FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Friday 12/20/19

Andre Drummond should have a clear path to dominant production. Who else is primed for a big night?

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/
Washington Toronto 230.0 -6.5 111.75 118.25 6 9
New Orleans Golden State 225.5 1.0 113.25 112.25 3 14
Memphis Cleveland 224.0 1.0 112.5 111.5 10 30
Phoenix Oklahoma City 220.0 -4.0 108.0 112.0 12 19
Minnesota Denver 216.0 -10.5 102.75 113.25 7 29
Orlando Portland 215.5 -3.5 106.0 109.5 27 22
New York Miami 215.0 -10.0 102.5 112.5 21 24
Detroit Boston 214.5 -8.0 103.25 111.25 28 20
Dallas Philadelphia 214.0 -8.0 103.0 111.0 17 23
Sacramento Indiana 207.0 -4.5 101.25 105.75 25 16

It's a full 10-game slate, and that means a lot of things, but the main one is that you'll need to be tracking injury news up until tip off, so be sure to have FanDuel Scout ready to go for a jam-packed night of basketball so that you can stay up-to-date with your fantasy picks.


Andre Drummond ($9,600) rates out as a top-priority tonight, as the Detroit Pistons will be without Christian Wood, and Blake Griffin is listed as doubtful. Luke Kennard is also doubtful. With these pieces out, Drummond averages a 25.4% usage rate and 1.23 FanDuel points per minute. The Boston Celtics are just an average rebounding team, and Drummond is in an eruption spot. (Update: Griffin and Kennard both ruled OUT tonight).

Nikola Vucevic ($7,700) has been steady since returning -- 34.8, 31.2, and 38.9 FanDuel points in 29, 33, and 33 minutes -- and now draws a Portland Trail Blazers defense that ranks 16th among 20 teams in action in fantasy points per game allowed to centers. He's a high-floor play.

Tristan Thompson ($6,200) and Steven Adams ($6,300) also rate out well at similar prices. I prefer Thompson, who is up in pace against the Memphis Grizzlies, who are average in rebounding and 10th in pace. Adams faces the Phoenix Suns, who are 26th in rebounding rate and 12th in pace. Thompson is just easier to project for bigger minutes.

Core Plays: Ande Drummond, Nikola Vucevic, Tristan Thompson
Secondary Plays: Steven Adams, Joel Embiid ($9,800), Enes Kanter ($3,900)
Tournament Plays: Nikola Jokic ($9,500), Willie Cauley-Stein ($4,800), Gorgui Dieng ($4,400)

Power Forward

The Toronto Raptors offer a ton of value at power forward because Marc Gasol, Pascal Siakam, and Norman Powell are out indefinitely. This opens up opportunity for Chris Boucher ($3,500), Rondae Hollis-Jefferson ($3,600), and Serge Ibaka ($7,400). Both of the cheaper options project for at least 7.0 FanDuel points per $1,000 in salary based on numberFire's projections, and they are each slotted for at least 22 minutes. They're also getting bumps against the Washington Wizards, who are 6th in offensive pace and 30th in garbage-time-free defensive rating.

Dario Saric ($4,600) is another cheap option. The Suns do face a tough Oklahoma City Thunder defense, but the real weakness for OKC is with stretch fours. Saric has played cascading minutes of late -- 37, 31, 24 -- and is better suited for tournaments, but with the chalk in Toronto, the ceiling is enticing.

Expensive power forwards should be key differentiation pieces tonight. Domantas Sabonis ($8,300) still rates out really well in his matchup with the Sacramento Kings, despite the slate-low total. Realistically, the floor isn't what it typically is in this matchup, so he's a tournament play.

Core Plays: Chris Boucher, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Serge Ibaka
Secondary Plays: Dario Saric, Al Horford ($6,500), Aaron Gordon ($5,600)
Tournament Plays: Domantas Sabonis, Jayson Tatum ($7,600), Bam Adebayo ($9,400)

Small Forward

Markieff Morris ($3,900) slots into a heavy workload tonight with the Pistons thin in the frontcourt. Morris averages just 0.73 FanDuel points per minute without the key Pistons on the court, but he has a decent 19.9% usage rate in that split and projects for 34.4 minutes and the best floor/ceiling combination at the position in my model.

Jonathan Isaac ($5,600) isn't stepping into a bigger role, but he's priced down $1,400 from where he was just three games ago. He played only 17 minutes last game due to hamstring and glute tightness. He sounds good to go for tonight's game, and we're just getting a discount on a player who averages 1.07 FanDuel points per minute and should play north of 30 minutes.

OG Anunoby ($5,700) is one more beneficiary from the Raptors' injuries. Anunoby puts out 0.87 FanDuel points per minute, not a great mark but solid, and he is projected for 33 minutes tonight in a great overall game environment.

Core Plays: Markieff Morris, Jonathan Isaac, OG Anunoby
Secondary Plays: Kelly Oubre ($6,100), Jae Crowder ($4,400), Josh Okogie ($3,800)
Tournament Plays: Brandon Ingram ($8,700), Tobias Harris ($7,300), Will Barton ($6,400)

Shooting Guard

Bruce Brown Jr. ($4,500) and Langston Galloway ($3,800) project for usage and minutes bumps while the Pistons are thinned out. Galloway is a scoring-dependent option who averages only 0.63 FanDuel points per minute even without the key Pistons on the floor. Brown is the better play even at the price. He puts up 0.94 FanDuel points per minute on an 18.7% usage rate in this split.

There's been a lot of spending down so far in this article, but we now have Jimmy Butler ($8,900) to prioritize. Butler gets the New York Knicks' 24th-ranked defense, one that is actually tough against scoring wings like Butler. However, Justise Winslow is still out, and Goran Dragic is questionable. Butler's ceiling is second only to Bradley Beal's ($9,600) tonight in my model, and he's very much affordable.

Core Plays: Jimmy Butler, Bruce Brown, Langston Galloway
Secondary Plays: Bradley Beal, Josh Richardson ($5,400), Evan Fournier ($5,200)
Tournament Plays: D'Angelo Russell ($8,400), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ($6,700), Gary Harris ($4,600)

Point Guard

Value is available at all of the positions, but point guard is one to spend up on.

It's a tiny sample of the Raptors without Siakam, Gasol, and Powell, but over 26 minutes without those three, Kyle Lowry ($) has a 37.2% usage rate with a 1.70-FanDuel-point-per-minute average. Lowry already ranks second in the league in minutes (37.4), so there isn't a whole lot of room for him to grow there, but over an all-but-guaranteed 38 minutes, Lowry should see all the possessions he can handle.

Kemba Walker ($8,000) rates out second in my model behind Lowry. Walker would see a boost without Gordon Hayward, who is questionable. Without a long list of injured Celtics on the floor, Walker has a 34.8% usage rate and a per-minute average of 1.45 FanDuel points.

Derrick Rose ($5,900) has a 33.8% usage rate without the relevant injured Pistons on the court and puts up 1.38 FanDuel points per minute. While Rose is still projected for only 27 minutes and has a tough individual matchup, we're getting someone who can have a usage rate of 30% for nearly 30 minutes at below $6,000.

Core Plays: Kyle Lowry, Kemba Walker, Derrick Rose
Secondary Plays: Ben Simmons ($7,900), Jamal Murray ($6,800), Markelle Fultz ($4,700)
Tournament Plays: Damian Lillard ($8,800), Jeff Teague ($5,700), Ricky Rubio ($7,400)