Happy Halloween! Don’t be scared, if you’re looking for some fantasy basketball action to add some treats to your goodie bag, the NBA has a compact, three-game slate lined up for Tuesday night. The Magic are the only team finishing a back-to-back, while the Cavs, Clippers and Knicks are on both Tuesday and Wednesday’s schedule.
Let’s dive into some of the top plays on the slate using the FantasyLabs tools and projections.
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.
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NBA DFS Point Guard Picks
On this limited slate, there are two main stud point guards to pick from, and I’ll go with Russell Westbrook over Jalen Brunson. Westbrook is cheaper on both DraftKings and FanDuel, and his Pts/Sal and Projected Plus/Minus are much better than Brunson’s, even though Brunson’s raw projections are slightly higher. If you have the salary available, Brunson isn’t a bad play, but there are better ways to spend at other positions based on the projections.
Westbrook has looked good in two of his three games to start the season, with a weird four-point outlier in Utah sandwiched between multi-category stat lines against the Spurs and Blazers. Those two good games were both at home, where he’ll face the Magic in one of the better matchups of the night.
So far this season, Westbrook has averaged 1.06 DraftKings points and 1.0 FanDuel points per minute with just a 17.4% Usage%. In his current role alongside Paul George and Kawhi Leonard (who are both expected to play), Westbrook isn’t the usage monster he used to be when he was Mr. Triple-Double. He’s still chipping in across all categories, though, and should be a solid option on Tuesday.
Westbrook is projected for over 36 minutes at home against Orlando. He’s expected to play so many minutes partly because the Clippers traded away so much depth in the James Harden trade that went down overnight. When Harden arrives, Westbrook’s workload will shift dramatically, but for Tuesday, he should carry a big enough workload to deliver at his price point.
The team that deserves most of your attention on Tuesday, according to our projections, is the Suns. They have the highest implied team total on the Vegas Dashboard and offer amazing value at multiple positions. The Spurs have been a great matchup in the early going this season, playing at a top-10 pace with a bottom-five Defensive Rating. They’re aggressive, young, and fun to watch, but they’re also fun to stack against for fantasy basketball.
One of the most highly-rated values on the slate is Suns point guard Jordan Goodwin, who was acquired in the trade with Bradley Beal but has had to step into a much larger role than expected in the early part of the season since both Beal (back) and Devin Booker (foot, doubtful) have been sidelined. Since that’s expected to continue in this juicy matchup vs. the Spurs, Goodwin has the highest Projected Plus/Minus of all players at all positions on both DraftKings and FanDuel. He is also projected for the most Pts/Sal on the entire slate.
Almost any way you build your roster, it makes sense to have this affordable guard on your team unless you’re just going for a wildly contrarian position. Goodwin has been very productive in his expanded role, averaging 1.0 DraftKings points and 0.99 FanDuel points per minute. He has produced in a variety of stat categories, which makes him a lower risk since he’s not overly scoring-reliant.
Goodwin is projected for almost 27 minutes on Tuesday night in one of the softest matchups on the board. His Opponents Plus/Minus is the best of any player on the slate on DraftKings and the highest of all point guards on FanDuel, where he has the second-highest of any positional matchup on the slate.
For as long as his salary stays under $5K and the Suns are without Beal and Booker, Goodwin will continue to be an elite value with a high ceiling.
On the other side of the Spurs-Suns matchup, Tre Jones had out-performed salary-based expectations in the first two games of the season before the whole team, including Jones, fell flat on Sunday against the Clippers. He should be a solid mid-range target in a bounce-back spot.
Another mid-range play with promise is the Magic’s Markelle Fultz, who started the season with two down games but looked much better on Monday with 36.5 DraftKings points and 38.8 FanDuel points against the Lakers. Fultz actually brings the second-highest Pts/Sal and Projected Plus/Minus at the position on FanDuel, just behind Goodwin.
