Isn’t it nice to have NBA DFS back? Our first slate of the season will be Tuesday night with opening night in the NBA. The Brooklyn Nets will watch the Milwaukee Bucks raise their championship banner from 2020-21. Kevin Durant and James Harden will be without the unvaccinated Kyrie Irving, who is away from the team since he can only be a part-time player. The Bucks bring back basically the same roster from the championship run.
Let’s take a look at the DraftKings Showdown contest and how to approach lineup construction.
So there are three realistic options for Captain. Giannis Antetokounmpo ($18,000), Kevin Durant ($17,700) and James Harden ($17,100). Those three will carry the highest ownership at captain and rightfully so. Each has the highest ceiling of the player pool. Harden figures to do less on offense and more distributing the ball, which doesn’t necessarily hurt his value. He’s the cheapest of the trio and arguably has the most upside.
This doesn’t feel like a game we get cute and play someone else at Captain. You can make a case for someone like Khris Middleton ($13,200) and even Jrue Holiday ($12,600) or Joe Harris ($11,100). Roster construction is actually somewhat appealing paying down at Captain as well. It allows you to fit in two of the big three in this game. You just have to hope value pans out in a sort of reverse stars and scrubs approach.
You really just need the stars to underperform a bit at Captain and for one of those high-to-mid options to overachieve a bit. It’s not a crazy thought given the matchup. The books think this game will be high scoring (237.5 over/under). That feels unlikely to hit and we should see a point total closer to 215 or 220. That could mean more defense and more concentrated scoring on the top guys. So the more of them in your lineup the better. If that means paying down for Middleton, Harris or Holiday at Captain, we can get on board.
There’s a lot of interesting value in this contest. The two guys you’ll probably find yourself gravitating toward the most are Patty Mills ($2,800) and Grayson Allen ($3,200). Both figure to play a big role off the bench. Plus, Allen signed a two-year extension on Monday prior to the opener without even playing a regular-season game. That says a bit about what type of role he’ll play. Mills is getting a lot of hype for 6th Man of the Year. He also played great over the summer in the Olympics.
The other popular Nets bench player will be LaMarcus Aldridge ($4,200), who figures to play the crunch time minutes at center over Nic Claxton, the likely starter. The Nets can roll with a lot of versatile lineups including LMA, Blake Griffin ($6,800), Harris, Durant and Harden. The prices suggest Griffin will get more minutes and usage than LMA and Claxton, but that may not be the case. Aldridge being a bit chalky is the only issue.
My sneaky, sneaky cheap play from the Nets side is my boy Jevon Carter ($1,400), former Mountaineer great. Carter figures to get some run at PG with Irving not with the team. Outside of Harden, Carter is the only pure PG on the roster. He also brings some intensity on defense and can sometimes knock down a shot or two. At near min-price, Carter is a good way to cram in 3-4 expensive plays.
Brook Lopez ($7,200) and Griffin feel like the most overpriced players in the contest. We’ll have to see what projections tell us about their ownership, but neither is a ceiling play. Both would be strictly for leverage off the field in bigger tournaments. Lopez would need to hit 4-5 three-pointers to return value. Griffin — as was mentioned above — could cede minutes to Aldridge and Claxton in the front court. The Nets can also go with smaller lineups featuring Harden, Harris, Bruce Brown ($2,400), Durant and LMA or Claxton.
Overall, the spread and over/under tell us different stories. Usually, a high-scoring game like the point total suggests means a track meet where one team sort of runs away from the other. The spread has the Nets as 1.5-point favorites so it’s expected to be close. The defending champions at home after raising a banner will be underdogs is a weird thing to think about. Particularly when the Nets have had a pretty rocky offseason dealing with Kyrie Irving drama.
Final score: Bucks 112, Nets 106