keep in mind the other day Goran Dragic of all people was the top DFS point guard (42 fantasy points). So value can be super key in pulling down a massive daily fantasy basketball preseason GPP tourney.
Onward and upward, we go. The first guy to consider is Schroder, who has been fairly quiet but needs to keep getting work as he prepares to take over the point full-time in ATL. I’m not enamored with him, but he’s facing Ish Smith and the guy can fill it up as a scorer. Hopefully he can stay on the floor for 20+ minutes and dish out a few dimes.
Mike Conley (17 points) was ablaze in his preseason debut the other day, so in the name of Dragic, he needs to be considered. He’ll be in a high-paced showdown with Russell Westbrook and the Thunder in OKC, so that could potentially make him loads of fun. He’s a great defensive player, too, so perhaps this is a mild reason to pivot away from Bestbrook.
I’m not super into Clarkson right now, as he’s working off the bench and isn’t getting handed a ton of run for some reason. He’s an explosive, versatile talent, though, and he’s a good price. Worse gambles are to be had in NBA DFS preseason contests.
Felder, Ish and McConnell are staples these days, as Felder has dominated in two of three preseason appearances and McConnell has been pretty stellar every time out. For Felder, we just need to hear Kyrie Irving is out and that the little man gets the start. If so, fire him up with confidence.
McConnell is looking like Philly’s top point guard to start the year, as Jerryd Bayless (wrist) suffered a setback and isn’t close to ready. That means more run and more production for one of the most versatile PGs on this slate. Given the price and how he’s performed, he may be a must-start.
Ish Smith is probably the odd man out in this trio, as he was flat out garbage in his Pistons debut but got cooking a bit in game two. Maybe game three will see him more comfortable and blowing up, but the guy is not a good shooter and considering he’s basically a scoring point guard, that can be bad news.
The role and run should be there, though, as the Pistons have a PG issue of their own with Reggie Jackson on the shelf for a while. Smith feels a little unreliable, but he can rack up points and assists pretty easily and is insanely cheap.
We should be paying a little mind to the Kings’ point guard situation, seeing as Darren Collison is suspended for the season’s first 8 games. So far that’s only led to a time split between him and Ty Lawson, but if we catch wind of Lawson getting more run tonight, he might be a must-start option.
Ultimately, you’re going to want one (or more) of Russell Westbrook, Damian Lillard and Chris Paul tonight. Pairing them with 1-2 of these guys makes good sense. Of all the options, Felder and McConnell stand out the most.
Victor Oladipo is without a doubt the shooting guard to target tonight. He’s pretty pricey, but he has been awesome during preseason play and OKC is giving their top guys really good run to get them ready for life without Kevin Durant.
He might be too expensive, though, and I’m also not a fan of paying up for DeMar DeRozan, who scores well but does nothing else.
Instead of giving up cash there, why not just keep riding the wave of McRae, who should continue to get killer run with LeBron James out for the majority of the preseason (rest)? Cleveland probably won’t shove their main guys out there much in general, so he should start and continue to have a chance at proving he could take on a bigger role this year.
McRae is really the play, provided he’s starting and still getting run. Right behind him is Beal, who should keep getting some solid run and could really explode even in limited action at home against the Sixers.
KCP is just cheap and he does more than other guys like J.J. Redick and Kyle Korver. He has been known to explode here and there, too, and he’s been fairly quiet to this point.
Overall, shooting guard is a danger zone unless some major inactives give way to some young guys. Overall, you can pay up for Oladipo or play it cool with McRae. I vote for McRae and then to fade all other SGs tonight.
Update: Marcus Morris has been ruled out tonight. Jon Leuer will start in his place and Stanley Johnson gets a bump up with some added time on the floor (likely).
LeBron James is out for just about the rest of the preseason so he can stay 100% healthy, so SF officially is brutal tonight.
Every option is pretty much a value, and there may not be much reason to stray from just these options here. Minutes will be the deciding factor, so we need to stay on the ball and make sure these guys are starting and have a chance at 20+ minutes.
