The NBA is back in full force Wednesday night with 10 games on the schedule, which means a full evening of daily fantasy basketball. Our experts are here to help you build around the top options and avoid the busts in DFS.
Players to build around
James Harden has been spectacular from a usage and statistical perspective in past years, but add in Mike D'Antoni's offensive strategies into the mix and he projects to be otherworldly. Russell Westbrook has gotten the bulk of the attention with Durant moving on to Golden State and he's also going to be fantastic, but Harden is cheaper tonight and has a similar shot at ending the night with a 30-plus point triple-double at less ownership.
Despite being fully capable of finishing as a top-five player in fantasy, George got barely any hype during the preseason. His DFS pricing for opening night reflects that, as he is cheaper than the likes of Harden and Westbrook. Either of them could blow away the competition tonight, but they also will be heavily owned in tourneys. I like the idea of riding PG at a discount in a quality matchup against the Dallas Mavericks to separate your lineups from the competition.
While investing in Frazier isn't exactly exciting on a rich opening slate, I do believe he's a safe foundation piece who allows investors to spend up for more prolific producers like the James Hardens of the game. As the leading point guard with a floor for at least 30 minutes, Frazier has an entirely safe and projectable path to hitting six-times value at his modest price point, which would require around 28 fantasy points on DraftKings, for example.
Greg Rosenstein -- James Harden, Houston Rockets
Is this the best value pick? Considering he boasts the second-highest cost tonight, probably not. That said, I absolutely think he’s going to tear it up tonight in Los Angeles. Harden will have the ball in his hands most of the contest in Mike D’Antoni’s up-tempo offense and should have a stat sheet -- at minimum -- of 25 points, 8 assists and 7 rebounds. He’s easily going to flirt with a triple-double considering the Lakers finished last in the NBA in defensive rating a year ago and didn’t do much to improve in that regard this offseason. Los Angeles ranked 16th in pace in 2015-16, but I expect that to improve under new coach Luke Walton’s system, meaning more total possessions in this matchup. Factor in Harden’s extra motivation of playing in front of his hometown (119 offensive rating in 25 career games against the Lakers) and his high price is worth it.
Players to Fade
Al Zeidenfeld -- Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans
I just can't trust it. I can't. I want to believe, I really do. I love his talent, I just can't pay up for someone who is as fragile as Davis. Superstars in the NBA should be predictable on a night-to-night basis. They should have a super high floor, which in theory, Anthony Davis possesses. But his propensity to leave games with nicks and knocks will frustrate even the most stoic daily fantasy player. If this was an episode of Shark Tank, I'd probably say, "There are plenty of other options tonight at power forward, and for that reason, I'm out."
There has been no shortage of preseason hype for the Greek Freak -- I’ve surely contributed plenty of it -- but in a game against the Charlotte Hornets with the lowest projected point total of the night (a mere 193 points), he will have a hard time mustering enough stats to pay off his pricy contract. With a full slate of games, there are plenty of better options to use.
The price point for Gordon is a bit lofty given his lack of production pedigree. I know he's enjoyed increased exposure as a key starter for the Magic this preseason, but against a slow-paced Miami roster and with better values on the board at his own position such as Danilo Gallinari and even Trevor Ariza, I'd rather let Gordon show and prove as opposed to paying for the hype this early into the DFS campaign.
Greg Rosenstein -- Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons
I’m a huge fan of Drummond, but not so much the matchup tonight. He’ll probably do what he always does -- grab both double-digit rebounds and points -- but I think the Pistons' big man will be tested in the season opener. The Raptors were one of the strongest defensive teams in the NBA last season, giving up only 98 points a game (tied for third in the league) and have serious length down low with 7-footer Jonas Valanciunas. Also of note is that Toronto was 29th in the NBA last season in pace, resulting in fewer overall possessions. There are better values at center tonight than Drummond.