FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Saturday 1/18/20

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

Away Home Over/
Phoenix Boston TBD -7.5 TBD TBD 9 18
Philadelphia New York 219.5 +4.0 111.75 107.75 21 17
Detroit Atlanta 227.5 +2.0 114.75 112.75 24 6
Toronto Minnesota TBD TBD TBD TBD 15 5
Cleveland Chicago TBD TBD TBD TBD 25 14
Orlando Golden State 211.5 +3.5 107.5 104 27 13
LA Lakers Houston TBD TBD TBD TBD 16 2
Sacramento Utah 222.5 -9.5 106.5 116 28 20
Portland Oklahoma City TBD TBD TBD TBD 11 22

It is important to note the missing totals on FanDuel Sportsbook as we await news on several key players, such as Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown, Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet, and Los Angeles Lakers center Anthony Davis.

Point Guard

Kemba Walker ($7,000): Kemba exploded on Thursday against the Milwaukee Bucks, scoring 40 points and snagging 11 boards. That comes as no surprise when examining Kemba's usage with Jaylen Brown, who may miss Saturday's contest with a thumb injury. Kemba scoots up to a 30.3% usage rate without Brown in the backcourt with him, and he has a great matchup against the high-paced Phoenix Suns and their weak defense -- one that has allowed the fifth-highest field goal percentage in the league.

Markelle Fultz ($5,400): The former number-one pick struggled earlier this year to separate from D.J. Augustin to earn minutes at point guard for the Orlando Magic, but with Augustin on the shelf with a knee injury for a few weeks, Fultz should have little competition for playing time. Fultz struggled against the Los Angeles Clippers and their stingy defense, which ranks sixth in defensive rating, but he sees a substantial drop in defensive quality against the Golden State Warriors, who own the 23rd-best defensive rating in the league. Fultz is projected to be a strong value play, per our models, as we have him scoring 29.7 FanDuel points.

Other Notable Picks: Trae Young ($10,400), Ricky Rubio ($6,300), Mike Conley ($3,900)

Shooting Guard

Donovan Mitchell ($6,600): Mitchell's price has dipped recently, because before his last game against the New Orleans Pelicans, he was in a really tough scoring slump. Mitchell's January point-per-game average before his last game was 18.83, but he exploded for 46 in an overtime win against the Pels. While Mitchell isn't going for 40-plus every night, he's also not going to score 18 on a nightly basis as he is at 24.8 points per game for the season. He is in a nice matchup with the Sacramento Kings as the Jazz, who are 9.0-point favorites, have a 115.75-point implied total (tops on the slate as of Saturday morning, with a few lines still not out).

Andrew Wiggins ($6,000): Another two-guard way down in price is Andrew Wiggins, and that has a lot to do with his results. He has shot terribly in January, at only 37.6% from the field. However, Wiggins' peripheral opportunities indicate better days are ahead. With or without star center Karl-Anthony Towns, Wiggins leads the Wolves in usage at 28.6%, and he is now without former All-Star Jeff Teague, who was shipped to the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday. Wiggins brings legitimate 30-point upside to the table on any given night, which is enticing at this salary.

Other Notable Picks: Zach LaVine ($8,600), Josh Richardson ($5,900), Norman Powell ($4,800)

Small Forward

LeBron James ($11,100): LeBron has been tasked with picking up the load for the Lakers while Anthony Davis has been on the mend with a glute injury, and while LBJ has yet to post an outrageous FanDuel score (averaging only 53.06 FanDuel points), he has scored more than 30 real-world points twice and posted 19 assists in the other game. AD might return for Los Angeles Saturday, but LeBron is still a priority target on this slate in the matchup with the high-paced Houston Rockets, who have allowed the seventh-most FanDuel points to opposing point guards.

Tobias Harris ($6,800): Tobias Harris continues to be a solid option with Joel Embiid on the shelf as the usage and rebounding opportunities shift to other members of the Philadelphia 76ers' frontcourt. A lineup change three games ago shifted Harris there as Matisse Thybulle is starting at small forward now, with Tobias at the four. Since that change, Harris has averaged 37.93 FanDuel points per game, and he sees a New York Knicks team that is terrible in many facets, including being the absolute worst in the league at allowing three-point makes -- at 39.0% -- to opponents, and Harris himself has shot 42.6% in January.

Other Notable Picks: Pascal Siakam ($7,600), Danilo Gallinari ($6,000), Harrison Barnes ($5,000)

Power Forward

John Collins ($7,800): Collins is starting to find his groove after returning from injury in December. In his last five games, he's posted 16.0 points and 10.8 rebounds. On the surface, there are some concerns about Collins' minutes as he's averaging just 28.3 minutes in January. But he has fought foul trouble in his last two games, and the game before was a blowout. Collins is projected for a tick more than 30 minutes by numberFire, which should give him ample opportunities to attack a Detroit Pistons squad that gives up the fourth-most FanDuel points to opposing power forwards.

Eric Paschall ($4,300): Paschall is the top value play on the slate as Draymond Green will sit Saturday's game with a finger injury. It is tough to say how Paschall will produce as he started against the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday but got to play only 25 minutes in a 27-point blowout. For reference, Paschall averaged 18.2 points and 5.8 rebounds in November starting for Green. He has actually scored in double figures in four straight games before this opportunity and will look to make it a fifth by seeing run with the Warriors' starters.

Other Notable Picks: Kevin Love ($7,000), Sekou Doumbouya ($4,800), Nerlens Noel ($4,000)


Marc Gasol ($5,000): The Raptors' center missed 12 games with a hamstring injury, but apparently he had an incredibly effective rehab, because he has been terrific since returning, posting 17.5 points and 5.5 rebounds in two games, good enough for a clip of 36.35 FanDuel points per game. His price tag still is closer to his season-long FanDuel average of 24.5 points, so the time might be right to buy in on Gasol if he maintains his recent role in the offense. He is a great punt, especially if Karl-Anthony Towns rests for the Wolves on the second night of a back-to-back coming off a long layoff.

Other Notable Picks: Andre Drummond ($10,100), Tristan Thompson ($5,800)

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.