Wednesday features a 12-game slate starting at 7 p.m. ET.
Let’s dive into some of the top plays on the slate using the FantasyLabs tools and metrics.
Note: Projections and Leverages Scores/Ratings may change throughout the day after this article is posted. The NBA DFS landscape changes quickly.
Consult the NBA Player Models directly for any updates as we get closer to lock.
NBA DFS Point Guard Picks
Leading the way in our NBA Model ceiling projections for this 12-game slate is Mavericks’ point guard Luka Doncic. He is listed as questionable but did practice yesterday, so it would be shocking if he missed the season opener. Doncic led the league last year in DraftKings scoring with 59.9 points per game. Not only that, but he set a career-high with 32.4 points per game while shooting 49.6% from the field. Even at his lofty salary on both sites, Doncic can still pay off his price tag.
The Spurs were one of the best matchups for opposing teams last season, as they ranked last in Defensive Rating and second in Pace. They did add highly-touting rookie Victor Wembanyama to provide a presence at the rim, but this is still likely a team to attack this season in DFS.
Doncic torched the Spurs last year, averaging 39.5 points per game, while shooting 57.8% from the field and 43.8% from behind the arc in their two meetings. He is expensive but the best play on the slate if he’s healthy.
After spending his last four years backing up Ja Morant in Memphis, Tyus Jones was released and picked up by the Washington Wizards during the offseason to be their starting point guard. Jones had made several spot starts for the Grizzlies in the past and always impressed. He averaged a career-high 10.3 points and 5.2 assists per game last season.
This matchup against the Pacers is one of the best game environment spots on the slate. The total has risen to 235 points as the Pace of this game will be very quick. The Pacers were fifth in Pace last season, and the new-look Wizards were fifth in Pace during the preseason.
Jones is leading all players in Projected Plus/Minus on FanDuel and is first among all guards on DraftKings. Expected to play about 35 minutes in his first Wizards game, Jones is one of the best salary savers on the slate.
Marcus Smart could also be classified as a value play on DraftKings at $5,800 as he will make his debut with the Grizzlies after nine seasons with the Celtics. Smart will take most of the ball-handling duties for the Grizzlies, who are playing without Ja Morant. Known for his defense and facilitating, Smart has a chance to make an impact right away with his new team. He is one of several Grizzlies players who look fantastic on this 12-game slate.
Prioritize him on DraftKings at his cheap salary.
NBA DFS Shooting Guard Picks
Coming in with a slate-high 10 Pro Trends on DraftKings, Desmond Bane projects to be one of the better plays of the day. With Ja Morant suspended for the first 25 games, Bane will get a nice usage bump to start the season. In 16 games without Morant last season, Bane’s usage rate jumped to 28.5% as his scoring and passing both increased. The Grizzlies did acquire Marcus Smart, but he has always been a pass-first guard, as he led the Celtics in assists over the last four seasons.
Bane had a team-high +7.34 DraftKings Plus/Minus and a +5.71% usage rate last season with Morant, Tyus Jones, Dillon Brooks, and Steven Adams (injured) off the floor. He looked great in the preseason averaging 22 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game while shooting 50.8% from the field and 48.3% from behind the arc.
The Pelicans are a difficult matchup on the perimeter, but Bane’s usage rate and recent production sets him up to have a successful opening night.
Priced at $5,300 on both DraftKings and FanDuel, veteran point guard Dennis Schroder will be a popular value play. The journeyman is expected to start at point guard for the Raptors. Schroder looked solid in the preseason, finishing with an 11-assist performance against the Wizards. He is always active and can capture fantasy points in several ways. He is projected to play around 32 minutes and be a strong value play on both sites.
The Raptors host the Timberwolves as a slight home underdog, but this is another game that should come close or exceed their point total. The Timberwolves played at the seventh-fastest Pace last season, and Schroder is one of the fastest point guards with the ball. Prioritize Schroder on FanDuel, where his salary fits better, and he has dual eligibility at guard.
It is safe to say Donovan Mitchell‘s first year with the Cavaliers was a success, as he averaged a career-high 28.3 points per game while shooting over 45% from the field for the first time ever. There was a chance that Darius Garland would miss this game, but he is now expected to play. Regardless, this is a spot worth considering, as Mitchell always has boom or bust potential. Mitchell’s 32.1% usage rate and 20.6 field goal attempts per game last season easily led the Cavaliers, and expect more of the same this season.
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NBA DFS Small Forward Picks
Jayson Tatum has increased his points per game in each season since entering the league in 2017, getting up to 30.1 last year. The Celtics acquired Jrue Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis during the offseason, so it remains to be seen how that will affect the Celtics star. For what it’s worth, Tatum did lead all starters during the preseason with a 26.1% usage rate. That is down from his 32.6% during the regular season last year, but it is still promising to see the offense still run through Tatum.
It is projected that no one is going to pay up at small forward tonight, which makes Tatum one of the better leverage plays in tournaments. Tatum’s salary and role uncertainty are keeping the public away. While all of those question marks are valid, Tatum was one of the best bets to make for the league MVP this season and has averaged 25.2 points per game at Madison Square Garden over his last five trips.
