FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Friday 12/27/19

Which players are in prime position for Friday night's five-game FanDuel slate?

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/
Milwaukee Atlanta 237.5 +11.0 124.25 113.25 1 8
Phoenix Golden State 224.5 +3.0 113.75 110.75 13 14
Oklahoma City Charlotte 210.5 +4.0 107.25 103.25 18 28
Philadelphia Orlando 210.0 +3.0 106.50 103.50 23 26
Indiana Miami N/A -5.0 N/A N/A 17 24

Four of five home teams are underdogs, and the Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks game is clearly the one of the night, as it features the only two teams in the top 12 in offensive pace and has a total 13 points higher than all the rest.

Point Guard

Chris Paul ($7,300) draws a slow Charlotte Hornets team but will be without Danilo Gallinari. With Gallinari off the court, Paul sees a slight dip in usage rate, actually, but he averages 42.26 FanDuel points per 36 minutes. It's worth noting that the Oklahoma City Thunder played yesterday and the Hornets have four days of rest, yet Paul rates out as one of the best point guard values at the reasonable salary, and he just put up 52.7 last night. The floor is elevated for Paul, and that can lead to a high ceiling.

Ricky Rubio ($7,200) rates out well in my projections in a matchup against the lowly Golden State Warriors' defense, which ranks 26th when adjusting for garbage time. The paces are better, and the over/under is also in its own atmosphere compared to the three others outside of Milwaukee/Atlanta. Rubio's matchup, spread, and over/under give him the best overall game environment for a point guard on tonight's slate. Rubio will again be without Deandre Ayton, and his 1.12 FanDuel points per minute will help him pay off in such a plush matchup.

Core Plays: Chris Paul, Ricky Rubio
Secondary Plays: D.J. Augustin ($4,000), Goran Dragic ($5,100)
Tournament Plays: Trae Young ($10,400), Malcolm Brogdon ($6,600)/Aaron Holiday ($4,700)

Shooting Guard

Devin Booker ($6,900) is very affordable in this matchup against the Warriors, clearly the second-best game to target of the night. Booker has played 28, 33, and 34 minutes since returning from injury and has had lackluster results of 26.3, 34.7, and 24.6 FanDuel points, yet the main reason for that is lowered shot volume. Booker has a 27.0% usage rate on the full season and just shed the sleeve on his injured shooting arm. We should be comfortable buying low in this matchup and at this salary.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ($7,000) sees a usage rate boost of 3.7 percentage points (to 28.7%) when Gallinari isn't on the court. The pace is a bit of a concern here, but the Hornets are just 27th in defensive rating. Gilgeous-Alexander has taken 16, 18, 25, and 19 shots while playing at least 34 minutes in each of his past four games. The floor is high, and that can lead to a ceiling if his shot is falling. For the price, that's hard to hate.

Khris Middleton ($7,400) has a 28.9% usage rate and averages 1.19 FanDuel points per minute with no Eric Bledsoe on the court.

Core Plays: Devin Booker, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
Secondary Plays: Khris Middleton ($7,400), Jimmy Butler ($8,500),
Tournament Plays: D'Angelo Russell ($8,200), Tyler Herro ($4,200)

Small Forward

Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,600) has a 39.4% usage rate and averages 1.91 FanDuel points per minute, which is just beyond words, really. There's blowout risk as an 11-point favorite, but Giannis is really close to a must play on a five-game slate, as his path to a high floor is unimpeded so long as he is healthy. The price is reasonable, and we don't have to break the bank at most other positions tonight, either.

Kelly Oubre ($6,100) is listed as probable tonight and is another piece of the Suns' offense in a promising-for-the-slate matchup. Oubre has double-digit shot attempts in his past 10 games, and the Suns' small forwards own the best composite matchup at the position for the five-game slate. Oubre actually rates out with the best tournament value in my model, as he can easily outperform his $6,100 price tag in a ceiling game.

Core Plays: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kelly Oubre
Secondary Plays: Tobias Harris ($7,100), Alec Burks ($5,900)
Tournament Plays: Derrick Jones Jr. ($4,100), De'Andre Hunter ($4,800), Glenn Robinson III ($4,600)

Power Forward

With Alex Len doubtful, we can look toward the Hawks' frontcourt for some value. John Collins ($8,100) is pricey but returned to a 35-minute role that featured 20 shot attempts and 51.0 FanDuel points on Monday. We're dealing with a limited sample with Collins, but he averages 1.22 FanDuel points per minute during his time on the court and has always been a productive player. Jabari Parker ($3,900) is probable. He puts up 1.09 FanDuel points per minute of his own. His role has been stuck at 15 minutes the past two games, so he's very much a dice roll. In 20-or-so minutes, he could pay off against his former team.

Draymond Green ($6,500) could be looking at a minutes bump with Eric Paschall questionable. Green averages 1.02 FanDuel points per minute and should see around 31 minutes of work tonight, getting him close to paying off his salary. Injected into a pretty good environment -- the Suns are 13th in pace and 25th in rebounding rate -- Green looks like a pretty safe power forward option with upside, as well.

Core Plays: John Collins, Draymond Green
Secondary Plays: Domantas Sabonis ($8,300), Jabari Parker
Tournament Plays: Bam Adebayo ($9,000), Al Horford ($6,400), Frank Kaminsky ($3,700)


Aron Baynes ($4,100) opens up a lot, and with Deandre Ayton out, it's a very easy sell for Baynes, who puts up 1.05 FanDuel points per minute on the season and faces a Warriors team that is just 23rd in rebounding rate. Overall, Baynes draws the best game environment among centers on the slate and projects as the best per-dollar play on the slate in my simulations.

With Baynes nearly guaranteed to be popular, we can pivot in a different sense by spending up for Joel Embiid ($9,500) or Nikola Vucevic ($7,900), as well. Both rate out with top-three tournament value ratings in my model (after Baynes), and we know the raw point ceiling is there for both of them relative to the rest of the slate. Embiid's ceiling is third-highest on the full slate, and in my projections, Vucevic's ceiling is 10 points higher than any center's other than Embiid's.

Core Plays: Aron Baynes, Joel Embiid
Secondary Plays: Nikola Vucevic, Brook Lopez ($4,900)
Tournament Plays: Steven Adams ($6,400), Willie Cauley-Stein ($6,100)