FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Sunday 1/5/20

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:

The Slate

DetroitLA LakersTBD-15.5TBDTBD2316

It is important to note two of the three missing totals on FanDuel Sportsbook as we await news on several stars, including the Minnesota Timberwolves' duo of Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns, Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin, and Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis.

Point Guard

Ja Morant ($6,200): The price tag has dropped considerably on FanDuel for the second overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft, and this may be the spot to deploy him before the start of an increase in cost again. Morant still leads the Memphis Grizzlies in usage at 27.5%, and as a team, they are still third in the NBA in pace. Morant has also revitalized his scoring a bit in his last two games, posting 22 and 23 points, respectively, and the Phoenix Suns present a higher pace and worse net defensive rating than either the Los Angeles Clippers or Sacramento Kings -- his last two opponents -- did. Morant's upside may be too much to fade on a three-game slate.

Darius Garland ($4,500): Dropping two spots in the last draft order to the former Vanderbilt Commodores' guard, Darius Garland is finally starting to live up to his billing in this rookie class for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Garland has averaged 16.0 points per game in his last four contests, turning that into an average of 28.2 FanDuel points in those games. That would smash value for Garland's price against a Wolves squad that has really struggled this year, giving up the seventh most points in the league.

Other Notable Picks: Collin Sexton ($5,100)

Shooting Guard

Andrew Wiggins ($7,000): Wiggins has missed the last four games with flu-like symptoms, but hopefully now, after about a week, Wiggins is healthy enough to make a return. Surprisingly, the Wolves have arguably played better without their scoring wing, winning two of three games, but if Wiggins is able to return, this price is just simply too cheap. Wiggins was averaging 37.12 FanDuel points per game before falling ill, and he holds a gargantuan 30.3% usage rate without Karl-Anthony Towns, who still remains out with a knee injury pending a surprise report Sunday.

Bruce Brown Jr. ($4,900): The massive spread in the Pistons-Lakers game makes fading its starters a viable strategy on a small slate, but Bruce Brown appears to be the largest beneficiary of the infirmary ward that resides on the Detroit Pistons' bench right now. Without key scorers Blake Griffin, Reggie Jackson, Luke Kennard, and Markieff Morris, Brown has been seeing regular minutes, and despite holding only an 18.1% usage rate with those guys off the floor, Brown has used his versatility to average 28.72 FanDuel points per game in his last five. Brown is a second-year player who usually comes off the bench, so he may even see time should the game be a blowout.

Other Notable Picks: Devin Booker ($8,400)

Small Forward

LeBron James ($10,900): There is still plenty of value, allowing us to spend big on a star player on the slate, and LeBron should be preferred to his highly expensive teammate, Anthony Davis ($11,800), who is probable with his nagging shoulder injury. In a strange week of DFS, there is still a chance the Lakers choose to rest AD in a game with such a large spread, which would vault LeBron into lock territory. James has been his usual terrific self in recent games, averaging 20.5 points, 11.25 rebounds, and 14.0 assists in his last four. James has a 37.7% usage rate without AD on the floor, and Davis sitting would benefit Kyle Kuzma and Dwight Howard, as well.

Cedi Osman ($4,300): Cavs star Kevin Love is outright not happy at his team. It is factoring into Love's playing time as he has dipped to 30.3 minutes per game in his last three, and his production has dropped, as well, as he has averaged only 26.3 FanDuel points per game in those three contests. Cavs rookie wing Kevin Porter Jr. is also dealing with personal issues and will likely miss Sunday's contest, too. Both of those factors led to a great night Saturday for Cedi Osman, who posted 22 real-world points in 35 minutes. Osman should once again be an attractive option should these two factors hold.

Other Notable Picks: Jae Crowder ($4,700)

Power Forward

Jaren Jackson Jr. ($6,500): Power forward is somewhat of an adventure with Anthony Davis' high price tag, the Kevin Love saga, Blake Griffin's injury, and Brandon Clarke not breaking 20 minutes in either of his last two games. Jackson appears to be the most attractive option as he is at least receiving minutes for the high-paced Grizzlies, averaging 31.62 minutes per game in their last eight contests. At a fair $6,500 salary, Jackson should get his opportunities to shoot against a Phoenix team with the fourth-worst opponent field goal percentage allowed in the association.

Kyle Kuzma ($4,800): Because of price, Kyle Kuzma, not Davis, may be the more desirable Lakers power forward against the Pistons. Kuzma has quietly morphed into the Lakers' scoring punch off the bench they have hoped for as he has found double figures on the scoring sheet in each of his last five games. There is concern, in a season with nagging injuries for Kuzma, that he sees as little time as possible against the Pistons, but he will look to feast during the time he gets as Detroit has given up the fourth most FanDuel points per game to opposing power forwards.

Other Notable Picks: Robert Covington ($5,700)


Deandre Ayton ($7,500): Phoenix was looking for its former number-one pick to take a huge step this year, and Ayton has. He just has not been able to stay on the court for very long. When Ayton has managed to play, he has been a beast, averaging 13.8 points and 12.3 rebounds in the four games he has played since returning December 17th. A seemingly walking double-double, Ayton is well worth this price on a slate that is lacking good center options.

Other Notable Picks: Gorgui Dieng ($6,300, if Karl-Anthony Towns remains out)

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.