FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Thursday 2/13/20
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 slate.
Tonight's slate features only two games with All-Star Weekend starting tomorrow. Nevertheless, there will be plenty of stars to choose from, as the New Orleans Pelicans (-3.0) host the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Clippers visit the Boston Celtics (-2.0).
Matchup data is provided via Fantasypros.
Kemba Walker ($7,000) - On a slate as small as this one, it's rare that you'll find a stud at a value price tag, but that's exactly what you get with Kemba. Walker sports the fifth-highest ceiling of any player taking the court tonight, yet there are eight players priced above him. The Clippers have a number of elite defenders, but that doesn't necessarily make this a negative matchup for Walker. In fact, over their last 15 contests, the Clips are allowing the fourth-most assists and fifth-most made three-pointers to the point guard position -- leading to an average of 47.56 fantasy points surrendered during that period. At $7,000, Walker needs 35.0 points -- a total he can easily reach -- to equal reach 5x value, or 5.0 FanDuel points per $1,000 in salary. Our model projects Kemba to total of 37.4 points, making him the best value play at the position. Another aspect working in Walker's favor is the potential absence of Jaylen Brown -- who is a game-time decision. Kemba has posted more than 44 points in six of the eight games he's played without Brown on the court -- for an average of 45.7. Patrick Beverley being out surely won't hurt either.
Other notable pick: Lonzo Ball ($6,000).
Marcus Smart ($4,900) - In order to get studs in your lineup tonight, you're going to have take value wherever you can get it. Luckily, Marcus Smart's price tag is the second-lowest it's been since Game One. The caveat here is that his value is lessened if Jaylen Brown is actually able to go. In the nine games Brown has missed this season, Smart is averaging 33.4 fantasy points per. That's 6.8x value at tonight's price. Our algorithm projects Smart to 28.5 points, making him the second-best value at the position. Lou Williams ($5,500) is another cheap option worth considering, but his usage and points-per-minute go down by 5.7% and nearly a quarter of a point, respectively, when Paul George and Kawhi Leonard are on the court.
Other notable pick: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ($7,400).
Danilo Gallinari ($6,100) - Of the four teams playing tonight, only the Pelicans are outside the top-10 in terms of fewest fantasy points allowed to small forwards. According to our models, Gallinari has the second-highest floor at the position tonight, behind only Brandon Ingram ($8,400) -- who might not play. Gallinari needs 31 fantasy points to surpass 5x value tonight, which is a number he's reached in 15 of his last 17 contests. Given the risks associated with the studs at the position tonight, the best option might be to just play it safe and role with Gallinari. It doesn't hurt that the Thunder are taking part in a game with a projected total of 232.5.
Other notable pick: Gordon Hayward ($6,800).
Kawhi Leonard ($9,900) - You need a stud to anchor your lineup, and Kawhi should be that guy (that rhymes!). According to our models, Leonard has the highest ceiling on the slate by either 6.78 or 8.32 points, depending on whether Brandon Ingram is active. Kawhi is averaging 59.3 points over his last six road contests, posting at least 55.3 in five of them. Over their last 15 games, Boston has surrendered the third-most fantasy points and real-life points to the power forward position -- as well as the fourth-most boards. Though he's significantly more expensive than any other player, Leonard's price tag of $9,900 is not unreasonable. Zion Williamson ($7,700) will probably have high ownership tonight, though he's going up against the fourth-stingiest power forward defense, and he'd need 38.5 points to reach 5x -- something he's done just once.
Other notable pick: Daniel Theis ($5,300).
Steven Adams ($5,400) - Adams has averaged 30.2 minutes in his last four, after playing just under 24 minutes in his first four games back from an ankle sprain -- playing at least 28 minutes in each contest. In 24 games this season in which he's played 28-plus minutes, Adams has posted an average of 35.12 FanDuel points. At tonight's price tag, that would be 6.5x value. According to our model, Adams is just one of two centers tonight with a ceiling over 40. At 29.54 points, he's our highest-projected scorer at the position and second-best value. The Pelicans are middle of the pack in defending centers, though they have been one of the 10 most generous teams in rebounds and blocks allowed the position -- which so happens to be Adams' bread and butter.
Other notable pick: Derrick Favors ($5,100).