FanDuel Daily Basketball Helper: Saturday 1/11/20

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

New OrleansBostonTBD-8.5TBDTBD721
LA LakersOklahoma CityTBD-1.5TBDTBD1522

It is important to note the missing totals on FanDuel Sportsbook as we await news on several key players, including Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis.

Point Guard

Kemba Walker ($7,000): The Boston Celtics have a trio of stars who consume most of its usage, that being Kemba, Jayson Tatum, and Jaylen Brown. All three are $7,000 or less on FanDuel, and they are worth a look against the lowly New Orleans Pelicans as they will see a significant bump up in tempo (seventh in pace) and a great matchup (25th in defensive rating). Walker leads the Celtics in scoring at 22.1 points per game and has upped that to 26.0 points per game in his last three games in which he's seen his full minute allotment as he was ejected early two games ago against the San Antonio Spurs. The Pels are also missing star defender Jrue Holiday with an elbow injury, so they will have their work cut out for them against Boston.

Lonzo Ball ($6,100): The floor general on the opposite side of this matchup is Ball, who has flourished as the Pelicans have been without Holiday. Ball has averaged 15.6 points, 8.3 assists, and 6.3 rebounds conducting the Pels' offense in three games without Jrue, which has also culminated in an average of 37.1 FanDuel points per game. Ball is a high-floor option with upside against the Celtics on Saturday, and Boston's lack of size has led to giving up the ninth-most FanDuel points to opposing point guards this season.

Other Notable Picks: Damian Lillard ($8,500), Jamal Murray ($6,900), Coby White ($3,900)

Shooting Guard

Josh Richardson ($6,100): The Philadelphia 76ers are likely not happy to be without Joel Embiid for an extended stretch due to a finger injury, but Josh Richardson may not frown for too long. The former Miami Heat top option got a taste of that usage again Thursday versus Boston, and he dropped 29 points and 7 dimes. That comes as no fluke, as without Embiid, Richardson spikes to a 24.2% usage rate in the Philadelphia offense. Philly will take on a Dallas Mavericks squad without Kristaps Porzingis, and the Mavs are sixth-worst in the NBA in blocks per game. Points at the rim may be easier to come by for Richardson and crew.

Dennis Schroder ($5,500): In what was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Oklahoma City Thunder, the squad has vaulted to playoff contention by winning 11 of 13 games heading into Saturday's matchup with the best team in the Western Conference, the Los Angeles Lakers. A huge part of that has been Schroeder, who has been producing in multiple ways. Schroeder leads OKC in usage (27.5%) despite coming off the bench, and in this recent 13-game stretch, Schroeder has averaged 31.03 FanDuel points per game, which would certainly pay off this price tag.

Other Notable Picks: Khris Middleton ($6,600), Josh Hart ($4,500), Gary Harris ($4,100)

Small Forward

Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,200): The standards for Giannis are always sky-high, but he could be well worth his lofty cost on Saturday. Giannis is averaging 54.6 FanDuel points per game in his last four, and as the Bucks' leading rebounder, he should be able to exploit the weak Portland Trail Blazers defense on the glass. Portland has given up the most second-chance points in the NBA and has the second-worst defensive rebounding percentage in the NBA. The Blazers also give up the sixth-most shot attempts in the NBA because of this, meaning the opportunities for Giannis should be plentiful. He headlines this slate at a lackluster small forward position, and he will enter the arena Saturday night as an instant triple-double threat.

Tobias Harris ($6,500): Just like his teammate Josh Richardson, Harris also takes advantage of his additional opportunities without Embiid. And while Harris sees a significant usage uptick -- at 25.9% -- without Embiid, best among 76ers starters, he also sees a rebounding boost. Playing the power forward spot without Embiid, Harris jumps to 8.53 rebounds per 36 minutes. That should bode well for his double-double potential, and as a direct result of Porzingis' absence, Harris will either see the slower Maxi Kleber or the smaller Dorian Finney-Smith for most of the game.

Other Notable Picks: Gordon Hayward ($6,000), Will Barton ($6,700), Danilo Gallinari ($5,700)

Power Forward

Lauri Markkanen ($5,800): The Chicago Bulls will be without Wendell Carter Jr. for a while as he remains out with an ankle injury, and that means more time for the Bulls' young star at the center position. Markkanen has sometimes struggled to get opportunities and usage through Chicago's cloudy rotations, but he should see significant run in the frontcourt as Daniel Gafford continues to struggle replacing Carter, averaging only 13.35 FanDuel points per game in two starts. Markkanen has struggled with an ankle injury, limiting him to only 11 points and 5 rebounds against the Indiana Pacers Friday, but better days should be ahead on the glass as he has paced at 8.56 rebounds per 36 minutes without Carter on the floor.

Jerami Grant ($4,000): Grant will likely be the most popular play on the slate, costing just $4,000 and seemingly locked into an expansive role with Paul Millsap missing again on Saturday for the Denver Nuggets with a knee injury. Grant took the same role and posted 15 points and 6 rebounds in 33 minutes against Dallas on Wednesday. The only question will be if the Cleveland Cavaliers can keep it close as a 12.5-point underdog on the road, but even in three quarters, Grant might be able to do significant damage against a Cavs squad that gives up the eighth-most rebounds per game.

Other Notable Picks: Al Horford ($6,500), Sekou Doumbouya ($4,900), Kyle Kuzma ($4,200)


Andre Drummond ($11,000): Drummond gets a significant price increase, but with Nikola Jokic in a slow-paced matchup with big-time risk of a blowout, Drummond is the clear top option at the center spot on the slate. The Bulls have really had a tough time all season keeping centers off the glass, surrendering the fifth-most rebounds in the league, and this was with Wendell Carter Jr. battling on the boards. With Blake Griffin still out for the Detroit Pistons, Drummond will look to continue torching opponents on the stat sheet as he has posted 54.6 FanDuel points per game across his last four. Drummond will have little standing in his way from another monster night for an otherwise struggling Detroit squad.

Other Notable Picks: JaVale McGee ($5,400), Jaxson Hayes ($4,200)

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.