If you want to go with a bargain point guard, Bones Hyland, Jalen Suggs, and Norman Powell stand out as cheap plays on DraftKings. Powell and Hyland could get some extra work with all the absences expected for the Clippers. They both are projected for usage just over 20% and if they end up close to 30 minutes, bring the potential for a big game. None of them touch Goodwin’s value projections, but they can be partnered with him in a value point guard stack or used as alternatives if you’re trying to dodge chalk.
NBA DFS Shooting Guard Picks
One of the most important stories to monitor on the news page on Tuesday is the availability of Donovan Mitchell (hamstring, questionable). Mitchell played and went off against the Thunder on Friday but had to sit on Saturday with a hamstring issue. His backcourt mate Darius Garland (hamstring) has already been ruled out along with Ty Jerome (ankle), which would leave Caris LeVert in a much larger role if Mitchell ends up missing another game.
Starting in Mitchell’s place on Saturday, LeVert had a 31.8% usage rate and finished with 31 points, eight assists, and five boards for 52.25 DraftKings points and 50 FanDuel points.
While that definitely is a best-case scenario for LeVert’s production, he has been excellent in all three of his games this season, exceeding salary-based expectations with or without Mitchell available. He has produced 1.0 DraftKings points and 0.99 FanDuel points per minute so far this season and has an average Plus/Minus of 9.52 DraftKings points.
If Mitchell misses a second straight game or is eased back into the rotation, LeVert brings a great ceiling along with the flexibility to slide to small forward if that works better in your roster construction.
We’re headed back to the Suns for more value at shooting guard, and the question is really Eric Gordon or Grayson Allen. Allen is the cheaper of the two and brings slightly more diversified production. Allen has the highest Pts/Sal and the highest Projected Plus/Minus of all shooting guards on FanDuel, where he has a 90% Bargain Rating with his $4,200 salary. On DraftKings, he’s second behind Gordon in those categories at this position. On DraftKings, Gordon is third on the entire slate in Pts/Sal and Projected Plus/Minus.
Both are very strong value plays. Gordon has exceeded salary-based expectations in two of his three games this season and has averaged 0.82 DraftKings points and 0.79 FanDuel points per minute. He has been getting enough work, though, at 29 minutes per game to turn those rates into solid production from his mid-range salary.
Allen is cheaper on both DraftKings and FanDuel, but his usage is just 13.5% compared to Gordon’s 23.5%. He still has averaged 0.68 DraftKings points and 0.64 FanDuel points per minute and logged 28.5 minutes per game. While Gordon has more pure upside since he’s getting more shots, Allen has been producing better non-scoring numbers, which is enough to keep him on the radar as well, especially on FanDuel.
The highest median, ceiling, and floor projection at shooting guard belongs to Paul George on both DraftKings and FanDuel. PG has posted between 40 and 46 fantasy points in each of his three games this season and should be in that range again in a good spot against the Magic. If you decide to pay up for a superstar at the spot, he’s a great cornerstone to consider.
Max Strus is a strong mid-range option that can get hot and have a big game. Like LeVert, he also gets an added boost if Mitchell is out again. He has two 20-point double-doubles in his three games with the Cavs and has produced 1.07 DraftKings points and 1.01 FanDuel points per minute.
Depending on who exactly the Clippers have available, Norman Powell could end up being a great value play, especially on DraftKings, where he brings eligibility at both guard spots and a 76% Bargain Rating. On DraftKings, Powell has the third-highest Projected Plus/Minus and the third-highest Pts/Sal at the position behind only the two Suns discussed above. He’s a little pricier on FanDuel but still brings good upside.
Another good play under $5K who ranks especially highly on FanDuel is Jalen Suggs of the Magic. Suggs has exceeded salary-based expectations in each of his last two games and produced 0.97 DraftKings points and 1.04 FanDuel points per minute this season. Especially if the Magic opt to rest anyone on the second game of their back-to-back, Suggs could get a very nice value to watch against the Clippers in the late game.
