Today is a short slate of games like every Thursday will be during the NBA season. I recommend playing a few lineups (up to 5) to keep your risk at a minimum. You basically have to have it right on a short slate with almost no margin of error.
The Core Four
Deandre Jordan– Something tells me this will be a statement game for Jordan. He wears his emotions on his sleeve and knowing him he will want to come out and make everyone at American Airlines Center feel the big hole that was left when he jettisoned back to Los Angeles. Doc and Chris Paul will want to get him the ball to let Jordan know he made the right decision.
*Note on Deandre Jordan: I have no issue with playing Marc Gasol tonight as I see him having a good game as well due to the beatdown Memphis took from Cleveland last night. I personally want Jordan because of the emotions.
**Jordan Hill will be getting the start at power forward tonight as well. Consider him in play as well and get exposure to him if you are using multiple lineups.
Blake Griffin– Not playing Blake tonight could be costly. He played so well against Sacramento last night and Dallas has nobody who can guard him. No chance he does not at least get 40 fantasy points tonight.
Paul George– He did not shoot the ball well against Toronto and had Carroll guarding him most of the game. George will cause Memphis to change their game plan. George also is doing a lot of the primary distribution on the perimeter causing him to gather in more assists.
Raymond Felton– For some reason Felton has figured out that the way he played in Charlotte years ago is how he will have longevity in the NBA. He is attacking more and not taking horrible midrange shots like he was doing for the last few years. Coach Carlisle loves what Raymond has been doing for the team in training camp and has rewarded him with minutes. Deron Williams might not play as well so this only increases the minutes he plays.
Not spending at Shooting Guard– This seems like a no brainer to me but I have to put this at the top of the primary options. With the exception of Kyle Korver, you should be playing a minimum priced shooting guard today. Sasha Vujaic is the must play of that crop, and you can not go wrong with Lance Stephenson or Kent Bazemore. Save all the money you can on this position so you can load up on other spots.
Chris Paul– Paul played above average last night, which is surprising to me. The lobs to Griffin and Jordan could give him tons of extra assists and Raymond Felton is not exactly a defensive stopper. I have no problems with playing the big 3 for the Clippers tonight because as a group you are looking for about 140 fantasy points between all of them.
Jeff Teague– He started getting it going towards the end of the game with Detroit. Coach Bud will eventually realize that he will have to play Teague and Schroder together more in order to keep the offense more dynamic and free flowing. Atlanta is the only team playing tonight that did not play last night so it would not be surprising to see them try and get off to a hot start to get a good lead going into the second half. Teague always will be fine if he can get a good first quarter under his belt. I fully expect that to happen tonight and he is a great pivot off of Chris Paul if you are looking for the extra savings in the salary cap.
Dennis Schroder– He has to play and have a high usage rate. A lot of people would be surprised if Atlanta lost Dennis for the season how much the offense would regress. He could also be the big beneficiary of garbage time in the late 3rd quarter and early 4th quarter if the game gets out of hand.
Paul Milsap– He gets a matchup against Porzingis, who is just as weak as everyone thought he was coming into last night. Milsap is crafty and strong and will be able to use that in this matchup. Atlanta players tend to get a lot of their points in two or three stretches of the game. Milsap will be getting he work done in the 3rd quarter when he starts to mentally drain Porzingis. Patience will be key with Milsap tonight.
JJ Barea– If Williams sits get some exposure to Barea. He could easily have a better game compared to Raymond Felton. They could both easily play well and it not really matter who you play between the two. Barea has a little more risk just because he is not a starter.
Carmelo Anthony– He basically gets automatically put here because of the slate itself and not because of his opportunity. However, He does have a good matchup with the Atlanta starters and will probably get rolling in the first quarter until Coach Bud goes to the bench to put Thabo in the game. Considering how poor Anthony played last night I actually think he will do well tonight in the Madison Square Garden home opener. He responds to the bright lights when it is early in the season and he thinks New York is actually a good team.
Jeremy Evans– Coach Carlisle basically is trying out Evans as his gadget guy off the bench. These guys play multiple positions and have find was to collect stats. Evans is athletic and has not true position in the NBA so he fits this mold perfectly. He is cheap and could be a fine play with Nowitzki and Wes Matthews playing on a back to back.
Derrick Williams– If I had to pick someone who impressed me the most Wednesday, I would go with Williams. He was all over the place for New York. Transition dunks, getting to the foul line, and the overall energy he provided to swing the game massively in New Yorks favor late in the 1st quarter and into the 2nd quarter. His minutes will be shaky at times, but he does have a rookie playing in front of him so opportunities will open up for Williams.
Jeff Green– The game could go small due to the fact that Indiana is small also. Green might be forced to play more power forward. Tony Allen will be getting more time to ratchet up the defensive focus also. Green is sneaky sometimes because he can be a real disappointment when he is not scoring points. He does not gather other stats very well anymore so he has to make shots. He should get the playing time tonight at least to
CJ Miles– I do not buy him having a good game tonight. He got a lot of random open threes last night and plays against Memphis tonight who got embarrassed against Cleveland. The defense will be on full display and nobody will be getting open looks.
Zach Randolph– He does not fit into this game at all. He will be guarding someone who he should not be guarding and might cause him to be taken off the floor.
Al Horford– Robin Lopez will make him work somewhat. Something tells me this will be a perimeter-oriented game and Horford will not get his normal looks.