The 2021 NBA season is going to be bigger and better than ever for Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS)!
For those that are first time players, or returning players that may be a little rusty, see below for the points system of NBA matches on Draftstars:
- Point Scored = 1 point
- Missed Field Goal = -0.25 points
- Missed Free Throw = -0.25 points
- Assist = 1.5 points
- Rebound = 1.25 points
- Turnover = -0.5 points
- Steal = 2 points
- Block = 2 points
- 3 Point Made Bonus = 1 point
- Double-Double = 2 points
- Triple-Double = 2 points
You have an allocated salary to spend on your DFS team which you can’t exceed, so you really do need to think and evaluate your players! This also makes strategy very interesting. Do you spend a huge amount on a player like James Harden and leave yourself a heavily reduced salary for your remaining players, or do you balance things out with 3-4 middle tier players that are reliable but might not go off?
Lots of player movement during this off season has made it extremely difficult to keep track of all the moves. Read on for a summary on each team, with standout players that are primed to have a big season statistically, as well as players that are great options for plug and play during the right circumstances, and finally, the Darkhorse players that could be candidates for breakout seasons!
If you play season-long DFS leagues with your mates this will be a useful read, but if you really want to put your NBA knowledge to the test, head over to Draftstars and enter daily contests where millions of dollars in prize money will be won this season – or head to PlayUp and bet on the matches, with individual player performance markets to bet on as well.
The defending champs have been busy this offseason! The additions of Dennis Schroder, Montrezl Harrell and Marc Gasol make this team even harder to beat.
Anthony Davis – Should be good for 25-10 averages with strong shooting numbers, low turnovers and his usual assortment of elite level defensive stats. I’d be a little apprehensive with the risk of him sitting more if the Lakers are blowing out teams, plus they’ve added some additional bigs in Harrell and Gasol, but he’s still going to have a huge year.
Lebron James – Another year older. More scorers added to the team should take some pressure off Lebron to perform during the regular season. Expect him to put up a solid 23-26 ppg this year with 7+ rebs 8+ assists although his minutes will be down and expect him to have a few “DNP: Rest” games this season.
PLUG AND PRAY
Dennis Schroder – Should be in line for some big games whenever Lebron rests, or *touch wood* if Lebron gets injured at any point this year. He should be in line for a lion’s share of the guard stats for this team. It’s also possible that the Lakers go small ball and play Schroder and Lebron together.
Kyle Kuzma – For a guy that was showing so much promise, he was really getting lost in the rotation last season. The addition of Harrell pretty much ensures Kuzma is locked into a role where he’s picking up the scraps at the forward spot when Davis needs a breather. He may have a game where he puts up 15 & 7 but there’s better players to take a flyer on.
You know what to expect with this team. Losing Harrell and gaining Ibaka is a bit of a wash in terms of DFS impact, however it may lead to more FGA’s for the teams main scoring threats (Kawhi, PG, and Lou Will).
Kawhi Leonard – Kawhi can go large on any given night. He’s also very consistent and will produce similar to what he put up last season (27-7-5) with close to 2 steals and 2 threes per game. His turnovers will not hurt you either, he had 2.6 per game last season.
Paul George – George disappeared during the playoffs against the Nuggets and he spent a lot of last season injured, but PG is still a dangerous player that can put up some nasty numbers. He averaged around 22-6-4 last season with 3.3 threes per game last year, and he did have a game where he dropped 46-5-7 with 6 threes so if you want players that can put up elite stats at a slightly discounted price tag he’s one to keep an eye on.
PLUG AND PRAY
Lou Williams – Williams can light it up, but as he will be coming off the bench it really depends on his opportunity from one game to the next. Look at his scoring output in August last season: 7, 6, 12, 18, 23, 14, 23, 10, 36, 8, 5. He did score 20+ points in 31 games last season though, so he’s one to consider taking a punt on in a huge prize money contest on Draftstars and hope he goes nuts!
Patrick Beverley – Beverley may have been a low end utility type player last season with averages of 7.9ppg, 5.2rpg, 3.6apg, 1.1 stl, but the Clippers weren’t happy with how they went last season and there’s some rumblings that Beverley may be the scapegoat. Admittedly, his 3.6 apg is a glaring problem for the team’s primary point guard, and they already have many defensive minded players, so look for Lou Williams to get more of a run with the first unit, or the team to try and add another point guard and Beverley’s role to be scaled back.
