FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Monday 2/10/20
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.
Briefly, let's get this out of the way: Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,600) is questionable due to personal reasons, and if he's out, then Eric Bledsoe ($6,700) would be an elite play. With Giannis off the court, Bledsoe has a 33.4% usage rate and averages 1.44 FanDuel points per minute. So, yeah. He'd be a core play with no Giannis for the Milwaukee Bucks' matchup with the Sacramento Kings.
De'Aaron Fox ($7,600) faces those Bucks, who are a fast team and could be without a key defender in Antetokounmpo. Fox's price is dropping, and his 26.0-minute performance in his last game was due to blowout. Those are generally bounce-back spots. We can take advantage of the declining price for Fox, who is third in tournament value among all point guards in my model -- despite the blowout risk.
With Derrick Rose doubtful and a lot of other injuries to the Detroit Pistons, Reggie Jackson ($5,900) rates as a solid mid-range play, and we'll probably want to spend up for frontcourt players tonight. Jackson has cleared 31 minutes in three straight games and in four of his past five. In those four games with at least 31 minutes, he produced 32.6, 45.5, 34.1, and 36.9 FanDuel points. Adjusting for the Pistons' injuries, Jackson has a 29.1% usage rate and a per-minute average of 1.10 FanDuel points, numbers too good to pass up at $5,900 against the Charlotte Hornets.
Core Plays: De'Aaron Fox, Reggie Jackson, Eric Bledsoe
Secondary Plays: Malcolm Brogdon ($6,500), Kendrick Nunn ($4,600), Jalen Brunson ($4,600)
Tournament Plays: Trae Young ($9,500), Jamal Murray ($7,200), Ricky Rubio ($5,600)
Fred VanVleet ($6,700) could be freed up to handle the ball a lot with Kyle Lowry questionable. Lowry missed Saturday's game, and VanVleet took 20 shot attempts, scoring 29 points and 37.4 FanDuel points. VanVleet's usage rate spikes by 4.7 percentage points to 28.2% when Lowry, Marc Gasol, and Norman Powell are out. The Toronto Raptors also will be in a fast game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Bruce Brown Jr. ($4,500) is steady and has produced at least 24.1 FanDuel points in five straight games. We've already touched on the Pistons' injuries, and the Hornets are 27th in defensive rating since December 1st. Brown should easily clear 30 minutes in this matchup.
Khris Middleton ($7,400) puts up a team-high 33.4% usage rate with a hefty per-minute average of 1.39 FanDuel points when Antetokounmpo is out, so again, keep an eye out for that situation. Even with Antetokounmpo, Middleton rates out fine enough against the Kings to build around.
Core Plays: Fred VanVleet, Bruce Brown Jr., Khris Middleton
Secondary Plays: Victor Oladipo ($5,300), Evan Fournier ($5,600), Delon Wright ($4,000)
Tournament Plays: d D'Angelo Russell ($7,300), Devin Booker ($8,000), Caris LeVert ($5,600)
Small forward isn't super deep, and that'll be extra affected if Antetokounmpo sits. If he plays, we can load up on him because he's not dealing with an injury but instead personal matters. Per-dollar, he's the best small forward play in my projections and has the best tournament rating, too. That's just what we should expect when the best per-minute fantasy asset plays a regular allotment of minutes.
LeBron James ($10,500) is not far behind Giannis, so it's not the worst idea to build lineups around James instead -- and save yourself the hassle of a late-breaking announcement that Antetokounmpo sits. James faces the Phoenix Suns, who are only 22nd in defensive rating since December 1st. James' minutes load is consistently set between 33 and 36. The main concern would be blowout risk, as the Los Angeles Lakers are favored by 12.5.
Without Luka Doncic and Dwight Powell, Dorian Finney-Smith ($4,300) has a disappointing 15.7% usage rate and puts up only 0.85 FanDuel points per minute (25.5 per 30 minutes, which is roughly where he's projected to get tonight). We have to downgrade his matchup with the Utah Jazz, even though they are on a skid and are only 13th in defensive rating since the start of January. There's still value for Finney-Smith if looking to save some money at small forward.
Core Plays: LeBron James, Dorian Finney-Smith, Giannis Antetokounmpo
Secondary Plays: Kelly Oubre ($6,700), Joe Ingles ($4,400), Tim Hardaway Jr. ($4,800)
Tournament Plays: Pascal Siakam ($8,300), Andrew Wiggins ($7,700), Jae Crowder ($4,200)
Power forward is a position where we'll probably want to allocate some salary.
Anthony Davis ($10,400) tops my positional per-dollar projections for his matchup with the Suns, who are just 18th against versatile bigs. Davis has flashed signs of his elite upside with outings of 79.0 and 70.1 FanDuel points within his past five games. His ceiling is second-best on the full slate, and he trails only the questionable Antetokounmpo. Again, there's blowout risk for the Lakers, but Davis' role is such that a blowout would stem from a big game from him, and he's really not that expensive.
In addition to Domantas Sabonis' ($7,800) being a high-floor play night in and night out, his price is declining to account for more ceiling than floor returns of late. Sabonis has fallen shy of 40 FanDuel points in five of his past six games. The Pacers, though, will be in an uptempo matchup with the Brooklyn Nets. Brooklyn is average against post bigs, and the total isn't quite as low as we normally see with Pacers games.
Serge Ibaka ($6,700) is someone we can just keep playing for now while Gasol is out. He has a 24.1% usage rate without Gasol and Lowry, and he has played 33.8, 40.3, and 32.0 minutes over his past three games. The game environment for the Raptors power forward is one of the best at the position, too.
Core Plays: Anthony Davis, Domantas Sabonis, Serge Ibaka
Secondary Plays: John Collins ($7,500), LaMarcus Aldridge ($7,000), Nemanja Bjelica ($5,800)
Tournament Plays: Bam Adebayo ($8,500), Aaron Gordon ($6,300), Jarrett Allen ($5,400)
Center is pretty loaded, and it's another spot where we may want to spend up, using savings at the guard positions to do so.
Nikola Vucevic ($8,600) is shaping up as one of the best plays of the night against the Atlanta Hawks, who just played a double-overtime game last night and are still without Clint Capela. Before even factoring that in, the Hawks represent a significant pace-up matchup for the slogging Orlando Magic. Vucevic is a building-block-level play.
There are a lot of natural pivots from Vucevic, though, as Nikola Jokic ($11,300), Karl-Anthony Towns ($10,000), and Rudy Gobert ($7,700) project well. Of the three, Gobert is the best-projected play based on numberFire's algorithm and my projections. Gobert hasn't fallen shy of 30 minutes since January 10th. His ceiling value rating is actually the best among the expensive centers, too.