NBA Preseason Picks 10/04/16

There is finally NBA action again, and I couldn’t be happier.  After the last month of MLB, I am very ready for the relative predictability of the NBA.  Unfortunately, NBA preseason doesn’t quite count as predictable, but at least it is basketball.  I didn’t play any preseason NBA last season, but I decided to dive in this year because I think that there is likely a pretty big edge since a lot of DFS players don’t take sufficient time to research a bunch of guys they haven’t heard of.  I also tend to get off to very slow starts in every DFS sport that I play and I think that a lot of that has to do with the fact that I hate preseason sports, and don’t pay much attention to them, so I’m behind the curve when the regular season starts.  Therefore, I am forcing myself to focus on preseason basketball and hopefully we can all make some money in the process and then start off the regular season strong.

Tonight is a six game slate featuring a few teams who have already played a game (New Orleans, Golden State and Houston) and 9 who have not.  All of the Vegas totals are pretty close, with the exception of the Heat and Wizards where the total is only 189.5.  There hasn’t been a ton of news yet regarding inactives so, as always with the NBA, be sure to be paying attention to Twitter in the hour or so leading up to lock as unexpected changes are announced.

Note:  DraftKings positions and pricing are used in this article

Point Guard

Terry Rozier- BOS at PHI- $4,700

Rozier got some good experience toward the end of last season and carried the momentum into the summer league with a strong showing there.  He is expected to be the primary backup to Isaiah Thomas this season and should play quality minutes with the departure of Evan Turner.  The Celtics have been impressed with Rozier’s improved decision-making when he has the ball in his hands and I expect him to be a strong contributor when he is on the floor as he should be allowed to run the offense with Marcus Smart moving off of the ball.  The Celtics have not played a game yet, but I expect Rozier to see significant minutes (for the preseason) tonight as he auditions to fill the void left by Turner and, at only $4,700, he is a very nice value option at point guard.

Tim Frazier- NOP vs IND- $6,100

Frazier saw 28 minutes in the Pelicans’ preseason opener, and the general consensus around the team is that the minutes distribution should be pretty similar tonight with the exception of Anthony Davis seeing a slight increase.  Frazier is competing for one of the guard spots on New Orleans, so it makes sense for the coaching staff to want to see him in action as much as possible this preseason.  He has shown at times over the last two seasons that when he is given an opportunity he can produce fantasy points and I like him a lot tonight playing extended minutes in a game with the second highest total on the board.

Shooting Guard

Patrick McCaw- GSW vs LAC- $5,000

The Warriors traded into the second round of the draft to select McCaw and they have been raving about him ever since.  He played 22 minutes in their first preseason game against Toronto and performed well on 5-of-7 shooting with 5 steals.  I haven’t read or heard anything about minute restrictions for anyone on Golden State yet tonight, but I doubt McCaw sees less minutes and think it is possible that he sees more.  The Warriors used 18 players in their first game and all of their stars played 17-19 minutes.  It is definitely possible that, since they have a game under their belts now, a couple of guys in that rotation see a decrease in minutes and I believe that McCaw is a guy that they want to see as much as possible because they believe he can be a regular part of their rotation this season.  This game has the highest total on the board tonight and McCaw is a great way to get exposure to it.

Buddy Hield- NOP vs IND- $5,900

The Pelicans offer several great plays tonight and Hield is one of them.  He played 25 minutes in the first preseason game and should continue to see heavy minutes in his first preseason out of Oklahoma.  He played very well in the first game, with 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting to go along with 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and a steal.  His price is still too low for his upside as long as he is getting consistent minutes, especially in the second highest scoring game on the slate.  I am slightly concerned about rostering him tonight because he admitted that it is “hard to focus” on tonight’s game since there is a hurricane bearing down on the Bahamas where he is from, but that is not enough to keep me from having exposure to him.

James Harden- HOU vs NYK- $9,400

Harden played 29 minutes in the opening game against Shanghai, but I do not expect that to be repeated.  It does seem reasonable, however, that he sees around 20 minutes and that is enough for me to be interested.  With Patrick Beverley inactive, Harden will essentially be the starting point guard with Eric Gordon playing beside him in the backcourt.  Harden’s usage should be through the roof tonight as he runs the offense so, although he is expensive, he could definitely score the most raw points on the slate and with all of the value available during the preseason it is not difficult to find a way to roster him.

Small Forward

Justice Winslow- MIA at WSH- $5,200

I don’t like many options at small forward tonight but I do have interest in Winslow.  He played heavy minutes in Miami’s first preseason game last season and that was with Luol Deng, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade all healthy and on the team.  This year none of them will be playing in this game and, since I expect Winslow to be tasked with carrying more of the scoring load this year, I expect Winslow to see heavy minutes to work on carving out his role in the offense.  In addition, the Wizards really struggled to defend wings last season and I don’t expect that to be any different this season.  Winslow is my favorite point-per-dollar small forward despite the game having a total of only 189.5.

Power Forward

Anthony Davis- NOP vs IND- $8,200

I really like Davis tonight in what should be a relative high-scoring game.  He only played 12 minutes in their first game and still managed to take 11 shots.  Tonight he is expected to play 18 minutes and he is the type of player that can score 30-35 DK points in 18 minutes which is a very strong score for a preseason slate.  He also has a nice reduction in price compared to other stars, probably partly because he only played 12 minutes last game.  Lock Davis into your lineups at power forward if you can.

Terrence Jones- NOP vs IND- $6,900

It feels weird to recommend players at the same position for the same team, especially when neither one is inexpensive, but Jones is in a great spot tonight along with Davis.  Jones played about 30 minutes in the preseason opener and is expected to play around the same amount of minutes tonight against the Pacers.  The Pelicans have said that they may use Terrence Jones at center some this season, which is a big deal because it opens the door for him to play heavy minutes alongside Anthony Davis (even if Davis is the one who ends up actually playing center).  I don’t think Davis’s increase in minutes tonight will impact Jones since they want the two of them playing alongside each other.  Jones has shown the ability in the past to be a high upside contributor when he is receiving steady minutes and I really like this spot for him tonight.

Center

DeAndre Jordan- LAC at GSW- $6,800

I really, really do not like the center position tonight so I will most likely pay up for Jordan.  In the Clippers’ first preseason game last year all of the starters got heavy run, including Jordan who was on the court for 27 minutes.  If he plays in the 25 minute range tonight, then $6,800 is a very reasonable price tag for him in what should be an up-tempo game with the highest total on the slate.  Keep an eye out for reports on what the Clippers plan to do as far as starter’s minutes and plug in Jordan if he is expected to play a lot and Speights in a revenge game if the starters are going to be limited.