Fantasy basketball advice and projections for Opening Night

Are you ready for some basketball action? ESPN has you covered with its comprehensive cheat sheet offering insights into both fantasy basketball and basketball betting. Our experts bring you the best pregame information and data, including ESPN’s proprietary Basketball Power Index (BPI), to help you make informed decisions for both your fantasy team and wagering. Please note that the fantasy advice provided is tailored to ESPN 10-team leagues.

This season, ESPN Analytics introduces daily NBA fantasy projections. By harnessing historical player and team data, combined with specific game factors, we can provide accurate predictions for player box score statistics. Our statistical models also account for injuries, playing time trends, and various other factors that can influence a player’s performance, giving you a competitive edge in your fantasy league.

Here’s a brief rundown of what you need to know for Tuesday’s games:

The anticipation is palpable as the real NBA action returns after a busy offseason full of high-profile player movements, such as Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal, and Marcus Smart changing teams. With so many new-look lineups and rotations, it’s time to reacquaint ourselves with the league’s transformed landscape.

Tuesday’s two-game slate serves as the appetizer for the stacked schedule on Wednesday. While the player pool for daily fantasy sports (DFS) and streaming options might be limited, the matchups are marquee and meaningful. The evening begins with the Los Angeles Lakers seeking revenge against the reigning champion Denver Nuggets in Colorado. Offseason banter between these two teams has added extra spice to this matchup.

One key question is whether anyone can slow down the unstoppable force that is Nikola Jokic. Additionally, we’ll be closely watching Michael Porter Jr.’s performance, as he’s often overlooked in most fantasy formats.

As LeBron James continues to defy Father Time, we’re curious to see how he sustains his high-level production. Furthermore, what will the Lakers’ supporting cast, including Austin Reaves, look like on this grand stage? Many intriguing questions await answers.

Another exciting showdown takes place in San Francisco, where the Phoenix Suns face the Golden State Warriors in a game too close to call according to oddsmakers. Notably, Chris Paul faces his former team, playing for his former nemesis, while the Warriors boast continuity with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. We’ve also barely glimpsed Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal in action with the new-look Suns.

Now, it’s time to sit back, relax, and enjoy the games. You’ve earned it!

— Jim McCormick

Tuesday’s Stream Team:

Each week, we highlight three key streaming options for the day’s action. Streamers, as defined by our standards, are players available in at least half of ESPN men’s fantasy basketball leagues.

  1. Jonathan Kuminga, Warriors (Rostered in 30% of ESPN leagues): Kuminga’s potential leap has been somewhat overshadowed in the Warriors’ buildup to the season. His impressive preseason performance, especially with Draymond Green sidelined due to an ankle injury, hints at his increased role.
  2. Rui Hachimura, Lakers (20.3%): The Lakers now have a group of versatile ‘tweeners like Hachimura, Jarred Vanderbilt, and Christian Wood. With Vanderbilt sidelined by a heel injury, Hachimura, matching up with Aaron Gordon’s skills, could play a pivotal role in tonight’s game.
  3. Nassir Little, Suns (0.5%): This is a deep-cut option for deeper leagues, and there’s also DFS potential. Little’s preseason performance suggests he could become a significant part of the Suns’ rotation. The team’s top-heavy roster has made them target promising prospects like Little, who exhibits confidence and athleticism.

Projections and Analytics:

The following player projections are powered by ESPN Analytics, with players available in at least 50% of ESPN leagues listed in italics. Injury reports are also provided.

Lakers Projections:

  • LeBron James, SF/PF: 47.9 FPTS (25.0 pts, 7.9 reb, 6.1 ast, 2.0 3PM)
  • Anthony Davis, PF/C: 41.4 FPTS (23.0 pts, 12.1 reb, 2.2 ast, 2.0 blk)
  • D’Angelo Russell, PG/SG: 24.6 FPTS (12.9 pts, 2.7 reb, 3.8 ast, 2.1 3PM)
  • Austin Reaves, SG/SF: 23.0 FPTS (11.8 pts, 3.2 reb, 2.9 ast)
  • Gabe Vincent, PG: 19.1 FPTS (10.2 pts, 2.0 reb, 1.8 ast, 1.9 3PM)
  • Rui Hachimura, SF/PF: 16.7 FPTS (9.1 pts, 3.2 reb, 0.9 ast)
  • Cam Reddish, SG/SF: 15.5 FPTS (8.9 pts, 2.2 reb, 1.3 ast)

Nuggets Projections:

  • Nikola Jokic, C: 60.3 FPTS (27.3 pts, 13.0 reb, 9.3 ast)
  • Jamal Murray, PG: 45.8 FPTS (25.5 pts, 4.8 reb, 6.3 ast, 2.8 3PM)
  • Aaron Gordon, PF: 30.5 FPTS (16.8 pts, 6.7 reb, 2.3 ast)
  • Michael Porter Jr., SF: 28.7 FPTS (14.8 pts, 6.4 reb, 1.4 ast, 2.6 3PM)
  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG/SF: 23.7 FPTS (12.1 pts, 3.3 reb, 1.5 ast)
  • Christian Braun, SG: 15.2 FPTS (8.1 pts, 3.5 reb, 0.9 ast)
  • DeAndre Jordan, C: 12.5 FPTS (5.2 pts, 3.8 reb, 0.7 ast)

Suns Projections:

  • Devin Booker, SG/SF: 49.9 FPTS (29.1 pts, 4.3 reb, 5.9 ast, 2.2 3PM)
  • Kevin Durant, SF/PF: 46.4 FPTS (27.0 pts, 6.9 reb, 4.6 ast, 1.8 3PM)
  • Bradley Beal, PG/SG: 35.1 FPTS (20.0 pts, 3.5 reb, 4.6 ast)
  • Jusuf Nurkic, C: 22.3 FPTS (10.7 pts, 6.4 reb, 2.2 ast)
  • Keita Bates-Diop, SF: 20.0 FPTS (10.9 pts, 3.8 reb, 1.3 ast)
  • Eric Gordon, SG/SF: 18.2 FPTS (9.6 pts, 1.8 reb, 1.5 ast)
  • Drew Eubanks, PF: 18.0 FPTS (7.6 pts, 6.0 reb, 1.2 ast, 1.4 blk)

Warriors Projections:

  • Stephen Curry, PG: 51.9 FPTS (27.8 pts, 5.2 reb, 6.3 ast, 4.5 3PM)
  • Andrew Wiggins, SF/PF: 34.2 FPTS (20.0 pts, 5.7 reb, 1.9 ast, 2.2 3PM)
  • Chris Paul, PG: 33.8 FPTS (14.5 pts, 3.9 reb, 6.1 ast)
  • Klay Thompson, SG/SF: 31.8 FPTS (19.2 pts, 3.8 reb, 1.7 ast, 3.9 3PM)
  • Kevon Looney, PF/C: 19.5 FPTS (5.9 pts, 8.5 reb, 1.8 ast)
  • Cory Joseph, PG: 19.3 FPTS (10.3 pts, 2.2 reb, 2.3 ast)
  • Gary Payton II, PG: 14.6 FPTS (6.2 pts, 3.9 reb, 0.8 ast)

Injury Report:


  • Jalen Hood-Schifino (Out – Knee)
  • Jarred Vanderbilt (Out – Heel)


  • None reported


  • Bradley Beal (GTD – Back)
  • Devin Booker (GTD – Toe)
  • Damion Lee (OUT – Knee)
  • Ish Wainright (GTD – Calf)


  • Draymond Green (O – Ankle)

Please note that the projections take into account players who are ruled out but assume that those listed as GTD (game-time decision) will play. Enjoy the games!

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