The Bucks are hoping that trading for Jrue Holiday will be enough to keep Giannis from jumping ship at the end of the season, but have they done enough?
Giannis Antetokounmpo – Giannis had a ridiculous season statistically for Milwaukee on his way to a back to back MVP season. He seems to put up better numbers every single season. We will find out soon if he’s hit his ceiling. He has managed to improve his points and rebounds averages in all 7 of his NBA seasons, culminating in a 29.5ppg, 13.6rpg average last season. Can he keep the streak alive and put up 31-14 averages this season?
Khris Middleton – His 21-6-4 averages were pretty similar to what he’d done the two seasons prior and it doesn’t take him a high volume of shots to get it either so he should be safe for 20ppg even with the addition of Jrue Holiday. Assists may drop back to the 3.5apg mark this season, but I would not expect a huge dip from Middleton, so you can bank on him for decent numbers. If Giannis rests or gets traded, play Middleton and watch him feast.
PLUG AND PRAY
Jrue Holiday – The best of the 3 Holiday brothers in the NBA. Jrue had a bit of a disappointing year with his averages coming down slightly from the upward trajectory they had been on in the 3 seasons prior. He still averaged 19-5-7 with good steals numbers. It will be interesting to see how the Bucks play him this season. He’s going to get the lion share of point guard minutes and will have plenty of targets for assists in Middleton, Giannis and Brolo on the perimeter so look for him to possibly up his assists while taking a hit in the points per game.
Brook Lopez – To be honest, it was tough to pick a player to avoid on this team. I expect DiVincenzo to have a nice season at the SG spot, so the only real choice here is Lopez. In major prize contests on Draftstars he’s still worth considering because he can put up big lines like he did on back to back games November 16-18th (15-8-0-1-5 against Indiana, and 19-10-2-2-5) putting up a total of 10 blocks across the 2 games. He did score 5 points or less on 9 separate occasions though, so he is capable of ruining your team with a horror performance. The addition of Bobby Portis means his minutes could be eaten into. If he’s on a roll, play him in big contests, however for head to head matchups he’s too risky to consider unless you’ve used up all your salary and need someone cheap to fill your squad.
Golden State Warriors
Klay is done. The Warriors Achilles heel that brought about the end of their dynasty turned out to be their players’ Achilles heels- with both Durant and Klay being derailed by the same devastating injury. Golden State still has some very interesting players for DFS purposes though!
Stephen Curry – Coming off a season where he hardly played and then teased fans and DFS owners by popping threes from half court with more ease than the average person makes shots on the basketball machines at Timezone. So, what can we expect this year? If the Warriors don’t decide to tank again for another draft pick, we could see some monster numbers this year from Curry – he could legitimately be the top player for DFS purposes this year if they unleash him.
Andrew Wiggins – Last season Wiggins averaged 22-5-4 with a steal, block and over 2 made threes per game. Having Curry, Oubre and Wiseman all looking for touches will bring those numbers back down to earth a little, but he should be the clear 2nd scoring option behind Curry now that Klay is out for the season.
PLUG AND PRAY
James Wiseman – Well, rookies are often overhyped and take a while to get going, but Wiseman is going to have a clear path to big numbers this season. He only really needs to contend with Chriss, Smailagic and Looney, and being a #2 pick he should get a ton of run. Paschall had his share of scoring outbursts as a rookie, so there shouldn’t be that level of frustration where the coach plays rubbish veterans over raw rookies. Kerr will likely want to integrate Wiseman quickly so if you see Wiseman early on in that $5,000 to $6,000 salary range give him a long look.
Draymond Green – No long explanation required here – Green has been terrible on DFS for a long stretch now. It’s got to the point where it is more surprising to see him have a good game than a bad one. Avoid Draymond. Point and laugh when you see others choose him for their squad.
What will this team look like with a healthy Durant and Kyrie Irving? Can they take out the Eastern Conference?
