NBA Rising Stars Challenge Daily Fantasy Helper
If you're new to daily fantasy basketball -- maybe you started your DFS journey during the MLB or NFL seasons, or maybe basketball is your sport and this will be your first year giving it a shot -- you're in for a treat. The NBA scene changes hugely on a week-to-week, day-to-day, and -- depending on injury news -- even a minute-to-minute basis, making every slate a unique one that requires an ever-changing approach.
On Friday, we get a single-game slate for the NBA Rising Stars Challenge between Team World and Team USA. How this format works is, as always, you have to stay within the $60,000 salary, but you select five total players, including: one "MVP" whose FanDuel points are multiplied by two, one "STAR" whose points are multipled by 1.5 and one "PRO" whose points are multiplied by 1.2 -- I'll refer to these as the bonus spots. The other two are utility spots in which those players will receive no bonus beyond their actual fantasy total.
There are no positional restrictions, which makes this that much more fun for DFS players from all backgrounds. Without further ado, let's see who we should be targeting for Friday's Rising Stars Challenge.
Bonus Spot Plays
Luka Doncic ($15,000): Doncic is the highest-priced player on this slate, but it is completely justifiable. He is second among the 20 players in the game at 1.19 FanDuel points per minute, and on top of a 28.2% usage rate the 19-year-old has assisted on 29.6% of his team's made field goals while on the floor. It's highly unlikely that Doncic comes off the bench, so if last year's game is any indication, he should see 20 to 25 minutes. He will certainly be looking to show out in the time he's out there, too, as he is one of only a couple players who have a case for being in Sunday's big-boy game. Double-digit assists aren't out of question for the odds-on favorite (+350) to take MVP honors in this game.
Ben Simmons ($14,500): Chances are you might only fit in one of these two versatile playmakers, and they could steal production -- particularly assists -- from one another in the World backcourt. However, going with both could cover all your bases in a couple of ways. Not only will Simmons serve as the assist monster he has been -- 7.9 assists a game on a 35.4% assist rate -- all year, but he's second in MVP odds (+400) and could be the driver for the underdog (+3.0) World squad. Oh, and there might be something to his string of Twitter emojis, possibly hinting at Simmons' negative feelings toward an All-Star Game starter snub. He should be motivated, and if he sees starters minutes he should end up as the highest fantasy scorer of the night. His 1.24 FanDuel points per minute lead all qualified rookies and sophomores.
Trae Young ($11,500): On the Team USA side, an implied total of 146.5 suggest that there will be a ton of points for everyone to get in on. Young might not even start in favor of the elder De'Aaron Fox, but at his price and in line to see 18 to 20 minutes he's worthy of consideration. He is averaging 1.05 FanDuel points per minute and owns an intriguing combination of a 26.5% usage rate, 37.7% assist rate and 38.6% three-point attempt rate. His 7.6 assists per game lead his squad, but more importantly he's been known to chuck. In the last four years, game MVPs have gotten up an average of 16.5 field goal attempts, and in the last two years alone the winners have turned nine and seven made threes into 36 and 26 points, respectively. The 20-year-old point man is averaging 14.3 field goal attempts and 1.7 makes on 5.5 three-point attempts a game. His game seems tailor-made for this exhibition style.
Deandre Ayton ($11,500): It is pretty surprising to see Ayton as only the seventh-highest priced player at the same exact cost as Young. After all, it's likely he starts at the five for the World, and his 35.4 FanDuel points per game are fifth in the field. He comes in third in points per minute at 1.15. Now, big men haven't had recent success in putting up MVP-worthy numbers, but you don't need that from him if you use him in a utility spot. What you're looking for are cheap points in the form of dunks -- he has 104 makes on 108 attempts this year -- and rebounds, which the big man has grabbed at a 17.3% rate en route to 10.5 a game, the most among all first- and second-year players. And if he's into doing some rim protecting, there's some additional upside there, as the big man's put together 11 games with two or more blocks this season.
Kyle Kuzma ($10,500): Kuzma will, in all likelihood, start for the USA squad as he is the lone representative of the young Los Angeles Lakers with Lonzo Ball being replaced because of an injury. In his second year, Kuzma's upped his field goal attempts (13.5-15.6), points (16.1-19.1) and FanDuel points (27.8-30.4) per game, and despite the presence of one LeBron James, he's used 23.5% of available possessions compared to last year's 21.8% rate. He has the mindset of an alpha scorer, and he showed that in last year's edition of this game, when he got up 18 shots in just under 19 minutes and finished the night with 20 points (2 three-point makes) and 29.4 FanDuel points. At this price, he could make for a contrarian play at one of the three bonus spots as well.
Bogdan Bogdanovic ($9,000): In 2018, Kuzma was one-upped by his fellow rookie (at the time), as Bogie hit 9 of 16 shots and 7 of 13 from three for 26 points, alongside 6 assists and 4 rebounds. His 39.8 FanDuel points could be hard to replicate, but he might once again feed off the superior passing of guys like Simmons and Doncic. On spot-up threes, Bogdanovic is connecting at a lower rate (36.2%) this season, though he could catch fire if he's getting open looks on the regular. And as we've seen, the 26-year-old is a willing passer to boot, dishing out assists at a 20.7% rate with seven or more helpers in 8 of his 45 games played in the first half.
Brett Oswalt is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Brett Oswalt also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username BRO14THEKID. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.