FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Friday 1/17/20

Friday's seven-game slate is a little light on superstars, so how does that impact lineup building 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/
Atlanta San Antonio 230.5 -8.0 111.25 119.25 9 12
Cleveland Memphis 229.0 -8.0 110.5 118.5 30 10
Washington Toronto 229.0 -10.0 109.5 119.5 5 15
Portland Dallas 228.5 -5.5 111.5 117.0 21 22
Minnesota Indiana 216.5 -8.5 104.0 112.5 8 20
Chicago Philadelphia 216.5 -8.0 104.25 112.25 6 24
Miami Oklahoma City 215.5 -1.0 107.25 108.25 25 17

There are clearly two tiers of games tonight: the top four and the bottom three. The spread for three of the top four games by over/under is at least eight points, so the matchup between the Dallas Mavericks and Portland Trail Blazers may rate out as the best of the night, despite the fact that both teams are outside the top 20 in offensive pace.

Point Guard

Luka Doncic ($11,000) is shaping up as the top play of the night in the game that is fantasy friendliest. Doncic doesn't need too much justification and is coming off a game with 62.5 FanDuel points (25 points, 15 rebounds, and 17 assists). The combined game environment (spread and over/under) and his individual matchup gives Doncic the second-best point guard game environment of the slate.

Malcolm Brogdon ($6,800) has played 33 and 30 minutes in two games since returning and has done work in each. He has put up 44.9 and 35.2 FanDuel points while shooting 15 and 18 times, scoring 21 points in each contest. That's paired with 6.5 rebounds and 7.5 assists per game in the small sample. Brogdon again plays the Minnesota Timberwolves, a rematch of his game on Wednesday. We can go back to the well at his salary.

Dejounte Murray ($4,900) -- in just 23.4 projected minutes -- is expected to score 26.2 FanDuel points. That's 5.34 FanDuel points per $1,000 in salary (or 5.34x value). The reason for it is he's playing the Atlanta Hawks, who rank 9th among 14 teams in action in fantasy points allowed to point guards. Murray averages a strong 1.13 FanDuel points per minute, which should translate to a good game in this matchup.

Core Plays: Luka Doncic, Malcolm Brogdon, Dejounte Murray
Secondary Plays: Chris Paul ($7,000), Goran Dragic ($4,600), Kendrick Nunn ($4,800)
Tournament Plays: Kyle Lowry ($8,400), Damian Lillard ($8,800), Ben Simmons ($9,200),

Shooting Guard

DeMar DeRozan ($8,100) also gets the Hawks (this will become a theme for today's slate). Atlanta has been the most generous team on this slate to shooting guards. Overall, DeRozan's matchup is the best overall spot on the slate for a shooting guard. DeRozan is locked into minutes in the mid-30s and around 15 shot attempts on the low end. DeRozan has scored at least 24 actual points in nine straight games.

Karl-Anthony Towns remains questionable, paving the way for Andrew Wiggins ($6,300) to have an extended opportunity. He has has a 28.5% usage rate without Towns, and over the past 10 games, he has averaged 29.7 minutes, 14.2 shots, 14.0 points, and 25.1 FanDuel points. That's actually well below what he needs to pay off a $6,300 tag, but his shooting percentage has been down below 33% in each of the past three games. The minutes and opportunity are still there.

Josh Richardson ($5,900) always logs heavy minutes and projects for 33 tonight against the Chicago Bulls. Richardson's per-minute average of 0.86 FanDuel points is disappointing, yet the matchup with the Bulls is a huge pace-up matchup, and he ranks alongside Wiggins in my model for the best floor/ceiling combo of any shooting guard.

Core Plays: DeMar DeRozan, Andrew Wiggins, Josh Richardson
Secondary Plays: Dennis Schroder ($5,300), Jeremy Lamb ($4,500), Delon Wright ($4,000)
Tournament Plays: Jimmy Butler ($8,700), Bradley Beal ($7,500), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ($7,200)

Small Forward

Pretty much every small forward is cheap, but the two "expensive" options stand out on their own. Tobias Harris ($6,700) has a team-best 25.9% usage rate without Joel Embiid among Philadelphia 76ers with at least 100 minutes. Harris has 790 minutes without Embiid, and in that large sample, he puts up 42.2 FanDuel points per 36 minutes. Harris is projected for 34.2 minutes. He should hit value against the uptempo Bulls.

