FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Monday 12/9/19
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.
On a nine-game slate, we'll have no shortage of options at any position, but center does have one play who stands out above the rest: Rudy Gobert ($7,800).
Gobert's main appeal just comes from his dwindling price. Gobert has played just 27 and 30 minutes the past two games due to lopsided game environments. The spread tonight is a little concerning at eight points in favor of the Utah Jazz. The Oklahoma City Thunder are also a pace-down matchup. If Gobert were priced at his usual $8,600 or so, we could have more concern, but he rates out as numberFire's third-best value on the full slate.
Enes Kanter ($4,200) and Willie Cauley-Stein ($4,900) are affordable center options. Kanter should see around 18 minutes against the Cleveland Cavaliers' mid-level rebounding, as Robert Williams is out. Cauley-Stein is in a more appealing fantasy game against the NBA's eighth-fastest offense, the Memphis Grizzlies. Memphis is 20th in rebounding rate.
Core Plays: Rudy Gobert, Willie Cauley-Stein
Secondary Plays: Enes Kanter, Clint Capela ($9,000), Ivica Zubac ($4,200)
Tournament Plays: Karl-Anthony Towns ($11,200), Andre Drummond ($10,800), Myles Turner ($6,600)
Point guard offers some ways to save, as the mid-range is pretty loaded. Kris Dunn ($5,000), Lonzo Ball ($6,000), and Ricky Rubio ($7,600) rate out as the three best per-dollar plays in my model tonight.
Dunn projects for around 30 minutes against the Toronto Raptors's fifth-ranked garbage-time-free defense. However, the price is low for a good workload, and Dunn owns a solid 0.96-FanDuel-point-per-minute average. He is the best floor/ceiling combination at the position, based on my projections.
Ball's New Orleans Pelicans are in a big pace-down spot as the Detroit Pistons come to town. Detroit is just 19th in defensive rating and aren't a perimeter matchup to worry about. Ball's price didn't budge after a 1-for-9 game from the field on Saturday. Ball should land somewhere in the middle of his 51.7 and 9.8 FanDuel points the past two games in this matchup, and he's a borderline core play tonight.
Rubio is in the game of the night against the Minnesota Timberwolves, and both Minnesota and the Phoenix Suns are top-12 in pace. Rubio carries a 1.09-FanDuel-point-per-minute average into a matchup with his former team, which ranks 18th in garbage-time-free defensive rating. numberFire projects Rubio for 35 minutes, making him a high-floor, high-ceiling play in this game environment.
Core Plays: Ricky Rubio, Kris Dunn, Lonzo Ball
Secondary Plays: Emmanuel Mudiay ($3,500), Kemba Walker ($8,100), Russell Westbrook ($10,200)
Tournament Plays: Cory Joseph ($5,000), Kyle Lowry ($8,000), Derrick Rose ($5,000)
James Harden ($12,000) rates out with a ceiling (a 75th-percentile) nearly five points higher than anyone else on the slate. The Houston Rockets do have some red flags tonight: they're heavy favorites, and the Sacramento Kings can reduce possessions with their pace. Still, Harden ranks as the best shooting guard play in my model.
The other top shooting guards are pretty spendy, as well: D'Angelo Russell ($7,900), Donovan Mitchell ($8,200), and Devin Booker ($8,400). Russell has averaged 1.17 FanDuel points per minute this season along with a sky-high 31.0% usage rate. His game is a good one between two non-slow teams and with a tight spread.
Mitchell's usage rate and per-minute production don't change a lot without Mike Conley, but he should have a few extra chances over the course of the game with the Thunder. Booker and Mitchell have nearly identical ranges of outcomes in my projections.
Core Plays: James Harden, D'Angelo Russell, Devin Booker, Donovan Mitchell
Secondary Plays: Marcus Smart ($5,900), Bruce Brown Jr. ($3,800), Louis Williams ($6,800)
Tournament Plays: Buddy Hield ($8,100), Jrue Holiday ($8,500)
There are expensive options at this position, but I'll start with two of the standout values: Josh Okogie ($3,800) and Joe Ingles ($4,300). Okogie's minutes generally yo-yo, but he is projected for 25 tonight by numberFire. Okogie averages a good-not-great 0.82 FanDuel points per minute on the season but is in a high tempo game with the Suns.
Ingles adds 1.3 percentage points to his usage rate with Mike Conley off the floor, but that's still just 15.7%. The real reason to play Ingles is the minutes floor. He's played at least 25 in 11 straight games. Ingles rates as numberFire's fourth-best overall value at the position.
Kelly Oubre ($7,300) is third in my model despite a decently high priced tag. Oubre has logged 47 and 41 minutes the past two games and averages 0.98 FanDuel points per minute on the season. He projects for around 35 minutes of action in an uptempo game, making him a core play option.
Giannis Antetokounmpo ($12,100) faces the NBA's seventh-ranked defense and fourth-slowest offense, pushing him into more of a secondary tier at such a high tag.
Core Plays: Kelly Oubre, Josh Okogie, Joe Ingles
Secondary Plays: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Glenn Robinson III ($4,600), Harrison Barnes ($5,600)
Tournament Plays: Pascal Siakam ($9,100), Paul George ($8,700), Jaylen Brown ($7,200)
Power forward is pretty thin. Well, not thin so much as there aren't any great plays and more just decent plays. This would be the last place I look when building lineups by hand.
Domantas Sabonis ($8,900) ranks first for me, but at the salary, he will be a mite hard to prioritize. Sabonis faces a Los Angeles Clippers team that is good overall on defense but not particularly good against post bigs. Sabonis has been one of the most efficient producers all season with a 1.19-FanDuel-point-per-minute average.
Serge Ibaka ($5,500) and the Toronto Raptors did play yesterday, but so did the Chicago Bulls. Chicago ranks 29th in rebounding rate. Ibaka played 28 minutes yesterday, giving him 21, 22, 17, and 27 in four games since returning from injury. He's the second-best floor/ceiling option at the position, per my model.
With few sure things here, we may want to swing for upside. The best tournament values in my projections are Sabonis, Blake Griffin ($7,200), Kawhi Leonard ($9,400), Ibaka, Royce O'Neale ($3,900), and Jeff Green ($3,800).
Core Plays: Domantas Sabonis, Serge Ibaka
Secondary Plays: Blake Griffin, Kawhi Leonard, Royce O'Neale, Jeff Green
Tournament Plays: Jayson Tatum ($8,500), Robert Covington ($5,800), Eric Paschall ($6,400)