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NBA DFS: Ghost’s Gems – Opening Day 10/18

It’s finally time – the NBA season has arrived. After an offseason filled with player movement, intriguing storylines, and turmoil amongst some of the league’s best teams, the quest for an NBA championship begins tonight. Opening Day in the NBA is one of the biggest nights of the season, and tonight’s marquee matchups certainly aren’t short of storylines.

If it is your first NBA season with us, you’re in for a lot of content. Including both written and video, articles will be posted daily Monday through Friday, while shows will be aired across all platforms. The daily articles will provide an insight into the slate; identifying the right game environments are imperative to success, along with individual players and matchups. Our analysis is unlike any other, and you are given all the information you need. Amongst that is our list of tools available. Our infamous proprietary NBA projections, a cheat sheet, and content in both written and video formats are key to success. You will not only hear myself talk about the projections a ton, but the members as well. I firmly believe we have the best NBA projections across the industry, and now, so do you.

Tonight, LeBron and AD take on the defending Champions on their ring night, while Joel Embiid and the 76ers take on Jayson Tatum and the Celtics. We have to get creative to get to the top of the leaderboards on any two-game NBA slate, and that is exactly what we will do. For the first time this season: it’s a Taco Tuesday edition of the Gems – let’s ride.

Philadelphia 76ers @ Boston Celtics (-3.5)

Despite having two of the best rosters in the Eastern Conference last season, both the 76ers and Celtics still had overhauls to their respective rotations. These two teams have some of the best stars in the NBA, but their benches needed reinforcements. The Celtics brought in Danilo Gallinari, only to likely lose him for the season to a torn ACL. Later, Boston replaced Gallinari’s spot in the rotation by signing Blake Griffin. However, the most notable addition came in the form of a true ball handler: Malcolm Brogdon. The former Virginia standout will not only alleviate pressure off of Tatum, Brown, and Smart, but also provide the Celtics with a formidable backcourt defense in closeout minutes.

On the flipside, Philadelphia made moves of their own. In are P.J. Tucker, De’Anthony Melton, and Montrezl Harrell, while Danny Green has been traded to the Grizzlies. Harrell will remain a defensive liability, but provides offensive upside to a bench unit operating without Embiid. Moreover, Tucker brings grit and defensive stability, alleviating pressure on Tobias Harris. Lastly, Melton gives the 76ers another ball handler to lead the bench unit, giving more freedom to Harden and Maxey in the starting 5.

Boston Celtics (-3.5)

Pacing the Celtics once again this NBA season is none other than Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. The formidable duo led the team in scoring at 26.9 and 23.6 PPG, respectively. They were also the lone players to register usage rates over 23%, leading the team at 32% and 30.4%, respectively. While Tatum has done well in this matchup in the past, the addition of P.J. Tucker complicates things on an NBA slate where DFS studs are plentiful. If you are looking to get three studs in your lineups, Brown would likely be the third, but I personally cannot get there with comfort.

Thus, I’ll be turning to the Celtics bench for exposure to this offense. I already discussed Malcolm Brogdon in the section above, and he’s certainly in play on this opening NBA slate. In the absence of Robert Williams III, expect Boston to go smaller to avoid burning out veterans Blake Griffin and Al Horford. With an anticipated closing lineup of Brogdon, Smart, Brown, Tatum, and Horford, Brogdon has opportunity right away with the potential for a 20/5/5 game. As I alluded to above, Robert Williams III is out for the next 6-8 weeks. As a result, Grant Williams and Al Horford will see an increase in minutes in the frontcourt. However, smaller lineups will benefit Malcolm Brogdon and Derrick White.

Philadelphia 76ers (+3.5)

The core of the 76ers is back and they have the reinforcements to make a serious run at an NBA championship this season. MVP candidate Joel Embiid is fresh off a scoring title, where he posted 30.6 PPG on a 50/37/81 split. Not only did he lead the league in scoring, but Embiid also paced his peers in usage rate. Eclipsing 37% last season, right ahead of Luka Doncic, Embiid is primed for another stellar campaign. Tonight, in a matchup where NBA All-Defensive counterpart Robert Williams III is absent, my NBA lineups start with The Process.

