FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Monday 1/20/20
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 take a look at who you should target on today's main slate.
Damian Lillard ($8,800) and the Portland Trail Blazers face the Golden State Warriors tonight. Golden State ranks 27th against combo guards such as Lillard on the season, and Lillard will be without backcourt mate C.J. McCollum. In a 456-minute split without McCollum this season, Lillard has generated a 33.7% usage rate and 1.24 FanDuel points per minute (or 44.8 over 36 minutes). numberFire projects Lillard for 36.8 minutes of action in a stellar matchup.
Ricky Rubio ($6,300) hosts a San Antonio Spurs team that ranks 14th in offensive seconds per play and 17th in defensive rating since December 1st when you remove garbage time. Rubio is projected for 5.73 FanDuel points per $1,000 (or 5.73x value) based on numberFire's projections, and among all point guards, he has the best floor/ceiling combination rating in my range-of-outcome projections.
Back to Portland: Anfernee Simons ($3,700) should pick up some usage without McCollum. Simons has posted a 19.9% usage rate without McCollum on the court this year, a boost of 1.0 percentage points. That's not a massive shift, of course, but more importantly, he should see elevated minutes tonight. With McCollum totaling 11.5 minutes over the past two games, Simons has played 28.1 and 35.3 minutes in them.
Core Plays - Damian Lillard, Ricky Rubio, Anfernee Simons
Secondary Plays - Collin Sexton ($5,800), Monte Morris ($4,000), Markelle Fultz ($5,400)
Tournament Plays - Russell Westbrook ($9,500), Chris Paul ($7,100), Elfrid Payton ($5,400)
Donovan Mitchell ($6,500) remains cheap despite a minutes log of 25, 22, missed game, 36, 42, and 32. His past three games have yielded 19, 34, and 18 shot attempts and 31.0, 59.2, and 27.8 FanDuel points. Mitchell is in a gross game against the Indiana Pacers, which could stymie both offenses. However, Mitchell still projects for a value rating of 6.07 because of his elite involvement and low salary.
Andrew Wiggins ($6,100) didn't always come through during Karl-Anthony Towns' extended absence, but he has remained pretty steady even with Towns back in a 27-to-28-minute workload the past two games. Wiggins has had 17 and 14 field goal attempts in those two games for 20.0 points per game. He also triple-doubled with an 18-point, 10-rebound, 11-assist game on Saturday against the Toronto Raptors. Sure, the volume may wane with Towns back, but the Minnesota Timberwolves' offense is 14.6 points per 100 possessions better with Towns than without him. That matters.
Buddy Hield ($5,500) is logging heavy minutes (34, 37, 37, 34) but doesn't do much other than score. Even with that, he rates out as a strong value in numberFire's projections (5.76x value) over 35 minutes against the Miami Heat. Hield's 75th-percentile outcome is third-best when adjusted for salary among shooting guards in my model, as well.
Core Plays - Donovan Mitchell, Andrew Wiggins, Buddy Hield
Secondary Plays - James Harden ($11,400), Evan Fournier ($5,500), Devonte' Graham ($6,800)
Tournament Plays - Jrue Holiday ($7,500), D'Angelo Russell ($7,600), Hamidou Diallo ($3,500)
Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,700) is a stud in every sense, and there's no doubt on an 11-game slate that we'll have value to get to him for his matchup with the Chicago Bulls. Chicago ranks seventh in offensive pace, and the Milwaukee Bucks are first. Chicago is also just 16th in defensive rating against top-10 offenses this season. Antetokounmpo's ceiling is second among all players tonight based in numberFire's standard deviations but is first in 75th-percentile outcome in my model.
Brandon Ingram ($9,000) has played 40-plus minutes in two straight games with 43 total shot attempts in those. With Jrue Holiday and Derrick Favors questionable, Ingram should be freed up again. The Memphis Grizzlies are 28th against scoring wings such as Ingram.
Marcus Morris ($5,200) returned two games ago to see elevated minutes: 33 and 36. He has returned 24.1 and 30.7 FanDuel points in them. Morris should have a safe role again with RJ Barrett out. Morris has a 26.1% usage rate and a per-minute average of 0.93 FanDuel points when Barrett is sidelined.
Core Plays - Giannis Antetokounmpo, Brandon Ingram, Marcus Morris
Secondary Plays - LeBron James ($11,000), Jaylen Brown ($5,900), Carmelo Anthony ($6,200)
Tournament Plays - Gordon Hayward ($5,700), Danilo Gallinari ($5,900), Bojan Bogdanovic ($5,700)
Marvin Bagley III's ($5,100) price isn't exactly indicative of his role: 23, 30, and 30 minutes over the past three games. That comes with 17, 9, and 19 shot attempts and at least a dozen points in all three contests (18, 12, and 17, respectively). Bagley's matchup with the Heat is not a great one overall, as Miami is 6th among 28 teams in action in fantasy points per game allowed to power forwards. Despite that, Bagley is too cheap to write off.
Kevin Love ($6,900) has a really enticing matchup with the Knicks, who are a mid-level power forward defense overall. With Ante Zizic out and John Henson questionable, Love should be set for heavy, heavy minutes in a game that is projected to be tight (it's a 1.5-point spread). Love's floor/ceiling combo is third-best among power forwards for me, and his tournament value rating is second-best.
Aaron Gordon ($5,500) is in a game with a really ugly pace projection and over/under, but he has an elite power forward matchup (the Charlotte Hornets are 26th among 28 teams on the slate), and Gordon will be somewhat unaffected by the pace. He has played 30, 37, 29, and 35 minutes and projects for 31.6 tonight. The floor seems solid despite the game environment.
Core Plays - Marvin Bagley III, Kevin Love, Aaron Gordon
Secondary Plays - Derrick Favors ($5,900), Larry Nance Jr. ($3,800), Jerami Grant ($4,000)
Tournament Plays - Bam Adebayo ($8,700), LaMarcus Aldridge ($7,500), Lauri Markkanen ($5,100),
Tristan Thompson ($5,700) -- like Love -- should log safe minutes with the Cleveland Cavaliers' injury situation in the frontcourt. Thompson is a 0.99-FanDuel-point-per-minute producer and could get to 35-plus minutes without Zizic and Henson. The Knicks are 17th among 28 teams against fantasy centers, as well.
It's easy to love Hassan Whiteside ($9,000) and Nikola Vucevic ($8,500), but Deandre Ayton ($8,000) is the cheapest of the three and rates out best in my model by a tinge. Per dollar, his 75th-percentile outcome rates out the best, too. Ayton's matchup with the San Antonio Spurs is tough (they're fifth against centers), but the total is strong enough for us to go at Ayton. Aron Baynes is doubtful, and Frank Kaminsky is out. Ayton could hit 35 minutes for the third straight game.