FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Sunday 12/8/19

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/
Oklahoma City Portland 223.0 -4.0 109.50 113.50 23 18
Sacramento Dallas 216.5 -7.5 104.50 112.00 24 17
Chicago Miami 212.0 -7.5 102.25 109.75 4 25
Toronto Philadelphia 210.5 -3.5 103.50 107.00 10 19
Minnesota LA Lakers N/A -9.5 N/A N/A 7 13
LA Clippers Washington N/A 8.5 N/A N/A 5 6

Point Guard

Ish Smith ($4,600) rates out as a core-level value play today in a matchup with the Los Angeles Clippers. Both teams are top-six in offensive pace, and Isaiah Thomas' absence opens up a huge minutes floor for Smith. numberFire projects him for 31 minutes, and he is the top overall per-dollar play in my model, as well.

Kendrick Nunn ($5,100) and the Miami Heat could be thrust into elevated minutes and opportunity with Goran Dragic out and Justise Winslow and Bam Adebayo questionable. Nunn has a 23.4% usage rate and a 1.03-FanDuel-point-per-minute average without those three on the floor in a limited sample of 49 minutes.

The top of the pool is loaded with Luka Doncic ($11,700), Damian Lillard ($9,400), and Ben Simmons ($9,300). Lillard rates out as the best cash-game play in terms of value-based floor.

Core Plays: Ish Smith, Kendrick Nunn
Secondary Plays: Damian Lillard, Luka Doncic
Tournament Plays: Ben Simmons, Chris Paul ($7,200), Jeff Teague ($5,900), Kyle Lowry ($8,000)

Shooting Guard

Bradley Beal ($9,600) will have a tough individual perimeter matchup with the Clippers' defense, but the Washington Wizards are without Isaiah Thomas, Thomas Bryant, and Jordan McRae. Without them on the floor, Beal has a 35.9% usage rate and averages 1.17 FanDuel points per minute. He could hit 40 minutes.

Jimmy Butler ($9,300) and Tyler Herro ($4,600) get a bump with the Heat's question marks in terms of filling the floor. They are the top two shooting guard values in numberFire's projections early today. Without the key, injured players on the floor for the Heat, Butler has a 20.8% usage rate over just 27 minutes; Herro is at 22.2% over 57 minutes.

Core Plays: Bradley Beal, Tyler Herro
Secondary Plays: Jimmy Butler, Dennis Schroder ($5,700)
Tournament Plays: Danny Green ($3,700), C.J. McCollum ($7,300), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ($6,800), Furkan Korkmaz ($3,500)

Small Forward

LeBron James ($10,800) faces a Minnesota Timberwolves team that is 7th in offensive pace and 15th in garbage-time-free defensive rating. James averages 1.50 FanDuel points per minute and could get extra assist chances if Rajon Rondo sits.

Though James rates out well enough to be considered a building block, small forward really has a lot of standout value options. Josh Okogie ($3,800), Kent Bazemore ($3,800), and Abdel Nader ($3,500) look to be in a tier of their own, and we still have shakier but still solid options in James Ennis ($3,700), Isaac Bonga ($3,600), and Maurice Harkless ($3,800).

Core Plays: LeBron James
Secondary Plays: Josh Okogie, Kent Bazemore, Abdel Nader
Tournament Plays: Tim Hardaway Jr. ($4,700), Paul George ($8,800), Danilo Gallinari ($6,900)

Power Forward

Small forward has the low-end value, making it easier to spend up a bit for power forwards.

Rui Hachimura ($5,800) is my top power forward play of the day on a per-dollar basis. He's still relatively cheap but has played at least 38 minutes in four straight games while the Wizards are thin in the frontcourt. Hachimura's production isn't always elite, but the minutes have led to a good floor for the price.

Anthony Davis ($10,800) and Kawhi Leonard ($9,400) are a really enticing power forward duo. Davis is always questionable to suit up but has dominated in his time on the court. He averages 1.53 FanDuel points per minute, ranking him fifth in the NBA. Leonard (1.50) gets a dream matchup with the Wizards, who are 30th in defensive rating.

Core Plays: Rui Hachimura, Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard
Secondary Plays: Al Horford ($7,800), Kristaps Porzingis ($7,600)
Tournament Plays: Bam Adebayo ($8,000; if healthy), Davis Bertans ($6,200), Robert Covington ($5,800)


Moritz Wagner ($5,700) has been freed without Thomas Bryant. Wagner has played 26 and 30 minutes in two games without Bryant, netting 22.7 and 35.3 FanDuel points. Wagner is a productive player (1.15 FanDuel points per minute), and that can help with a tough overall matchup with the Clippers.

On the flip side of that game, Ivica Zubac ($4,100) and Montrezl Harrell ($7,600) rank as numberFire's top center values early on. Zubac (1.24 FanDuel points per minute) and Harrell (1.22) can rack up production in limited minutes, and putting that type of player on the court versus the Wizards (6th in pace, 30th in defense, and 30th in rebounding) should generate a strong fantasy line for each.

Core Plays: Moritz Wagner, Ivica Zubac
Secondary Plays: Montrezl Harrell, Kelly Olynyk ($4,700)
Tournament Plays: Karl-Anthony Towns ($11,000), Hassan Whiteside ($8,200)