FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Friday 12/13/19
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.
Point guard is loaded tonight, so we have flexibility here.
De'Anthony Melton ($4,100) is very affordable and should see minutes in the mid-20s with Ja Morant and Grayson Allen. Melton has a 23.8% usage rate and a 1.28-FanDuel-point-per-minute average without those two on the floor. Melton is my model's favorite price-adjusted point guard play.
Kendrick Nunn ($5,500) projects for heavy minutes tonight, as the Miami Heat are looking thin. Goran Dragic and Justise Winslow are out, and Tyler Herro is questionable. Without those three on the floor, Nunn has a 28.7% usage rate and a per-minute average of 0.96 FanDuel points. We project Nunn for nearly 36 minutes.
Core Plays: De'Andre Melton, Kendrick Nunn, Tyus Jones
Secondary Plays: Ben Simmons, Malcolm Brogdon, Trae Young ($9,600)
Tournament Plays: Jeff Teague ($5,000), Eric Bledsoe ($6,700), Michael Carter-Williams ($3,500)
Bogdan Bogdanovic ($4,500) and the Sacramento Kings are in the game with the lowest total of the night, and the New York Knicks and Kings are both 20th or slower in offensive pace. Bogdanovic has played 27-plus minutes in three straight games and is now priced down $1,200 from where he was for most of last week. The Knicks are just 23rd in garbage-time-free defensive rating, so we can buy low even though the game environment isn't stellar.
Donovan Mitchell ($8,600) should dominate the lowly Golden State Warriors defense. Mike Conley is out, and while there is blowout risk tonight, Mitchell would be very much involved in a Utah Jazz onslaught. Mitchell has a 32.7% usage rate without Conley and averages 1.10 FanDuel points per minute in that split.
Core Plays: Bogdan Bogdanovic, Donovan Mitchell, James Harden ($12,200)
Secondary Plays: Dillon Brooks ($5,000), J.J. Redick ($4,000), Andrew Wiggins ($7,500)
Tournament Plays: D'Angelo Russell ($8,300), Jrue Holiday ($7,600), Jimmy Butler ($9,700)
Small forward is a bit thinner than the guard positions, but we still have plus options.
Derrick Jones Jr. ($4,200) benefits from the Heat's injuries. He is projected for 30 minutes tonight. Without the Heat's injured assets on the court, Jones Jr. has a 20.7% usage rate and averages 1.19 FanDuel points per minute. He has the best floor/ceiling combination score in my model -- adjusted for his price.
Jonathan Isaac ($7,000) and the Orlando Magic get a huge pace-up matchup against the Houston Rockets. With a 222-point total and a 6.5-point spread, this one is pretty stackable overall. Isaac averages 1.10 FanDuel points per minute despite playing on a slow offense. Among the small forwards priced at or above $7,000, Isaac rates out with the best tournament value rating in my model.
Core Plays: Derrick Jones Jr., Jonathan Isaac, Josh Okogie ($4,300)
Secondary Plays: Giannis Antetokounmpo ($12,000; questionable), LeBron James ($10,600), Tobias Harris ($7,800)
Tournament Plays: Jae Crowder ($4,900), Glenn Robinson III ($4,500), T.J. Warren ($5,400), Joe Ingles ($5,500)
Marquese Chriss ($3,500) is about as close to a must-play as there is. With Draymond Green out and Eric Paschall doubtful, Chriss is in line for minutes in the upper 20s. He averages 1.10 FanDuel points per minute, so unless he tanks, he's going to destroy his minimum salary. Omari Spellman ($3,700) is also a standout play for the Warriors. Spellman puts up 1.01 FanDuel points per minute and should get around 25 minutes. Spending down for both of these Golden State power forwards opens up pretty much anything.
PJ Washington ($5,900) draws the best power forward matchup of the night, and the Charlotte Hornets are in a significant pace-up matchup with the Chicago Bulls. Washington has played 39 and 37 minutes the past two games and should see heavy work again with Marvin Williams and Nicolas Batum banged up. Washington is the second-best power forward tournament play on the board.
Core Plays: Marquese Chriss, Omari Spellman, PJ Washington
Secondary Plays: Anthony Davis ($11,200), Jaren Jackson Jr. ($6,800), Aaron Gordon ($6,700)
Tournament Plays: Domantas Sabonis ($9,000), Kawhi Leonard ($9,900), Bam Adebayo ($8,800)
Wendell Carter Jr. ($6,500) ranks as one of the best value plays of the night against the Hornets, who are 27th in rebounding rate and 18th among 18 teams in play in terms of defense versus position ratings. Carter Jr. puts forth a sturdy mark of 0.96 FanDuel points per minute and has had his price drop $1,000 due to dwindling minutes of 25 and 23 the past two games while dealing with an illness.
Karl-Anthony Towns ($11,100) and the Timberwolves are in the game with the highest total of the night, and his raw ceiling output of 60.2 FanDuel points is the only mark above 52.0. Both Joel Embiid ($10,200; 52.0 points) and Rudy Gobert ($8,700; 50.8 points) have good ceilings, too, but Towns deserves attention for game stacks in hopes that the Rockets and Timberwolves really do cash in on their high total. Gobert is the better per-dollar play, but Towns is still top-three in tournament value.