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Fantasy Focus: Pistons vs. Hornets

Rod Beard
The Detroit News

Auburn Hills — After a summer chock full of superstars moving all around the league, we’re finally ready for the start of the NBA season. The year got started with a pair of marquee matchups on Tuesday night, but the schedule gets started in earnest Wednesday night with 11 games, including the Pistons and Hornets in the first-ever regular-season game at Little Caesars Arena.

During the regular season, I’ll try to keep it simple: just thoughts on the Pistons and their opponent. It’s easier for me to do and doesn’t take me away from my main responsibilities. Some have asked if I’d do more teams on a given night, but it’s just not feasible.

It’s been a heck of a week in the DFS world, with plenty of support out there for a new guy trying to learn the ropes. I appreciate all the links and resources that folks have sent and for those who have had me on their podcasts and shows. Again, if you have stuff you recommend, send it to me on Twitter.

I’ve talked to some of my cohorts about getting involved and trying to get information out there about different teams — just understand that it’s going to take a while for many people to see the benefit. What you can do is just be respectful of their time and maybe even let them know why you’re seeking the information. Some will help and others absolutely won’t. Respect it, either way.

Good luck tonight as your seasons get started.



Probable starters: Reggie Jackson, Avery Bradley, Stanley Johnson, Tobias Harris, Andre Drummond. Check back on Twitter (@detnewsRodBeard) before tip time.

Injuries: Dwight Buycks (left hip flexor strain) is questionable.


Andre Drummond: There are certain opponents that Drummond likes to play against — and certain ones that fantasy players like him against as well. Dwight Howard is one of those. Howard isn’t the defensive force he once was, but Drummond usually does pretty well against him. Drummond’s sinus surgery and improved free throws — 80 percent (!) in the preseason — warrant a serious look in most games.

Avery Bradley: Along with the pick-and-roll with Reggie Jackson and Drummond, Bradley will get a large share of the offensive load. He can do so many things inside the arc and he’s a good 3-point shooter as well. He was slowed by an ankle injury in the preseason, but he’s all good to go for his Pistons debut.

Ish Smith: He had one of the most consistent and surprising statistical preseasons of any of the Pistons. It’s unclear how many minutes he’ll get, but it’s a reasonable guess that he’ll get 20-plus minutes early in the season as Jackson gets his wind back and ramps up his play. The MOET (My Own Eye Test) Index says Smith is already near midseason form.


Probable starters: Kemba Walker, Dwayne Bacon, Marvin Williams, Frank Kaminsky, Dwight Howard. Check back on Twitter (@detnewsRodBeard) before tip time.

Injuries: Nic Batum (sprained left elbow), Michael Carter-Williams (knee soreness) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (personal) are out.


Kemba Walker: In four games against the Pistons last season, Walker averaged 28.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists and hit 48 percent on 3-pointers. His usage rate of 31.8 percent was the third-highest against any team. He’ll likely see a lot of Avery Bradley, so those numbers likely could dip.

Malik Monk: The rookie guard lit up the Pistons in the preseason opener, with 19 points in 23 minutes off the bench. He let the ball fly, going 4-of-10 beyond the arc and showing some poise with the ball in his hands. He led the team in scoring in three of the five preseason games.

Dwayne Bacon: With Batum and Kidd-Gilchrist out, Bacon is listed as the probable starter, which would be a considerable bump in playing time from the 12 minutes he saw in the preseason matchup. In that short time, he posted five points and seven rebounds against the Pistons but scored in double figures in three other games. He went 4-of-4 from 3 against the Celtics.