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I figured one of the Cavaliers' Big 3 might struggle in their first real game together, so I was half right. Or, rather, 33.3 percent right, because neither Kevin Love nor Kyrie Irving had any trouble in the team's opener. Love was my pick for Overpay of the Night Thursday, but it was actually LeBron James who failed to live up to expectations.
Love had 39.8 FanDuel Fantasy points Thursday while Irving chipped in 38.1 of his own. But James, the most expensive player of the night, had just 23 as he struggled in every aspect of the game. LeBron made just 5 of 15 from the field and turned the ball over eight times, just the second time in his career he has shot that poorly in a game while turning the ball over that frequently.
I point that out to lead into my lineup, which features LeBron heavily along with a few other big hitters. I am going all-in on stars for Oct. 31, under the assumption that James can't be this bad again. Add in Chris Paul and Blake Griffin against the hapless Lakers, and I think I'm in for my best night of the young season.
In order to afford those stars, I am going with a plethora of low-cost picks in the hope that at least a few of them hit. Danny Green and Wesley Matthews should be solid, but guys like Donald Sloan, C.J. Miles and Ed Davis are relatively unknown quantities, though Sloan and Davis turned in solid performance to open the season.
It's Halloween, so why not go with a trick-or-treat lineup? If I hit, I could be in for a big night. If not, well, at least I'll have a bucket full of free candy to drown my sorrows.
My roster for Oct. 31 at FanDuel.com
PG Chris Paul, Clippers at L.A. Lakers ($9,600)
PG Donald Sloan, Pacers vs. Memphis ($5,500)
SG Danny Green, Spurs at Phoenix ($4,400)
SG Wesley Matthews, Trail Blazers at Sacramento ($5,900)
SF C.J. Miles, Pacers vs. Memphis ($4,400)
SF LeBron James, Cavaliers at Chicago ($10,400)
PF Ed Davis, Rockets at L.A. Lakers ($5,700)
PF Blake Griffin, Clippers at L.A. Lakers ($9,600)
C DeAndre Jordan, Clippers at L.A. Lakers ($6,700)
Kyrie Irving, PG, Cavaliers at Chicago ($7,800)
I still have some concerns about the way the Cavaliers are going to integrate each of their three stars into the offense at first, and this is a tough matchup, but Irving makes a lot of sense at this price. He is the fifth most expensive guard for Friday, despite averaging 35.4 FanDuel Fantasy points per game last season. Though he will naturally be taking on a smaller role, he showed Thursday he still has plenty of responsibilities. An improved night of shooting from LeBron and Love can only help him rack up more assists than.
DeAndre Jordan, C, Clippers at L.A. Lakers ($6,700)
This strikes me as a surprisingly low cost for Jordan, who led the league in rebounds last season. In FanDuel's scoring format, rebounds are worth 1.2 points, so Jordan should be a consistent contributor no matter the matchup. That he gets to go up against the lowly Lakers should only increase his value because there are going to be plenty of defensive rebounding opportunities available for him. He averaged 33.5 Fantasy points per game last season and is just the fifth most expensive center on the board, so expect solid value from him.
Kawhi Leonard, Spurs at Phoenix ($6,100)
The risk of Leonard sitting out his second game in a row to open the season had to have been baked into his price, because he is available for only $200 less than unproven rookie Jabari Parker Friday. The small forward pool isn't very deep tonight, with just three players going for more than $7,000, so Leonard allows you to get a somewhat safe pick, since he has been cleared to return. Since it was an infection and not a structural issue that kept him out so long, hopefully their is little chance for a last-minute recurrence. With many projecting a breakout campaign from the 2014 Finals MVP, this might be your last chance to get him this cheap.
Overpay of the night
Giannis Antetokounmpo, SG, Bucks vs. Philadelphia ($5,800)
Even accounting for a matchup against the 76ers, I'm still not willing to spend my money on Antetokounmpo, who comes in fourth among shooting guards in cost Friday. Part of that there just aren't many options, but I think you can still find better places to go here. Antetokounmpo is an exciting talent, but I think he's a long way from being a consistent option. I would take his teammate, O.J. Mayo, at $1,400 cheaper, to name just one example.
I don't feel very strongly about Carter, so if you want to cut him for Beverley, that seems defensible. However, Beverley hasn't taken on a huge role in his first two games, so I also want to see more from him before I buy in. McDaniels is unproven, but his intriguing skill set makes me inclined to buy into him, and I am not ready to give up on Chalmers because Norris Cole had one good game.
I said yesterday I thought dropping Chalmers for MKG was an overreaction, so I'm not comfortable buying into Norris Cole yet. Sure, he's the starter, but he also has a track record of mediocrity over his first three NBA seasons, so I need to see a lot more before I buy him as a starting point guard. Chalmers or Shabazz Napier will get their shot at some point. It's also probably too early to give up on Green, who has tons of potential as a stat-sheet stuffer on a Warriors team that is going to sling the ball around the court. Even with David Lee likely push Green back to the bench before long, he should have a solid role for them either way
Alexey Shved, PG, 76ers
We should just leave an open spot in this part of the column every day for the latest Sixers breakout. With the way that team has been -- ahem -- "constructed," there are going to be tons of opportunities for guys to earn playing time. Shved got hot in the opener and rode that to 18 points and five assists in 24 minutes. Shved might not be good, and he almost certainly won't be someone you stick with long in a 10-or 12-team league, but he might be worth a flier in deeper leagues if you have a roster spot to spare. Just don't be surprised if he ends up being fairly useless long-term. You're just speculating on Sixers and hoping to strike gold -- or at least, like, aluminum.