Kevin Durant – Durant has never really relied on explosive athleticism to get his numbers – he can shoot from anywhere and has such a high release on his shot that he doesn’t need to be fast or agile. He will probably still put up 25 ppg when he’s pushing 40 with his style of play if his Ronald McDonald feet can hold up that long. Be watchful of Durant as he can put up anywhere from 20-30ppg this year. If it’s on the upper end of that range, he will be a huge DFS play.
Kyrie Irving – His 27-5-6 numbers could take a hit with Durant in the team, but he should still be reliable for 24-25+ points per game, and the assist numbers should increase playing alongside one of the greatest shooters in league history.
PLUG AND PRAY
Jarrett Allen – Allen could get stuck in the dreaded timeshare with DeAndre Jordan, but he did enough last season to prove he’s the better option for the team going forward. He doesn’t need a lot of shots to get his numbers, he’s a monster on the offensive glass and can find ways to get 15-12 with blocks without needing to get too many touches.
Spencer Dinwiddie – For a guy that put up averages of 20.6ppg, 3.5rpg, 6.8apg and 1.9 threes, Dinwiddie’s value is through the floor right now. With a healthy Kyrie and Durant, and Caris Levert being the clear 3rd option on offense, the only way he carves out a role is if Kyrie gets injured again. The only difference this year is, even if that happens, they still have Durant who will do all the heavy lifting. The chances of Dinwiddie doing something meaningful this season is slim barring a trade or injury.
Gordon Hayward is gone, opening up even more touches for the wings. Look for Jayson Tatum, and Jaylen Brown to raise their game to another level once again.
Jayson Tatum – Tatum is going to be a top 10 performer this year. Consider playing him no matter the salary because he will probably prove to be a steal. There were stretches near the end of the season where Tatum was putting up top-3 numbers DFS wise. With another year under his belt and Hayward’s departure paving the way for more opportunities and touches, it seems a no brainer that Tatum is going to have a big year.
Jaylen Brown – Last season saw Brown move from a decent role player to a legit 2nd scoring option for the Celtics. He jumped from 13.0ppg and 4.2 rpg to 20.3ppg and 6.4rpg. His stats increased across the board, and there’s a chance that you may be able to get some sneaky good value on him in the early part of the season until others catch on to his solid numbers.
PLUG AND PRAY
Kemba Walker – The addition of Jeff Teague hurts because the Celtics now have a solid point guard to back him up. He did manage to put up 20-4-5 averages this past season but those were all well down from his Charlotte Hornets output. He did put up 32+ points in 3 of his first 5 games for Boston, so if he can get on a roll like that, play him at the start of the season and hope for the best!
Everyone else! – You could make a case for Daniel Theis being worth a look occasionally, but with the addition of Tristan Thompson he potentially takes a bit of a hit now too. Teague will probably be putting up single digits or low double figures in a reserve role, so the options with Boston are really limited to those top 3. Maybe keep Marcus Smart on your radar also, but I’ve never been a huge fan.
NBA Finalists of 2019/20 with some very intriguing DFS options for this season!
Bam Adebayo – Adebayo made a massive leap forward last season from being Hassan Whiteside’s backup, to becoming an elite level bigman. It wasn’t unusual to see him having 16-10-6 with steals and blocks last season, and it wouldn’t be a complete shock to see him put those numbers up to 20-11-7 this year. He really does have the potential to be one of the top 20 players this season
Jimmy Butler – Butler put up 40-11-13-2-2 in one of the NBA Finals games against the Lakers, and it really highlights his diverse skillset and ability to take over on the biggest stage. He’s not lacking confidence and should have high usage and impressive numbers in 2021.
PLUG AND PRAY
Tyler Herro – If you look up completed listings on eBay, Herro’s basketball cards took off in price in recent months. It’s always a great sign seeing a rookie contributing massively to a team that makes it to the finals, and he did put up 37 points and 6 rebounds in 35 minutes against Boston during the playoffs as well, so he can light it up in a hurry from 3. Keep him on your radar and be ready to play him if the price is right.
Goran Dragic – He’s a good player that can still contribute, but in terms of DFS I would expect him to have a down year. The Heat have a crowded backcourt rotation with a lot of young players. Kendrick Nunn was a surprise offensive weapon as a rookie. Avery Bradley comes with a lot of experience. But more importantly, the Heat need to find a way to get as many minutes as possible for Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson. Dragic will likely have to have his role reduced in 2021 to accommodate all the mouths to feed.
