FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Friday 2/28/20
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.
Point guard is pretty loaded at the top tonight, and there are some mid-level options for sure, but we should consider spending up for one if not two point guards. Now, Luka Doncic ($10,400) and Trae Young ($9,700) are the only options priced above $7,300, but both rate out as top-six per-dollar options in my range of outcome projections. Each has a 75th-percentile outcome (59.6 for Doncic and 56.9 for Young) that's 10 points higher than any other point guard's.
My model really likes De'Aaron Fox ($7,200), but he's battling an abdominal injury, though he said he thinks he can play tonight. The Sacramento Kings face the uptempo Memphis Grizzlies, so it's a situation to monitor for sure. The safer bet in this price range is Spencer Dinwiddie ($7,300), whose Brooklyn Nets are the only road favorite of the evening. Dinwiddie has a 31.4% usage rate when Kyrie Irving is out. The Atlanta Hawks are 15th among 20 teams in action in point guard defense, giving Dinwiddie one of the best game environments of the entire slate.
Ja Morant ($5,800) is actually my number-one point guard value due to his price drop (it was $6,700 coming out of the All-Star break). Morant faces the Kings in a matchup with two fast teams. He scored 19 points against them on the 20th with very little peripheral production and then played some tougher defenses.
No shooting guards will break the bank tonight, as it's just Bradley Beal ($9,300) priced above $8,600. There are, though, plenty of mid-tier options to filter through.
Devin Booker ($7,500) grades out best for me against the Detroit Pistons, who are 24th in defensive rating over the past 15 games and allow 114.9 points per 100 possessions. Booker has played at least 34 minutes in four post-break games.
From there, it's a bit of a drop, and we have to pick nits between Beal, Jrue Holiday ($8,600), Jimmy Butler ($8,300), Donovan Mitchell ($7,300), Khris Middleton ($7,200), and Caris LeVert ($7,200). My model doesn't really love any of them more than the next, but all grade out well.
Instead, I'd rather drop down to Fred VanVleet ($6,500) (and possibly even Devonte' Graham ($5,700)) despite the fact that this is the lowest total on the board. VanVleet has a 23.4% usage rate when Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka, and Norman Powell are out (all are out or questionable). Graham played 34.2 minutes in his return on Wednesday and has a 26.0% usage rate.
Core Plays: Devin Booker, Fred VanVleet, Devonte' Graham
Secondary Plays: Donovan Mitchell, Jimmy Butler, Khris Middleton
Tournament Plays: Kevin Huerter ($4,700), Dillon Brooks ($5,100), D'Angelo Russell
Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,400) is quite literally in a tier of his own tonight, which happens frequently. No other small forward is priced above $8,100 (and that's Pascal Siakam ($8,100)). Antetokounmpo's 25th-percentile outcome is 49.2 points in my model. No other small forward has a ceiling higher than 48.3 (Siakam). I use this argument a lot, but Antetokounmpo's ceiling is often untouchable by other small forwards on the slate.
Jumping way down, Bojan Bogdanovic ($4,800) grades out as the best per-dollar power forward for me. He has played 23.6 or more minutes in all four post-break games and is priced down $800 since the break itself. The Utah Jazz draw a cake matchup with the Washington Wizards, who are 19th among 20 teams playing tonight in small forward defense.
Taurean Prince ($4,300) also stands out a cut above for me among small forwards, making a Bojan/Prince or value/Giannis combo kind of the easy go-to small forward construction. Prince faces his former team and is playing steady minutes for the Nets (25.4 or more in three straight). Combining the spread, over/under, and matchup, Prince is tied for the best game environment of any player on the board.
Core Plays: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bojan Bogdanovic, Taurean Prince
Secondary Plays: Brandon Ingram ($7,600), Mikal Bridges ($5,000), Joe Harris ($4,600)
Tournament Plays: Pascal Siakam, James Ennis ($3,800), Will Barton ($5,500)
John Collins ($8,500) is standing out among the top tier of power forwards for my model. Collins gets the Nets in a promising fantasy matchup and has played 35.2 or more minutes over his past three games. Zion Williamson ($8,000) is an elite per-minute producer himself, but there's significant blowout risk for him as a 12-point favorite.
Kevin Love ($6,600) is on the other end of that blowout spot. Love's main risk down the stretch will be games of rest, but when he plays, he's a solid producer: 42.8 and 32.8 FanDuel points (while shooting 33% or worse in each) in his past two over 37.9 and 33.2 minutes.
Dario Saric ($3,800) started and played 31 minutes with Kelly Oubre out on Wednesday, and Oubre is out indefinitely with a torn meniscus. Saric's usage rate bumps up 1.5 percentage points when Oubre is out, and he's a near minimum-salary play who will flirt with 30 minutes.
Core Plays: John Collins, Kevin Love, Dario Saric
Secondary Plays: Zion Williamson, Jarrett Allen ($5,200), Naz Reid ($4,500)
Tournament Plays: Bam Adebayo ($9,100), Kawhi Leonard ($9,800), Nemanja Bjelica ($4,600)
Gobert isn't overly expensive and faces a Wizards team that is 17th against centers, and the total is abnormally high for a Jazz game. There's clear blowout risk, but at just $7,600, Gobert has a realistic shot to pay off even in limited minutes.
Thompson is the cheapest of the four and has played at least 26 minutes in all four games since the break. He's put up 35.2, 22.9, 30.3, and 37.6 FanDuel points in them, so he'd have paid off his cheap tag in three of the four. He'll get to run the floor against the Pelicans in a great environment.