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NBA DFS Small Forward Picks
On both DraftKings and FanDuel, Kawhi Leonard is actually a little cheaper than Paul George, but Kawhi has better ceiling and median projections for this matchup with the Magic. He leads the way in both of those projections at small forward on DraftKings and is second on FanDuel. He’s projected for slightly lower usage than George but typically stuffs the non-scoring columns on the box score a little more fully.
Using the Trends tool, Kahwi matches 10 Pro Trends on DraftKings, more than any other player on the slate. On FanDuel, he matches 11 Pro Trends, the third-most of any player.
Kawhi has played in all three of the Clippers games this season and has averaged 1.36 DraftKings points and 1.31 FanDuel points per minute. While his usage may drop a little bit once Harden is available, he leads the team with a 30.2% usage rate.
The highest Projected Plus/Minus and the highest projected Pts/Sal at small forward go to Josh Okogie on both DraftKings and FanDuel. He edges out both Gordon and Allen on DraftKings, where he’s my favorite option of the three, although Allen edges him out on FanDuel since he’s cheaper.
Okogie has started all three games of the Suns and is expected to stick at forward even after the returns of Beal and Booker. He had two very strong games on the road against the Warriors and Lakers before a quiet game in the home opener against the Jazz. In his three starts, he averaged 11.3 points and 4.7 rebounds for 20.5 DraftKings points and 20.0 FanDuel points.
On Tuesday, he’s only projected for a 13.7% usage rate but is expected to play 32.1 minutes which should be enough to help him once again be a top value option.
Franz Wagner is off to a good start for the Magic, producing well above salary-based expectations in each of his last two games. He matches a slate-leading 12 Pro Trends on FanDuel, where he has an 87% Bargain Rating. In his last two games, he has shown off his ceiling by producing 1.1 DraftKings points and 1.09 FanDuel points per minute. He’ll have to deal with the defense of Kawhi and PG, but he’s still a very strong mid-range option if you can’t pay up for a Clippers star.
For the Knicks, RJ Barrett had a pair of strong games before a letdown in New Orleans. The over/under in New York’s game against Cleveland make it the least attractive for fantasy plays, but Barrett brings enough upside to still be a midrange option.
If you’re looking to go cheap and have had your fill of Suns, Cedi Osman has outperformed his salary-based expectations in each of his three games off the bench for the Spurs. He has scored double-digit points in each of his three games while averaging 0.96 DraftKings points and 0.89 FanDuel points per minute in just 13 minutes per game. If his role expands or he keeps bringing instant offense, he’ll be worth a look at just $4K on FanDuel and $3,700 on DraftKings. Amir Coffey might have to enter the rotation for the Clippers after all their trades and is a flier to consider as well.
NBA DFS Power Forward Picks
Given how great the Suns matchup is and how much work Kevin Durant is carrying while Beal and Booker are sidelined, it’s no surprise that he’s again one of the top projections across the board. He has the highest ceiling, median, and floor projections of all players on this slate on both DraftKings and FanDuel.
He’s by far the most expensive play, but he has a positive Projected Plus/Minus on both sites, indicating he’s expected to outperform salary-based expectations. Since you can use the other Suns to save salary, grabbing KD as a pay-up play is possible and probably going to be popular.
In his two games without Booker, Durant has produced 1.49 DraftKings points and 1.43 FanDuel points per minute. He has a sky-high 37.6% usage rate and has stuffed the stat sheet. His numbers were a little down against the Jazz since the game wasn’t close, but as long as the Spurs don’t get blown out, Durant should be poised for another monster night.
He stands head-and-shoulders above the rest of the options on this slate in terms of his ceiling and will have to continue to carry the load until Booker and Beal get back.
The Cavaliers bring a couple of value options that make sense at power forward. Dean Wade has the highest projected Plus/Minus at the position on DraftKings after playing huge minutes in the two games over the weekend. He isn’t a high per-minute producer but played 37 minutes on Saturday, which gives him enough time to return value. He will likely have a more reduced role after the return of Jarrett Allen, but he is already ruled out for Tuesday.
