FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Thursday 1/9/20

Even with just four games on the slate, there are plenty of injuries and studs to target tonight. Who should you roster on FanDuel?

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/
HoustonOklahoma City226.5+4.0115.25111.25216

Point Guard

There are no shortage of point guard options on this four-game set, which is always a nice thought. We can differentiate a bit despite only eight teams.

Russell Westbrook ($8,700) and Damian Lillard ($8,700) are the same price, and both rate out as strong options. Westbrook sat out the front end of a back-to-back last night and now has five days of rest since his last game (January 3rd). Westbrook returns to face his former team, the Oklahoma City Thunder. While Oklahoma City is eighth in defensive rating since the start of December, Westbrook is priced down and should play his usual heavy minutes (35 at least) after such a long rest.

Lillard has played 41 and 36 minutes in his past two games, common numbers for the star who averages 36.9 on the season. Lillard faces the Minnesota Timberwolves, a defense that is 17th since December. Minnesota also plays at a faster offensive tempo than the Portland Trail Blazers do, making this a prime spot for Lillard. Lillard projects for 37.2 minutes and 5.09 FanDuel points per $1,000 in salary (or 5.09x value).

Derrick Rose ($6,600) has a 32.6% usage rate and a per-minute average of 1.27 when Blake Griffin is off the court. Griffin is out indefinitely. Rose draws the Cleveland Cavaliers, who are 29th in defensive rating since the start of December. Rose won't ever play 35 minutes, but he has had 27, 28, 29, and 30 in his past four games with 15, 16, 19, and 21 shot attempts in them.

Core Plays: Russell Westbrook, Derrick Rose, Damian Lillard
Secondary Plays: Chris Paul ($7,200), Ben Simmons ($8,500), Shabazz Napier ($4,900)
Tournament Plays: Collin Sexton ($6,100), Darius Garland ($4,700), Kemba Walker ($7,100)

Shooting Guard

With Karl-Anthony Towns off the court, Andrew Wiggins ($7,000) really benefits. He has a 29.7% usage rate (and 1.03 FanDuel points per minute). Wiggins projects for roughly 35 minutes in his matchup with the Blazers. Portland ranks third among eight teams playing in shooting guard defense, but we can brush that off in favor of the high total (224.0) and tight spread (Portland -2.0).

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ($6,500) and Dennis Schroder ($6,000) each grade out with plus matchups, as the Houston Rockets are the worst shooting guard defense in action tonight, and they'll see a pretty significant pace bump. Gilgeous-Alexander has played at least 34 minutes in 14 straight games but has yo-yoing production. Still, he averages 36.1 FanDuel points over his past 15 games, good enough to pay off his salary. Schroder has gotten at least 30 minutes in five games since a one-game absence, and that includes 35 minutes last game. Schroder has 17, 14, 15, 15, and 16 field goal attempts over the past five. He rates out as a high-floor play in such a good matchup, according to my projections.

Core Plays: Andrew Wiggins, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Dennis Schroder
Secondary Plays: Josh Richardson ($5,900), C.J. McCollum ($6,700), Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk ($4,200)
Tournament Plays: James Harden ($11,200), Bruce Brown Jr. ($5,100), Marcus Smart ($5,000)

Small Forward

Small forward doesn't initially look like a great position, and Tobias Harris ($6,700) is the lone exception in terms of a strong core play option. Harris will be playing without Joel Embiid tonight. In that split, Harris has a 26.1% usage rate and a per-minute average of 1.19 FanDuel points. He is projected for 35.6 minutes against the Boston Celtics. This game does have the lowest total on the board, but Harris' price is low enough that we can overlook that, and he rates out with a value mark of 5.34 in numberFire's projections.

Carmelo Anthony ($6,100) and Kent Bazemore ($3,900) also make sense here for the Blazers in one of the best overall game environments on the slate. Anthony has legitimate upside at his price, so long as his shot falls. It did last game, when he shot 17 times and scored 28 points -- to go along with 7 rebounds, 2 steals, and 1 block. Anthony has the second-highest 75th-percentile outcome among small forwards in my projections. Bazemore saw his minutes plummet from 35 on Sunday to 25 on Wednesday. Splitting the difference and projecting him for 30 is enough to give him the top value rating in numberFire's projections.

Core Plays: Tobias Harris, Carmelo Anthony, Kent Bazemore
Secondary Plays: Gordon Hayward ($6,000), Cedi Osman ($4,600), Danuel House Jr. ($4,100)
Tournament Plays: Jaylen Brown ($6,600), Jarrett Culver ($4,900), Eric Gordon ($3,900)

Power Forward

Al Horford ($5,400) owns a 22.6% usage rate and a per-minute average of 1.19 FanDuel points without Embiid, a 4.5-percentage-point boost to his usage rate and an increase of 0.21 FanDuel points per minute from what he does while sharing the floor with Embiid. Horford has a value rating of 6.14 and simply becomes close to a must-play at just $5,400.

Robert Covington ($6,000) would see a slight dip to his usage rate if Towns were to return, but he still has a solid role for the price -- particularly on a small slate. Covington averages 30.1 minutes and 28.4 FanDuel points (on 10.3 shot attempts) over his past 15 games. Without Towns, Covington puts up 1.05 FanDuel points per minute.

Kevin Love ($7,200) is in play due to his ceiling relative to the other power forwards. He put up 45.8 FanDuel points on Tuesday and is one of three power forwards to have a ceiling above 40 FanDuel points in my simulations (his is 44.7, 4.1 points higher than anyone else's). Love is more of a pivot here, as he doesn't naturally fit in a build heavy on guards.

Core Plays: Al Horford, Kevin Love, Robert Covington
Secondary Plays: P.J. Tucker ($4,100), Jayson Tatum ($6,900), Christian Wood ($4,400)
Tournament Plays: Sekou Doumbouya ($5,700), Daniel Theis ($4,300),


Andre Drummond ($10,900) has a 25.7% usage rate and averages 1.44 FanDuel points per minute when Blake Griffin is out. Drummond is always a 20/20 threat, and though it's worth noting that the Cavs are fourth in rebounding rate and rebounds per game since December. Drummond is projected for 37.2 minutes, however, and the floor is immense.

Steven Adams ($7,100) has three straight games with 40-plus FanDuel points, and he has played 35 minutes in two straight games. Adams is rebounding like crazy, and the Rockets are just 16th in rebounding rate since December 1st. Adams ranks with a strong floor/ceiling combo and is a piece we can use in Rockets/Thunder game stacks.

Core Plays: Andre Drummond, Steven Adams
Secondary Plays: Kyle O'Quinn ($4,100), Hassan Whiteside ($9,500), Clint Capela ($7,700)
Tournament Plays: Tristan Thompson ($6,200), Gorgui Dieng ($5,600)