FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Saturday 12/7/19

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

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This four-game slate has plenty of injury news already, and more to come, so make sure you're following things as we get more news throughout the day.

Point Guard

Paying up may be the first intuition at point guard, as many will turn to Ben Simmons ($9,300) with Joel Embiid being out Saturday with a bruised hip. Simmons' usage rate actually drops when Embiid is off the floor, dipping from 19.3% to 18.9%.

Therefore, paying up for Malcolm Brogdon ($8,700) might be a better investment. Brogdon averages a stellar 1.16 FanDuel points per minute, and coming off a so-so performance Friday, he draws a favorable matchup against the lowly New York Knicks, who are dead last in FanDuel points allowed to opposing point guards.

The value at the position might come from the Cleveland Cavaliers' pair of first-round point guards. Kevin Love is still "fighting an illness" for a team not actually trying to win or hurt their trade asset. That is good news for Collin Sexton ($6,100) and Darius Garland ($4,600), both of whom see their usage spike upward with Love off the court. Sexton has a 28.8% usage rate without K-Love on the floor, and Garland is at 23.1% in the split.

Garland has two draws as a core play over Sexton, being that he will avoid Simmons' defense, and he is cheaper than his teammate despite still seeing over 30 minutes of action in three of his last four games.

Core Plays: Malcolm Brogdon, Darius Garland
Secondary Plays: Collin Sexton, Russell Westbrook ($9,400)
Tournament Plays: Ben Simmons, Mike Conley ($6,100), Frank Ntilikina ($4,200)

Shooting Guard

James Harden ($12,100) is always the starting point at shooting guard when he plays, but he may take a back seat for a couple of intriguing options who are quite a bit cheaper.

Mike Conley is an interesting value at the point if he plays, but he is likely closer to doubtful with his nagging hamstring injury, and if he does not, Donovan Mitchell ($8,300) becomes the star of the show with the Utah Jazz. He has a whopping 32.4% usage rate without Conley on the floor and will work as a heavy favorite.

Devin Booker ($8,200) is coming off a 40-point game and should be the showcase of the offense in a game with by far the highest total on the slate. Booker should have room to shoot against a fast-paced Houston Rockets team that gives up the seventh-most three-point makes in the Association.

Value at the slate will primarily start with Ben McLemore ($4,500), who starting for Houston and is averaging 31.56 FanDuel points per game over his last three games, all of them starts, which would provide better than 7.0 FanDuel points per $1,000 at this price. That value is impassable for McLemore, who is now a fixture in Houston's starting lineup.

Core Plays: Devin Booker, Ben McLemore
Secondary Plays: Donovan Mitchell, James Harden, Furkan Korkmaz ($3,500)
Tournament Plays: RJ Barrett ($5,700), Grayson Allen ($3,800)

Small Forward

This may be contrarian, but spending up at small forward seems like the best lineup construction just because of potential value being more readily available at other positions.

Tobias Harris ($8,100) is actually the biggest beneficiary on the Philadelphia 76ers without Joel Embiid. He leads the Sixers' starters in usage (25.2%) and rebounds per minute (0.25) with Embiid off the floor. That makes Harris a sneaky play at this spot, with the public likely all over Ben Simmons and/or Al Horford ($7,600). Harris draws a great matchup, as well, against Cleveland, a defense giving up the fifth-most FanDuel points to small forwards.

Kelly Oubre ($7,300) is a slightly riskier play, but if Oubre gets his minutes, he will produce. He has seen more than 35 minutes eight times in his last 13 games, and in those eight, Oubre is averaging 42.58 FanDuel points per game. In the five with fewer than 35 minutes, that drops to 16.8 FanDuel points per game. In a high-tempo game with a single-digit spread, Oubre will have a good shot to play big minutes.

For value, the Mike Conley news could positively impact Joe Ingles ($4,100), who has averaged 28.5 minutes in the last two games Conley has missed, producing well to the tune of 23.25 FanDuel points per game. T.J. Warren ($5,400) is projected by numberFire for 29.3 FanDuel points and is among the top small forwards on the board.

Core Plays: Tobias Harris, TJ Warren
Secondary Plays: Kelly Oubre, Joe Ingles
Tournament Plays: Jae Crowder ($5,700), James Ennis ($3,800)

Power Forward

Injury news has had no bigger of an impact at any spot than power forward on this slate, highlighting a few key plays.

Al Horford ($7,600) has vaulted into consideration without Joel Embiid. Horford (24.2%) actually outpaces his traditional ball-handling teammates Josh Richardson (22.4%) and Ben Simmons (18.9%) in usage without the 76ers' star center. In addition to that, he will be the tallest defender on the floor against a Cleveland squad that has had the second-most shots blocked in the NBA.

Larry Nance Jr. ($6,700) sees a price increase because of the Kevin Love news, but he still merits consideration. His rebounding rate jumps to 0.28 rebounds per minute without Love on the floor, and he leads the team in minutes without Love (301). Nance gave a disappointing output with only 21.2 FanDuel points on Friday, which could reduce his ownership despite Love remaining out.

Frank Kaminsky ($5,400) will likely see another start with Aron Baynes out due to a calf injury. Kaminsky has scored at least 30 FanDuel points in his last three starts for Baynes, which makes him a great point-per-dollar value play. On the other side of this matchup, PJ Tucker ($5,400) is currently forecasted for a solid 24.1 points by numberFire's projections.

Core Plays: Al Horford, Frank Kaminsky, Larry Nance
Secondary Plays: PJ Tucker, Dario Saric ($5,900)
Tournament Plays: Julius Randle ($7,300), John Henson ($3,600)


Jonas Valanciunas ($8,700) is really settling into an encouraging role with the Memphis Grizzlies. He has at least 28 minutes, 22 points, and 13 rebounds in each of his last three games. The center has never had a problem producing per minute, with 2019 no exception (1.25 fantasy points per minute), but he struggled to carve out a role with the Toronto Raptors a season ago. As Memphis' starting center, he is well worth this price tag.

Speaking of roles, Clint Capela ($9,100) finally has acquired a permanent one in Houston's rotation. He's seen at least 30 minutes in the last 10 games he's been healthy enough to play, and the Swiss center will try to take advantage of a Suns team missing its starting center, Aron Baynes. Phoenix also has had the eighth-most shots blocked, so in a high-paced game, Capela has a lot of paths to production. He's projected for 42.1 points by numberFire.

Value is slim at the five, but Kyle O'Quinn ($3,500) last saw more than five minutes the most recent time Embiid sat, which was on November 13th. That day, O'Quinn got 15 minutes and posted 24.7 FanDuel points. The inconsistent center has scored 1.15 FanDuel points per minute this season in limited action.

Core Plays: Jonas Valanciunas, Clint Capela
Secondary Plays: Myles Turner ($6,400)
Tournament Plays: Kyle O'Quinn, Rudy Gobert ($7,700)

Austin Swaim is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Austin Swaim also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username ASwaim3. 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.