FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Monday 11/18/19

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 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.

Daily fantasy NBA is very reliant on opportunity, so you'll need to make sure that you're up-to-date with key injuries. Our projections update up until tip-off to reflect current news, we have player news updates, and the FanDuel Scout app will send push notifications for pressing updates regarding your players.

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/
Milwaukee Chicago 230.0 +8.0 119.00 111.00 1 2
Portland Houston 229.5 -7.5 111.00 118.50 19 3
Boston Phoenix 226.5 -4.0 111.25 115.25 14 12
San Antonio Dallas 224.0 -4.5 109.75 114.25 15 17
Oklahoma City LA Clippers 221.5 -10.0 105.75 115.75 26 7
Indiana Brooklyn 220.0 -3.5 108.25 111.75 23 5
Minnesota Utah 218.0 -10.0 104.00 114.00 6 21
Charlotte Toronto 215.0 -9.0 103.00 112.00 20 10
Cleveland New York 211.0 -3.0 104.00 107.00 30 24

The over/unders on this nine-game main slate are pretty evenly dispersed. Other than the Cleveland Cavaliers and New York Knicks, we have at least one team in the top-15 in pace in every other game. Game stacks for the Milwaukee Bucks and Chicago Bulls are really enticing, as they play at the two fastest offensives paces in the NBA.

The Boston Celtics/Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs/Dallas Mavericks, and Indiana Pacers/Brooklyn Nets all have close spreads and are viable game stack options, too.

Staying up-to-date on the injury news (by relying on the FanDuel Scout app, our updated projections, and our player news pages) will be a crucial piece to the puzzle tonight.

Small Forward

Small forward may be the deepest position on the board, and that starts with Giannis Antetokounmpo ($12,300) in that game against the Bulls, which features the highest over/under of the night and the two fastest teams in basketball. Giannis has averaged 1.86 FanDuel points per minute, the only rate above 1.61 in the NBA among qualified players. He gets a boost without Khris Middleton.

Pascal Siakam ($9,300) also deserves attention in a spot against the Charlotte Hornets' 23rd-ranked defense. Siakam has averaged 1.17 FanDuel points per minute over an average of 37.1 minutes per game. He's projectable for around that minutes workload again, so he's very much in play if we can't get to Antetokounmpo.

Paul George ($9,600) has a 40.0% usage rate and 2.19 FanDuel points per minute in his two games -- absurd numbers. Both Kawhi Leonard ($10,600) and Patrick Beverley ($4,900) are questionable. Against his former team, George deserves plenty of attention but does have a minutes concern.

Standout values at the position in my model are Kelly Oubre ($6,100) and Pacers teammates Justin Holiday ($3,800) and T.J. Warren ($6,000). All three of them should be able to clear 30 minutes. The Pacers and Suns each could find themselves in back-and-forth games, raising the floor for all three of these value options.

Cedi Osman ($4,300) should see a safe minutes floor above 30 with Kevin Love and Larry Nance Jr. out.

Core Plays: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Pascal Siakam, Kelly Oubre
Secondary Plays: Justin Holiday, T.J. Warren, Cedi Osman
Tournament Plays: Paul George, Jarrett Culver ($4,200), Nassir Little ($3,700)

Point Guard

We can talk about the studs in a second, but Aaron Holiday ($4,100) remains a key value for the Pacers with injuries to their backcourt. He rates out as numberFire's best point guard value and also fits that bill in my model in a soft perimeter matchup with the Brooklyn Nets.

Outside of Holiday, there are some value options, but saving salary to spend up at point guard is really appealing. We have Luka Doncic ($11,400), Kyrie Irving ($9,500; questionable), and Russell Westbrook ($9,400) in plush spots, and each has a 25th-percentile outcome of at least 40.0 FanDuel points, per my projections. Holiday and one of these three should be a go-to build at the position.

Mike Conley ($6,400) rates out as a high-floor/high-ceiling option against the Minnesota Timberwolves' 17th-ranked defense. Conley has 26 or more FanDuel points in five straight games and projects for a solid 30-or-so minutes in a pace-up spot against Minnesota.

