Injuries to Monitor
Editor's note: James Harden was deemed questionable after this article was written due to health and safety protocols.
Clint Capela (achilles): DOUBTFUL
Capela nursed the same injury throughout the preseason but didn't miss a game though it seems likely he will be out tonight. Onyeka Okongwu is also out so John Collins ($7,600) and Bruno Fernando ($3,000) should handle the bulk of the minutes at center.
Kevin Love (calf): OUT
Larry Nance Jr. ($5,900) is expected to start in Love's place. He projects well with extended minutes and has been a popular play in similar situations in the past. However, the CLE-CHA game isn't very appealing and there will be plenty of cheaper value elsewhere.
Chris Paul (ankle): PROBABLE
Paul has been dealing with a sore ankle recently but that shouldn't stop him from making his Suns debut. He's in a favorable spot as the DAL-PHX game has the highest total on the slate. Don't let the injury tag stop you from playing him.
With 26 teams playing tonight, there are elite players all over the board. Luka Doncic ($10,000) projects best. He's playing in a game that should be competitive and has the highest total on the slate. Not to mention, his usage will be slightly higher than normal as Kristaps Porzingis is still out injured.
Giannis Antetokounmpo ($10,200) and James Harden ($10,400) are viable pivots from a raw points and comparable ceiling perspective. Choosing a center or two could be the toughest and most important decision of the night.
There are multiple value options if you want to pay down and some of them will be chalky so paying up for an elite center could provide decent leverage. Joel Embiid ($9,800), Karl-Anthony Towns ($9,700) and Nikola Jokic ($9,600) are all priced similarly and any one of them could be the slate's highest scorer. I'm leaning towards Towns as his boom potential for a ceiling game is slightly higher in this spot.
Trae Young ($9,400), Russell Westbrook ($9,300) and Damian Lillard ($9,000) are all good options at point guard. We've seen them all priced over 10K in the past so you may be able to get a big ceiling game for a slight discount. As far as picking between the three, I would choose the one who is playing against a player already in your lineup.
It's difficult to project chalk early on a 13 game slate. Remember to always check news around lock time as things change fast in the NBA.
Wendell Carter Jr. ($4,400) and Lauri Markkanen ($4,800) will be popular plays tonight as both are priced too cheap for their projections. Good chalk on a massive slate needs to have a ceiling and either guy could have a big game in this spot.
Christian Wood ($6,300) is another guy who fits that bill. He price rose to more than 8K at the end of last season and he's just too cheap for his upside as Houston's starting center.
Al Horford ($6,000) will likely be popular in that range as well. Killian Hayes ($3,900) and George Hill ($3,600) are also too cheap for starting guards who play with the ball in their hands. Both are risky as they are new to their respective teams so minutes and rotations are hard to predict.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ($7,500) will have an expanded role this season with the departure of Chris Paul and other veterans. His usage is likely to be amongst the highest in the league and he probably won't stay this cheap for long. His minutes were limited in the preseason but he should be full-go for tonight.
There is quite a bit of potential value at center tonight. I would be most confident playing PJ Washington ($4,200), Nerlens Noel ($3,600) or Mason Plumlee ($3,700) as they all should be starting but Hassan Whiteside ($3,800) and Bismack Biyombo ($3,000) could also hit value from the bench. Another reminder to check starting lineups before lock and make sure your value plays have ceilings. Some of these cheap centers never play more than around 20 minutes but they will still be touted as value plays because they are cash viable. Go for upside instead.