A glaring misprice on this NBA slate, Tyrese Maxey will be one of the most rostered players in the field. Entering his third year in the league, Maxey has quickly become a fan favorite in the City of Brotherly Love. In his sophomore season, Maxey saw his minutes increase by 20 per night, logging over 35 minutes per contest. Acting as a secondary ball handler to James Harden, the upside is there for him to capitalize on offense while his backcourt teammate draws coverage from reigning Defensive Player of the Year, Marcus Smart. By locking in Joel Embiid and needing his DFS ceiling, my 76ers exposure ends with these two, but can’t fault you for looking at Harden, Harris, and Melton.

LA Lakers @ Golden State Warriors (-6.5)

LeBron James versus Steph Curry on Opening Day is exactly what NBA fans are excited about. This game certainly won’t be short on star power, and we are in for a treat after the Warriors dynasty celebrates yet another ring ceremony. However, once the game tips off, all eyes will be on the new-look Lakers. Patrick Beverley was acquired from the Utah Jazz after being trading from the Timberwolves, who acquired Rudy Gobert. Kendrick Nunn is healthy, and Anthony Davis looks to regain his former All-NBA form. The news surrounding Russell Westbrook will be ongoing throughout the season, but the real question mark surrounding this team is on the wing. LA brought in Lonnie Walker IV and Juan Toscano-Anderson to support Austin Reaves, but is it enough? They still lack perimeter shooting, but never count LeBron James and Anthony Davis out of a championship run.

The Warriors roster largely remains intact, at least on paper. Drama surrounding Draymond Green and Jordan Poole stole the headlines, but the Warriors look poised to make another deep playoff run. The core of Curry, Thompson, Green, Poole, and Wiggins are all returning, while key rotation player Kevon Looney was resigned. A healthy James Wiseman could be an x-factor for Golden State, and the players they lost this offseason were quickly replaced. Gone are Gary Payton II and Otto Porter Jr., ceding their roster spots to Donte DiVincenzo and JaMychal Green. While the growth of both Moody and Kuminga are at the forefront of the Warriors future, this roster remains elite.

LA Lakers (+6.5)

The first question surrounding our Lakers exposure on tonight’s NBA slate is what to do with Anthony Davis. Assuming most flock to LeBron James for a mere increase in salary, AD could provide serious leverage over the field. At a mere $8,500 on DraftKings, Davis has the ceiling to be able to be an x-factor. While there is always injury concern, the upside is huge and he must be considered. LeBron James is chasing history this season, being 1,325 points away from the all-time scoring record. If that wasn’t enough motivation on Opening Day, how about having to watch Curry get his fourth ring in his home arena? The narratives are fun to follow, but truthfully, James is fresh off a season where he scored over 30 PPG on a 32.3% usage rate, playing over 37 minutes per night, making him an elite DFS play on a nightly basis.

The Lakers backcourt will presumably be a spot of value on this NBA slate. With Dennis Schroder now being out for the next 3-4 weeks, both Kendrick Nunn and Patrick Beverley will garner interest, especially with the former being minimum price on DraftKings. In his last full season in 2020-2021, Nunn averaged 14.6/3.2/2.6 for the Heat and has been flashing upside throughout preseason hoops. Beverley brings a tenacity to the Lakers perimeter defense and will certainly shadow Curry as much as possible, but the offensive upside remains capped while sharing the floor with James and Davis.

Golden State Warriors (-6.5)

It’s the first NBA slate of the season and we already have injury news. Coach Steve Kerr has reportedly expressed concern over the starting unit’s conditioning. Thus, they are likely to remain capped at 30 minutes, if they hit that mark at all. This rotation will be spread around in the early stages of the season, especially considering how short their offseasons have been.

Klay Thompson remains cautious with his rehab from multiple knee injuries, while Draymond Green and Steph Curry have been notorious for slow starts on Opening Day. Moreover, look for Kerr to get the youngsters involved early on. Kuminga, Moody, and Wiseman figure to be in his plans, while veterans fill out the rotation. Thus, I will likely be turning to the newly signed duo of Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins. The former was a 6th Man of the Year candidate last year, enjoying a breakout campaign. Poole sported a whopping 26% usage rate off the bench, putting up 18.5 PPG on 14 shots per night. Meanwhile, Wiggins thrived in the NBA Playoffs, but remains a modest option on offense. If you’re looking for upside, he may not be your best target, but he does provide a safe floor to round our your lineups.

You can find me on Twitter @BetsByGhost and in the Win Daily Discord