This article is part of our NBA DFS Breakdown series.
The schedule-makers decided to slap us in the face with 11 games on the second day of the season, but at least we don't have to worry about too many injuries. However, that makes the amount of options seem more overwhelming.
The two highest over/unders by a significant margin are 234.0 (Kings at Suns) and 228.5 (Timberwolves at Nets). They'll be chalky for tournaments and cash games alike, but you might have to get a piece to stay afloat. I think Cavaliers at Magic and Pistons at Pacers will be the least-targeted games given how just plain boring they are and the low expected totals. But you can still find some viable plays. The best GPP strategy might be to mix in players from all four games.
Let's go game-by-game:
Bulls at Hornets
The Hornets have no injuries to report
Spread: Bulls -3.5
I expect the Bulls to make pretty easy work of the Hornets, so there's plenty of value to be had on that side of the matchup. The more interesting question is: What is the Hornets' rotation? You probably shouldn't bank on anyone outside of Terry Rozier or Miles Bridges for cash games, but PJ Washington and Marvin Williams have some GPP upside, and their ownership percentages should be minuscule given the vast number of games on the slate.
Cavaliers at Magic
|Dylan Windler||F||Lower Leg||Out||11/1/2019|
Spread: Magic -9.5
Contrarian Options: DJ Augustin
This game will probably get ignored in both real life and DFS, but guys like Vucevic, Aaron Gordon and Kevin Love can be played in cash games with confidence. I think Ross will go severely underowned relative to his ability to get hot from three against anyone, let alone a bad team. Isaac has too much hype in fantasy circles to be sneaky. I'm a little worried about Osman's usage when everyone is healthy. It's hard to tell how much Markelle Fultz will play, but Augustin could still get 30 minutes if they share the backcourt together at any point. He's a good enough passer and three-point shooter to walk into 25 fantasy points.
Pistons at Pacers
Spread: Pacers -7.5
Contrarian Options: None
With Blake Griffin out, Drummond is an obvious option in any format. Wood and Morris will be tournament, cost-savings options. Wood will likely be more popular. Owners might also gamble on on Rose potentially taking over the offense. Anyone in the Pacers' starting five is a viable play. While there aren't any good contrarian options isolated within the game itself, targeting this game as a whole is contrarian, since it has the lowest over/under on the slate.
Grizzlies at Heat
|Andre Iguodala||F||Not Injury Related||Out||10/25/2019|
Spread: Heat -8.0
I probably wouldn't bank on Morant having a great game in his debut, but his passing ability is so good that he could go for 10 assists on any given night, saving a poor shooting night. Butler and Adebayo are by far the safest options on the Heat. Dragic is a sneaky tournament option given that people think his role is reducing with Butler and Winslow in the fold. Winslow himself might be contrarian given Butler's presence. Anderson and Olynyk are tournament longshots, but have proven to be productive when given the minutes. Whether they'll get the minutes is the question.
Celtics at 76ers
Spread: 76ers -5.5
Contrarian Options: Gordon Hayward
The size advantage the 76ers have in this game is absurd. Embiid is an excellent cash play – maybe even a lock. He'll be guarded by guys who should exclusively be reserves. Stacking him with Simmons makes some sense, since the latter is also oversized in this matchup. Philly projects as one of the NBA's best defenses, which would make me hesitant to play anyone from Boston, though I might make exceptions for Walker and Tatum, who figure be the linchpins of the offense. Smart has plenty of upside as a cheap tournament option given his ability to pass, hit threes and rack up steals. Williams is a flier for some blocks, and he might need to be on the court to check Embiid. Hayward is contrarian given how poorly last year went.
Timberwolves at Nets
The Timberwolves have no injuries to report.
Spread: Nets -3.5
Towns and Irving are obvious cash game options given their expected usage. You might be able to curb some ownership percentages by playing non-Irving Nets players, especially Dinwiddie. Prince has shown upside, but it's unclear if the minutes will be there. They should be, given how thin the roster is. Wiggins is contrarian because he's Wiggins, and the Jordan/Allen timeshare will probably lend most people to roster the cheaper option (Allen), but Jordan can still put up a great game in 24-29 minutes.
Knicks at Spurs
The Spurs have no injuries to report.
Spread: Spurs -10.0
Value Plays: None
Contrarian Options: Bobby Portis
My concern with playing Aldridge or DeRozan here – or any Spurs, for that matter – is that the Spurs could blow the Knicks out, and the duo could see fewer than 30 minutes. The only two Knicks I trust to see consistent run are Randle and RJ Barrett, and I'm not ready to trust Barrett to put up 30 fantasy points against San Antonio. You can play Portis in an attempt to fade Mitchell Robinson, but I'm not convinced it has enough upside to be worth it.
Wizards at Mavericks
Spread: Mavericks -8.5
Contrarian Options: None
Beal will be a cash option all season. The gap between him and the second-best player on his team is probably the biggest in the league. A Doncic/Porzingis stack should be viable, especially against such a bad team. The blowout potential is concerning, however. Bryant, despite his hype in year-long fantasy, might still be priced too low in DFS. With Dwight Powell out, Kleber should see enough minutes to be worth a flier in certain builds. Smith is the second-best ballhandler on Washington aside from Beal.
Thunder at Jazz
Spread: Jazz -9.0
Contrarian Options: Joe Ingles
There are plenty of players to target in this one, though I'm worried it'll turn into a defensive showcase. The entire Jazz starting five is viable, as are the core pieces of the Thunder. Green gets grandfathered in as a value play since he can literally win you a tournament if he decides to shoot the ball more than three times. Ingles, in his new sixth-man role, is a contrarian option given the perception that his fantasy stock is falling. But if he runs the second unit, his numbers could end up similar to last season.
Nuggets at Trail Blazers
Spread: Trail Blazers -1.0
We know who the key pieces are for both of these squads, though Murray needs to prove he's consistent before I start rostering him in cash games. From a value/contrarian perspective, this game is filled to the brim. Bazemore and Collins should see their roles increased compared to last season, though Collins won't fly under the radar. I would take Bazemore over Rodney Hood or Mario Hezonja to win me a game any day of the week, but we'll see how coach Terry Stotts feels. Whiteside is contrarian because he was basically kicked off the Heat last season. Any non-Murray/Jokic piece on the Nuggets will probably be low-owned given how deep the team is. Can we trust Millsap, Harris, Grant or Barton to see 28-plus minutes? Probably not.
Kings at Suns
Spread: Kings -1.5
Contrarian Options: Ricky Rubio
You can stack this game and feel good about it. Booker, Fox, Ayton and Bagley could each go for 40 fantasy points realistically. We know Hield can get hot from deep. Oubre is a great source of value, but his ownership will probably be through the roof. Bogadanovic, Dedmon and Saric have roles that seem in flux, but they're all threats for 30 fantasy points. I'd consider Rubio contrarian because people seem ready to write him off. That's a subjective feeling, of course, and he might be chalk still given the over/under in this game.