FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Saturday 11/23/19

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/
Toronto Atlanta 223.5 +7.5 115.50 108.00 12 11
New Orleans Utah 222.5 -8.0 107.25 115.25 3 18
LA Lakers Memphis 221.0 +7.5 114.25 106.75 19 9
Chicago Charlotte 218.5 +1.0 109.75 108.75 4 21
San Antonio New York 218.0 +2.5 110.25 107.75 14 24
Miami Philadelphia 213.0 -4.0 104.50 108.50 23 17
Portland Cleveland 0.0 +5.0 N/A N/A 16 30
Orlando Indiana 0.0 -8.0 N/A N/A 27 22
Detroit Milwaukee 0.0 -12.0 N/A N/A 29 1

Of the 18 teams in action, 10 are playing on a back-to-back. The Indiana Pacers have four days' rest. Memphis hasn't played for three days, and the Toronto Raptors, Orlando Magic, and New York Knicks have had two days of rest.

The teams on the back-to-back: Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, Detroit Pistons, San Antonio Spurs, Miami Heat, Charlotte Hornets, Philadelphia 76ers, Utah Jazz, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Atlanta Hawks.

With some uncertainties, three games don't have early-morning totals yet: Portland Trail Blazers/Cavaliers (with the uncertain status of Damian Lillard), Magic/Pacers, and Pistons/Bucks.

Point Guard

With Malcolm Brogdon doubtful, Aaron Holiday ($4,000) is a core play option today against the Magic. Both teams are slow offensively, and the Magic are 22nd in defensive rating over their past five games after starting out hot. T.J. McConnell ($4,100) should return today for the Pacers and also rates out well in my model on a per-dollar basis.

Darius Garland ($4,000) at the same price stands out after getting 33 minutes last game and finally showing up. Garland tacked on 8 points to his previous career high, ultimately netting 23 points on 16 field goal attempts.

So, we have cheap options, but we have studs on the board, too. Trae Young ($9,600) isn't a must-play on a back-to-back against the Raptors' seventh-ranked defense. Young still ranks top-five in tournament value in my model. Lillard ($9,400), if he returns, would be a better play against the Cavaliers on a back-to-back. The Cavs rank 25th in defensive rating on the full season.

My projections also point to Mike Conley ($7,300) as a floor/ceiling combination option in the mid-range. Conley will be up in pace against the New Orleans Pelicans' 26th-ranked defense.

Core Plays: Aaron Holiday, Damian Lillard, Mike Conley
Secondary Plays: Darius Garland, Trae Young, T.J. McConnell
Tournament Plays: Derrick Rose ($5,500), Ben Simmons ($8,600), Collin Sexton ($5,500)

Shooting Guard

Shooting guard has pricey options, but we don't need to break the bank to get access to some of the better plays on the board. DeMar DeRozan ($7,400) and Fred VanVleet ($7,700) rate out at the top of my projections today and are top-four in numberFire's value projections at shooting guard. DeRozan's price is back down after some hot shooting games bumped him up, and VanVleet is logging heavy minutes while the Raptors are without Kyle Lowry.

After them, it's the guys in the $4,000 to $5,000 range who rate out best: Bruce Brown Jr. ($4,100), Jordan Clarkson ($4,300), and Terrence Ross ($5,200). It's a pretty tightly packed position today in terms of projected value, so hopefully injury news provides clarity. numberFire's projections are keen on Ross and also Furkan Korkmaz ($3,600).

The best tournament values in my model are DeRozan, VanVleet, Jeremy Lamb ($6,100), Bryn Forbes ($4,700), Brown, Norman Powell ($5,400), and Donovan Mitchell ($8,600). Mitchell and his 30.4% usage rate deserves plenty of attention against the Pelicans.

Core Plays: DeMar DeRozan, Fred VanVleet, Bruce Brown
Secondary Plays: Donovan Mitchell, Terrence Ross, Jordan Clarkson
Tournament Plays: Jeremy Lamb, Bryn Forbes, Norman Powell

Small Forward

With Giannis Antetokounmpo ($12,900) up in the exosphere in terms of salary and LeBron James ($11,300) in the thermosphere, we could allocate plenty of salary to small forward today if we chose. We don't have to. Though small forward isn't a position where I feel particularly great today, there are a lot of cheap options whose paths could clear up a little by tip.

Pascal Siakam ($9,300) would be the stud of choice given his salary in the mesosphere. Siakam averages 1.18 FanDuel points per minute and ranks as my model's favorite tournament value.

Pacers options Justin Holiday ($3,800) and T.J. Warren ($5,800) rate out well after long rest. Warren has a 25.2% usage rate without Brogdon on the court but has converted for just 0.69 FanDuel points per minute.

Cedi Osman ($3,700) is cheap for someone who should get minutes into the mid-20s, and he's numberFire's top value (and my third-best small forward value).

De'Andre Hunter ($5,400) would see a boost if Cam Reddish ($4,300) misses again tonight. Markieff Morris ($3,700) jumps out as a high-floor, low-ceiling play at a price in the troposphere. Morris projects for mid-20 minutes but averages only 0.80 FanDuel points per minute on the season. Blake Griffin could be out on a back-to-back, so the minutes should be there in that case.

Core Plays: Pascal Siakam, T.J. Warren, Cedi Osman
Secondary Plays: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Markieff Morris, Justin Holiday
Tournament Plays: LeBron James, Tobias Harris ($7,100), Luke Kennard ($5,400)

Power Forward

I'm high on Domantas Sabonis ($8,700) against Orlando. Sabonis should clock around 34 minutes and puts up 1.23 FanDuel points per minute. He's the best floor/ceiling combination play among power forwards, according to my model.

numberFire points to a lot of other value in that upper range, ranking the top three value plays as LaMarcus Aldridge ($7,500), Julius Randle ($8,000), and Al Horford ($7,300). Similar to small forward, it's easy to be indifferent on a lot of these options tonight, and very few -- outside of Sabonis -- pop extra. I prefer Randle.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson ($5,300) has stuck to minutes in the mid-20s of late and is a fine per-minute producer (0.97 FanDuel points) with yo-yoing box score production.

Core Plays: Domantas Sabonis, Julius Randle
Secondary Plays: Anthony Davis ($11,700), LaMarcus Aldridge, Al Horford, Jabari Parker ($6,900), Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
Tournament Plays: Kevin Love ($8,900), Blake Griffin ($7,400), Christian Wood ($4,000 -- if no Griffin)


Center is an easy place to punt and save salary -- or spend up and differentiate. It's really your call.

Jakob Poeltl ($4,000), JaVale McGee ($4,200), Damian Jones ($3,500), and Mohamed Bamba ($3,500) all project respectably for their salaries in their respective matchups. Poeltl is a 1.03-FanDuel-point-per-minute guy and projects for 20-plus minutes. McGee is at 1.23 FanDuel points per minute and up in pace against the Grizzlies. Jones and Bamba are just full-on punt plays who probably won't get to 20 minutes.

If there is no Griffin, then I love Andre Drummond ($9,700) against the Bucks. Without Griffin, Drummond has averaged 1.49 FanDuel points per minute. He'd be my stud of preference.

Marc Gasol ($5,700) is a nice high-floor middle ground against the Hawks. Gasol has cleared 26 minutes in seven straight games but averages just 0.75 FanDuel points per minute for the season.

Core Plays: Andre Drummond, Jakob Poeltl, Marc Gasol
Secondary Plays: Rudy Gobert ($8,400), JaVale McGee, Damian Jones
Tournament Plays: Mohamed Bamba, Myles Turner ($7,200), Joel Embiid ($10,100)