This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
The first few days of the NBA season have been nothing short of crazy. Some of the winning lineups in tournaments are flirting with 500 FanDuel points, and that's never happened before. It challenges the standard "5x" narrative, which means you need to aim for 6x value from each player you own.
The $60,000 salary equates to 360 points when using this formula, so if you have a guy who's priced at $5,000, you should shoot for 30 FanDuel points to reach that 360-point threshold. Let's get into this Sunday slate:
Sunday slates are always unique because we have games played all throughout the day. There's usually one premier game played early on and a main slate that begins around 6ET. The premier game this week happens to be the Oklahoma City Thunder hosting the Golden State Warriors. While these were once rivals, that's simply not the case anymore with Kevin Durant playing in Brooklyn. We are expected to have a close game, though, with the Warriors entering this matchup as a 1.5-point favorite with a total of 223.
The night slate has four games beginning at 6ET. The first is a matchup between the Brooklyn Nets and Memphis Grizzlies. While these have been defensive teams in the past, the 224-point total is indicative of how much these clubs have changed their personnel.
The next two games both have totals between 222 and 224, as well, with Dallas playing host to Portland and Minnesota welcoming Miami to Target Center. The Mavericks-Trail Blazers game is expected to be extremely close with a 1.5-point spread while the Timberwolves host the Heat as a 5.5-point favorite.
The final game of the night is a matchup between the Lakers and Hornets. This game has a 215-point total, with Los Angeles coming in as 13-point home favorites. That makes it the toughest game to trust for DFS purposes, as a low total and a high spread could limit everyone's minutes.
Point Guard: The point guard position is stacked, per usual. We have Kyrie Irving, Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard and Luka Doncic all available up top. That doesn't even take into consideration cheaper guys like Chris Paul, Terry Rozier and Ja Morant, who could all provide great value too.
Shooting Guard: With Jimmy Butler out, the shooting guard position is rather weak. The talent pool is mainly between the $6,000-$8,000-range, with players like C.J. McCollum, D'Angelo Russell, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Caris LeVert looking like the best plays.
Small Forward: Small forward tends to be the weakest position on most slates and it is yet again here. While we do have LeBron James up top, Danilo Gallinari and Justise Winslow are the only other guys above $7,000.
Center: Karl-Anthony Towns is the cream of the crop at this position but there's a lot of viable options available. In fact, we have Hassan Whiteside, Steven Adams, Cody Zeller and Jonas Valanciunas all available in the mid-range.
Injury Situations to Monitor
Kevon Looney (GS): Looney played just 10 minutes in his season debut on Thursday and will miss this matchup due to renewed hamstring tightness. Willie Cauley-Stein is also out for a few more weeks, making this one of the weakest frontcourts in the NBA.
Brandon Clarke (MEM): Clarke is dealing with back soreness and enters this matchup with a questionable tag.
Dwight Powell (DAL): Powell is expected to be out a few more games while recovering from a hammy issue.
Rajon Rondo (LAL): Rondo has missed the first two games due to a calf issue but could make his season debut Sunday.
Stephen Curry, GS ($9,500)
Curry had an ugly showing in the opener but it was indicative of how good he can be. He still provided 23 points, four rebounds and four assists in that beatdown against an elite Clippers defense and that appears to be his floor. With Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins out of the picture, look for Curry to lead the Warriors in scoring, assists, shots taken and usage rate while possibly setting career-highs in many of those statistics.
Kyrie Irving, BRK ($10,500)
Much like Curry, Irving is the star of the show for the Nets. That's evident by the fact that he ranks third in the NBA with a 37 percent usage rate early on. That has led to him averaging 38 points, 5.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 1.5 steals over his first two games. We're certainly not worried about this new-look Grizzlies defense, which allowed at least 119 points in each of the first two games.
Karl-Anthony Towns, MIN ($12,200)
Towns has been the best player in basketball across the first week. Over his first two games, Towns is averaging 36.5 points, 14.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 3.5 steals and 2.5 blocks per game. That equates to 78 FanDuel points per game – that's a lot of points. The T'Wolves look like they want to run their offense through KAT all year too and it's going to lead to ridiculous fantasy numbers like these.
Not a whole lot needs to be said about these two. Both of these guys are perennial MVP candidates and they're always in consideration on any slate. Both guys appear to be in top form too, with James and Davis both averaging 50 FanDuel points per game. That's bad news for a Hornets team which has allowed at least 121 points in each of its first two games.
The expected chalk is what you see above. These stud players should all be widely owned and it's going to be key to know which ones to trust. Karl-Anthony Towns is my bet for the chalkiest of the bunch because he's been the best player in fantasy the first two games. That paired with the fact that you only get one center spot on FanDuel will make many people click that green plus next to his name.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, OKC vs. GS ($7,300)
The Thunder had big things planned for SGA and early results are extremely encouraging. Posting a 29 percent usage rate in the preseason was a good indicator of things to come, and he's been producing brilliantly in his first two games. Gilgeous-Alexander is averaging 43.7 FanDuel points per game thus far and hasn't even been providing the peripheral statistics that we'll eventually see.
Eric Paschall, GS at OKC ($4,600)
The Warriors depth in their frontcourt is simply horrendous and it's forced Paschall into a big role. Playing 31 minutes in the opener is impressive on its own, but he also provided 28.3 FanDuel points in that contest. With Looney out Sunday, Paschall is hard to fade at this price for such a thin frontcourt.
Jonas Valanciunas, MEM vs. BRK ($6,000)
Valanciunas is too cheap for someone of his ability. While he has played limited minutes the first two games, it's just a matter of time before he averages closer to 30 minutes a game. While he's likely looking at only 20-25 minutes Sunday, he showed on Friday that he can do damage in that amount of time. Valanciunas totaled 10 points and 13 boards in just 18 minutes of action and will inevitably be a huge value when that minute total bumps up.