PORTLAND, OR - JANUARY 23: Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers talks with Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks during the game on January 23, 2020 at the Moda Center Arena in Portland, Oregon. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images)

It is hard to believe but the NBA is already back in action! Initially, it felt like the season would come back in February or March but the NBA changed course and now we have a 72 game sprint. After two games to kick off the season last night, we have a mega 13-game slate tonight. There are many options to choose from but there are two all-stars in this slate that you absolutely HAVE TO put in your lineup. 

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Damian Lillard 1.15X POR vs UTA

Lillard is coming off the best season of his career in the 2019-20 season where he averaged 30 points, 8 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 51.1 fantasy points per game. He is entering his 9th season in the league and there are no signs of him slowing down in 2020-21. He is hungry to get this Blazers team back to the western conference finals and with Jusuf Nurkic back for the full season, Robert Covington coming over in a trade and Rodney Hood returning from injury – the Blazers have a real chance. 

This matchup against the Utah Jazz feels like the perfect team for Lillard to face in order to start the season off with a bang. In three games vs the Jazz last season, Lillard averaged a whopping 42 points, 4 rebounds, 8.7 assists and 66.5 FPPG. These games are no fluke either as the Jazz have a defense that is perfect for Lillard to rain fire on them from the three-point line. The Jazz run a defensive scheme that is designed for Rudy Gobert to drop back in pick and roll coverage instead of trapping. This results in Lillard getting many wide-open three-pointers. Last season against Utah, Lillard shot 57% from three-point land on 42 attempts. With the Jazz personnel staying the same, I do not see anything changing with this matchup. I expect Lillard to have another huge game and it is the icing on the cake that he has a 1.15X multiplier. 

Jayson Tatum 1.2X BOS vs MIL

When it comes to the Boston Celtics, there is justified pessimism given the loss of Gordon Hayward and the injury issues with Kemba Walker. However, these are the factors that make Jayson Tatum a potential fantasy monster. In the second half of the season, Tatum played in nine games with no Kemba Walker and he averaged 55.1 FPPG. When you factor in his 1.2X multiplier, that average goes up to 66.1. Tatum may not be efficient in these games to start the year without Kemba, but he will have a huge burden put on him which will open up his fantasy opportunities. 

Another reason to be optimistic about Tatum, especially at the multiplier value of 1.2X, is the development of his playmaking late in the Celtics playoff run last season. He played in 13 games between the Toronto and Miami series and in those games he averaged 25.3 points, 10.1 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 51.3 FPPG. It was a whole different level of passing we had not seen from Tatum at any point in his career. There is no reason not to believe this won’t carry over into the 2020-21 season. This is especially true now that he will be doing the vast majority of the shot-creating for the Celtics. Every sign points towards Tatum outperforming his 1.2X multiplier. 

This article expresses the personal views of the writer and does not reflect the view(s) of SuperDraft in any way.

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