FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Saturday 8/22/20

Giannis Antetokounmpo is nearly impossible to fade on FanDuel today. Who can you pair with him?

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

HoustonOklahoma City224.0+3.0113.5110.5221
LA LakersPortland223.5+7.5115.5108.01113

The only significant injury status still being monitored to a starter is with Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon, who is improving with his continued hamstring injury but is still a game-time call for Saturday.

Point Guard

Chris Paul ($7,900): Paul now has a two games-to-zero deficit to rally the Oklahoma City Thunder, so the veteran may take more on his shoulders as OKC's best player. His game Thursday was an odd one for the veteran, as his 15 points and 2 assists were well below the playmaker's bubble average 16.85 points per game and 6.57 assists per game. And this is against a Houston Rockets squad that is second in the league in pace. Chalk it up to an off night for Paul, who is now under $8,000 as a result.

D.J. Augustin ($4,500): Point guard is particularly barren for value picks even seeing minutes, as Augustin is the only point guard averaging more than 22.0 minutes per game under $5,000 on FanDuel. Orlando was throttled by Milwaukee on Thursday, so it was encouraging to see Augustin actually earn more playing time despite that, as he posted 27 minutes -- albeit putting up a poor, 17.9-FanDuel-point performance. Still, if you are looking to save salary at this spot, Augustin is the safest bet to see meaningful time on the floor.

Other Notable Picks: Malcolm Brogdon ($7,400), Markelle Fultz ($5,500)

Shooting Guard

C.J. McCollum ($7,000): McCollum has been dreadfully inactive in the first two games of his series against the Los Angeles Lakers, but his price continues to drop, and his playing time is not. Even with the blowout in Game 2, McCollum is averaging 37.4 minutes per game, which makes this price tag feel too small for a player who averaged 1.02 FanDuel points per minute during the regular season. Perhaps Damian Lillard's finger injury finally helps McCollum regain some traction, as he led the Portland Trail Blazers with 16 shots in Game 2.

Dennis Schroder ($5,300): In the same vein as McCollum, Schroder has significantly underperformed his court time as well in the first two games of his series. He has averaged 31.7 minutes despite blowouts in both games but only translated that to 16.3 FanDuel points per game in the first two contests versus Houston. Schroder led the Thunder in usage rate at 27.2% during the regular season, as well, so he has an incredibly firm role in the scoring hierarchy in a great matchup: Houston gave up the sixth-most FanDuel points to opposing two guards during the regular season.

Other Notable Picks: Khris Middleton ($6,600), Victor Oladipo ($5,900)

Small Forward

Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,300): It would be very difficult to leave Giannis out of a lineup right now, as even with two blowouts leading to reduced minutes, he still is averaging 1.73 FanDuel points per minute in his first two games against the Magic. A lot of that is on the strength of rebounding, as his 0.57 rebounds per minute leads the NBA postseason right now, and that is with plenty of elite centers still playing in Orlando. Giannis is still in a 12.0-point spread today, but considering that has been the case in the first two contests which finished greater than 12 points apart, and he has still cruised past value, it seems to be a non-concern for The Greek Freak.

Eric Gordon ($5,300): The leader for the Rockets in usage without Russell Westbrook is actually Gordon, not superstar James Harden. Gordon's 31.7% usage is slightly higher than Harden's 29.7% usage, but Gordon plays more often without Harden than vice versa. Still, the disparity in price tag between the two is enormous given the equal load these two have shared to this point. The hope is, with that usage, Gordon can improve upon his relatively poor 4.0 assists per game and 35.6% shooting, which makes him a cornerstone value play on this slate.

Other Notable Picks: Carmelo Anthony ($5,000), James Ennis ($4,400)

Power Forward

Anthony Davis ($10,700): Trying to build around Giannis and Anthony Davis should be the core strategy in cash games, especially with James Harden struggling due to the extra defensive attention from Oklahoma City. Davis has averaged 53.2 FanDuel points per game in the first two contests, which is remarkable given what he overcame to post those marks. Davis had an 8-for-24 shooting effort in Game 1 and saw only 29 minutes in a blowout in Game 2, which normally could have seriously inhibited his fantasy potential. If Davis gets his full allotment of minutes at closer to his season-long average of 50.3% shooting, the results could be monstrous. Portland just struggles to match up with Davis, as they did most power forwards during the regular season: they allowed the second-most FanDuel points to opposing fours.

Jeff Green ($5,000): Jeff Green is a new favorite toy for Mike D'Antoni and, as a result, is seeing a lot of minutes as the backup "center" to P.J. Tucker. The reality is that both are still conventional wings and can play together, which has allowed Green to still average 34.5 minutes per game in the first two playoff games against OKC. Green also sees time on the floor for Houston in blowouts, which is helpful given the 14-point average margin of victory in this series to this point. Green has turned his heavy workload into 28.8 FanDuel points per game in the playoffs so far, which would be great value here.

Other Notable Picks: Bam Adebayo ($8,000), Gary Clark ($4,100; if Aaron Gordon is out)


Jusuf Nurkic ($7,400): Nurkic has been incredibly strong since his return to the NBA during play inside the bubble, averaging 1.35 FanDuel points per minute, which was second only to bubble MVP Damian Lillard (1.45) on his team. Averaging 43.67 FanDuel points per game, Nurkic has a price tag that feels like tremendous value. The reality is that his production is incredibly volatile. He has surpassed 55 FanDuel points in four games but also failed to eclipse 30 points in two contests, including Thursday's blowout. Still, if he sees his normal minutes load, Nurkic can produce quickly, which is at least a great deal of upside at a center position with plenty of volatility in its own right on Saturday.

Other Notable Picks: Myles Turner ($6,500), P.J. Tucker ($4,000)

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.