NBA Opening Night 2021: Lineup Advice for FanDuel, DraftKings Daily Fantasy

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistOctober 19, 2021

NBA Opening Night 2021: Lineup Advice for FanDuel, DraftKings Daily Fantasy

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    Randall Benton/Associated Press

    The reality of NBA daily fantasy contests is that you can't rely solely on superstars. 

    On Tuesday night, you have to pick which of the superstars on the Brooklyn Nets, Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors will perform at the highest level. 

    The abundance of superstars to choose from opens up the potential for plenty of different lineup combinations, which is something that you can't typically say about two-game slates. 

    The best way to approach Tuesday's two-game slate should be to focus on high-salary forwards and look for depth at guard. 

    Kyrie Irving's absence from the Brooklyn Nets makes this strategy more feasible because there will be increased playing time for a few guards. 

    James Harden, Stephen Curry and Russell Westbrook are all intriguing guard options, but you could get away with Patty Mills, Joe Harris and even Jordan Poole, who could receive more minutes with Klay Thompson out. 

    The depth is thinner at forward. Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo headline the position and a pairing of two of those four players will be a nice base for any lineup. 

Go After High Salary Options at Forward

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    Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

    Forward is the position to pay a high salary for on Tuesday night. 

    Antetokounmpo, James and Durant are eligible at small and power forward, while Davis is listed as a power forward and center for FanDuel contests. 

    At DraftKings, Durant and James hold small forward designations. Antetokounmpo and Davis are listed as power forwards and centers. 

    Antetokounmpo holds the highest salary of the four superstars on both sites. He began last season with 35 points in a loss to the Boston Celtics. 

    The five-time All-Star produced 119 points in three regular-season contests against the Nets last season. He had at least 30 points in six of their seven playoff bouts. 

    Durant had at least 28 points in all seven of his postseason clashes with the Bucks. He had 104 regular-season points in three meetings with Milwaukee. 

    Those totals could go a long way in figuring out which superstars to pair together. Antetokounmpo and Durant could both easily hit the 30-point mark, and they both might reach the 40-point threshold. 

    Davis and James are strong lineup anchors as well because they could take advantage of a size mismatch against the Golden State Warriors.

    The two Lakers stars could overpower Kevon Looney and Draymond Green in the paint, which could lead to high point and rebound totals. 

    A Davis-James DFS combination would save you a bit of salary compared to an Antetokounmpo-Durant pairing, but with depth options all over the place at guard, that difference should not make a massive impact. 

Rely on Depth Pieces at Guard

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    Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

    Irving's absence from the Brooklyn lineup opens up a realm of DFS lineup possibilities with depth options at point and shooting guard. 

    Patty Mills and Joe Harris carry low salaries at both FanDuel and DraftKings. Rostering one or both of those players would allow you more flexibility to add mid-range stars to a forward lineup of superstars. 

    In Brooklyn's last preseason game, Harris scored 23 points in 29 minutes. Mills came off the bench to provide six points, two rebounds and two assists over 21 minutes. 

    Based off preseason usage, Harris is the Nets guard you must have in your lineup as a depth piece. He is tabbed for a starting spot, and Brooklyn needs a third scorer to support Harden and Durant. 

    Mills is an intriguing option off the bench since he averaged at least 9.5 points per game in his last five seasons with the San Antonio Spurs. Mills averaged over two three-point makes per contest in his final two seasons under Gregg Popovich.

    Jordan Poole should be the top value play in the nightcap. He is expected to see significant minutes with Thompson still working back to 100 percent. 

    Poole averaged 12 points per game last season for Golden State. He should be used as a supporting piece in the scoring department to Curry and Andrew Wiggins. 

    There is also a strategy in which you can mix and match superstars and depth pieces. Curry, Harden and Westbrook are the top guard options.

    There is a scenario in which Durant scores more than Harden and Westbrook focuses on assisting Davis and James in his new role. 

    In that case, it would be wiser to roster the star forwards and mix in the depth pieces at guard. If you flip around that strategy, it could be hard to find value plays at forwards that will significantly boost your roster. 


    Statistics obtained from Basketball Reference.   

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