Fantasy Focus: Gauging the Pistons without Blake Griffin in DFS

Rod Beard
The Detroit News

Indianapolis — The start to the NBA regular season brings joy to the Daily Fantasy Sports community. Well, call it the bulk of the DFS community.

Pistons forward Blake Griffin will miss the first 8-10 games of the season.

The die-hards already have been playing in the preseason and trying to gauge prospective playing time and juggling to figure out how many minutes the back-of-the-roster players would be sucking away from the regular rotation mainstays.

Those worries are over; it’s time for the real thing.

As I’ve done in the past, I’ll try to provide a DFS slant for the Pistons for some games and give an idea of the outlook I’ve seen from covering the beat. DFS fans may find some more enticing games to monitor, but the Pistons will provide some palatable options, especially in looking for lower-salaried options to complement the big-name players that fill out most rosters.

The Pistons open the season Wednesday night at Indiana, on the heels of the big news Tuesday that Blake Griffin will miss a couple of weeks because of lingering knee issues and hamstring soreness. There are obvious DFS implications from this — and here’s how the dominos will fall, at least for the first couple of weeks of the season:

► Markieff Morris ($3,600 DraftKings) will step into the starting lineup for Griffin. Morris’ salary seems to be a ridiculous value, so this is a major opportunity for a low-cost option who can deliver bigger numbers with increased minutes. Morris could play 20-25 minutes, at least and though he’s playing with Andre Drummond, he can get a couple of boards to go with some modest scoring. With his 3-point range, 18-20 fantasy points isn’t out of the question.

► Christian Wood ($4,800 DK) will see some increased playing time. The Pistons don’t have an expansive rotation, with Drummond, Morris, Wood and Thon Maker as the best possible options at center and power forward. The lower salary leaves open the possibility that he could hit 4x or 5x with enough playing time. The Pacers have a good frontcourt so nothing will come easily, but he’s shown an ability to get to the rim and be effective.

► Drummond ($8,400 DK) is worth a look. Last season, he averaged 21 points, six rebounds and 2.3 assists in four games against the Pacers. It’s unclear how much of a role of offense Drummond will have without Griffin, but at first blush, he should be fine, especially if the Pistons choose to go back to running pick-and-rolls with Reggie Jackson. Drummond should provide consistent numbers all season, so just watch to see how high that salary fluctuates.

► Luke Kennard ($3,300 DK) is poised for a breakout season on the offensive end. The salary seems a little low and could be a value because Kennard will be working off Derrick Rose in the second unit. The minutes will be there, but figuring out initially how both Rose and Kennard fit together will be something to watch in the first few games. Kennard flourished last season when Griffin missed the first two games of the playoffs, so whether he can continue on that path is the only question.

► Reggie Jackson ($4,400 DK) can be a value, depending on how you view his game. He can have an increased presence with Griffin out and he can become more ball-dominant, but that messes with the flow of the offense at times. It’s worth watching for the first few games, but if that number stays about the same, he will have his games where he can deliver excellent value.

► Note: Rookie Sekou Doumbouya is in the concussion protocol and will not be available for the opener and possibly for Thursday’s home opener against the Hawks. As it stands, he’s not a likely regular in the rotation, so wait a little bit to see what his playing time will be like before putting him in your lineups.

Twitter: @detnewsRodBeard