FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Monday 3/2/20
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.
There's a top trio at point guard tonight: Russell Westbrook ($10,700) at the New York Knicks, Luka Doncic ($10,400) at the Chicago Bulls, and Trae Young ($9,900) versus the Memphis Grizzlies. Then it falls off below $7,000. Doncic missed Sunday's game with a thumb injury and could be a game-time decision. Westbrook rates out subpar for the salary in my model, and it's Young who really looks like the best option of the three at the cheapest price on top of it all. Memphis is actually fourth in defensive rating over their past 15 games but is fourth in pace, and the game is the best of the night.
Elfrid Payton ($6,300) has been up-and-down the past three games: 18.9, 43.2, and 15.2 FanDuel points over 27.3, 35.6, and 33.3 minutes. Payton, though, faces the Houston Rockets in a pace-up game. Houston is just around average against point guards, and the game environment is a plus one for the underdog Knicks.
Markelle Fultz ($5,100) pops as a low-end salary play. Fultz has hovered around 30 minutes coming out of the break and ranks second behind Payton in floor/ceiling rating in my model against the Portland Trail Blazers. It's an overall ugly game, but the total isn't that low relative to the other, so Fultz is in play for savings.
Core Plays: Trae Young, Elfrid Payton, Markelle Fultz
Secondary Plays: Collin Sexton ($5,500), Malcolm Brogdon ($6,700), Dejounte Murray ($5,500)
Tournament Plays: Russell Westbrook, Luka Doncic, Ja Morant ($6,900)
It's easy to like James Harden ($10,800) in Madison Square Garden, and he ranks as a top-three shooting guard play for me, but the more interesting talking point is where to go from there.
C.J. McCollum ($8,800) has logged 37.2 or more minutes in five post-break games and has had 22, 30, 24, 27, and 26 field goal attempts in those contests. The Orlando Magic are just 22nd in defensive rating over the past 15 games. While Damian Lillard is out, we can keep rolling with McCollum. Jimmy Butler ($8,000) and DeMar DeRozan ($7,500) are perfectly fine pivots away from McCollum, though.
Kevin Huerter ($5,000) against the Grizzlies makes plenty of sense. Huerter has double-digit shot attempts in all six post-break games, and Cam Reddish is questionable and Dewayne Dedmon is out for the fourth straight game.
Core Plays: C.J. McCollum, James Harden, Kevin Huerter
Secondary Plays: Jimmy Butler, DeMar DeRozan, RJ Barrett ($5,000)
Tournament Plays: Dillon Brooks ($5,800), Donovan Mitchell ($7,600), Terrence Ross ($4,900)
Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,500) is nearly twice as expensive as the next most expensive small forward (T.J. Warren ($5,900)). Antetokounmpo's 75th-percentile projection in my simulations is 64.4 FanDuel points. Nobody else's is above 37.4. Giannis' 25th-percentile outcome is 50.4 against the Miami Heat.
Bojan Bogdanovic ($5,100), Rudy Gay ($4,300), and Kyle Anderson ($4,300) are the next tier of small forward plays but not really on par with Giannis, even when adjusting for salary. Bogdanovic faces the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers, who are the worst small forward defense on the slate. Gay has a 24.8% usage rate and a per-minute average of 1.25 FanDuel points without LaMarcus Aldridge and Jakob Poeltl. Anderson has played 33.2 and 31.5 minutes the past two games with weak fantasy production (18.1 and 14.1 FanDuel points). His game environment is elite.
Core Plays: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bojan Bogdanovic
Secondary Plays: Kyle Anderson, Rudy Gay, Cam Reddish, T.J. Warren
Tournament Plays: Josh Jackson ($3,900), Carmelo Anthony ($5,600), Kevin Love ($4,900)
Julius Randle ($7,800) and John Collins ($8,600) make a formidable duo at the top of the pricing pool. Randle faces the undersized Rockets and has played 38.1 and 31.7 minutes the past two games -- with at least 34.9 FanDuel points in four straight. Collins always logs heavy minutes and gets the uptempo Grizzlies in the game with the highest total of the night. They're fairly comfortably the top two per-dollar plays in my model.
Trey Lyles ($4,300) offers savings with Aldridge and Poeltl doubtful or out. Lyles should play around 30 minutes and just played 39.9 minutes against the Magic on Saturday. He put up 47.8 FanDuel points on 13 shot attempts (20 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 steals, 1 block).
Core Plays: Julius Randle, John Collins, Trey Lyles
Secondary Plays: Robert Covington ($6,200), Kevin Love ($6,400), Larry Nance Jr. ($4,900)
Tournament Plays: Aaron Gordon ($7,400), Domantas Sabonis ($8,700), Bam Adebayo ($8,800)
Nikola Vucevic ($8,100) and Andre Drummond ($7,600) are finding themselves at the top of my per-dollar projections. Vucevic has a soft interior matchup with the Blazers. Meanwhile, Drummond gets the Jazz in an ugly spot. Despite that, both have top-three floor/ceiling ratings at the position, per my model. Drummond averages 1.37 FanDuel points per minute with the Cavaliers, and numberFire projects Drummond for 45.1 FanDuel points, 5.93 per $1,000 in salary.
Wendell Carter Jr. ($3,900) is listed as probable for his matchup with the Dallas Mavericks. Carter Jr. returned to play 18.2 minutes last game and put up 22.8 FanDuel points. I prefer spending up at center, but we do have an option near minimum salary. numberFire projects Carter to put up 8.21 FanDuel points per $1,000 in salary.