Having lost Kawhi, Ibaka, and Gasol in the last 2 years with no notable additions it’s time to ask the question: Are the Raptors done?
Pascal Siakam – After winning the title 2 seasons back, the Raptors had the opportunity to keep Kawhi and bring in Russell Westbrook and Paul George but they opted to keep Siakam, that’s how highly the team thinks of him. His scoring has jumped season by season: 4.2ppg > 7.3ppg > 16.9ppg > 22.9ppg > what will he put up this year? With Ibaka and Gasol gone, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Siakam averaging between 25-27ppg in the regular season based on how his career is tracking.
Kyle Lowry – You know what to expect with Lowry, he’s pretty reliable most games for points, threes and assists. If Fred VanVleet isn’t retained by the team he should be in line for a big season if he isn’t traded
PLUG AND PRAY
Chris Boucher – Most casual fans will never have heard of this guy, but his per-36-minute output was fantastic. If he can get the opportunity and stay out of foul trouble, he could be huge. With Gasol and Ibaka being traded away the pathway is there for a Christian Wood level ascendancy to must start player.
Alex Len – He’s the fool’s gold we’ve all fallen for so many times when he has an 18-10-2blk game, but he’s now bounced to another team and I’m done giving him chances. There probably is an opportunity for him in this lineup the way it’s now configured, but I’ve been burnt too many times to be tricked again.
John Wall, Christian Wood and DeMarcus Cousins have joined the Rockets. There are rumors swirling that Harden wants out. Westbrook is gone, Covington is gone. This team is on a knife’s edge right now. If they can hold it together, they may have another playoff run left in them!
James Harden – If he’s not the #1 DFS player this season I will be shocked – particularly now that Westbrook has been dealt. There’s the chance Harden is sent to Brooklyn which would hurt his value bigtime. He’s the only player that can average 35-40ppg without breaking a sweat, and it’s not a shock to see him put up a 40 or even 50-point game while notching a triple double. He will be expensive, but if you can find some low-cost DFS gems, this guy is the juggernaut that will spearhead your team to a win.
John Wall – MAYBE… He has stud potential but is going to be an unknown factor coming off such a long injury layoff. He should be a safe bet for big assist numbers, and fill the void left by Westbrook. If Harden gets dealt early in the season, then Wall will be in line for a huge bump in usage.
PLUG AND PRAY
Christian Wood – Wood had a breakout season for Detroit and his averages as a starter were fantastic. Will he be able to do the same when he’s not playing next to D-League players, and has to share the ball with the 2 highest usage players in the NBA? It’s going to be a tough one, but he should get the minutes to be a stud if he can get enough touches.
Eric Gordon – He has more bad games than good games, and there aren’t enough shots or minutes in the backcourt for him to make a difference. *Ignore everything I just said if Russ gets traded!
The Nuggets have a good mix of elite level stars, and raw young players to pick in your DFS lineups.
Nikola Jokic – He’s a clear top 3 centre, and you could make an argument that he’s the best overall for next season given the number of assists he racks up. As a pure C who else would you take ahead of him? Embiid? KAT? Maybe if you trust Karl-Anthony Towns to stay healthy, ditto Embiid. But there’s definitely a case to be made that Jokic is the top of the heap since Anthony Davis plays Power Forward.
Jamal Murray – He dominated quite a lot during the playoffs, clawing the Nuggets back from 3-1 down multiple times. He seems primed to take a huge leap forward this season too. Expect him to put up big points totals this year.
PLUG AND PRAY
Michael Porter Jr - Huge play down the stretch, he should usurp Millsap’s role very quickly this season. He has 20-8-4 potential. Also keep an eye on Bol Bol and RJ Hampton as players that are intriguing this season.
Paul Millsap – He may have the occasional good game, but these are becoming few and far between and should be even fewer in 2021 with Porter Jr nipping at his heels.
Check back later this week for part 2 of our NBA DFS Preview where we look at the next 10 teams on the list. In the meantime, head over to PlayUp.com.au if you are looking to have a bet on any of these teams to win the Championship!