PG - Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers @ Phoenix Suns
Sit Damian Lillard at your own risk tonight as he makes his season debut against the Phoenix Suns. Phoenix had a porous point guard defense last season, and Lillard exploited it to the fullest. Dame Dolla made out with nearly 34 points on 47 percent shooting, 5.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and three 3-pointers in four games against them.
Those are outstanding numbers, and with C. J. McCollum suspended for the season opener, it's hard to see what's going to stop Lillard from getting those types of numbers again.
SG - Rodney Hood, Utah Jazz vs. Denver Nuggets
It’s the start of a new era in Salt Lake City, as the Jazz now have to cope with life after Gordon Hayward. But while Hayward’s departure was bad news for the team overall, it was certainly good news for Rodney Hood’s overall fantasy prospects.
Hood instantly becomes Utah's primary perimeter option this season. He gave a taste of how that might go as he put up 11.2 points in just 15.7 minutes per game in preseason, while shooting an impressive 63 percent from the floor and 69 percent from beyond the arc.
The Nuggets were one of the worst defenses in the league last season in terms of stopping opposing shooting guards, which makes picking Hood all the more palatable.
SF - Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks @ Boston Celtics
If you have to spend big on a marquee player, let it be Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Greek Freak, you may remember, led the Bucks in just about every important statistical category last season, and he’s likely to get even better at the age of 22.
More importantly, though, this matchup against Boston is just tailor-made for a monster Greek Freak game. He’s a mismatch for just about everyone, but he’ll be especially troublesome to corral for a Celtics team that is very small and playing rookie Jayson Tatum at power forward.
The Celtics will be on the second night of a back-to-back and will likely be physically and mentally exhausted after everything that happened against the Cavaliers last night. It’s unfortunate for them, but perfect for Antetokounmpo to start the season strong.
PF - LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio Spurs vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
With Kawhi Leonard out of the Spurs lineup for the opener, Aldridge will need to step up and become the team’s main source of offense against Minnesota. Aldridge is fresh off signing a nice big contract extension and should be motivated to prove he’s worth it.
This will be a much-changed Timberwolves team compared to last year. Still, it should be noted that Aldridge averaged nearly 20 points against them in four meetings last season. And while he didn’t rebound very well, he still added 1.5 blocks and 1.5 steals. He should at least approach matching those numbers given the opportunities he’ll have, especially offensively, without Kawhi.
C - Myles Turner, Indiana Pacers vs. Brooklyn Nets
The Pacers are Myles Turner’s team now. The 21-year-old had a strong sophomore season, averaging 14.5 points, 7.3 boards, and 2.1 blocks. He was able to pad his stats to the tune of 16.3 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 3.8 blocks in four meetings against a subpar Nets team last season.
Brooklyn could be better this season, but they will almost surely be worse at center after losing Brook Lopez. That should open the door for Turner to feast, especially with the added looks he’s likely to get on offense.
Thoughts on our choices? Discuss in the comments!