FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Saturday 1/4/20
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:
It is important to note the missing totals on FanDuel Sportsbook as we await news on several stars possibly sitting, including Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins, Boston Celtics guard Kemba Walker, and Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal.
Trae Young ($9,000): As mentioned, John Collins could be sitting with a back injury he suffered Friday in Boston, which would put Trae Young in a spot to go off. Trae got hurt on December 27th against the Milwaukee Bucks, but before that, he scored at least 30 points in five straight. In his return last night against the Celtics, he was obviously rusty, posting 28 points and 10 assists. I kid of course, as replicating that "rusty" night at $9,000 would smash value for the Hawks' star guard. He is worth this tag even if Collins does play. But Young balloons to a 34.5% usage rate without Collings, and ge faces an Indiana Pacers team surrendering the fourth-most FanDuel points to point guards, which might make him a must in all formats.
Derrick White ($4,600): The San Antonio Spurs will need all the help they can get against the league-best Bucks, so it does not bode well that they are going to be missing starting guard Dejounte Murray due to a personal issue on Saturday. Backup point guard Derrick White leads the team in minutes without Murray on the floor this year with 718.5 and is actually already averaging 24.25 minutes in his last four in a reserve role. Therefore, the former Colorado Buffaloes' star will see plenty of time on the floor against Milwaukee, who leads the NBA in pace. White is an affordable plug, and as a young, third-year player in the league, he may even see time in a blowout should the spread be concerning and therefore makes for a solid cash option.
Devonte' Graham ($7,400): One of the NBA's leading Most Improved Player award candidates is on a terribly forgettable Charlotte Hornets squad, but Devonte' Graham makes the Hornets worth watching. He is averaging 16.2 points and 10.2 assists in his last five games, which has led a clip of 38.02 FanDuel points per game in that time. Graham will actually see a large pace uptick against Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks, which should boost his peripheral stats, as well. Graham should ascend back toward his per-game average of 19.8 points from December once his shooting improves as he has struggled from the field in his last three, shooting only 11-for-38 (28.9%). All of these factors make him a high-floor play with good upside conducting the Charlotte attack.
Jeremy Lamb ($5,500): The Pacers are still without starting point guard Malcolm Brogdon, and therefore are still rolling out the combo guard pairing of Jeremy Lamb and Aaron Holiday to eat up minutes in the backcourt. Lamb dropped 30 points on the Denver Nuggets on Thursday and should continue to stay hot against a Hawks squad surrendering the second-most FanDuel points to shooting guards. Interestingly, Atlanta is actually surrendering the third-fewest FanDuel points to point guards, Therefore, between Lamb and Holiday, Lamb appears to have an easier path to fantasy points. He has had no problem producing without Brogdon, averaging 30.58 FanDuel points since Brogdon was hurt on December 22nd.
Brandon Ingram ($8,500): The New Orleans Pelicans are surprisingly hot -- winners of four straight before getting beaten by the Western Conference-leading Los Angeles Lakers on Friday. A lot of that credit goes to Brandon Ingram, who is leading the team with a 29.2% usage rate. He has been remarkably consistent recently scoring the basketball, netting at least 20 points in 12 of 14 games, and in turn, he has eclipsed 40 FanDuel points in five of his last seven. The Sacramento Kings will certainly slow down the pace, but that could be a good thing for Ingram, who might get more looks to score from mid-range in a traditional, half-court offense. He leads the Pelicans' non-centers with 69.8% of his attempts coming from inside the arc.
Harrison Barnes ($4,300): On the flip side of that matchup, Harrison Barnes can be a frustrating fantasy play, averaging a glacial 0.73 FanDuel points per minute, but he certainly gets minutes when Marvin Bagley III does not play. Barnes leads the Kings in minutes without Bagley. He has averaged 34 minutes since Bagley has battled his most recent foot injury, and Barnes has parlayed that into an average of 20.9 FanDuel points. He will see an uptick in pace against the Pelicans, who give up the eighth-most FanDuel points to small forwards.
Lauri Markkanen ($5,800): There are trendy and obvious picks to consider at the power forward position, which will include Nuggets' scoring sensation Michael Porter Jr. against the atrocious Wizards, and the chalky Jabari Parker if Collins sits out against Indiana. But I wanted to highlight a couple of desirable pivots, should you choose to leverage tournament exposure at the four spot.. Lauri Markkanen's skill-set lends to a high fantasy ceiling, with the ability to score at all levels and grab a ton of rebounds. Markkanen holds a very solid mark of 0.94 FanDuel points per minute, and he has been seeing more of those recently, averaging 31.2 minutes since the start of December. Markkanen faces a Boston team surrendering the second-most FanDuel points to power forwards, and the Finnish forward will be a tough matchup for either center Enes Kanter or the shorter Jayson Tatum.
Eric Paschall ($3,500): Players can be forgotten when injuries strike, and that has happened to the Golden State Warriors' impressive rookie, Eric Paschall. Paschall has missed four of the last 10 games with injuries and has been slowly working his way back. He came alive with a productive 26 minutes against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday, posting 13 points and 7 boards. It is worth remembering Paschall averaged 18.1 points and 5.8 boards in November, when he was regularly seeing minutes. Paschall is super cheap against a Detroit Pistons team without power forwards Blake Griffin and Markieff Morris. It is worth monitoring that Draymond Green has not rested for the tanking Warriors in nine games, and they may choose to rest Dray today, which would vault Paschall up among the best point-per-dollar plays on the slate.
Other Notable Picks: Michael Porter Jr. ($4,100), Richaun Holmes ($6,900), Jabari Parker ($3,800, if John Collins sits)
Andre Drummond ($9,700): Andre Drummond has posted a so-so couple of games without Blake Griffin in the starting lineup, averaging just 42.25 FanDuel points in that pair, but better games should be ahead for Drummond without his co-star. Not known for being a playmaker, Drummond actually jumps to a 26.2% usage rate without Blake, so the Pistons run more of their offense through the big man. He also increases to an enormous 18.16 rebounds without both Griffin and Markieff Morris. He'll face a Golden State squad that might be without Willie Cauley-Stein again due to an illness, and the Dubs have surrendered the 10th-most FanDuel points to centers. The Pistons might actually be able to keep it close, as well, to let Drummond play his full allotment of minutes as they are only 3.5-point underdogs in the Bay Area.
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.