FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Saturday 12/21/19

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 break down today's main slate:

The Slate

MilwaukeeNew York
LA ClippersSan Antonio223.5+5.5114.5109512

There are lots of missing totals as we await injury news throughout the day, including Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns, Detroit Pistons starters Blake Griffin and Luke Kennard, and Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton.

Point Guard

Damian Lillard ($8,700): Dame Lillard draws an incredibly favorable matchup against the Minnesota Timberwolves, whose defense is ailing without big man Karl-Anthony Towns. The T-Wolves have been torched from the perimeter by Brandon Ingram and Jamal Murray sans KAT, with those two scoring 34 and 28 real-world points respectively. Sitting eighth in the league in scoring, Lillard is capable of a huge game here. The Wolves' defense with Towns most of the season has been suspect, allowing the fifth-highest three-point percentage and ninth-most points in the paint. Lillard will look to score in bunches against them.

Jeff Teague ($5,400): On the other side of Lillard in this matchup is Jeff Teague, who saw just 26 minutes in a strange, non-competitive loss to the Denver Nuggets on Friday night. Twelve Timberwolves saw minutes as Ryan Saunders tries to figure out his rotation without Towns, but the good news is, while Teague was benched prior to the game, he outpaced fellow point guard Shabazz Napier in minutes anyway. Perhaps Teague draws the start on Saturday against the Portland Trail Blazers, who have given up the second-most FanDuel points per game to opposing point guards.

Other Notable Picks: Ben Simmons ($7,900), De'Aaron Fox ($6,500), Patrick Beverley ($4,700)

Shooting Guard

DeMar DeRozan ($6,900): DeRozan has been ice cold recently, failing to score 20 actual points in nine of his last 11 games. But a cold streak can mean a bargain in daily fantasy, and that could be the case with DeRozan in this spot. Many would attribute DeRozan's struggles to the return of Dejounte Murray to the San Antonio Spurs' lineup, but DDR's usage rate drops only a percentage point -- to 25.9% -- with Murray on the floor. At relatively the same usage, DeRozan should turn it around soon and get closer to his season averages of 20.8 points per game and 35.8 FanDuel points per game. Perhaps it comes Saturday night versus a Los Angeles Clippers team that just got worked by another two-point specialist, ceding 40 points to Russell Westbrook in a loss to the Houston Rockets on Thursday.

Louis Williams ($5,100): This is the second position on the helper with a mirror matchup in both featured spots, but thankfully for Sweet Lou, he should dodge the length of DeRozan as a defender thanks to coming off the bench. Positive regression is the name of the game for Williams, as well, as he is averaging a much more affluent 18.1 points per game and 31.5 FanDuel points per game than his price tag would suggest.

Other Notable Picks: James Harden ($11,100), Devin Booker ($7,800), Josh Richardson ($5,000)

Small Forward

Tobias Harris ($7,100): On a second leg of a back-to-back for the Philadelphia 76ers, Joel Embiid and veteran Al Horford are always rest candidates, but even if they play, Tobias Harris draws a great matchup against the putrid Washington Wizards defense that ranks last in points per game. Harris had a rough night at the office against the Dallas Mavericks on Friday, failing to score in double figures for the first time since November 13th, but that figures to turn around against a Wizards team also on the second leg of a back-to-back, a squad that will be without their stretch four, Rui Hachimura.

Kelly Oubre ($5,700): Oubre sees a large reduction in price on this slate, likely due to the expected impact of teammate Deandre Ayton's return. Ayton, however, is still nursing a rolled ankle from earlier this week, and Oubre should continue to see time in the frontcourt for the Phoenix Suns, where he has gobbled up 5.9 rebounds a game as the Suns' stretch four this year. Oubre saw 40 minutes against the high-paced Houston Rockets in November, likely due to his need to matchup with P.J. Tucker in small-ball lineups. If he does again, Oubre's court time significantly will outpace this price tag.

Other Notable Picks: Harrison Barnes ($4,500), Markieff Morris ($4,300, if Blake Griffin sits), Kent Bazemore ($4,100)

Power Forward

Kawhi Leonard ($9,100): The Klaw returns to San Antonio. Perhaps that provides some extra motivation. The captain of load management has yet to play both legs of a back-to-back in 2019. Of course, that leaves his status worth watching should he sit out the front leg of this one, with the Los Angeles Clippers in Oklahoma City tomorrow. Leonard posted 43.9 FanDuel points in his last trip to San Antonio, and he is averaging 45.8 FanDuel points per game this season, which would merit paying this salary as long as he suits up.

Lauri Markkanen ($6,300): The concern with the talented former first-rounder has never been talent but rather minutes. Markkanen is averaging only 30.5 minutes per game and is a solid starter in the Chicago Bulls' frontcourt this season. His workload is on the rise of late. In his last three games, his playing time has ballooned to 36.7 minutes, and that has led to a huge spike in production, turning in 38.9 FanDuel points per game in those three contests. He draws an incredibly favorable matchup against the Detroit Pistons, who have given up the fifth-most FanDuel points per game to opposing power forwards this year and are incredibly short-handed with Blake Griffin and Christian Wood still nursing injuries.

Other Notable Picks: Davis Bertans ($6,000), P.J. Tucker ($5,100), Marvin Bagley III ($4,700)


Andre Drummond ($9,600): Without Blake Griffin to share usage rebounds with, Andre Drummond becomes the feature piece of the Pistons. Not generally known for his playmaking, the big man actually holds a 25.3% usage rate without Blake on the floor, which is the highest mark among Pistons starters. Drummond also leads the league in rebounding (16.5 per game) and draws a Chicago team that has been eaten alive on the boards this year, giving up the third-most rebounds to opposing teams per game. Drummond is a high-floor option at a position void of many reliable choices on Saturday.

Other Notable Picks: Joel Embiid ($10,000), Gorgui Dieng ($4,900, if Karl-Anthony Towns sits)

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.