The 2021-’22 NBA season starts Tuesday night, and what better way to welcome back stars like Kevin Durant, James Harden, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Steph Curry, LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, and Anthony Davis than by trying to win some DFS cash in an opening night DraftKings contest? The two-game opening night slate features the Nets vs. Bucks and Warriors vs. Lakers, and as alluded to above, there are plenty of studs and sleepers in action with which to fill your daily fantasy basketball lineups.
Below, you’ll find lineup picks for the main slate. The early season provides some value opportunities if we can identify players with roles that are more secure than DK’s pricing suggests, and we’ve definitely found a few.
DraftKings Opening Night NBA DFS Picks: Daily fantasy basketball lineup advice
PG: James Harden, Nets vs. Bucks ($9,300). Stephen Curry being more expensive than Harden made this an easy decision. Although Curry could very well explode for 30-plus points, I like the value play of saving some money with Harden, who will stuff the stat sheet more evenly across the board.
SG: Jordan Poole, Warriors vs. Lakers ($4,800). Poole was a breakout gem for the Warriors in preseason, averaging 21.8 points and 3.2 three-pointers per game. He’ll assume the starting shooting guard role in Golden State until Klay Thompson returns later this season, meaning you’re getting a starting-caliber player for great value of just $4,800.
SF: LeBron James, Lakers vs. Warriors ($9,000). There’s not much explanation needed here. James is $900 cheaper than Durant, meaning you get similar value while saving money for a better player elsewhere in your lineup. Scroll one more spot down and you’ll be happy you saved some cash on Harden and James over Curry and Durant.
PF: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks vs. Nets ($10,000). Yes, that is correct. Your opening night lineup can have Harden, James, and Antetokounmpo. If the reigning Finals MVP looks anything like he did during the Bucks’ postseason run, he’ll be in for a monster night to start off the season.
C: Dwight Howard, Lakers vs. Warriors ($4,900). Howard is expected to come off the bench for the Lakers, but I’d anticipate he plays more minutes than DeAndre Jordan. He’s a good value play who will tally rebounds and, if you’re lucky, a few blocks.
G: Patty Mills, Nets vs. Bucks ($3,700). With Kyrie Irving sidelined, Mills will take on the bulk of his minutes. If preseason is any indication, then Mills won’t be the starter, but he’ll play a key role off the bench as a microwave scorer and playmaker, knocking down threes and dishing out assists.
F: Bruce Brown, Nets vs. Bucks ($3,600). Speaking of filling Irving’s role in the starting lineup, it appears that will go to the jack-of-all-trades Brown. Getting a starter for just $3,600 is a great value and Brown does all the little things to help the Nets be successful. He might not score much, but he’ll help with boards and defensive counting stats.
UTIL: Pat Connaughton, Bucks vs. Nets ($4,700). It remains to be seen if Connaughton will fill Donte DiVincenzo’s spot in the starting lineup, but even if he comes off the bench, he’s in line for some high-quality minutes. With key reserve Bobby Portis also out, Connaughton should be a strong source of threes and rebounds.