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FanDuel NBA: Tuesday Value Plays

We're set for Opening Night of the NBA's first 82-game regular season since the 2018-19 campaign, and the schedule makers have unsurprisingly teed up a star-studded two-game slate that includes the defending champion Bucks. While the reduced number of games narrows our player pool, there are still plenty of appealing candidates to choose from across the salary scale, and enough selections below the very elite options to round out lineups nicely.

Slate Overview

Here's a closer look at the two games on Tuesday's Opening Night slate:

Brooklyn Nets at Milwaukee Bucks (Projected total: 236.0 points)

While Kyrie Irving will not be suiting up for Brooklyn, these two teams still bring plenty of offensive firepower and combined for 248, 231 and 242 points in three regular-season meetings last season. Last year's semifinal between the clubs featured notably less offense, but with LaMarcus Aldridgeback in the fold for Brooklyn, the Nets could certainly do their part to keep the scoring up against what should once again be a very fast-paced Bucks squad.


Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Lakers (Projected total: 227.5 points)

The Warriors won't be at full strength until Klay Thompson (Achilles) is back and hitting on all cylinders, but they still bring plenty of scoring upside to the table with Stephen Curry, Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green and a now-healthy Otto Porter. Jordan Poole has also demonstrated he may be ready to take the next step this preseason, and the Lakers have significantly boosted their overall offensive potency with the addition of Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony to a core once again spearheaded by LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

Injury Situations to Monitor


Kyrie Irving, BRO (personal)/ Status: OUT

Irving's absence will naturally lead to even more usage for James Harden and Kevin Durant in particular, as well as the rest of the starting five to varying degree.

Donte DiVincenzo, MIL (foot)/ Status: OUT

DiVincenzo remains out with the foot injury he suffered during last year's championship run, which should lead to a starting run at two-guard for newcomer Grayson Allen for the time being.

Bobby Portis, MIL (hamstring)/ Status: OUT

Portis' absence should afford Jordan Nwora more time behind Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Kendrick Nunn, LAL (ankle)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE

If Nunn is able to suit up Tuesday, he'll be slated to serve as Russell Westbrook's primary backup.

Other notable injuries:

James Wiseman, GSW (knee)/ Status: OUT

Klay Thompson, GSW (Achilles)/ Status: OUT

Jonathan Kuminga, GSW (knee)/ Status: OUT

Wayne Ellington, LAL (hamstring)/ Status: OUT

Talen Horton-Tucker, LAL (thumb)/ Status: OUT

Trevor Ariza, LAL (ankle)/ Status: OUT

Malik Monk, LAL (groin)/ Status: PROBABLE

Elite Players

We have five players with five-figure salaries on Tuesday's slate: Giannis Antetokounmpo($11,000), Kevin Durant ($10,800), James Harden ($10,600), LeBron James ($10,500) and Anthony Davis ($10,000).

Antetokounmpo averaged 54.6 FD points per game last season and averaged 39.7 points, 10.7 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.0 block across 37.7 minutes over three regular-season games versus the Nets, shooting 48.9 percent, including 38.5 percent from three.

Durant put up 49.2 FD points per contest in the 2020-21 campaign and was about as effective as Giannis was against KD's Nets. Durant averaged 34.7 points, 9.3 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.3 blocks across 38.7 minutes over three regular-season games vs. Milwaukee, and he averaged 56 FD points per 36 minutes with Irving off the floor.

Harden tallied 50.5 FD points per contest last season, and with even more on-ball opportunities every time Kyrie was out, he averaged 58.6 FD points per 36 minutes with his teammate off the floor while generating a massive 34.9 percent usage rate.

James is reportedly set to log 34-36 minutes per game on average this season according to coach Frank Vogel, and he'll open the campaign against a Warriors team he shot 51.2 percent against in three games last season, including 43.8 percent from distance. It will be interesting to see how Russell Westbrook and James adapt to playing together, but LeBron could see at least a slight drop in the 7.8 assists per game he averaged last season with fewer ball-handling opportunities overall.

Davis posted a 17-point, 17-rebound double-double in his one game against Golden State last season, and the big man could be set for another big night on the boards given his height advantage on Kevon Looney down low.

Expected Chalk

In addition to the players just mentioned in the prior section, other likely chalk plays include:

Stephen Curry, GSW ($9,800)

Curry was outstanding last season with an average of 47.8 FD points and a career-high 32.0 points per contest. He'll once again serve as the Warriors' primary scoring source, especially with Klay Thompson (Achilles) still sidelined.

Russell Westbrook, LAL ($9,500)

Westbrook should once again enjoy an extremely high-usage role despite sharing the floor with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, and his assists should be as robust as ever as a result of playing alongside the two stars.

Jrue Holiday, MIL ($8,500)

Holiday had a couple of rough offensive games last postseason but remains a key component of Milwaukee's attack and finished last season with an average of 38 FD points per game.

Khris Middleton, MIL ($7,800)

Much like Holiday, Middleton will be a critical complementary piece in the Bucks' title defense and averaged 38.1 FD points per game last season. He was also outstanding in three regular-season games against the Nets, putting up 24.7 points (on 50.8 percent shooting), 7.3 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 2.7 steals across 36 minutes per contest.

Other likely chalk plays: Andrew Wiggins, GSW ($7,200); Draymond Green, GSW ($7,000)

Key Values

Bruce Brown, BRO at MIL ($4,900)

Irving's absence will have the domino effect of moving Brown into the starting lineup against a Bucks team he shot 52.8 percent against in last postseason's seven-game showdown. Brown also averaged 33.5 FD points per 36 minutes with Irving off the floor last season, and he delivered at least 5x value on his current salary on 31 occasions overall, including the playoffs.

Jordan Poole, GSW at LAL ($4,900)

Poole is slated to open the season as the starting shooting guard and displayed a ceiling north of 50 FD points during the 2020-21 campaign. The third-year wing delivered at least 5x value on his current salary on 13 occasions overall, and he shot a respectable 45.5 percent against the Lakers in limited action across two games. Poole is coming off a strong preseason as well and should see a boost in the 9.3 shot attempts per game he averaged last season while playing just 19.4 minutes per contest in what was mostly a rotational role.

ALSO CONSIDER: LaMarcus Aldridge, BRO at MIL ($4,100)

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