Welcome to the first edition of NBA Top Plays for the 2017-2018 regular season! Here I’ll be shedding light on some top options across all five positions, but won’t focus solely on players priced towards the top of the salary chart. We’ll include some prime dollar per point targets as well to make it a little easier to afford a couple high-end plays each night. Let’s get into my top FanDuel picks for this weekend and make sure to keep up with the latest news via the RotoGrinders DFS Alerts app - we’ll push injury news directly to your phone for free with a DFS spin.
Kemba Walker ($8,000 on FanDuel) - There are a ton of viable PG plays tonight which will be the case on most nights with upwards of ten games. Walker stands out as a top option while not quite carrying the salary of guys like John Wall, Steph Curry and Damian Lillard, due in part to Nicolas Batum’s absence in addition to a great draw with Dennis Schroder. Walker picks up a usage bump without Batum in the lineup (31.2% usage rate sans Batum) and has also been a better fantasy contributor while playing at home for basically the entirety of his career. Schroder graded out as one of the best potential match-ups for opposing PGs with a -2.53 DRPM and it’s unlikely that much has changed on that front heading into this season. If you’re looking for a punt play to pair with Walker, Terry Rozier should see ample court time with Marcus Smart unlikely to play and the Celtics already dealing with some injuries on the wing.
Victor Oladipo ($7,100 on FanDuel) - Oladipo had a nice debut in his first game as a Pacer, racking up four steals to go along with a solid 22-5-4 line in just 25 minutes of court time thanks to foul trouble. Myles Turner played in that game and predictably dominated, but Indiana will be without Turner’s services for tonight (and tomorrow’s game) which should lead to even more of the offensive burden landing on Oladipo’s shoulders. Darren Collison is also likely to get a bump and he’s significantly cheaper on FanDuel, but I prefer the ceiling with Oladipo (targeting them both is fine). Indiana might surprise some people with how quickly they play early in the year and I can see this being a sneaky game-stack with Jusuf Nurkic and Damian Lillard in plus spots on the Portland side. If you aren’t spending up on the other SG spot, Avery Bradley is too cheap on FanDuel at $5,100 and should see his minutes climb from Wednesday’s opening night.
LeBron James ($10,900 on FanDuel) - Small Forward is a tough spot tonight – there are ample mid-range options, but most of those carry low floors and come with a lot of early-season volatility. James isn’t in a dream matchup – Milwaukee will be one of the better defensive teams throughout the season and having Giannis on the other side isn’t a plus, but LeBron is basically doing it all for the Cavs even with Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose joining the fold. The floor/ceiling combination is worth paying up for even with Durant available for cheaper. Enough about LeBron, let’s get to some potential mid-range plays to make affording him a little easier. T.J. Warren is in a great bounce back spot against a Lakers team that isn’t going to excel on the defensive end, and he’s likely to go overlooked after a slow start to the season against Portland. Speaking of bounce back spots, opening night darling Jeremy Lamb should pick things up after a weak debut.
Thaddeus Young ($6,300 on FanDuel) - With Myles Turner out of action, Domantas Sabonis is expected to draw the start, but this still secures Young’s playing time even further. Sabonis is one of the worst post-defenders in the league at this point and should be feasted on by Jusuf Nurkic (more on that in a minute), so we’ll likely get some run out of Al Jefferson as well. Expect about 35 minutes for Thad with legitimate double-double upside against a Blazers team that wasn’t great on the glass last season. Young is also likely to be counted on more heavily on the offensive end given that Turner’s contributions aren’t going to be replicated by either Sabonis or Jefferson. Again, this game sets up as a potential stack with several options that won’t break the bank. On the high-end at PF, Giannis Antetkounmpo is the top play at the position and Kevin Love holds considerable tournament appeal on the other side.
Jusuf Nurkic ($7,900 on FanDuel) - Like most of the Blazers on opening night, Nurkic was a disappointment in large part due to the Suns not really showing up to play. He saw just 23 minutes of court time but still managed to post a double-double (11-11-1 with a steal) and finished with better than a FPPM rate, so it wasn’t all bad. Nurkic is in an absolute explosion spot against Indiana without Myles Turner, as he should absolutely destroy the likes of Domantas Sabonis and Al Jefferson. Per Michael Gallagher, Sabonis came in at the 25th percentile in post-up defense among all players last year, which bodes well for the bigger and heavier Nurkic. Al Jefferson has also never been known for his defensive prowess, so if foul trouble is avoided, Nurkic has a great shot at hitting value.