The first Friday night of the NBA season will be a big one from the DFS perspective, with 10 games on the docket. The headline battle of the night pits reigning best player on the planet LeBron James against the man who might very well be the heir apparent, Giannis Antetokounmpo. We also get to see a young and exciting 76ers squad against the young, exciting talent on the Celtics. The new Twin Towers of Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins will see what they can do about the perimeter dynamo of the defending champion Warriors. And even teams that aren’t good have some enticing match-ups tonight, with the Magic taking on the Nets and the Lakers taking on the Suns. Let’s take a look at the value plays for the night.
D’Angelo Russell, BKN vs ORL ($8,000): Russell came out the gates with a bang, scoring 30 points with five assists and three rebounds in the opener for his new team. Since then, running mate Jeremy Lin has been ruled out for the season with a knee injury, which if anything leaves even more opportunity for Russell to rack up volume moving forward.
Devin Booker, PHO vs LAL ($6,700): Booker is an explosive scorer, but the entire Suns team got punked in their opening game blowout loss to the Trail Blazers. Even in limited minutes with his shot off, though, Booker was still good for 30 fantasy points. On Friday, the Suns face a Lakers team that is much more similar in talent level, plays quickly, and plays very little defense -- all of that bodes well for Booker to have a nice bounce-back. Speaking of the Lakers, shoutout to rookie Lonzo Ball, who had a tough debut last night but has quick bounce-back potential himself against the Suns.
De’Aaron Fox, SAC at DAL ($4,500): This one had a lot of good candidates. Darren Collison ($5600) had a huge first game, but was that real or was it a product of playing a horrible Nets defense? Terry Rozier ($4600) is also worth a look, as he’s put up big numbers off the bench in two straight games, so it might be legit. Fox gets the call here, though, because he’ll be squaring off with fellow rookie Dennis Smith. Both had strong debuts, and Fox is still coming off the bench, but I feel like this is one where their competitive juices could drive each other on to bigger production.
LeBron James, CLE at MIL ($10,900): James turned in 29 points, 16 boards, nine assists and two blocked shots in an opening night win over the Celtics, then pronounced himself out of shape in the post-game interview. He clearly has his game working, and has another potential motivation game on Friday as he faces the man that is generating a lot of buzz as the next big thing, Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Ben Simmons, PHI vs BOS ($7,700): Simmons popped for 18 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and three combined blocks/steals in his NBA debut against the Wizards. His production was very natural, and very in line with expectations, so there’s no reason to expect him to have any difficulty on Friday against a Celtics front line that lacks size and now starts two forwards players in his same age range.
Kelly Oubre Jr., WAS vs DET ($5,300): Oubre turned in 14 points, eight boards, two assists, two steals and two blocks in 32 minutes of his season debut. He’s getting more run with Markieff Morris out and Jason Smith dealing with a shoulder issue, so he could continue to be a larger-than-normal threat in the short term.
Joel Embiid, PHI vs BOS ($8,300): Embiid scored 18 points with 13 boards, three assists and a block in 26 minutes of the opener against big Marcin Gortat. On Friday, he’ll get to deal with a much more undersized, defensively weak Celtics squad in what could be an offensive shootout.
Dwight Howard, CHA vs ATL ($7,400): Howard produced a 10-point, 15-rebound double-double in his opener against Andre Drummond. On Friday, he faces his most recent former team, the Hawks, in a game in which he should be fully motivated to perform.
Marcin Gortat, WAS vs DET ($6,100): Gortat came out the gates with a bang, scoring 16 points with 17 rebounds and three blocks in 34 minutes against Joel Embiid and the 76ers in his season debut. He’ll lock horns with another giant on Friday in Andre’ Drummond, but he is also the lowest priced of the centers that could normally project to impact numbers on the night.