FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Saturday 8/29/20
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 break down today's main slate:
There is no large pending injury news for Saturday's slate, as Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard is already definitively out with a knee injury, and the Los Angeles Lakers' star pairing of Anthony Davis and LeBron James are both probable and have played through their listed injuries throughout the playoffs.
Chris Paul ($8,200): It would be tremendous to roll out Russell Westbrook, but the Houston Rockets' guard is rumored to possibly be on a minutes limit in his return, and at $9,400, that is a tough risk to swallow with so many studs playing well. The point guard on the other side of this matchup is Chris Paul, who is the most solid option at the position with Westbrook such an unknown. Paul is averaging 39.8 FanDuel points per game in this series despite a dismal Game 2 effort in which he scored only 25.2 FanDuel points. Some of the Oklahoma City Thunder rotation has changed game to game, but Paul's 37.5 minutes per game indicate his role is going nowhere, especially in a pivotal Game 5 on Saturday.
Markelle Fultz ($5,400): Point guard continues to be a tough ask on days with this trio of games, as Paul and Markelle Fultz are the only point guards averaging more than 30 minutes per game currently. The former number-one pick's breakout has been a bright spot of the Orlando Magic's 3-1 series deficit to the Milwaukee Bucks, as Fultz is averaging 0.87 FanDuel points per minute in this series. Fultz is the top point-per-dollar value at point guard by our projections on Saturday, currently expected for 27.9 FanDuel points.
Other Notable Pick: Eric Bledsoe ($5,800)
Dennis Schroder ($6,000): The Thunder's rotation is incredibly thin at the moment, with only six players seeing more than 20 minutes last Monday. One of those was Schroeder, who logged 31 minutes and made the most of it with 30 points and 3 assists. That moves Schroder to an average of 39.6 FanDuel points per game across the past two games. His team-high 26.4% usage rate in this series gives him a lion's share of OKC's scoring opportunities, largely because Schroder occupies the most time with the bench unit.
Gary Trent Jr. ($4,500): The injury to Damian Lillard leaves plenty of openings for Portland -- both in terms of minutes and usage. While C.J. McCollum will certainly occupy most of the usage in the backcourt, he is also much more expensive than Trent and definitely provides some blowout risk in a game with a 13.5-point spread. Trent saw a large increase in shots on Monday, taking 11, and he should play in a blowout, as he posted 34 minutes off the bench in Game 4. He likely won't start, but coming off the bench could increase his overall usage.
Other Notable Picks: C.J. McCollum ($8,000), Khris Middleton ($6,800)
Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,500): Giannis has averaged 60.1 FanDuel points per game this series despite no game being decided by fewer than 12 points. It is rare to find an elite-priced superstar with minimal blowout concerns, but Giannis largely has none given his 34.7% usage. The usage is not new, but his rebounding uptick is. Giannis is averaging 15.6 rebounds per game in this series, which is way ahead of his pace of 13.6 boards per game from the regular season. That dramatically increases his floor in fantasy, and we know the ceiling is massive.
Carmelo Anthony ($5,500): While McCollum saw a substantial price increase, 'Melo did not, and he should not be ignored as an option for Portland. He is second on the Blazers in usage rate with Lillard off the floor, at 25.8%, behind only McCollum (33.1%). The 2013 scoring champion has certainly never been a stranger to filling it up, and Anthony has scored more than 20 points five times inside the bubble while playing alongside Lillard. Per our model, he is projected for a healthy 27.5 FanDuel points on Saturday.
Anthony Davis ($11,000): Davis exited Game 4 early with back spasms, but some of that may have been due to the 38-point margin in the third quarter. He was headed into Thursday with a probable tag, so the additional two days of rest likely only helped him. Davis has torched the Blazers to the tune of 1.71 FanDuel points per minute, which is the best in these NBA playoffs. There is decent cause for concern with a blowout, but Davis is still projected for 36.1 minutes at this current spread, which could make for an astronomical fantasy day.
Robert Covington ($5,300): The Rockets are a tough task for DFS on Saturday, as with Westbrook returning, many of their players are overpriced for their expected usage given that he had an astronomical 34.0% usage rate in the regular season. A Rocket who is actually $800 cheaper than he was last Saturday is Covington, and that is largely due to only an average of only 22.0 FanDuel points per game in this series. A return to normalcy in the rotation may lead to reduced role for Jeff Green and Danuel House Jr., which may help RoCo's rebounding. The starting lineup for Saturday's game should be a telling indication of who the Rockets will pair with their healthy backcourt. It is worth remembering Covington was the piece acquired for Clint Capela, so it is likely the front office sees him as a large contributor who needs to start.
Jusuf Nurkic ($7,400): Nurkic had the best effort for Portland in a dismal Game 4, as he posted 20 points and 13 rebounds in just 27 minutes on Monday as one of the lone bright spots. That should be of no surprise. Even including Dame Lillard, no Portland player had averaged more FanDuel points per minute than Nurkic's 1.35, and the additional usage without Lillard should only increase that clip. Portland will likely lean on their big man. He out-produced any blowout concerns on Monday and will have ample opportunity to do so again. He is the clear top option at center on the slate, especially with Nikola Vucevic seeing such a high price increase and facing some blowout risk.
Other Notable Pick: P.J. Tucker ($4,200)
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.