The Core Four
CJ McCollum– He is just way too cheap to not be playing right now. When he and Lillard share the floor with anyone else on Portland he is the unquestioned number two option. What I see is when Lillard is off the floor McCollum is the guy who the ball is running through his hands every single possession. He will get around 20 shots up basically every night. The matchup with Bledsoe will be tougher compared to Eric Gordon Wednesday, but the pace of the game will make up for that.
Joffrey Lauvergne– He did not play that well against Houston, and only play 20 minutes when the game went smaller with Houston trying to create turnovers and score in transition. Even with all of that he still scored plenty of fantasy points for his cost. He is still really cheap and now gets a matchup with a bigger team in Minnesota.
Giannis Antetokoumpo– It was obvious that Milwaukee is not the same team without Giannis. Milwaukee played New York Wednesday and got slaughtered because they could not defend the same way due to the inability to switch like they can with Giannis. Jason Kidd knows he needs Giannis and will get him engaged in the offense in the first half to get him competing against Washington. The Wizards will most likely go small for matchups with Milwaukee and that type of play is massively in the favor of Giannis.
Emmanuel Mudiay– He had 11 turnovers in against Houston and still was able to put together a solid fantasy day. His touches in the offense will not change in a matchup with Rubio who I expect to play below average with his new emphasis on scoring on offensive. I think Mudiay is not going to get the ownership percentage that he should because of all the point guards playing in solid matchups.
Damian Lillard– He is on the level of elite now for fantasy point guards. He gets a matchup with Brandon Knight, who has taken a step back defensively since coming to Phoenix last year. The matchup will be a bit tougher compared to Wednesday, but his volume is about as good as you can get. One day his price will catch up with his volume so take advantage of it while you can.
Stephen Curry– He will not play as good as he did against New Orleans, but he does not need to. The matchup against Lawson is going to get ugly, and I could see Beverly come in and try and slow down Curry. Curry needs a good 2nd half in this one as I could see him deferring to his teammates early on. He is so unselfish and does not like hogging the ball.
Nikola Vucevic– The matchup he will get at times with Kanter makes him such a good play alone. When you play a good team you tend to want to get the ball in the post more to attempt to slow the game down. Orlando does that anyways and he rebounds at a high level. If you are looking for a guaranteed tonight Vucevic will get a 20-10 game tonight.
Derrick Favors– He is just dominant. When you watch him play Power Forward you just think that Favors is playing as a man amongst boys. The matchup with Noel does not scare me at all. Favors is cheap and will not have the exposure he should so you can grab him for some easy diversification. When he plays athletes like Noel he seems to enjoy playing against someone who tries to block his shot.
James Harden– Harden really struggled against Denver and knows he has to play well to get Houston to become a elite team. Harden gets a matchup with Klay Thompson and The Finals MVP Andre Igoudala so he will be tested. That said this is a statement game for Harden since Houston was bounced from the playoffs against Golden State. I cannot say he is a must play because of his price but he should definitely be worked into your lineups if you are playing more than one.
Nikola Mirotic– For someone who plays like Mirotic you would think he would not have good fantasy games a lot of the time. He just gets a little of every stat to complement his scoring so his consistency is about as good as you can get for his cost.
Eric Bledsoe– Bledsoe is your alternative for spending at Shooting Guard if you do not want to spend on Harden. Bledsoe gets a cupcake matchup with McCollum and will put together a nice overall game Bledsoe was kind of pitiful against Dallas so you will need to give him a good matchup to get the most out of him now that Bledsoe is not considered the guy that we all thought he was going to become last year.
Marreese Speights and Festus Ezeli– Both of these guys could end up having a good game splitting time at center with Bogut out with the concussion. I want to lean with Ezeli because I expect him to play more, but Speights has good scoring upside when he gets minutes. Foul trouble will also dictate these two with Dwight Howard back in the lineup for Houston.
Danny Green– This is really a conspiracy theory I have with Green. Coach Pop embarrassed him in Brooklyn last year while celebrating a shot that he thought would have been a game winner. He will remember that for the rest of his life because of how viral it went. With this completely ridiculous reason I think Green is a sneaky tournament play. The game is in San Antonio also after a tough loss against Oklahoma City so somebody like Green makes a good player to play for truly unique ownership.
Kobe Bryant– He gets to play against his a team who has nobody who can guard him at shooting guard. He will want to get shots up knowing that he does not want to see The Lakers get in a 0-2 hole to start the season.
Ricky Rubio– Apparently he wants to score the ball now. Not surprising as he is a good player with good leadership coming from the veterans. The tempo with Denver will help a lot get somewhere close to his production from Wednesday, but do not expect that type of play from him tonight at all.
Brook Lopez– Another person nobody will have. Brooklyn is on the road against San Antonio and will get blown out, but Lopez will have a good game despite the good defense of Duncan. Lopez is taking a high number of the possessions with post ups and transition mid range jump shots. If he can get some rebounds he will be fine.
Lebron James– Playing against Miami alone makes him worth a look. James will get the matchup with Deng who Lebron loves playing against. Deng has lateral quickness issues these days and Lebron will be in full attack mode. Miami is actually a good team now so you do not have to worry about Lebron resting. This will be a competitive game that I expect Miami to win, but with Lebron trying to carry Cleveland late.
Russell Westbrook– The matchup with Elfrid Payton is my only reason. Matchups are everything with me, but this is the only reason to not play Westbrook.
Jahill Okafor– Again the matchup with Gobert. Gobert makes Utah a great defense by himself. Okafor also seems like he will be turning the ball over a lot because of all the looks he will get because of how bad Philadelphia’s guards are.
Kyle Lowry– Marcus Smart will be the primary defender on him, so really no reason to play Lowry.
Atlanta Hawks– Back to back against the slow paced Hornets. Atlanta played last night and had to play guys down the stretch because New York made a run to keep the game competitive. Just avoid them all together.
*Note Kyle Korver is out as well so this just creates false hope for other players picking up minutes. Unless Schroder picks up some of those minutes this is still avoidable in my opinion.
Klay Thompson– Once again I think he will have a dud game. He has to play against Harden anyways so his job will not to be to get a lot of shots up.
Final Notes: I do not collaborate with Mike when writing this article every day. For all I know he could be leaning towards using everyone I say to fade. This article is intended to be another viewpoint. Always use the RotoMinds projections and Optimal Linueps as a primary source and use The Eye Test as another look on everything.