NBA DFS Breakdown: Two Standout Games
NBA DFS Breakdown: Two Standout Games

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

BullsPosInjuryStatusReturn
Shaquille HarrisonGHamstringGTD10/23/2019
Wendell CarterCThumbGTD10/23/2019
Chandler HutchisonFHamstringOut10/25/2019

The Hornets have no injuries to report

Spread: Bulls -3.5

Over/Under: 217.5

Core Plays: Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen, Terry Rozier, Otto Porter, Miles Bridges

Value Plays: Tomas Satoransky, PJ Washington

Contrarian Options: Thaddeus Young, Marvin Williams

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

CavaliersPosInjuryStatusReturn
Matthew DellavedovaGThumbGTD10/23/2019
John HensonCGroinOut10/26/2019
Dylan WindlerFLower LegOut11/1/2019
Ante ZizicCFootOut11/14/2019
MagicPosInjuryStatusReturn
Chuma OkekeFKneeOFS6/1/2020

Spread: Magic -9.5

Over/Under: 212.5

Core Plays: Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon, Kevin Love

Value Plays: Jonathan Isaac, Terrence Ross, Darius Garland, Cedi Osman

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

PistonsPosInjuryStatusReturn
Markieff MorrisFBackGTD10/23/2019
Reggie JacksonGBackGTD10/23/2019
Luke KennardGKneeGTD10/23/2019
Sekou DoumbouyaFConcussionOut10/24/2019
Blake GriffinFHamstringOut11/4/2019
PacersPosInjuryStatusReturn
Victor OladipoGKneeOut12/1/2019

Spread: Pacers -7.5

Over/Under: 210.5

Core Plays: Andre Drummond, Myles Turner, Domantas Sabonis, Malcolm Brogdon

Value Plays: Derrick Rose, Markieff Morris, Luke Kennard, Christian Wood

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

GrizzliesPosInjuryStatusReturn
Andre IguodalaFNot Injury RelatedOut10/25/2019
HeatPosInjuryStatusReturn
Udonis HaslemCWristOut10/26/2019
Dion WaitersGSuspensionOut10/26/2019

Spread: Heat -8.0

Over/Under: 213.5

Core Plays: Jimmy Butler, Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson, Jonas Valanciunas, Bam Adebayo

Value Plays: Goran Dragic, Brandon Clarke, Tyler Herro

Contrarian Options: Justise Winslow, Kyle Anderson, Kelly Olynyk

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

CelticsPosInjuryStatusReturn
Romeo LangfordFKneeOut10/25/2019
Tacko FallCConcussionOut10/25/2019
76ersPosInjuryStatusReturn
Raul NetoGHamstringGTD10/23/2019
Ben SimmonsGBackGTD10/23/2019

Spread: 76ers -5.5

Over/Under: 212.5

Core Plays: Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Kemba Walker, Tobias Harris, Al Horford, Jayson Tatum, Josh Richardson

Value Plays: Marcus Smart, Robert Williams

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.

NetsPosInjuryStatusReturn
Wilson ChandlerFSuspensionOut12/15/2019
Kevin DurantFAchillesOut4/1/2020

Spread: Nets -3.5

Over/Under: 228.5

Core Plays: Karl-Anthony Towns, Kyrie Irving, Robert Covington

Value Plays: Spencer Dinwiddie, Taurean Prince, Caris LeVert

Contrarian Options: Andrew Wiggins, DeAndre Jordan

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

KnicksPosInjuryStatusReturn
Taj GibsonFCalfGTD10/23/2019
Mitchell RobinsonCAnkleGTD10/23/2019
Kadeem AllenGKneeOut10/25/2019
Reggie BullockGBackOut11/10/2019

The Spurs have no injuries to report.

Spread: Spurs -10.0

Over/Under: 214.5

Core Plays: LaMarcus Aldridge, DeMar DeRozan, Julius Randle

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

WizardsPosInjuryStatusReturn
C.J. MilesGFootOut10/25/2019
Isaiah ThomasGThumbOut10/25/2019
Troy BrownFCalfOut10/25/2019
Ian MahinmiCAchillesOut11/14/2019
John WallGAchillesOut5/1/2020
MavericksPosInjuryStatusReturn
Ryan BroekhoffGAnkleGTD10/23/2019
Dwight PowellCHamstringOut10/27/2019

Spread: Mavericks -8.5

Over/Under: 220.0

Core Plays: Luka Doncic, Bradley Beal, Kristaps Porzingis, Thomas Bryant

Value Plays: Ish Smith, Maxi Kleber

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

ThunderPosInjuryStatusReturn
Andre RobersonGKneeOut11/1/2019
JazzPosInjuryStatusReturn
Dante ExumGKneeOut10/25/2019

Spread: Jazz -9.0

Over/Under: 222.0

Core Plays: Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell, Chris Paul, Mike Conley, Danilo Gallinari, Steven Adams, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Bojan Bogdanovic

Value Plays: Royce O'Neale, Jeff Green

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

NuggetsPosInjuryStatusReturn
Bol BolCFootOut10/31/2019
BlazersPosInjuryStatusReturn
Pau GasolCFootOut10/25/2019
Jusuf NurkicCLower LegOut2/1/2020

Spread: Trail Blazers -1.0

Over/Under: 217.0

Core Plays: Nikola Jokic, Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Jamal Murray

Value Plays: Kent Bazemore, Zach Collins

Contrarian Options: Hassan Whiteside, Paul Millsap, Gary Harris, Jerami Grant, Will Barton, Mario Hezonja

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

KingsPosInjuryStatusReturn
Harry GilesCKneeOut10/25/2019
SunsPosInjuryStatusReturn
Ty JeromeGAnkleOut10/25/2019
Cameron JohnsonFCalfOut10/25/2019

Spread: Kings -1.5

Over/Under: 234.0

Core Plays: Devin Booker, De'Aaron Fox, Deandre Ayton, Marvin Bagley, Buddy Hield

Value Plays: Kelly Oubre, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Dewayne Dedmon, Dario Saric

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.

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. Alex Barutha plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel Username: unclestosh99, DraftKings Username: Roto_Alex.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alex Barutha
Alex is RotoWire's NBA Assistant Editor. He writes articles about daily fantasy, year-long fantasy and sports betting. You can hear him on the RotoWire NBA Podcast, Sirius XM, DraftKings Live and other platforms. Vince Carter and Alex both first dunked during their respective sophomore years of high school.
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