This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
While the opening night slate can be a tough one with only two games, it's stacked with plenty of high-end talent. The biggest news to keep an eye on leading up to tip is the Russell Westbrook injury situation. If he sits, that leaves 40 percent usage on the board for the Thunder, thus making Dennis Schroder and Paul George all the more valuable. Let's take a look at which players to target at each position:
Dennis Schroder, OKC at GS ($6,300): Schroder is the direct beneficiary should Westbrook sit out. While he'll primarily be a backup in OKC, Schroder is a starting-caliber NBA point guard, and he posted a 29.6 percent usage rate in Atlanta last season. He matched that number – almost exactly – while filling in for Westbrook during the preseason. The fact that this game's total is north of 220 only adds to Schroder's value.
Markelle Fultz, PHI at BOS ($5,000): Fultz was a work in progress throughout his rookie season but it appears the shackles are off for his sophomore year. Not only has he been rewarded – maybe that's a bit of a loose term – with a starting role, but it also appears he's regained at least some level of confidence in his jumper. While Fultz had an up-and-down preseason, he compiled the second-highest usage rate among regulars for the Sixers. While Fultz remains a risk until we see him actually produce consistently, the sort of upside he provides at $5,000 is tough to ignore. With that said, if he starts slowly, the Sixers could turn to J.J. Redick for extended second-half minutes.
Raymond Felton, OKC at GS ($3,700): Felton is a complete dart throw, but he could see an increase in role with Westbrook and Andre Roberson both injured. If Westbrook sits, Felton will back up Schroder, and while his upside is still marginail, the double-digit spread also adds to Felton's intrigue, as he could end up getting some mop-up run.
Kevin Durant, GS vs. OKC ($9,000): It's hard to fade Durant on this two-game slate. He's obliterated his former team throughout his career. In his seven games against the Thunder, Durant is averaging 32.7 points and 7.7 rebounds on a 34.4 percent usage rate. He's done that damage in just 32 minutes per game, which mitigates the concern of Tuesday's contest turning into a blowout.
Paul George, OKC at GS ($8,000): George was one of the league leaders in usage rate in the preseason, posting a 33 percent figure in the absence of Westbrook. That's all you can ask for from an $8,000 player, and he'll be the clear No. 1 option in the event Westbrook sits. George had success against Golden State throughout the regular season last season, averaging 49 fantasy points in four games against the Warriors, despite hitting just 33 percent of his shots.
Robert Covington, PHI at BOS ($4,700): This feels like an early-season bargain for Covington, who averaged 27.5 fantasy points across 32 minutes per game last year. Perhaps there's some concern about Wilson Chandler eating into his minutes, but that seems rather unlikely, especially given the departures of Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova in free agency. Covington did struggle against Boston last season, but the price tag is too cheap to pass up on with so few viable alternatives available.
Joel Embiid, PHI at BOS ($8,800): I usually don't pay up at center, but Embiid is hard to avoid on a two-game slate. He's the only dominant center on this slate, and his 46 fantasy points per game last year were more than eight points higher than the next-closest center. Embiid posted a league-high 36 percent usage rate during the preseason, three percentage points higher than his season-long figure in 2017-18.