Pascal Siakam ($7,600) has returned to play 30 minutes in two straight games and take 17 and 15 shot attempts in them. His price is dropping, which is justified, as he has recorded 26.0 and 37.8 FanDuel points in these games. Siakam, though, draws a pristine matchup with the Washington Wizards, who are one of the worst defensive teams and fastest offensive teams in just about any split. Even over their past 10 games, they're 17th in defensive rating, which isn't a situation to avoid. Siakam still has put up 1.06 FanDuel points per minute in his two games since coming back from a long layoff, so we can fire him up.

Rudy Gay ($4,200) is yet another San Antonio Spur to target (and he's not the last). Gay is projected for a value rating of 5.3 tonight over 22.3 minutes. Gay has a high floor rating in my projections because of his soft matchup and is a source of salary relief to help us spend up at the guard positions.

Core Plays: Tobias Harris, Pascal Siakam, Rudy Gay
Secondary Plays: Danilo Gallinari ($6,000), Matisse Thybulle ($4,100), De'Andre Hunter ($4,300)
Tournament Plays: Carmelo Anthony ($6,200), T.J. Warren ($5,400), OG Anunoby ($4,800)

Power Forward

Let's stick with the Spurs and talk about LaMarcus Aldridge ($6,600) against the Hawks. Aldridge consistently plays north of 30 minutes and has seen a price drop of $800 from where he was two games ago due mostly to poor shooting. The shot attempts are still there, as he has double-digit shot attempts in 17 straight games since missing time. Aldridge is projected for a value mark of 5.76.

Al Horford ($7,100) boasts a 22.1% usage rate without Embiid, and he generates 42.7 FanDuel points per 36 minutes in that split. Horford is projected for around 30 minutes against the Bulls, who rank 26th in rebounding rate on the season and are dead last against power forwards in terms of fantasy points allowed among teams playing tonight. Horford's overall game environment ranks him second at the position.

Brandon Clarke ($4,800) has been clicking of late and has posted 35.8, 27.2, and 25.4 FanDuel points over his past three games, doing so in just 23, 19, and 24 minutes, respectively. Clarke is up against the Cleveland Cavaliers, who rank ninth among 14 teams in action in power forward defense. Clarke isn't projected for a huge boost in minutes (numberFire has him at 21), but that's enough for him to pay off his tag.

Core Plays: LaMarcus Aldridge, Al Horford, Brandon Clarke
Secondary Plays: Lauri Markkanen ($5,000), Larry Nance Jr. ($3,900), Davis Bertans ($4,800)
Tournament Plays: John Collins ($8,000), Jaren Jackson Jr. ($6,900), Bam Adebayo ($8,300)


At most, we have 13 centers who project for relevant minutes, and it's really closer to 10 if we set a 20-minute threshold. Minutes and floor will matter, and no center other than Hassan Whiteside ($9,400) is priced above $6,400.

Tristan Thompson ($6,100) has an average matchup across the board against the Memphis Grizzlies, but he is priced appropriately. Thompson put up only 8.5 FanDuel points in 23.5 minutes against the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday, but he played just 8 second-half minutes due to a blowout. Thompson averages 1.00 FanDuel points per minute and 31.7 minutes per game on the season. We project him for a similar role tonight, and that puts him in likely territory to hit value and gives him plenty of room to smash his per-dollar projection. He has the best tournament value rating in my model among centers.

Jonas Valanciunas ($6,500) is second in tournament value and third in floor/ceiling rating on the flip side of that game. The Cavaliers are 11th among 14 teams playing in center defense, and Valanciunas owns the second-best composite matchup of all centers.

Core Plays: Tristan Thompson, Jonas Valanciunas
Secondary Plays: Steven Adams ($6,400), Myles Turner ($6,100)
Tournament Plays: Hassan Whiteside, Gorgui Dieng ($5,100), Jakob Poeltl ($3,900)