Keep Tatum to tournaments only, but he is a great way to get different on this slate.
Jeremy Sochan has wild position eligibility on both sites but is a great value that needs to be mentioned. Sochan has point guard and small forward eligibility on DraftKings and point guard and power forward eligibility on FanDuel. His duel eligibility makes him easy to fit into all lineup builds. In his rookie season, Sochan ended up averaging 11 points per game and captured several peripherals. He scored double-digit points in 16 of his last 17 games when he played 20 or more minutes.
Sochan is projected to start at point guard for the Spurs and play around 30 minutes. His defense will be put to the test against the elite Mavericks’ guards, but Sochan did have a strong preseason with seven total steals through four games. Priced in the value range and being so easy to fit as a guard or forward, Sochan will be a key piece in cash games tonight.
Zach LaVine is an intriguing option with shooting guard and small forward eligibility on both DraftKings and FanDuel. He has 10 Pro Trends on both sites and seems too cheap, especially on DraftKings at $6,800. LaVine doesn’t provide many peripherals but can get hot in a hurry. He led the Bulls in scoring and usage rate last season and has averaged 24+ points per game for the last four years. Playing against the Thunder, who ranked third in Pace last season, should work out well.
NBA DFS Power Forward Picks
Lauri Markkanen took a major leap last season in his first year with the Jazz. After several average seasons with the Bulls and a short stint with the Cavaliers, Markkanen exploded onto the scene averaging a career-high 25.6 points and 8.6 rebounds per game with the Jazz, shooting an impressive 49.9% from the field and 39.2% from downtown. Over his last 15 games to end the season, Markkanen had a 31.6% usage rate as he attempted 20 or more field goals in 13 of those games.
This matchup against the Kings is the best game environment on the slate. The total currently sits at 236.5 points, with the Kings being a one-point road favorite. The Kings ranked 24th in points per game allowed in the paint last season, which bodes well for Markkanen, who took advantage of the lack of Kings interior size last year, averaging 32 points per game.
Obi Toppin on DraftKings at the stone minimum is an absolute steal. He leads all players on DraftKings with a +12.89 Plus/Minus, as he is projected to play around 30 minutes. Toppin was electric during the preseason ending with a 17-point, 9-rebound performance against the Cavaliers, including a between-the-legs transition dunk. He will start at power forward for the Pacers tonight in that up-tempo game environment against the Wizards, which suits his skillset perfectly.
To no surprise, Toppin will likely be the highest-owned player on DraftKings tonight. His cheap salary allows for a stars and scrubs lineup build, which is always enticing in NBA DFS. His $5,100 salary on FanDuel is much tougher to get to but still reasonable, given the game environment. Lock in Toppin for DraftKings cash games and get exposure in tournaments.
Victor Wembanyama is one of the biggest question marks on the slate. We saw his extreme versatility in the preseason, where he averaged 19.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.8 blocks per game while shooting 50.9% from the field. He had a team-high 33.9% usage rate in only 21 minutes per game of action. Priced in the upper midrange on both sites, he looks like a strong option with upside. This is a great spot against the Mavericks, who may be starting rookie Dereck Lively.
NBA DFS Center Picks
In his first full season with the Kings, Domantas Sabonis had an incredible year averaging a 19-point, 12-rebound double-double and setting a career-high with 7.3 assists per game. He also shot 61.3% from the field and 37.3% from behind the arc. Sabonis’ shooting was exposed by the Warriors in their playoff series, but he should have no trouble in this matchup against the Jazz. Last year, Sabonis averaged 19 points, 13 rebounds, and eight assists in four games against the Jazz.
The Jazz allowed 53 points per game in the paint last season, which was the sixth-highest in the league. This matchup sets up nicely for Sabonis to showcase his skillset with an outside chance of capturing a triple-double. Sabonis did record a double-double in each of his last three preseason games, where he played 24 or more minutes. He looks a little better on FanDuel, given that he has center and power forward eligibility. His projected ownership is too low for his potential upside.
Jaren Jackson Jr. priced in the midrange, always makes for an intriguing roster, especially considering that both Ja Morant and Steven Adams are not playing for the foreseeable future. Jackson has the third-highest Projected Plus/Minus on both DraftKings and FanDuel and will likely be very popular. He is coming off his best year yet, averaging a career-high 18.6 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. Jackson finally shot fewer 3-pointers, which increased his field goal percentage to 50.6%.
The matchup isn’t great against the Pelicans frontcourt, but Jackson is projected for over a 26% usage rate. He led the league last year with three blocks per game, which increases his upside. The Pelicans were middle of the pack in blocks allowed per game last season. If he can get a few shots to fall, then Jackson is going to pay off his price tag with ease.
Similar to Jaren Jackson Jr., Evan Mobley is priced in the midrange and is projected for around 30% ownership on both sites. He has power forward and center eligibility and is expected to be another breakout star. Mobley averaged a near double-double last season with 16.2 points and nine rebounds per game. He shot 55.4% from the field and provided 1.5 blocks per game, which tied for the ninth-highest in the league. Mobley can capture fantasy points in a variety of ways.