NBA Daily Fantasy Helper: Monday 2/25/19
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.
With so much changing so quickly, we're here with plenty of tools to help you out. We have daily projections, a matchup heat map, a lineup optimizer, and a ton of other great resources to help give you an edge.
We'll also be coming at you with this primer every day, breaking down a few of the day's top plays at each price point.
Let's take a look at who you should target on today's main slate.
Best of the Best
James Harden ($12,500): A matchup with the Atlanta Hawks is always going to be a dreamy spot for a backcourt player, as the Hawks allow the league's most points, most steals and most assists per game to opponents. Harden averages the NBA's most points, third-most steals and fifth-most assists per game, and there's not anybody in the NBA better-equipped to take full advantage of this spot. He hasn't been quite as hot with Chris Paul back in the lineup, but he's still putting up an elite 57.4 FanDuel points per game in the nine contests he has played with Paul this month. Harden is questionable with a strained neck, so keep an eye on that, but if he plays then he's the top high-priced play on the slate.
Karl-Anthony Towns ($10,800): The Sacramento Kings are the NBA's most generous team in the other big area, allowing opponents the most rebounds per game. They sit 25th in the NBA in rebound rate and 18th in defensive rating, allowing top-12 fantasy efficiency to opposing centers. KAT ranks 10th in the NBA with 12.0 rebounds per game on the year, and his 19.5% total rebound rate is good for 13th. He's topped 45 FanDuel points in nine of his last 12 games, also posting 50-plus in seven and 60-plus in four of those games. Center is relatively deep on this slate, but none offer the kind of upside that Towns does in this matchup.
LaMarcus Aldridge ($8,000): Another good frontcourt matchup, the Brooklyn Nets allow the seventh-most FanDuel points per minute to opposing power forwards and the second-most to centers. Back-to-back fantasy duds have Aldridge's price down, but that includes a 21-minute outing that saw him deal with both a 12-point loss (the Spurs didn't get any higher than an eight-point deficit in the second half) and foul trouble in his last outing. Even including that one, he's still come within two fantasy points of five-times value on today's salary in nine of his last 14 games, averaging 40.9 in 32.4 minutes per game in that stretch. A matchup with the Nets positions him well for a bounce-back here.
Klay Thompson ($7,300): As usual, the Golden State Warriors have the highest implied total on the slate at 120.5. That often comes with some big blowout risk, but tonight they're only 7.5-point favorites, so there's less room for concern in that area. They're also up against a Charlotte Hornets squad that allows the 10th-most three-pointers per game, so this matchup is a great one for the Warriors' offense. With so many appealing high-priced plays on the slate, Thompson makes for an appealing way to get exposure to the Warriors without paying up too much. His 3.0 three-pointers per game rank seventh in the NBA, so he gets a big boost in this spot, and we've also seen him contribute some fairly consistent numbers recently. His last eight games have seen him fall below 31 FanDuel points only once, and he has come within one fantasy point of five-times value on today's salary in four of the eight, averaging 36.4 per game in that run.
Eric Bledsoe ($6,900): The Milwaukee Bucks have ruled out George Hill for tonight, opening up some expanded run in the backcourt. Hill had averaged 20.7 minutes per game since January 1, and while we didn't see Bledsoe's minutes jump when Hill went down in the first quarter in the Bucks' last game, that game also became a runaway in the fourth quarter, and no Bucks player hit even 33 minutes. Bledsoe's minutes tend to top out in the low-30s, so his ceiling doesn't go way up, but the absence of Hill also means we're more likely to see his minutes reach the 30s than to fall in the mid- to high-20s like he has played in seven of his last eight. Even with the moderate minutes, we've seen Bledsoe top 36 FanDuel points in six of his last 10 games, and he also gets a great matchup tonight against a Chicago Bulls team that allows top 12 fantasy production at the point.
Caris LeVert ($5,700): Already back from the gruesome ankle injury that sidelined him in mid-November, LeVert needed only two games off the bench before returning to the Nets' starting lineup. His three starts have included marks of 29.7 and 30.5 minutes, and he has put up at least 11 field goal attempts in four of his five games since returning to action. His fantasy production has been inconsistent, but he's already topped 33 FanDuel points twice. The Nets had the night off on Sunday, so he should be well rested and can be expected to see his minutes push 30 again tonight. Averaging a career-best 1.05 FanDuel points per minute on the year (and even if you expect him to regress closer to his 0.95 per minute from last year), that kind of a workload leaves him underpriced tonight -- even before you factor in the potential for his minutes to start expanding even further.
Kelly Olynyk ($4,600): The Miami Heat have listed James Johnson as doubtful for tonight, and it looks like he'll spend his second straight game on the bench. Olynyk's minutes spiked to 28.7 when Johnson made an early exit last Thursday, and while he only played 23.4 in the game Johnson missed, that was a 23-point blowout which saw him play only 3.1 in the fourth quarter. Averaging 0.90 FanDuel points per minute this season, his increased run should let him return solid value tonight, and both his floor and ceiling get a boost from a matchup with the Phoenix Suns, who allow the 10th-most FanDuel points per minute to opposing power forwards.
Austin Rivers ($3,700): Value options are really scarce tonight, so even if Harden suits up, Rivers could offer some thin fantasy value with Iman Shumpert on the shelf. He played 22 minutes with Shump out against the Los Angeles Lakers, and while that's not usually an appealing mark for an inefficient producer, he also stands to get a massive boost in efficiency against the Hawks, who allow the NBA's most efficient fantasy production to opposing shooting guards. If Harden does end up sitting, Rivers jumps from "usable value on a slate without many choices" to "elite value," as he'd likely be in for minutes in the 30s again, which would make him almost impossible to fade in such a strong matchup and with such a low price tag.
Derrick Jones Jr. ($3,500): Both Rodney McGruder and Justise Winslow are also doubtful for the Heat tonight. With Goran Dragic only on his second game back from a multi-month absence, there should be plenty of minutes to go around on the wing for the Heat tonight. Jones got in 26.7 minutes in his last outing, and that one saw McGruder play most of the first half, so we can expect the mid-20s to likely be closer to his floor tonight. He has averaged 29.2 FanDuel points per game in 10 contests with at least 25 minutes played this season, and he's a steal while priced at the minimum salary here.
Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. 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.
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