FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Monday 11/4/19

James Harden should post an elite game without Russell Westbrook. Who else should we target on FanDuel?

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 bunch 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 position.

Let's take a look at who you should target on today's main slate.

The Slate

Away Home Over/
New Orleans Brooklyn 237.5 -4.0 116.75 120.75 4 2
Houston Memphis 231.5 +5.5 118.50 113.00 1 11
Milwaukee Minnesota 229.5 +6.5 118.00 111.50 3 7
Detroit Washington 225.0 -2.5 111.25 113.75 27 8
Philadelphia Phoenix 224.5 +1.5 113.00 111.50 5 19
Portland Golden State 222.5 +11.0 116.75 105.75 10 14

A lot of fantasy points are there for the taking tonight on a slate like this. This'll be a great one.

Shooting Guard

James Harden ($11,000) isn't cheap, but in a game with a 231.5-point total and without Russell Westbrook (who is out for rest) tonight. According to NBAWowy, Harden has a 49.7% usage rate without Westbrook this season in nearly 80 minutes. That's beyond insane.

It'll be tough to prioritize any other pricey shooting guards with Harden in such a good spot. The best per-dollar play at the position is quite cheap: Bruce Brown Jr. at $3,900. Brown just played 40 minutes on Saturday and took 20 shot attempts. The Detroit Pistons' backcourt is so thin that Brown projects for almost 39 minutes, via numberFire's projections. Expect Harden and Brown Jr. to be the chalk combo at shooting guard. Langston Galloway ($3,800) also is projected for 27 minutes and has averaged 0.73 FanDuel points per minute.

Caris LeVert ($6,400) rates out third in my model. He has averaged 32.2 minutes and 28.7 FanDuel points through six games, good for 0.89 FanDuel points per minute. The Brooklyn Nets/New Orleans Pelicans game is the top fantasy game of the night, given the total.

The top 75th-percentile projections from my model belong to Harden (65.8), Bradley Beal ($9,600; 52.1), Jrue Holiday ($8,300; 48.4), D'Angelo Russell ($9,400; 47.7), and Devin Booker ($8,500; 46.4).

Core Plays: James Harden, Bruce Brown Jr., Caris LeVert
Secondary Plays: Jrue Holiday, Dillon Brooks ($4,400), Langston Galloway
Tournament Plays: Bradley Beal, Josh Richardson ($6,100), C.J. McCollum ($6,700)

Point Guard

There are mid-range plays worth discussing, but saving salary for point guard is probably the default build for me tonight. Kyrie Irving ($9,700) brings his 33.6% usage rate and 1.54 FanDuel points per minute into an uptempo matchup with the Pelicans. He's a stud option tonight.

So is Ben Simmons ($9,500). He has yet to play fewer than 32 minutes or have fewer than 11 shot attempts. That's led to 1.18 FanDuel points per minute, so we can ride that into his matchup against the Phoenix Suns.

Jeff Teague ($6,200) and Eric Bledsoe ($6,300) grade out better on a per-dollar basis in my model than does Simmons. Teague has 25 shot attempts in his past two games, and Bledsoe has 27. They're my top four.

Punt-level options are Shabazz Napier ($4,000) and Ishmael Smith ($4,500) tonight, and they are top-three in value based on numberFire's projections. Napier has posted 0.92 FanDuel points per minute, while Ish is at 0.72. I like Smith better, but spending down is not the priority at point guard.

Core Plays: Kyrie Irving, Ben Simmons, Jeff Teague
Secondary Plays: Eric Bledsoe, Ishmael Smith, Shabazz Napier
Tournament Plays: d Damian Lillard ($10,300), Ja Morant ($7,700), Ricky Rubio ($6,800)

Small Forward

So, I know that the pricey point guards look good, but we have cheaper plays there. At small forward, there's a massive gap between Giannis Antetokounmpo ($12,000) and the field. His 75th-percentile outcome in my projections is 64.9 FanDuel points. No other small forward is above 42.7. On a median basis, he's not a must-play, but if you're mass multi-entering tournaments, you'll want to go at Giannis for the opportunity cost.

The best per-dollar plays in my model are (in order) Eric Gordon ($3,900), Luke Kennard ($5,000), Taurean Prince ($4,800), Markieff Morris ($4,300), Troy Brown ($3,700), and Jae Crowder ($4,800) -- all cheap. numberFire ranks them Gordon, Kennard, Prince at the top. Choosing between these small forwards is probably the default way to go in cash games.

The top 75th-percentile projections at small forward belong to Antetokounmpo (64.9), Tobias Harris ($7,300; 42.7), Brandon Ingram ($8,900; 41.0), and Kelly Oubre ($6,200; 39.3). Spending up here should generate a unique lineup in tournaments.

Core Plays: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Eric Gordon, Luke Kennard
Secondary Plays: Taurean Prince, Markieff Morris, Troy Brown, Jae Crowder
Tournament Plays: Tobias Harris, Brandon Ingram, Kelly Oubre

Power Forward

There's no Blake Griffin, Draymond Green, or Jaren Jackson Jr., so Al Horford ($7,500) is the only power forward above $6,000 tonight. Horford grades out third in my model at the position. On Saturday without Joel Embiid, Horford played 30 minutes with 24 shot attempts and 49.5 FanDuel points.

Mid-range value stands out tonight with Rui Hachimura ($5,500), Brandon Clarke ($5,600), and Robert Covington ($5,700) grade out as plus plays in my model. Hachimura (0.79 FanDuel points per minute), Clarke (1.21), and Covington (0.98) should all clear 28 minutes tonight, so this is the primary place I'll be looking in cash games.

Frank Kaminsky ($4,900) has a 23.1% usage rate, good for 0.90 FanDuel points per minute, in an average of 25.7 minutes. He projects as another viable play agains the Philadelphia 76ers.

Core Plays: Al Horford, Rui Hachimura, Brandon Clarke
Secondary Plays: Robert Covington, Jarrett Allen ($5,200)
Tournament Plays: Dario Saric ($5,400), Eric Paschall ($5,800), Anthony Tolliver ($3,800)


There's legitimate FOMO with Andre Drummond ($10,600), as he has had 66.8 and 78.0 FanDuel points in his past two games and has averaged 22 rebounds over his past three. In a spot against the Washington Wizards, who are 25th in rebounding rate, he's a luxury if we can get there, but the value options at center make him not a must-play.

Without Karl-Anthony Towns last game, Gorgui Dieng ($4,000) played 23 minutes and churned out 42.1 FanDuel points. He should see a similar role tonight while Towns finishes his suspension. Jonas Valanciunas ($5,700) has tacked onto his minutes with each game and now puts that workload into a pace-up game with the Houston Rockets. He has averaged 1.28 FanDuel points per minute, an enticing number for the matchup and extra possessions. These two are priority plays.

Drummond's 75th-percentile outcome (63.4) is untouched by the rest of the pool, but next on the list for tournament upside are Clint Capela ($7,800; 45.1), Thomas Bryant ($7,600; 42.8), Valanciunas (42.5), Hassan Whiteside ($7,500; 37.8), and Dieng (32.6)

Core Plays: Gorgui Dieng, Jonas Valanciunas, Andre Drummond
Secondary Plays: Clint Capela, Thomas Bryant
Tournament Plays: Hassan Whiteside, Brook Lopez ($5,200), and Willie Cauley-Stein ($4,900)