DraftKings NBA: Opening Night Cheat Sheet
DraftKings NBA: Opening Night Cheat Sheet

This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.

The 2019-20 NBA season tips off Tuesday with a two-game slate featuring Pelicans-Raptors at 8:00 PM Eastern and Lakers-Clippers at 10:30.

Slate Overview

There's a distinct lack of star power in the opener, as both New Orleans and Toronto lost their respective superstars in the offseason to teams playing in the second game.

The first game will thus be a better source of role-player production. It wouldn't be Los Angeles without stars, and that's exactly what we have in the all-LA showdown, which offers a mix of pricey studs and cheap supporting options as the teams figure out their new rotations.

The over/under is actually slightly higher for the Pelicans-Raptors game, but it's harder to predict which players will be doing most of the scoring there. We haven't seen a single regular-season game and injuries are already wreaking havoc, with some key names sitting out and creating opportunities for others to step up.

Positional Breakdown

With many players eligible at multiple positions, this small slate does a surprisingly good job of providing plenty of options at every spot. Power forward is the position most affected by injuries, but there are still quality options to be found across the price spectrum there.

Point guard is probably the easiest position to fill and lets you go expensive or cheap, while shooting guard is the best spot to grab an affordable option and free up money at other positions.

Injury Situations to Monitor

Paul George (shoulder) is out indefinitely to begin the year for the Clippers. Zion Williamson's knee injury took a lot of the potential excitement out of the opener, as the first overall pick is expected to miss six-to-eight weeks. The Lakers' Kyle Kuzma (foot) isn't taking contact yet and is also expected to sit out. All three of those players can carry significant scoring loads, so the biggest beneficiaries of their absences should be the other top scorers on their respective teams.

Elite Players

Whether you use him at center or power forward, Anthony Davis ($10,200) is the star most worth paying up for Tuesday. He contributes immense value on both ends coming off a season in which he supplemented 25.9 PPG, 12.0 RPG and 3.9 APG with 1.6 steals and 2.4 blocks per game. Kawhi Leonard is as good as anyone in the league at making life difficult for LeBron James, so Davis should get a chance to shine in his Lakers debut, especially with Kuzma's absence leaving even more volume available.

Speaking of Leonard ($9,600), there's a huge drop from him to Brandon Ingram ($5,800) at the small forward position if you're avoiding LeBron at $9,900. Leonard carried the Raptors to the title with 30.5 PPG, 9.1 RPG and 3.9 APG in the postseason, and he'll be tasked with carrying the load offensively for the Clippers until George gets back.

Expected Chalk

Jrue Holiday ($7,900) is priced well below the elite tier but could rival those players' production in this one, as he's the clear-cut best player on the Pelicans with Davis now a Clipper and Zion on the sideline. Having posted 21.2 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 7.7 APG, 1.6 steals and 0.8 blocks per game last season, Holiday does a lot more than just score.

If you're not paying up for Leonard at small forward, Ingram makes sense at $5,800. Now on the Pelicans, Ingram has the same opportunity to shine on offense as Holiday after averaging 18.3 PPG and 5.1 RPG for the Lakers last season. The second overall pick from the 2016 draft actually chipped in 5.3 RPG, 3.9 APG, 0.8 steals and 0.7 blocks per game in his second season before watching his totals in those categories drop in Year 3 with LeBron's arrival. He'll have much less competition on the wing in New Orleans and could be among the players who benefits from Williamson's absence.

Pascal Siakam ($7,600) is now Toronto's best player with Leonard moving to LA, and the new owner of a four-year max contract could see his DFS salary skyrocket before long, as well. Siakam took home the league's Most Improved Player award last season, and the 25-year-old could still have another leap left in him thanks to a combination of organic growth and an increased role sans Leonard. New Orleans allowed 116.8 points per game last season (fourth-most in the league), and that was with Davis offering elite rim protection for half of the season. With his combination of size and athleticism, Siakam should be a matchup nightmare for the Pelicans.

Key Values

Jahlil Okafor ($3,200) is a terrific per-minute fantasy player, as the third overall selection from the 2015 draft is a polished inside scorer and rebounder. His issue has been carving out playing time due to defensive deficiencies, but he's likely to be in the rotation with Williamson out, as that leaves only starting center Derrick Favors, rookie Jaxson Hayes and offseason Italian signing Nicolo Melli as viable big man options outside of Okafor. At just $3,200, it's worth taking a chance on a guy who averages 19.5 points and 8.8 rebounds per 36 minutes in his career.

OG Anunoby ($3,900) should start at small forward in Toronto with Leonard gone. The 22-year-old Anunoby averaged 12.5 points and 5.2 rebounds per 36 minutes last season, but there's undoubtedly plenty of room left to grow his game and the ball should find him more in what should be a much more egalitarian Raptors attack.

Lou Williams ($6,500) is one of the league's best shot creators, and the stud sixth man should thrive as both the captain of the bench mob and Kawhi's partner in closing out games. Fitting Williams' $6,500 salary in could be tough with some of the pricey go-to guys in this slate, but he's capable of eviscerating an extremely thin Lakers team and can be deployed at either guard spot.

Dwight Howard ($4,500) will split the center minutes for the Lakers with JaVale McGee, but the former superstar is an enticing option at his price considering he's looked healthy and motivated since signing with LA in the offseason.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Sasha Yodashkin plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: Youngsash, DraftKings: Yashdogg,Yahoo: Sasha, Fanball: Yashdogg.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sasha Yodashkin
Sasha has been contributing NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB and Tennis content to RotoWire since 2015, with an emphasis on DFS. He is a huge New York sports fan who has been playing fantasy sports since middle school.
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