FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Sunday 8/9/20

James Harden is once again a great play on Sunday's slate. What other players should you target?

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 break down today's main slate:

The Slate

San AntonioNew Orleans240-3.0118.5121.5153
BrooklynLA ClippersTBD-13.0TBDTBD108

Worth noting are the missing totals on FanDuel Sportsbook, as we await finalization of statuses with Aaron Gordon of the Orlando Magic, Russell Westbrook of the Houston Rockets, and Kawhi Leonard of the Los Angeles Clippers.

Point Guard

De'Aaron Fox ($8,000): I have a tremendous amount of interest in the Sacramento Kings against the gold mine of fantasy lately, being the Houston Rockets. Their adaptation to small ball has led to some crazy fantasy nights, and the Kings should see a tremendous boost as the 20th-paced team in the NBA. Their highest usage player is Fox at 29.6%, and the young Kentucky Wildcats product has been red hot in the bubble as well, averaging 42.66 FanDuel points per game in his five contests in Orlando -- one of which was a huge blowout. Fox has really benefited from Buddy Hield seemingly dropped significantly in the rotation order, as his FanDuel points per minute jumps to 1.19 without Hield on the floor, and that may explain some of this late-season surge.

Kemba Walker ($5,800): Great news for the Boston Celtics point guard as he is working his way back into shape for the NBA postseason. His minutes restriction will be upped to 30 minutes on Sunday, which is just about in the vicinity of his full workload. Kemba is obviously a very talented scorer, and his 1.16 FanDuel points per minute would indicate that. Given his high productivity here, Kemba is very affordable in the mid-tier of pricing options, and numberFire is optimistic about his productivity on Sunday, projecting him at 36.3 FanDuel points against the Magic.

Other Notable Picks: Ja Morant ($7,400), Shake Milton ($4,700), Austin Rivers ($3,500)

Shooting Guard

James Harden ($10,800): Russell Westbrook is officially out for the Rockets due to his sore quad once again, which means Harden becomes the focal point of the entire slate again. Harden's usage is just monstrous without Westbrook, at 44%, and he really is Houston's only reliable playmaking option with Eric Gordon still out of action. Harden posted 68.25 FanDuel points on Friday against a much tougher Los Angeles Lakers defense, and even though the Kings are a slower-paced squad, their 19th-ranked defensive rating will still allow plenty of baskets. There is a lot of wiggle room on this slate with quality options, but do not get cute fading Harden in any format.

Bogdan Bogdanovic ($5,400): On the other side of that matchup at the two-guard is the lone remaining Bogdanovic in the NBA, with Bojan Bogdanovic outside the bubble. The younger Bogdanovic has always been a talented scorer, but his minutes and his role in the starting lineup have varied endlessly. However, he seems finally entrenched as the solid starter, seeing 31 minutes in four of five bubble games -- with the exception being the blowout against the Dallas Mavericks. He is exactly the type of scorer that relishes a matchup against Houston, as the high-pace against the Rockets, who allow the seventh-most three point attempts in addition to having no rim protector, will give him opportunities to score at every level.

Other Notable Picks: DeMar DeRozan ($7,700), Josh Richardson ($4,500), Ben McLemore ($3,900)

Small Forward

Carmelo Anthony ($4,900): Another day where budget options seem the way to go at small forward. 2020 has not been the best year for many, but it has been quite the resurgence for Melo with the Portland Trail Blazers. The bubble has been especially kind to Anthony, as even with the reinsertion of Jusuf Nurkic, he is still averaging 34 minutes and 26.62 FanDuel points in Portland's five games in Orlando. The Philadelphia 76ers are a brutal fantasy matchup due to their slower pace and great defense but have been kind to opposing small forwards, allowing the fourth-most FanDuel points per game to wings.

Harrison Barnes ($4,400): Another section, another Kings player. Barnes is always frustrating to play in daily fantasy because of his inconsistency and general low FanDuel points per minute marker at 0.74, but he should benefit from this matchup with Houston (as most of his team will). As a versatile, taller forward, he will likely play heavy minutes in this contest at the four or the five, which should help his rebounding numbers. When Barnes is on the floor at the four, his rebounding rate jumps to 5.55 rebounds per 36 minutes, versus 3.36 when there are at least two big men in the game. He should collect boards, and has an outside chance at a double-double in this one.

Other Notable Picks: Kawhi Leonard ($8,400), Brandon Ingram ($7,400), Danuel House Jr. ($4,500)

Power Forward

Al Horford ($6,200): Welcome back, Al! Horford got the start at power forward in place of Ben Simmons and made the most of it, scoring 36.8 FanDuel points in 30 minutes against the Magic. He saw a huge price increase here as a result, but on a murky day for power forwards, he at least has a phenomenal matchup against Carmelo Anthony as the opposing four-man for Portland. As a result of Melo's sometimes-lackadaisical effort, Portland gives up the second-most FanDuel points per game to opposing power forwards. Horford's plus matchup should be a better option than Jayson Tatum with Kemba returning or Robert Covington's lack of scoring upside for Houston.

Nemanja Bjelica ($5,200): Force ranking Sacramento Kings, Bjelica would be a distant fourth behind the aforementioned players, but also at substantially reduced rostership. Bjelica only saw 18 minutes against the Brooklyn Nets on Friday, which was disappointing. However, he lost much of his playing time to Richaun Holmes, who is out with an injury, and Alex Len, who will not be able to stay on the floor against James Harden. Bjelica has shined in this spot before, playing 30 minutes against the Rockets in both of their contests back in 2019 -- and that was before Houston traded Clint Capela. Bjelica should see a bulk of playing time at the five in this small-ball affair and is a solid 0.95 FanDuel points per minute option when given the opportunity.

Other Notable Picks: Zion Williamson ($6,800), Marcus Morris ($4,300), Jeff Green ($4,300)


Joel Embiid ($9,600): Embiid struggled against Orlando on Friday, but the Magic are a brutal matchup for centers, as they are well-coached and large in the frontcourt. He gets a much more favorable matchup against Portland, who is 14th in FanDuel points per game to opposing big men, and that was largely with former defensive player of the year nominee Hassan Whiteside and not Jusuf Nurkic. This is assuming that also Tobias Harris does not set another new career-high in rebounds, as Harris pulled down 15 away from Embiid against Orlando. Embiid should start to pay the fantasy point dividends of his 36.8% usage rate and 1.67 FanDuel points per minute marker without Simmons on the floor on Sunday.

Other Notable Picks: Nikola Vucevic ($7,800), P.J. Tucker ($3,800)

Austin Swaim is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Austin Swaim also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username ASwaim3. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.