Core Plays: Aaron Holiday, Russell Westbrook, Kyrie Irving
Secondary Plays: Luka Doncic, Mike Conley, Coby White ($5,400)
Tournament Plays: Damian Lillard ($9,800), Frank Ntilikina ($4,300), Ricky Rubio ($7,500)


The sweet spot in per-dollar projectable value at center is in the middle of the pricing pool.

Tristan Thompson ($7,300), Marc Gasol ($5,800), Mitchell Robinson ($5,300), Myles Turner ($6,900), Wendell Carter Jr. ($6,600), Brook Lopez ($5,600), and Aron Baynes ($6,000) are all clustered together in my projections.

Thompson should be locked into minutes in the mid-30s with the Cavs' frontcourt openings, and he has returned 1.14 FanDuel points per minute on the season. Gasol projects for around 31 with the highest floor/ceiling combination in my projections, followed closely by Robinson. Turner has averaged 1.45 FanDuel points per minute without Domantas Sabonis, who is questionable. They'd be the four I'm most keen on, but it's a close one, and price could dictate the ultimate choice if I were building one lineup.

Karl-Anthony Towns ($11,600) is a heads-up tournament play, as paying for him pretty much guarantees a fairly unique lineup construction, but picking on Rudy Gobert is never fun.

Core Plays: Myles Turner, Tristan Thompson, Marc Gasol, Mitchell Robinson
Secondary Plays: Wendell Carter Jr., Brook Lopez, Aron Baynes
Tournament Plays: Karl-Anthony Towns, Hassan Whiteside ($7,900)

Power Forward

Both Kawhi Leonard ($10,600) and Domantas Sabonis ($8,800) are questionable to play. Kevin Love ($8,200) is out. So the top of the power forward pool takes a hit. If Sabonis plays, I love him, but he's not a priority even though power forward is a pretty underwhelming position on this slate.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson ($4,400) remains well-priced and has settled into a role that nets him about 25 minutes per game. He has the best value projection of any power forward tonight, according to numberFire's algorithm.

Jarrett Allen ($5,400) rates out well against the Pacers and has put up at least 32.0 FanDuel points in his past two games. On the season, Allen has averaged 1.01 FanDuel points per minute.

Trying to save some salary at power forward should be the goal, so it's kind of hard to play Kristaps Porzingis ($8,400) or Lauri Markkanen ($6,800) as primary options, but they rate out as good tournament pivots at worst, and Markkanen's price is way down since the early stages of the season.

P.J. Tucker ($5,200) should play minutes in the upper-30s but is rarely a great fantasy producer. He's just a floor play.

Core Plays: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Jarrett Allen, Domantas Sabonis
Secondary Plays: Lauri Markkanen, Dario Saric ($5,000), P.J. Tucker
Tournament Plays: Kristaps Porzingis, Robert Covington ($5,800), Kawhi Leonard (if he plays)

Shooting Guard

For as good as James Harden ($12,500) has been and for as good as the matchup should be tonight against the Bulls, he isn't a must-play, given the other studs on the slate and the value at his own position. Harden is pretty much never a bad play, but he doesn't have to be a priority -- although, stacking this game is really enticing.

Spencer Dinwiddie ($5,800) would see a huge boost if Kyrie Irving were to miss. Dinwiddie put up 24 points, 4 assists, 1 board, 2 blocks, and 1 steal in 30 minutes without Irving on Saturday. He has a 32.6% usage rate without Irving on the court.

The Toronto Raptors' Norman Powell ($4,600) and Fred VanVleet ($7,800) rank top-seven at the position on a per-dollar basis and aren't far off the pace of the top of the board. The Hornets are a pace-down opponent but are just 23rd in defensive rating.

We have punt options from Milwaukee in Donte DiVincenzo ($4,100) and Sterling Brown ($3,700) while Middleton is out. Each should play around 22 to 25 minutes.

Core Plays: Spencer Dinwiddie, Norman Powell, Sterling Brown
Secondary Plays: James Harden, Fred VanVleet, Donte DiVincenzo
Tournament Plays: Donovan Mitchell ($8,600), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ($7,300), DeMar DeRozan ($7,600)