FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Saturday 2/1/20

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 YorkIndiana213.5-10.5101.51122225
Golden StateCleveland223.5-1.5111112.51224
CharlotteSan AntonioTBD-8.5TBDTBD3013
LA LakersSacramentoTBD+7.TBDTBD1526

It is important to note the missing totals on FanDuel Sportsbook as we await news on several key players, such as Philadelphia 76ers forward Al Horford, San Antonio Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge, and Portland Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony.

Point Guard

Kyrie Irving ($8,900): Irving dropped 54 points on a weaker Chicago Bulls squad on Friday, and it certainly is not chasing to deploy the Brooklyn Nets' star against the incredibly porous defense of the Washington Wizards. The Wiz have allowed the most FanDuel points to opposing point guards this year, likely due to being last in points allowed and defensive rating in the league, and they are operating at the third-fastest pace in the NBA. Irving still commands the Brooklyn offense with 18.4 shots per game in January and will get several quality looks at the Wizards on Saturday.

Darius Garland ($4,500): This price tag is incredibly cheap for Garland, who has scored in double figures in every game in January in which he has seen at least 28 minutes. He should see his full allotment as 1.0-point favorite against the struggling Golden State Warriors. Garland is also averaging 5.3 assists per game in January, and if he were to keep both his scoring and assisting pace against the Dubs, who cede the fifth-most FanDuel points to opposing floor generals, the rookie will be great value with plenty of upside.

Other Notable Picks: Ben Simmons ($9,300), Collin Sexton ($6,100), Dennis Smith ($3,500)

Shooting Guard

D'Angelo Russell ($7,600): On the opposite side of Garland is Russell at another interesting price tag. While 24th-in-pace Cleveland will certainly slow down Golden State in terms of pace, Russell has been too consistent as the Warriors' only primary scoring option with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson out of commission this season. Russell is averaging 42.94 FanDuel points per game in his last seven contests, and there were several foes tougher than the Cavs in that sample, as Cleveland surrenders the fourth-most FanDuel points to opposing two guards.

Devonte' Graham ($6,600): Graham has seen a dip in price during his cold streak, as he has shot 32.2% from the field across his last five contests. Never known for his efficiency, Graham should tick up toward his season-long 37.8% field goal percentage, and he continues to pace the Charlotte Hornets in usage in a strange, combo-guard backcourt situation with Terry Rozier. Graham has still broken the 34-FanDuel-point barrier five times in January. Doing so again would pay off his cost here.

Other Notable Picks: Donovan Mitchell ($7,500), Tyler Herro ($4,200), Damion Lee ($4,200)

Small Forward

LeBron James ($11,000): LeBron promised to carry on Kobe Bryant's legacy on his Instagram post shortly after his passing, and he has already been carrying the Lakers all season. LeBron has been his usual tremendous, consistent self in the month of January, averaging 25.7 points, 10.1 assists, and 8.7 rebounds, and he has failed to surpass 40 FanDuel points only one time in the month. The Kings are a tough matchup because their glacial pace, fourth-slowest in the NBA, but they are still without substantial parts of their frontcourt to defend James, as they're missing Marvin Bagley III and Richaun Holmes.

Tim Hardaway Jr. ($4,900): The Dallas Mavericks are without their ball-dominating superstar Luka Doncic, and it absolutely has muddied their rotation and offensive pecking order. Hardaway has been one of the top options before for both the New York Knicks and Atlanta Hawks, which is the team he'll face Saturday night. That explains why he has an elevated 25.2% usage rate without Doncic on the floor, and he should be a top option at a small price tag against the Hawks and their third-worst defensive rating in the NBA.

Other Notable Picks: Miles Bridges ($4,800), Dorian Finney-Smith ($4,500), Harrison Barnes ($4,100)

Power Forward

Kristaps Porzingis ($7,200): As the Mavs co-star to Doncic, of course Porzingis will be a solid and popular play with Luka out. Porzingis sees an even higher usage rate without Doncic than Hardaway does -- all the way up to 28.6%. Porzingis will also have plenty of peripheral stats available to him, as well, as Atlanta surrenders the fourth-most rebounds per game and second-most blocks per game to opponents. His value should outweigh his heavy ownership concerns, just as it did Friday, and Porzingis may be the most popular option on the entire nine-game slate.

Aaron Gordon ($5,600): Jonathan Isaac was lost for the season on New Year's Day against the Wizards, and that made Gordon's role a more decided with the Orlando Magic as he is their clear top option at power forward. Gordon does not really produce more in terms of shots or points sans Isaac, but he has seen 32.3 minutes per game despite eight games in January decided by 15 or more points. His rebounding numbers elevate to 8.06 boards per 36 minutes with Issac off the floor. He sees a stingy Miami Heat defense today, but if there is a spot to attack Miami, it is the power forward position, where they surrender the seventh-most FanDuel points in the NBA.

Other Notable Picks: Bam Adebayo ($8,000), Daniel Theis ($5,100), Royce O'Neale ($3,900)


Hassan Whiteside ($8,500): With Carmelo Anthony's status very much in jeopardy, Whiteside becomes the clear go-to option for boards on the Blazers. Without 'Melo on the floor, Whiteside's rebounding totals are at 16.06 boards per 36 minutes, and he has seen 33.3 minutes per game in January. That makes Whiteside a high-floor option at position with surprising amounts of uncertainty on a large slate.

Other Notable Picks: Rudy Gobert ($8,700), Jakob Poeltl ($4,900)

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.