FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Sunday 9/6/20
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 are stars -- such as LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Giannis Antetokounmpo -- who are listed as game-time decisions on FanDuel. But all played through their respective injuries in their contests on Friday, so all are likely to suit up for their playoff games on Sunday.
Goran Dragic ($7,200): "The Dragon" has surprisingly returned to a role he possessed long before the acquisition of Jimmy Butler and the emergence of Bam Adebayo, which is the the leader and forefront of the Miami Heat offense. Dragic leads Miami in an extended seven-game sample this postseason in shots per game (18.6) and is a close second to Butler (26.7%) in usage rate at 26.5%. He is at a much lower salary than Butler or Adebayo and is coming off his lowest-scoring game in this series, one in which he only dropped 15 points on 40% shooting. Dragic should perform better if he returns closer to his 48% shooting from this postseason.
Eric Bledsoe ($5,200): Bledsoe's issue all season -- and in the first round against the Orlando Magic -- was playing time. He averaged only 25.8 minutes per game against the Magic, and missed Game 1 against Miami, but he has since played 31 and 29 minutes as Giannis continues to struggle to score for the Milwaukee Bucks. The problem is that Bledsoe's 1.11 FanDuel points per minute has not followed him to the series yet, but numberFire has projected him to get back on track with 27.6 FanDuel points in Game 4.
James Harden ($11,000): The Los Angeles Lakers seemingly had no answer for Harden in Game 1, as he dropped 36 points on a ridiculously efficient 60% shooting from the field. The exciting news from a fantasy perspective was that his five assists and two rebounds were both well short of his averages from the regular season and thus far in the postseason. If he can produce a more well-rounded effort, he may eclipse the 49.9 FanDuel points he had on Friday as one of the top studs on the slate.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ($4,000): On a slate without much low-salary value, Caldwell-Pope is one of the highest-upside targets in this range because of his role with the Lakers. KCP has showcased his ceiling with 37.4 FanDuel points against the Houston Rockets in January, and he did so more recently with 28.5 FanDuel points in the Lakers' Game 5 closeout win over the Portland Trail Blazers two games ago. Caldwell-Pope relies on scoring for much of his fantasy production, so drafting him on Sunday is not a cash or single-entry lock, but his role as a starter playing sizable minutes for LA will always present interesting upside at this salary figure.
LeBron James ($10,500): LeBron's production in the playoffs has been outstanding thus far -- as usual -- as he's averaging 1.59 FanDuel points per minute in the postseason. That rate includes an admittedly dismal fourth quarter on Friday, when LeBron was held scoreless, and that led to an ugly Game 1 loss for Los Angeles. Still, as the fourth-highest salaried player on the slate, James is good value against a Rockets team that plays fast, which prompted them to give up the seventh-most FanDuel points per game to opposing small forwards. Even with multiple blowouts this postseason, James is still averaging a significant 33.5 minutes in the playoffs and is seeing his usual high usage (29.2%).
Eric Gordon ($5,600): One of the stars of the show in Houston's Game 1 win was Gordon, who dropped in 23 points. Gordon is the clear third option for the Rockets, behind Harden and Westbrook, and is seeing a 25.6% usage this postseason. The next highest starter for Houston has a usage rate of 13.5% these playoffs, and Gordon is far more affordable than his other Houston playmakers. Gordon's floor is what makes him one of the best cash plays on the slate. He has exceeded 27 FanDuel points in each of the last eight games, and this salary would lead him to hitting necessary value if he can do it again.
Other Notable Picks: Jae Crowder ($5,100)
Anthony Davis ($11,400): Even with a slow start in Game 1, Davis has continued to demolish the Rockets' "small-ball" lineup this season. His averages in three games versus Houston this season are up to 25.3 points and 13.0 rebounds per game. JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard badly struggled when switched onto Harden, which allowed Harden to score efficiently, and less of the Lakers' other bigs on the floor led to more rebounds for Davis. AD saw an additional 1.34 rebounds per 36 minutes with no center on the floor this season. Davis has an incredibly desirable 28.1% usage rate this postseason, as well, which makes him one of the most well-rounded studs on the slate.
Robert Covington ($7,000): RoCo has come alive with Russell Westbrook back in the lineup. Since Westbrook returned in Game 5 against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Covington has averaged 43.4 FanDuel points per game, compared to averaging 22.0 FanDuel points per game in the postseason before that. That correlation is certainly interesting, but Covington is a low-usage player (13.5%) who requires others to create shots for him, and Westbrook can do that through explosive drives to the basket. Covington has been seeing heavy minutes, playing at least 38 minutes in each of his last three games.
Other Notable Picks: Bam Adebayo ($8,200)
Brook Lopez ($5,800): As the Heat continue their strategy of "Anyone but Antetokounmpo," which has netted them a 3-0 series lead, Lopez has had a tremendous series, usually seeing a smaller defender given that Miami center Bam Adebayo is the primary defender on Giannis. Lopez is averaging 32.6 FanDuel points per game across 32.3 minutes per game in this series so far. Lopez's reliability and role makes him the standout center option on the slate, but if there is a reason to fade him in tournaments, it is that his 16.9% usage rate means that if his shot is not falling, he does not have as clear of a path to points.
Other Notable Picks: P.J. Tucker ($5,300)
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.