FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Sunday 12/22/19

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

LA ClippersOklahoma City
DenverLA LakersTBD-7.0TBDTBD2919

There are two missing totals on the board, with the Los Angeles Clippers yet to officially rule out Kawhi Leonard, and LeBron James still being listed as doubtful for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Point Guard

Rajon Rondo ($4,600): There is always something terrifying about chalk Rajon Rondo, but this might be the spot to deploy it. LeBron James is doubtful with a hip injury in a huge matchup with Denver. Without LeBron, who has been starting at point guard, Rondo should see the start and the bulk of the minutes, sharing with Alex Caruso. Rondo's usage rate trends up to 21.5% without LeBron on the floor, which has not been often this year since LBJ has yet to miss a game. There is no certain answer on how the Lakers will divide up the minutes between Rondo and Caruso -- and even Quinn Cook -- so play the chalk with caution, but Rondo's high floor likely means he will be very, very popular in cash.

Aaron Holiday ($4,300): With Indiana Pacers guard Jeremy Lamb missing Friday's contest and still questionable for Sunday night, Aaron Holiday could once again draw the start and see more than 30 minutes. Holiday scored just 11 points on Friday, but he should see an uptick in production against a Milwaukee team that leads the NBA in pace. Holiday will once again be popular should Lamb miss the contest. Holiday averages 0.90 FanDuel points per minute without Lamb on the floor, which would equal great value at 30-plus minutes and at this price tag.

Other Notable Picks: Kemba Walker ($7,900), Terry Rozier ($7,400), Alex Caruso ($3,900)

Shooting Guard

Louis Williams ($5,100): Sweet Lou was back in form on Saturday night, posting 20 points and 32.1 FanDuel points against San Antonio. At the exact same price, he draws an Oklahoma City Thunder team that gives up the sixth-most opposing FanDuel points to shooting guards. Williams also will see a boost in usage with Kawhi Leonard probably sitting out the game due to his season-long load management program. When Leonard sits this year, Williams is second to only Paul George in usage at 31.5%. He should be a solid secondary scoring option for the Clips as the Thunder focus on stopping George.

Gary Harris ($4,600): The argument to play Harris is an easy one. He represents a talented player seeing a lot of minutes in a productive Denver Nuggets offense. And, in his last three games, he's held true to that, averaging 34 minutes and 25.0 FanDuel points per game. At $4,600, Harris is a cheap high-floor play with significant upside into an unknown Los Angeles Lakers matchup. With LeBron likely sitting, the Nuggets' point man, Jamal Murray, might see stingy defense from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (106.1 defensive rating), which would free up Harris for opportunities versus Rondo (102.5) or maybe even Caruso (96.4).

Other Notable Picks: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ($6,900), Donte DiVincenzo ($5,300), Rodney McGruder ($3,900)

Small Forward

Paul George ($9,000): The default when Kawhi Leonard sits is to use Paul George, and that is case for good reason. George holds an astronomical 35.5% usage rate without Kawhi on the floor, and he parlays that into 1.61 FanDuel points per minute. George also makes his return to face the Oklahoma City Thunder. George will be the main attraction and will have motivation on his side to take on the Thunder if you want to go down narrative street. We currently project him for a healthy 42.8 FanDuel points on Sunday.

Maurice Harkless ($3,800): Harkless joins his teammate, George, on the helper, as he saw no price adjustment despite the possibility of Leonard not playing on the second half of the back-to-back. Harkless could very well be in line to play 30-plus minutes, which would be great news for his fantasy prospects. In the last four games in which he's seen at least 30 minutes, Harkless is averaging 24.15 FanDuel points. That would place him in line as a solid value play at his position.

Other Notable Picks: Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,200), Will Barton ($6,100), T.J. Warren ($5,000)

Power Forward

Jayson Tatum ($7,600): The obvious point to turn to at this spot would be Anthony Davis ($10,600) without LeBron, but the Nuggets present a formidable defensive challenge at the second-slowest pace in the league, so I prefer Tatum's prospects at his price tag. Tatum sees a great matchup against a Charlotte Hornets team that has surrendered the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing power forwards and are now missing rookie starter PJ Washington. The blowout concern is there for Tatum with such a large spread in this game -- the Boston Celtics are 13.0-point favorites -- but he should be a lower-owned option due to the masses likely flocking to Davis.

Kyle Kuzma ($3,900): Kuzma returns to the Lakers' lineup after a five-game absence, and he could be asked to carry the scoring load right away with LeBron probably out. The starting lineup has yet to be announced, but there is a small chance Kuzma enters it. Either way, Kuzma has an intriguing 22.9% usage rate without LeBron on the floor, and he could see open looks with the Nuggets honed in on Davis. At only $3,900, Kuzma is projected for 20.9 FanDuel points, per our models, in his return.

Other Notable Picks: Anthony Davis ($10,600), Marvin Williams ($4,200), JaMychal Green ($3,900)


Myles Turner ($5,900): Injury news often pivots an NBA slate, and it could happen on Sunday with the Pacers. Not only is Lamb questionable, as mentioned, but so is star big Domantas Sabonis. If Sabonis were to miss, it would open a sizable interior scoring and rebounding role for Turner. Turner averages 1.11 FanDuel points per minutes without Sabonis, so the talented young big might see plenty of boards against a fast-paced Milwaukee team that gives up the sixth-most defensive rebounds in the league.

Other Notable Picks: Nikola Jokic ($9,700), Brook Lopez ($5,100)

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.