FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Monday 12/23/19

Nikola Vucevic should be in store for a big performance against the Chicago Bulls. Who else should you target tonight?

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

New OrleansPortland230.0-6.0112.0118.0711
WashingtonNew York229.5-3.5113.0116.5225
San AntonioMemphis227.0+1.0114.0113.0126
MinnesotaGolden State221.0+2.0111.5109.5416

Point Guard

Damian Lillard ($9,300): Let's start this off with a stud in a blow-up spot. Lillard is at home with a slate-high implied total against a team allowing an average of 52.9 FanDuel points to point guards -- which is good for most in the NBA. In this matchup against the New Orleans Pelicans, Lillard could easily outscore our model's projection of 44.4 points and return more than 5x value. In fact, the 29-year-old is averaging 46.6 fantasy points in 14 home games this season and 50.7 over his last 3. Lillard is a borderline must-play with few reliable studs on tonight's slate.

Ish Smith ($4,500): Prior to Saturday's dud against the Philadelphia 76ers, Smith had racked up at least 21 FanDuel points in eight consecutive contests. Smith's 28.3 average over those eight games would easily exceed 6x value. Our model has him projected for 13.3 real-life points, 3.7 rebounds, 5.2 assists, and 1.4 blocks and steals, resulting in 28.0 fantasy points. That projection makes him our best value play at the position and second-best value overall.

Other notable picks: D.J. Augustin ($4,300), De'Aaron Fox ($6,700), Shabazz Napier ($4,700).

Shooting Guard

DeMar DeRozan ($6,500): DeRozan is somehow just the 13th-highest-priced shooting guard tonight -- he's $600 cheaper than Victor Oladipo, who probably won't see the court anytime soon. DeRozan has been far from the most consistent of fantasy scorers this season, but there is plenty of reason for optimism tonight. For one, the San Antonio Spurs have the fifth-highest implied total on the slate -- that's something you should want a part of. Second, the Memphis Grizzlies have allowed the sixth-most points to shooting guards this season, making the 30-year-old more appealing. DeRozan is averaging 37.2 FanDuel points on the road this season -- a number that's close to 6x value than 5x. Our algorithm has him projected for 35.8 fantasy points tonight, making him the second-best value at the position.

Dillon Brooks ($5,200): With 26.9 projected points, Brooks comes in as our fifth-best value at the position. The third-year guard has posted at least 24.2 FanDuel points in seven of his last eight contests while scoring 17.2 or more in 13 straight. The Spurs have been the ninth-most generous team to the shooting guard position this year, and Brooks is primed to take advantage. The 23-year-old totaled 32.9 points against the Spurs in November, and a similar outing would put him above 6x value.

Other notable picks: Bogdan Bogdanovic ($4,400 - game-time decision), Devin Booker ($7,100), Damion Lee ($,4300).

Small Forward

T.J. Warren ($4,800): Warren managed just 14.6 FanDuel points yesterday, which is great news. Why is that great news? Because on the five occasions since the start of November that Warren failed to reach 20 points, he followed it up with 38.5, 30.2, 26.8, 28.3, and 30.5-point performances. Warren has scored at least 25.8 points in 10 of his last 14 home games, and tonight he'll be at home against a banged-up Toronto Raptors team allowing the fourth-most points to the position. Our model projects for 26.1 points and the four-best value at the position.

Brandon Ingram ($8,700): If you want a stud at the position, Ingram is your best (and only) option. Ingram would need at least 43.5 points in order to reach 5x, but that's where taking part in the matchup with the highest over/under comes in handy. The 22-year-old has scored more than 45 fantasy points on nine different occasions already this season. Our model has him project for 24.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 1.6 steals and blocks, totaling 40.7 fantasy points.

Other notable picks: Troy Brown ($4,800), Jae Crowder ($5,100), Harrison Barnes ($4,700).

Power Forward

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson ($4,000): With all the injuries the Raptors have suffered, Hollis-Jefferson has stepped into a role that is beneficial from a fantasy perspective. RHJ is basically a shoo-in to play solid minutes, and he's been quite productive when given playing time this season. In the 11 games where he has played 20 or more minutes, Jefferson is averaging 26.1 FanDuel points. That number jumps to 29.7 in games where's he's played 26-plus minutes. Our model projects him for 27.6 minutes and 24.9 fantasy points.

Aaron Gordon ($6,100): Gordon comes back home after scoring 11 real-life points or less in four consecutive road games. The 24-year-old has averaged 34.4 fantasy points over his last eight home contests, including 40.2 over his last three. Tonight, Gordon will go square off with a Chicago Bulls team that's allowing the most fantasy points to the power forward position this season, at nearly 53 per game. Though our model projects him at 28.5 points, it's easy to see Gordon finishing in the mid-30s -- reaching 5x.

Other notable picks: Bam Adebayo ($8,600), Dario Saric ($4,300), Julius Randle ($6,900).


Nikola Vucevic ($7,700): Speaking of the generous Bulls team, Chicago is also allowing the most fantasy points to opposing centers. Vucevic would need just 38.5 points to equal 5x on FanDuel, and that's a number he's topped in each of his last five home games, and seven of his last nine overall. The 29-year-old also had 49.9 or more in three of those aforementioned five home contests. Our models project Vucevic to post 20.9 real-life points, 11.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.3 blocks, and 1 steal, totaling 45.7 fantasy points and making him the third-best value at the position.

Other notable picks: Bobby Portis ($3,900), Tristan Thompson ($6,400), Hassan Whiteside ($9,000)