FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Thursday 2/27/20

Rajon Rondo should prove to be a great value play with LeBron James out of the lineup. Who else should you target tonight?

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.

The Slate

LA LakersGolden State223.0+10.0116.5106.51312
SacramentoOklahoma City222.0-6.5107.75114.252423
New YorkPhiladelphia211.0-6.0102.5108.52218

Injuries to monitor: The biggest injury news of the day is that LeBron James (groin) is out tonight. For the Philadelphia 76ers, Ben Simmons will be out for awhile, and he will likely be joined on the sidelines tonight by Joel Embiid (shoulder). Damian Lillard remains out for the Portland Trail Blazers. Jeremy Lamb is out for the Indiana Pacers; Victor Oladipo is returning.

Point Guard

Slam Dunk -- Rajon Rondo ($4,000) is going to be the chalk tonight, but that doesn't mean you should shy away. Two of Rondo's three heaviest games in terms of minutes have come in the two contests that LeBron has missed this season. He's averaged 30.39 minutes in those and totaled 28.9 and 48.4 fantasy points, respectively. The Lakers' opponent -- the Golden State Warriors -- have been leakier to opposing point guards than a dam made out of Scotch Tape. In fact, over their last 30 games, no team has surrendered more fantasy points to the position than the Warriors. Rondo's 1.03 fantasy points per minute average with James off the court this season should play well.

And One -- Speaking of generous: over their last 15 games, the Sacramento Kings have allowed the second-most points to the point guard position of any team on tonight's slate. Enter Chris Paul ($7,400) -- the real one, not the fake one from all of those annoying State Farm commercials. At $7,400, Paul needs 37 fantasy points to equal 5x value, or 5.0 FanDuel points per $1,000 in salary. He's surpassed that number in six of his last eight games.

Free Throw -- The New York Knicks have somehow been the second-stingiest team to points over their last 15 contests, but that doesn't make Shake Milton ($4,300) any less of an appealing option -- especially if you're looking to load your lineup with studs. Approximately 98% of "the process" will be missing from Philly's lineup tonight -- which opens up significant opportunity for a player like Milton. The 23-year-old totaled 33.8 fantasy points in last night's loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers and could post similar numbers tonight.

Bank Shots: Malcolm Brogdon ($5,900), De'Aaron Fox ($7,500).
Fade: Elfrid Payton ($7,100).

Shooting Guard

Slam Dunk -- With Embiid and Simmons out, there's a ton of value to be had in Philly. Over the last month, the Knicks have been a bottom-12 defense against combo guards like Josh Richardson ($5,200). With Embiid and Simmons off the court, no Sixers player has a higher usage rate than Richardson -- and that's a significant sample size of 199.9 minutes. In the 21 games this season where he's played at least 25 minutes and posted a usage rate of 20% or higher, Richardson has averaged 33.1 FanDuel points. More importantly, in those contests, he totaled fewer than 25.7 points just once. Given that he needs just 26 points to reach 5x, I'd say he's a pretty good value tonight.

And One -- Tonight's slate is not loaded with stars, which makes C.J. McCollum ($8,800) an even better play. In five games without Lillard in the lineup this season, McCollum has averaged an enticing 55.1 FanDuel points. His averages in those contests -- 31.0 points, 5.8 rebounds, 9.4 assists, and 2.0 steals plus blocks. Indiana hasn't been particularly giving to either point guards or shooting guards this season, but they have been generous in the rebounding (seventh-most) and assist (fifth-most) departments over their last 30. McCollum needs just 44 points to attain 5x value tonight, which is more than doable for him.

Free Throw -- Given Golden State's incredible generosity, Danny Green ($3,900) is also worthy of your consideration.

Bank Shots: Bogdan Bogdanovic ($4,700), Dennis Schroder ($5,500).
Fade: Buddy Hield ($5,900).

Small Forward

Slam Dunk -- Over the last 30 contests, only three teams have surrendered more fantasy points to small forwards than the Blazers. They've been better in that regard since the arrival of Trevor Ariza ($4,800), but better in this regard just means "less shitty." T.J. Warren ($5,600) is a guy who has quite a wide range of outcomes. Over his last three games, we've seen him total 12.7, 26.6, and 49.1 FanDuel points. That said, he's had 49-plus in two of his last four games, so his ceiling is undeniable. In his last seven fully healthy home games, Warren has averaged 37.6 fantasy points -- he needs just 28 for 5x value tonight.

And One -- Likely to be the highest-owned player at the position, Tobias Harris ($7,000) is obviously a core play tonight. Like Warren, Harris also has displayed a wide range of outcomes. In his last three, he's totaled 17.5, 30.3, and 44.2. Nonetheless, with Simmons and Embiid (probably) out, Brett Brown's offense will run through Harris, which makes him all the more valuable. Given the fact that the 76ers know how to play the game of basketball on only their homecourt, it should come as no surprise that Harris has had his fair share of success there recently -- averaging 38.2 fantasy points in his last nine at Wells Fargo Center. Harris does need to reach 35 FanDuel points in order to hit 5x, which is the main reason why I prefer Warren.

Free Throw -- Danilo Gallinari ($5,700) is priced well and fairly safe, though his upside is limited. Ariza and Justin Holiday ($4,000) are worth considering if you're looking in the bargain bin.

Bank Shot: Andrew Wiggins ($7,400).
Fade: Harrison Barnes ($5,100).

Power Forward

Slam Dunk -- Al Horford ($4,800) doesn't have the highest of ceilings, but at $4,800, how can you pass him up? Our model has Horford projected as the second-best value on the entire slate. It's easy to understand why -- he doesn't even need to get to 25 FanDuel points in order to reach 5x. In 17 games without Embiid in the lineup (including last night's), Horford has averaged 34.7 fantasy points -- which would be 7.2x value at tonight's price.

And One -- In order for your lineup to have some upside, you're likely going to have to go with Anthony Davis ($10,800). Worse things in the world can happen to you than having Davis in your lineup. In 499.8 minutes this season without James on the court, Davis has seen a 4.6 percentage point increase in usage and a 0.19 points-per-minute bump. That'll play. As is the case with every other position, the Warriors don't really play defense against power forwards. Over their last 30 games, they've allowed the most assists, second-most rebounds and steals, and third-most fantasy points to the position. Go with the guy that has a ceiling that's 10.56 points higher than anyone on the slate, according to our model.

Free Throw -- Harry Giles ($4,500) and Eric Paschall ($4,300) are solid options if you're a cheapskate. Domantas Sabonis ($8,400) has the third-highest ceiling on the slate, according to our algorithm.

Bank Shots: Nemanja Bjelica ($5,000), Kyle Kuzma ($4,100).
Fade: Julius Randle ($7,300).


Slam Dunk -- According to our model, only Anthony Davis has a higher upside than Hassan Whiteside ($9,500) tonight. Depending on how you structure your lineup, you can easily fit both players in as your anchors. Whiteside needs 47.5 points to reach 5x tonight, and that's a number he's surpassed 11 times since the start of 2020. Luckily for him, his opponent -- the Pacers -- allow the most real-life points, sixth-most rebounds, and seventh-most fantasy points to opposing centers.

And One -- Dwight Howard ($4,100) is an obvious value play without PG/SG/SF/PF/C LeBron James in the lineup. Howard is our top point-per-dollar play at the position.

Bank Shot: Myles Turner ($6,000).
Fade: Steven Adams ($6,900).