FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Thursday 3/5/20
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 -- which features just four games.
Injury situations to monitor: For the Golden State Warriors, point guard Stephen Curry will play -- you've probably heard of him...Draymond Green is questionable. Josh Richardson, Ben Simmons, and Joel Embiid remain OUT for the Philadelphia 76ers. Devonte' Graham is questionable for the Charlotte Hornets. Fred VanVleet, Marc Gasol, and Serge Ibaka are all questionable for the Toronto Raptors.
(All matchup data is provided via FantasyPros)
Slam Dunk -- Given the price and role he has, Shake Milton ($5,400) is going to be a staple in most lineups tonight. Milk-Shake has averaged 34.74 points in 32.7 minutes over his last five contests. At a salary of $5,400, Milton needs just 27 fantasy points to equal 5x value (or 5.0 FanDuel points per $1,000 in salary) -- he's exceeded that by at least 6.8 points in three of his last four games. The Sacramento Kings have been a passable matchup for point guards as of late, allowing the ninth-most fantasy points and fourth-most real-life points over their last 15. Milton's 5.6 percent usage increase with Richardson, Embiid, and Simmons off the court is highest on the team. Our model projects Shake to be the best value at the position.
And One -- Our model gives Jamal Murray ($6,600) the fourth-highest ceiling at the point position tonight, though he is at least $700 cheaper than any of the three above him. Murray's fantasy outputs this season can best be described as consistently inconsistent. He's averaged just 24.6 FanDuel points in his last three -- this after averaging 40.04 over his previous seven outings. On a slate like this, it might be wise to swing for the fences and hope you get a ceiling game from Murray. The Hornets have allowed the second-most points to the position of any team on the slate over their last 15 -- the opportunity will certainly be there. Our algorithm projects him for 34.4 points tonight, surpassing 5x.
Free Throw -- Branding tonight's game between the Raptors and Warriors as a "Finals rematch" would be like branding Blockbuster as the king of streaming. Nevertheless, there are two points guards who are bound to be popular tonight -- Kyle Lowry ($7,300) and Steph Curry ($8,000). Lowry averaged 33.24 in eight games against Golden State last year, though that number was a much-more-enticing 49.8 in two regular-season matchups. He's an intriguing play, though it's worth noting the Warriors have been the sixth-stingiest team to point guards over their last 15 contests. Curry's price is tough to swallow for someone who's just coming back from injury and will likely have a minutes restriction.
Slam Dunk -- If you don't pay up for James Harden ($11,200), you'll be missing out on a player with a ceiling that's more than 10 points higher than anyone else on the slate, per our models. Matchups don't matter much when it comes to the Bearded One, as evidenced by the fact that he's already dropped 66-plus twice on the Clippers this season. The game total for this one is 11 points higher than any other on the slate -- if you needed more convincing.
And One -- There aren't any value plays that stick out at shooting guard -- Cody Martin ($4,300) and Gary Harris are good bets to be around 5x, though their ceiling is limited. In the mid-range, Fred VanVleet ($6,100) is at a palatable price, though it's still uncertain if he'll play tonight. FVV goes up against a Warriors team that allows opposing shooting guards to treat them like they're an Astros trash can. He has -- by far -- the best matchup at the position.
Free Throw -- The matchup for Bogdan Bogdanovic ($5,000) isn't great, though he has scored 22.8 or more in six straight games. He needs merely 25 points for 5x, and he has a decent chance of achieving that -- but the odds of him even reaching 6x are pretty slim (he's totaled 30 just 3 times in his last 14).
Slam Dunk -- In two games against the Rockets this season, Paul George ($6,900) has totaled 42.1 and 58.3, respectively. George is priced-down due to lack of big performances of late, but this is a blowup spot for the six-time All-Star. Houston has yielded the eighth-most fantasy points to small forwards over their last 15, including top-five generosity in real-life points, blocks, and three-pointers made. Our model has him projected as the third-best value at the position. Take advantage of PG13 at the second-lowest price he's been all season.
And One -- Given their plethora of injuries, it should be of no surprise that the Sixers have been a bit shakier defensively as of late. In fact, Philly has allowed the third-most real-life points to small forwards over their last seven contests. The Sixers also have the league's worst defensive rating over their last eight roadies. Enter Harrison Barnes ($4,700). Barnes needs just 23.5 points to reach 5x tonight, and he's topped that number in 9 of his last 12 games. He's not a likely candidate to get you 40, but he's a better bet than most to not tank your lineup.
Free Throw -- Pascal Siakam ($8,500) is one of the top plays on the slate, but he becomes more intriguing if Toronto's frontcourt is missing bodies (Ibaka and Gasol are both questionable). The matchup with the Warriors is a good one, but less so since Andrew Wiggins came to town. Miles Bridges ($5,300) is worth a look, especially if Devonte' Graham can't go. Tobias Harris will be a popular play, though he's averaging just 26.9 FanDuel points over his last seven games away from home.
Slam Dunk -- Robert Covington ($6,500) faces a stingy Clipper team tonight, yet he still feels underpriced. He needs just 32.5 to reach 5x, and he's posted at least 34.4 in 7 of his 10 games in a Houston Rockets uniform. He should see a ton of minutes in a game with a one-point spread, and a projected total of 235.5 makes this play all the more appetizing. Fade him at your own risk.
And One -- The Sixers have been the fifth-most giving team to power forwards over their last 15 matchups. This seems like a prime opportunity to snatch Harry Giles at $5,000. Giles would need just 25 points to reach 5x value, which is a number he's surpassed in each of his last six contests. Again, he's not exactly a high-ceiling play, but he is a cheap option -- which allows you to get high-ceiling studs into your lineup.
Free Throw -- Al Horford ($6,300) will be a popular option, but it's worth noting that he doesn't have much upside, and the Kings are a tough matchup for power forwards. You might be better off going with Giles or Nemanja Bjelica ($4,900), and using the extra money elsewhere -- for example, you can use it on Kawhi Leonard ($9,200), who has the third-highest ceiling on the slate, per our models.
Slam Dunk...ish -- Both Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka are banged up for the Raptors, which could leave Marquese Chriss ($6,100) with a pristine matchup tonight. With their frontcourt banged-up, Toronto has ceded the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing centers over their last seven. Chriss, meanwhile, has posted at least 31.5 points for the bottom-feeding Warriors in seven of his last nine contests -- he needs exactly 31.5 to reach 5x. Unlike some of the other players mentioned on this list, Chriss actually has a respectable ceiling. He has managed performances of 47.3 and 42.9 points over the last month. Our model projects him to score 33.2 tonight -- that would make him the second-highest scorer and third-best value at the position.