FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Friday 1/24/20
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.
Point guard is a position where we can save some salary and spend up on studs. There are stud point guards, but we can focus on some of the cheaper plays here.
Ricky Rubio ($5,700) draws a good guard matchup against the San Antonio Spurs, who rank 27th against distributing guards such as Rubio. Rubio just played San Antonio on the 20th and put up 38.1 FanDuel points in 35.6 minutes (15 points, 9 assists, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block, 3 turnovers). Rubio's price dropped $2,000 after a 14.5-FanDuel-point showing on Wednesday over just 22.6 minutes in a blowout loss to the Indiana Pacers. He is numberFire's top value.
Aaron Holiday ($3,800) is actually projected for the same value rating (6.21 FanDuel points per $1,000) as Rubio. The reason for it is that Malcolm Brogdon is out. With Brogdon off the floor, Holiday has a 23.3% usage rate and averages a fine-for-the-price 0.90 FanDuel points per minute. T.J. McConnell ($4,200) is also in play, but numberFire projects 28.0 minutes for Holiday and 23.6 for McConnell.
Monte Morris' ($4,700) Denver Nuggets are banged up. Paul Millsap and Jamal Murray are out, and Michael Porter Jr. and Gary Harris are questionable. Morris currently projects to play 29.8 minutes against the New Orleans Pelicans, who are a massive pace-up opponent for the Nuggets. New Orleans also is just 24th defensively against top-10 offenses since December 1st.
Core Plays: Ricky Rubio, Aaron Holiday, T.J. McConnell
Secondary Plays: Monte Morris, De'Aaron Fox ($7,900), Derrick Rose ($6,900)
Tournament Plays: Russell Westbrook ($10,400), Kemba Walker ($7,200), Shabazz Napier ($4,900)
James Harden ($10,800) is well worth the salary tonight, and we have the value to get to him. Harden's Houston Rockets face the Minnesota Timberwolves, who rank 25th in defensive rating against top-10 offenses since December 1st. They allow 119.5 points per 100 possessions in that split. Harden leads the entire slate in FanDuel points per minute (1.57). His 75th-percentile outcome of 65.6 FanDuel points in my model is the only mark above 58.9.
Andrew Wiggins ($6,800) on the flip side of that game is rating out second in my model among shooting guards. Sure, Karl-Anthony Towns ($9,800) is back, but the team puts up 116.9 points per 100 possessions with him and just 109.2 without him, per NBAWowy. Wiggins is locked into a 34-minute role with double-digit shot attempts and has twice gone for 42.5 or more FanDuel points in his past three games.
The Los Angeles Clippers list Paul George as out and Patrick Beverley as questionable. Without those two on the floor, Lou Williams ($6,100) has a 31.2% usage rate and a per-minute average of 1.22 FanDuel points (or 43.8 FanDuel points per 36 minutes). numberFire projects Williams for 32.8 minutes in his matchup with the Miami Heat. Miami is actually only 17th in defensive rating since December 1st.
Core Plays: James Harden, Andrew Wiggins, Lou Williams
Secondary Plays: D'Angelo Russell ($7,500), Evan Fournier ($5,100), Bogdan Bogdanovic ($4,600),
Tournament Plays: Zach LaVine ($8,800), DeMar DeRozan ($8,200), Buddy Hield ($6,200)
Small forward is thin on expensive options, with only Brandon Ingram ($8,600) priced above $7,300. In fact, we have four really strong options priced at exactly $6,200.
Jaylen Brown ($6,200) and Gordon Hayward ($6,200) are in a slow matchup with the Orlando Magic in a game with the lowest total on the board. Brown is questionable himself, but Jayson Tatum is out, as is Enes Kanter. Without those two on the floor, Brown has a 26.7% usage rate and a per-minute average of 0.88 FanDuel points over a 225-minute sample. That's not overly elite, but the minutes would be there for Brown to pay off his tag and more. Hayward's usage rate is 22.0% without Tatum and Kanter.
Will Barton ($6,200) is another Nugget who can benefit with Denver's injuries. With just Murray and Millsap off the floor, Barton owns a 23.5% usage rate and puts up 1.04 FanDuel points per minute. Barton is projected to play more minutes (35.7) than any other small forward tonight.
Core Plays: Jaylen Brown, Will Barton, Gordon Hayward
Secondary Plays: Danilo Gallinari ($6,200), Pascal Siakam ($7,300), Marcus Morris ($5,600)
Tournament Plays: Brandon Ingram, T.J. Warren ($5,600), Kelly Oubre ($6,700)
Power forward is more deep than it is full of elite, standout plays. The one exception is Kawhi Leonard ($9,800). Leonard has a 33.6% usage rate when George and Beverley are off the court, and he puts up 1.53 FanDuel points per minute in this split. That's just 0.10 fewer than Harden, who costs an extra $1,000. Leonard's matchup with the Heat is not quite as friendly as what Harden has, but he also shouldn't carry quite the ownership that Harden does, either.
Domantas Sabonis ($8,400) draws a pretty beatable Golden State Warriors defense tonight. Golden State is a decent 15th in defensive rating since December 1st but are dead last in fantasy points allowed to post bigs. Sabonis' range of outcomes is pretty similar to the pricey centers, and he should be had at pretty tiny ownership.
Derrick Favors ($5,700) has some minutes concerns. He played 22 in Zion Williamson's ($5,500) debut. He does, though, have the third-best combined matchup rating of any power forward in action tonight. Favors can take advantage of a Nuggets team whose rebounding takes a big hit without Millsap.
Core Plays: Kawhi Leonard, Domantas Sabonis, Derrick Favors
Secondary Plays: Bam Adebayo ($8,100), Robert Covington ($5,700), Aaron Gordon ($5,600)
Tournament Plays: Julius Randle ($7,600), Nerlens Noel ($4,400), Draymond Green ($5,500)
Dewayne Dedmon ($3,900) double-doubled (13 points and 10 rebounds) in 31.1 minutes on Wednesday without Marvin Bagley III. Bagley III is out tonight, as is Richaun Holmes. Dedmon is projected for a value rating of 5.64 even in only 25.7 minutes, and the Sacramento Kings' center gets a matchup with the NBA's 29th-ranked rebounding team in the Chicago Bulls.
Andre Drummond ($10,300), Karl-Anthony Towns ($9,800), and Deandre Ayton ($8,000) all rate out pretty similarly when adjusted for salary, and that's not even including Nikola Jokic ($9,900) and Nikola Vucevic ($8,500). Drummond does stand out by a tad, as he's playing the Memphis Grizzlies in a game with the second-best composite game matchup for any center.