Covey was really solid last time out with Philly, but he tends to be a little erratic and may be tough to trust. If the run is there, that leads me to Rudy Gay, as he kills the Lakers and has a really nice, versatile skill-set. If he can get over 20 minutes, he could be the SF play of the night.
Harris is also in play, but he’s the same price and even more volatile than Covey, it seems. He also has a versatile game, but Rudy feels easier to trust.
Oubre is definitely in play, as he has been killing it in preseason and is still fighting off Otto Porter for a starting job. John Wall is back and healthy, though, so opportunities to score the ball are dwindling.
Grant deserves a nod, as he can play both forward spots and has been getting really nice run. Dario Saric is due back and he was pretty weak in his last outing, however, so we’re souring here a bit.
The one deep dive I’d really consider is Mo Harkless, who continues to battle for Portland’s top SF gig. He’s been really solid all preseason long and is getting decent run, but he can be volatile. I might prefer a more stable option tonight.
Small forward truly is trash tonight, so these are the only guys we’re really targeting. Barring any crazy inactives, Covey and Gay are the guys we’re mostly after, with Gay being our favorite SF option on the night.
Holmes was a fun play for a while there, as he’s shown this preseason that his game has evolved. He was benefiting from a ton of minutes, though, and that could change with Dario Saric returning and Embiid seeing his minutes restriction raised to about 15 minutes tonight.
Holmes is still in play if he starts or we see Saric is limited, though, so monitor that situation. Obviously if Saric starts and is going to get run, he’s the better play. He can really stroke it from deep and also hit the boards, plus he’s the better value.
The situation unfolding out of Memphis is also interesting, as ZBo and JaMychal Green are both worth a cursory glance. We still prefer Green just because he’s starting and they have similar skill-sets.
Trevor Booker hasn’t gotten great run yet and Brook Lopez (rested last game) could be back tonight, but he is a double-double threat and shaping up as the starting PF for Brooklyn. If he starts and can get a little more run tonight, he’ll be a strong value pick.
Troy Williams deserves a mention after crushing in his last game (22 points, 7 rebounds) in 27 minutes. He seemingly took the place of elite jumper, D.J. Stephens. Keep an eye on those two guys and see if there is any word on which could see a lot of floor time. If there’s nothing definitive, just fade them both.
The power forward position is dominated by DeMarcus Cousins and Blake Griffin tonight. As long as they’re starting, they look like the top targets. Pairing them makes good sense, but if you’re picking just one we’d go with Blake, who offers plenty of upside and is way cheaper.
Update: Andre Drummond (illness) is out for tonight, which gives Baynes the start and puts both him and top backup center Marjanovic in play.
It really actually makes Dwight Howard (should he be active) even more attractive, while Boban is the superior offensive threat between the two Pistons backups.
Gasol is just too cheap to ignore here, as he can chase a double-double in limited action. If Steven Adams is out tonight, he’ll be going up against weak defender Enes Kanter, too. Even if he gets 15-20 minutes, that could go just swimmingly for him.
Gortat can do a lot in a small amount of time, too, so keep an eye on him to make sure he’s starting. He’s been nicked up, so that’s a valid concern. If he starts, though, you may have to throw caution to the wind, as he’s at home against the Sixers.
Mason Plumlee is an underrated value, as he’s getting 20+ minutes in the preseason and can put up a double-double fairly easily.
Embiid has actually been quite busy despite a 12-minute cap, and with his minutes going up to 15 tonight, he actually could be worth a try. He’s so cheap and can do a lot in brief run, so while we’re not really on him, we note the upside and value.
Ultimately, center is another elite spot and it may make sense to pay up for guys like Andre Drummond, Enes Kanter or Al Horford. Brook Lopez and Dwight Howard can also both be monsters and are even cheaper. Those are probably the two guys we’re targeting, provided they start. For value, we like Gortat above all others if he indeed starts.
Hopefully our look at tonight’s daily fantasy basketball preseason slate helped you a bit. We’ll try to provide updates as big injury and lineup news unfolds. Regardless, good luck tonight!
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