PG – De’Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings vs. New Orleans Pelicans
Rookie point guard De’Aaron Fox has quickly proven himself to be quite a productive player. He’s averaging 15 points, five rebounds, and five assists in less than 30 minutes per game through his first four games as a pro. He has seemingly supplanted George Hill (six points in his last two games) as the Kings’ top point guard and could see more playing time moving forward.
Fox simply torched the Phoenix Suns in his last game with 19 points, five boards, four assists, and three steals, and has the potential to do the same against Jrue Holiday tonight.
SG – Buddy Hield, Sacramento Kings vs. New Orleans Pelicans
Here’s a fun fact: the New Orleans Pelicans can’t stop opposing shooting guards. They’ve given up 20-point performances to four shooting guards over their last three games. And now, their former lottery pick Buddy Hield gets to host them.
Hield has had a somewhat shaky start to the season, averaging just 12 points on 36 percent shooting, but you have to believe he’s going to be especially up for this game against his old team. That extra bit of motivation, coupled with the Pelicans’ generous backcourt defense, could be just the combination that gets Hield back on track.
SF – Taurean Prince, Atlanta Hawks @ Chicago Bulls
Taurean Prince was the primary beneficiary of Hawks point guard Dennis Schroder’s absence from the lineup against the Miami Heat. The second-year small forward had 20 points on 9-of-14 shooting, with seven boards, three steals, and two threes, although he did also have seven turnovers.
Still, that’s an impressive showing from Prince, one that he may be able to recreate against a Bulls perimeter defense which is giving up the most fantasy points to opposing small forwards in the early going this season. And even if Prince’s efficiency does dip a bit, he’s still likely to get enough touches to work himself into a decent fantasy night.
PF – Lauri Markkanen, Chicago Bulls vs. Atlanta Hawks
Speaking of the Bulls, Lauri Markkanen looks legit. The Finnish rookie forward is taking his chance to play big minutes with both Bobby Portis and Nikola Mirotic out and running with it. Through his first three games of the season, he’s averaging 16.3 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 3.3 three-pointers. Even LeBron James was impressed with the rookie as he saw Markkanen drop 19 and eight with five triples against the Cavs last time out.
Given the Bulls’ absence of reliable power forward options – Justin Holiday is leading this team in shot attempts by a lot! – Markkanen should see consistent touches and minutes for the foreseeable future.
C – DeMarcus Cousins, New Orleans Pelicans @ Sacramento Kings
Tonight figures to be the perfect storm for DeMarcus Cousins fantasy-wise, which is why anyone who doesn’t start him is crazy. Not only will he be making his first return to Sacramento since the trade, but he’ll possibly be doing so without frontcourt mate Anthony Davis.
Boogie gave a nice preview of what he’s capable of without the Brow by his side as he poured in 39 points, 13 boards, and three blocks with three threes (and eight turnovers) in the Pelicans’ loss to the Portland Trail Blazers. He also had fairly similar numbers the first time he faced the Kings last season, as he put up 37-13-4 with three steals and five threes with Davis playing.
So yeah, Boogie is going to get his in a big way at Sactown tonight, and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop him.
Who else are must-starts on daily fantasy basketball tonight? Share them in the comments below!
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