FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Saturday 9/5/20
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 break down today's main slate:
Kyle Lowry ($9,000): The Toronto Raptors had their backs against the wall in Game 3 against the Boston Celtics in an effort to avoid going down 3-0, and that meant heavy minutes for several starters. No Raptor carried as much of a load as Lowry, however, as the Raptors' point guard played 46 of 48 minutes and led Toronto in points (31), shots (23), and assists (8). His production is not new, as he is averaging 44.3 FanDuel points per game in the three games in this series, even despite a Game 1 blowout. The Raptors should continue to lean on their point guard on Saturday.
Kemba Walker ($8,000): Outside of the first half in Game 2, when Kemba was 0-for-11 from the floor, Walker has been exceptional this entire series for Boston. He led the Celtics with 29 points on Thursday, and while his salary is increased, his new minutes load may justify it. Walker has averaged 38.5 minutes in the last two games, which is well ahead of his average of 31.1 minutes per game from the regular season as Brad Stevens continues to tighten his rotation. With a mark of 1.10 FanDuel points per minute from the regular season, he can still pay off this salary given his new workload. numberFire expects Walker to exceed 40 FanDuel points again on Saturday.
Other Notable Picks: Louis Williams ($5,200)
Fred VanVleet ($7,700): While Lowry led the Raptors in plenty of categories, the ball was in Fred VanVleet's hands the most for Toronto on Thursday. VanVleet led the Raptors with a 29.2% usage rate, and he certainly has seen his fair share of minutes in the last two contests, as well, playing 41.5 minutes on average. VanVleet's upside still remains in his regression to his normal shooting performance, as his frigid 32.3% field goal percentage in this series is well worse than the efficient 41.3% mark he had the rest of the season. He and Paul George are the same salary, but VanVleet is playing more minutes with currently a greater role in his offense.
Marcus Smart ($5,500): Smart is thought of more for his defensive work, which may make the fact he was tied for second on the Celtics in usage in Game 3 (23.2%) surprising. However, as they continue to operate without Gordon Hayward, Smart has answered the call, and he exceeded his regular season pace by averaging 0.80 FanDuel points per minute against the Raptors. The Celtics' rotation is incredibly tight, with only the five starters seeing more than 18 minutes last game, which makes Smart a great value at a middle-of-the-road salary. He is one of numberFire's top projected point-per-dollar plays on Saturday with a forecasted total of 32.7 FanDuel points.
Other Notable Picks: Paul George ($7,700), Gary Harris ($4,000)
Pascal Siakam ($8,200): Some of the best potential upside on the slate may come from Siakam if he can return closer to his regular season form. Siakam still posted a 22.6% usage rate in Game 3, which was behind both Fred VanVleet and Lowry, and took 15 shots -- meaning his peripheral role in the offense remains fairly unchanged. That, combined with reduced minutes for Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol as Toronto plays smaller, should have increased Siakam's rebounding production, as well, but OG Anunoby stole the show with a playoff-high 10 boards in Game 3. numberFire expects Siakam to get back on track with a projected 41.7 FanDuel points in Game 4.
Jerami Grant ($4,800): Thursday was not a great day to be a Denver Nuggets player, as they were dealt a 23-point loss to the Clippers just two days removed from a thrilling Game 7 win in their series finale against the Utah Jazz. The Game 1 blowout, which meant shorter minutes and production, makes finding a Denver-themed fantasy trend in the series thus far difficult. Jerami Grant, however, is someone who is likely to return to form if Denver can hang in on Saturday in Game 2. Grant's streak of four games with at least 35 minutes was snapped in the blowout, but he was still third on the team with 26 minutes in Game 1. Grant had an average of 0.80 FanDuel points per minute in the regular season, so he could be great value at a weak small forward position if he returns to 35 or more minutes in Game 2.
Other Notable Picks: OG Anunoby ($5,800)
Daniel Theis ($5,400): Expensive Raptors have been the theme of the slate so far, so savings are badly needed somewhere. Power forward is a great opportunity to do so. While it would be nice to get to Jayson Tatum, he has failed to eclipse five-times value -- 5.0 points per $1,000 in salary -- in five of six games and remains incredibly expensive. The two power forwards I will touch on are seeing around 30 minutes and putting up better than 1.00 FanDuel points per minute in their respective series. They should be core plays at the position Saturday. The first is Theis, who is averaging a surprising 1.06 FanDuel points per game in this series, has seen at least 30 minutes in each of the last two games. He was in a timeshare with Enes Kanter during the regular season, but Kanter's defensive struggles have rendered him unplayable in the postseason, which has cleared the path for Theis to seize a stable role.
Marcus Morris ($4,800): Morris has been fantastic for the championship-favorite Clippers in the playoffs thus far, averaging 13.6 points on 56.3% shooting -- and an even better 58.3% clip from three-point land. Those numbers are far better than one would expect for someone salaried so low, especially considering Morris has seen at least 32 minutes in every game this postseason that finished within 15 points, as LA protects the veteran Morris, among others, in blowouts. Morris needed just 27 minutes to score 33 FanDuel points on Thursday and is projected by numberFire for 26.6 FanDuel points in Game 2, which would exceed requisite value here.
Other Notable Picks: Jayson Tatum ($9,200)
Nikola Jokic ($9,500): Center on this slate feels like pitching on a small MLB slate -- pay up and forget about it. No other center than Jokic has a defined role, as only "The Joker" exceeded 26 minutes last time out of the 12 eligible centers in the player pool. Outside of a rough Game 1 for everyone involved for Denver, Jokic has been decently consistent, scoring at least 44 FanDuel points in six of his seven contests against the Jazz in the first round. The Clippers play at a much higher pace than Utah does, which should bode well for Jokic's counting stats. But Denver will have to stick much closer to the current 9.5-point spread than they did on Thursday for Jokic to see his entire minutes allotment. There is likely per-dollar upside elsewhere in tournaments, but in cash and single-entry contests, Jokic is a reasonable plug.
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.