The other Cavs player who fits in this spot is Isaac Okoro, who has scored double-digit points in each of his three games this season. Okoro has outproduced salary-based expectations in each of those three games with an Average Plus/Minus of 7.17 DraftKings points and a production rate of 0.94 DraftKings points and 0.97 FanDuel points per minute. He’s not as cheap as Wade, but Okoro is a solid low-cost option at either forward spot.
Without Allen, Evan Mobley has been productive while playing center for the Cavs. He had a massive 33-point, 14-rebound game against the Pacers on Saturday without Mitchell available, and he’ll have to carry the load if Spida is sidelined again. He has a high ceiling, although his salary has been adjusted up on both sites to account for that breakthrough performance.
The Magic’s Paulo Banchero has the second-highest projected Plus/Minus at power forward on FanDuel, where he has a 93% Bargain Rating. Banchero has not had huge games yet this season, but he’s projected to have a good enough game to reach his FanDuel expectations. He’s very highly-priced on DraftKings, though, and our projections don’t expect him to live up to expectations on that site on this slate.
Another way to approach this position is to slide over a primary center on FanDuel. Both Drew Eubanks and Zach Collins project to be very solid mid-range plays and have power forward eligibility on FanDuel. Eubanks actually has the highest projected Plus/Minus at the position on FanDuel, with Collins also ranking in the top five.
Is it time for the Kobe Brown era in Los Angeles? The Clippers shipped out all their power forward depth in the Harden trade, and Brown is about all that’s left behind Kawhi. Brown was the Clippers’ first-round pick and showed some potential in preseason, and he may end up with significant minutes depending on how things shake out for the Clippers in the next two days.
NBA DFS Center Picks
Along with Durant, Jusuf Nurkic has been carrying the Suns. Nurk has the highest Projected Plus/Minus and the highest Pts/Sal at the position on both DraftKings and FanDuel. He actually has the second-highest median, ceiling, and floor projection at the position, even though he is the fourth-most expensive center on DraftKings and the third-most on FanDuel.
He’s remarkably affordable, given his hot start. In his three games for Phoenix, Nurkic is averaging 1.22 DraftKings points and 1.22 FanDuel points per minute. He is projected for a 21% usage rate in 28.7 minutes in the softest matchup on the slate against the Spurs. The Spurs have been extremely generous to opposing centers this season, and Nurkic is in a smash spot to be paired with Durant Tuesday night.
In each of his past two games, Mitchell Robinson has exceeded salary-based expectations. He got most of his fantasy work done on the glass, averaging 14 rebounds per game in those two contests to boost him to 1.07 DraftKings points and 1.19 FanDuel points per minute in those two contests.
On this slate, Robinson has the third-highest Projected Plus/Minus at center on DraftKings, where he also brings a 71% Bargain Rating. While Eubanks or even Ivica Zubac (quad, questionable) are better plays on FanDuel, neither can approach Robinson’s potential value on DraftKings.
If Zubac is out, the Clippers will be very very short-handed at center as well as power forward. Even if Zubac plays his typical complement of minutes, there should be plenty of work for Mason Plumlee as a cheap value to consider.
For the Spurs, Zach Collins started well but struggled in his last game. He’ll be looking for a bounce-back performance but is a little over-priced after his hot start, according to our projections. The same could be said for his rookie teammate Victor Wembanyama, who brings plenty of fun and an obviously sky-high ceiling but not quite enough consistent production given his elevated price point.
Wendell Carter Jr. hasn’t had a big statistical performance yet, but he did play a season-high 35 minutes against the Lakers in Monday’s three-point loss. If the Magic have him sit on the second night of their back-to-back, it would make Moritz Wagner a value option to consider since he can also flex to power forward on either FanDuel or DraftKings.