With the 2016-17 NBA season officially under way, our team is going to begin cranking out articles left and right to help you dominate both your season-long NBA leagues and your DFS contests. For this season, because we are selling premium lineup packages, I have decided that I am going to try and write an article titles “NBA Core Four”, hopefully everyday, or as often as I can. These articles will essentially highlight the four players who I will be building the Fantasy Forecast NBA DFS lineups around on the day’s slate. They will usually be a mixture of value-plays and studs in order to maintain a certain level of salary flexibility.
Here is my “core four” for the first big NBA slate of the season, enjoy!
James Harden | $11,200
The great debate tonight will be whether you roster Russell Westbrook or James Harden, or both. Personally, I have no problem with Westbrook tonight as he should be in for massive statistical nights everyday, but from a value standpoint, I’ll take the savings. Harden is expected to be the full-time point guard in Houston and with Pat Beverley out, his minutes are only going to go up from the 35-40 they’re already at.
The implied Vegas total for the Rockets/Lakers game is sitting at 222.0 with the Rockets carrying a team total of 114.3. James Harden is going to be operating as the primary offensive weapon, the point guard, and the go-to in a Mike D’Antoni offense. His usage rate could approach 50% tonight against such a terrible defensive team. Harden is our first lock of the night.
Anthony Davis | $10,200
Davis may seem like a bit of a contrarian stud to roster on a night where the other three have better matchups, but I’m not fading him tonight. He battled injury throughout the preseason (what’s new), but in his finale, he was nothing short of incredible. While he was supposed to be limited to 28-30 minutes, he ended up playing 37 minutes and looked 100% healthy en route to a 33 point, 13 rebound and 4 assist performance.
The health was the key concern, and he silenced those critics…at least for now. At $10,200, Davis has the potential to easily hit 5x value, especially with the Pelicans projected to score 105.3 points (7th most on the slate). Davis will always be the focal point of this offense when healthy, and he’ll be looking for a huge start to the 2016-17 campaign.
Devin Booker | $6,200
Everyone and their mother will be on Booker tonight, so you should too. He dominated throughout the preseason and comes in as the Sun’s starting shooting guard in an absolute cake matchup. This is expected to be one of the highest scoring games on the slate and the Suns are looking like they could be a sneaky team to target against the Kings. Booker averaged 27.7 minutes per game last season, and that number will only rise with his recent performances. With SG being a rather thin position in terms of value tonight, $6,200 for Booker is well worth the money in a matchup that should be all offense on both sides of the ball.
DeMarre Carroll | $4,700
Carroll might honestly be my favorite play of the day. He won’t be extremely chalky, but I think that if people were looking at him, he would be. Dwayne Casey has said that Carroll can expect to see extended run at the 4 with Jared Sullinger out, on top of being the starting SF for the Raptors tonight. With the Raptors sending out Pascal Siakam at the four tonight on a short leash, a healthy DeMarre Carroll could see all the minutes he can handle tonight. While the matchup is not ideal, with AD and James Harden, you’ll have to find value somewhere. Carroll should be thrust into all the minutes he can handle tonight and for $4,700, the chances for production warrants labeling Carroll as a great value play tonight.