FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Monday 2/24/20
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.
Luka Doncic ($9,800) is probable with his ankle injury, and he faces the Minnesota Timberwolves as a 12.5-point favorite. So there's blowout risk, but a Dallas Mavericks onslaught would run through Doncic. Minnesota ranks 26th against combo guards, such as Doncic, who simply rates out as the best point guard play of the night based on my model -- including his floor-to-ceiling ratio. He's a great cash-game and tournament play.
Spencer Dinwiddie ($7,100), Ja Morant ($6,200), and Eric Bledsoe ($6,100) are all options in the mid-range, but Dinwiddie's matchup with the Orlando Magic brings with it an over/under that is more than 10 points shy of any of the other seven games on the slate. Morant and Bledsoe have blowout risks of their own, yet when we're looking at large spreads, it's typically best to bank on the favored player. Bledsoe also is in a game between two of the NBA's fastest six teams since the start of 2020.
Goran Dragic ($5,500) and Kendrick Nunn ($4,700) will be without Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro. Removing those two and Justise Winslow from the court, Dragic leads the team with a 27.7% usage rate, and Nunn is second at 25.8%. Each should flirt with 30 minutes against the dreadful Cleveland Cavaliers' defense.
Josh Richardson ($5,100) and Alec Burks ($4,000) stand to benefit from injuries on the Philadelphia 76ers' side of things. Ben Simmons is out, and Tobias Harris is doubtful. Without them on the floor, Richardson is second on the team in usage rate (27.4%). Burks' sample is only 10 minutes, though he has an 18.9% usage rate. A matchup with the Atlanta Hawks represents a massive pace-up opportunity and the best composite matchup among shooting guards.
Dillon Brooks ($4,300) has seen his price fall by $1,500 from where it was six games ago. He has not scored even 20 FanDuel points in five straight games. Tonight, he'll play the Los Angeles Clippers' defense but should see minutes in the mid-20s. This is mostly a price-dependent play here.
Donovan Mitchell ($7,000) has played 32.1 and 35.6 minutes in two games since the break with 14 and 24 shot attempts. He'll face the Phoenix Suns, who rank 13th among 16 teams on the slate in fantasy points per game allowed to shooting guards.
Core Plays: Josh Richardson, Dillon Brooks, Donovan Mitchell
Secondary Plays: Alec Burks, Khris Middleton ($7,200), James Harden ($11,500)
Tournament Plays: Bradley Beal ($8,700), Caris LeVert ($6,500), Duncan Robinson ($4,500)
I often talk about opportunity cost, and well, we have that again with Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,800). Only one other small forward is priced above $6,200 tonight. His 25th-percentile outcome is 50.3 FanDuel points in my model. The top 75th-percentile outcome of any other small forward is only 44.4, and that's Paul George ($8,100). He's questionable. No other healthy small forward is at even 40.0. We're looking at possibly 65 FanDuel points from Antetokounmpo, and you really just can't make that up with the cheaper options on this slate.
Bojan Bogdanovic ($5,200), Joe Ingles ($4,400), and Kelly Oubre ($6,100) face off against one another, and this is the first place I'd look after Giannis. numberFire projects all three of these small forwards to return at least 5x value, or 5.0 FanDuel points per $1,000 in salary. Bogdanovic and Ingles project for 30-ish minutes at cheap tags, and it's also worth noting that Oubre (39.3) has the third-highest ceiling in my projections behind Giannis and Paul George.
Core Plays: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bojan Bogdanovic, Kelly Oubre
Secondary Plays: Joe Ingles, Marcus Morris ($4,400), Derrick Jones Jr. ($4,200)
Tournament Plays: Jae Crowder ($4,800), Tim Hardaway Jr. ($6,200), Paul George
Al Horford ($4,900) is basically a lock button play with the 76ers' injuries. Horford averages a solid 0.99 FanDuel points per minute without Harris and Simmons on the floor while using 22.4% of the team's possessions over an 87.6-minute sample this season. He's projected for a value rating of 6.12x. He also has one of the best floor/ceiling ratings I've seen for any player in my model all season.
Brandon Clarke ($5,200) may go a smidgeon under-owned because of Horford's price -- even with Jaren Jackson Jr. out. Clarke has averaged a stellar 1.15 FanDuel points per minute on a 19.8% usage rate without Jackson on the floor this season (588.7 minutes).
We can't forget Bam Adebayo ($8,600) against the Cavaliers. Adebayo puts up 1.35 FanDuel points per minute when we adjust for the relevant Heat players who will be out tonight, and he has a 24.5% usage rate on top of it. Adebayo is also the favorite to lead all power forwards in minutes.
Core Plays: Al Horford, Brandon Clarke, Bam Adebayo
Secondary Plays: Naz Reid ($5,000), Julius Randle ($7,800), Robert Covington ($6,300)
Tournament Plays: Kawhi Leonard ($9,900), Rui Hachimura ($5,200), John Collins ($8,300)
Joel Embiid ($10,000) has been the 76ers' offense without Simmons and Harris on the floor this year. Over 235.6 minutes, he has a 36.9% usage rate and a per-minute average of 1.62 FanDuel points. Those would rank him first and second, respectively, on the entire season. So Embiid is in the proverbial smash spot.
While Rudy Gobert ($8,000) isn't a value, he and Embiid rate out in a tier of their own tonight in terms of per-dollar value in my model. Gobert has played 38.0 and 33.7 minutes coming out of the break and has disappointed with just 35.8 and 25.2 FanDuel points, but his overall game environment is second-best among all centers, and he's second in tournament value rating in my model as well.