FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Monday 9/7/20
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 only one top-10 team in offensive seconds per play since the restart (among 22 teams that played) on this slate, the Toronto Raptors, who battled back to a 2-2 series after dropping the first two games. Nikola Jokic ($9,400) is listed as questionable due to a right wrist sprain.
Kemba Walker ($8,300): Walker is one of three point guards with a salary of at least $8,300 -- Jamal Murray ($8,500) and Kyle Lowry ($9,500) being the others. Lowry is easy to love because he has averaged 41.3 minutes per game through four games of the Raptors' series against the Boston Celtics. Walker, by contrast, has averaged 37.5. Murray is at 36.7 through two games in the Denver Nuggets' series against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Lowry has put up 1.12 FanDuel points per minute in the series (compared to 0.94 for Walker) but comes at a tougher price. All three are strong plays relative to the rest of the position -- excluding one potential pivot. Walker, for the salary and matchup combination, is my preferred option. Murray had a 28.0% usage rate with Jokic off the court in the regular season, so we need to monitor that situation closely.
Lou Williams ($5,100) - Walker, Murray, and Lowry should command a lot of attention -- for good reason -- but Williams could be a bounceback candidate for the Clippers. Williams has played 23 and 29 minutes in the two games in the series so far with 18.8 and 33.3 FanDuel points -- albeit the bigger performance came with 7 assists, 1 block, and 1 steal. Still, he took 25 shots in the series so far and is 0 for 8 on three-point attempts (and has missed 13 straight over his past four games). With a 36-point game to his name just prior to that, Williams offers blow-up potential on a two-game slate.
Other Notable Picks: Jamal Murray, Kyle Lowry
Paul George ($7,800) - George has now played 33 and 41 minutes through two games against the Nuggets and has averaged 20.5 points, 7.5 boards, and 3.5 assists for 39.3 FanDuel points per game in the series. He's letting it fly from deep with 17 three-point attempts total through two games and boasts a 25.7% usage rate (compared to Kawhi Leonard's 27.0% mark) in the series. There's a real positional drop off after George and Fred VanVleet ($7,900) in terms of high-end range of outcomes.
Marcus Smart ($5,700) - That isn't to say that George and VanVleet are the only viable shooting guard plays, though. Smart has averaged 36.9 minutes in the series against Toronto, and he's played at least 36 minutes in three straight. In each of the four games in the series, Smart has at least 26.0 FanDuel points by virtue of being busy in the defensive stats. He's only twice surpassed 50 FanDuel points on the season, so the ceiling is a bit capped, but he's a floor play who lets you spend up elsewhere. Also, shooting guard? Sort of comes down to George, VanVleet, and Smart.
Other Notable Picks: Fred VanVleet
Kawhi Leonard ($10,600) - Small forward is rather deep for a two-game slate, but Leonard -- at the highest salary on the board -- really does stand out. Here's why. In Game 1, Kawhi put up 42.9 FanDuel points -- not great for his salary. But he did it in 32 minutes in a blowout win. He shot 12 of 16 from the field, good for a 78.1% effective field goal percentage. In Game 2, he played 38 minutes but shot 4 of 17 for an effective field goal percentage of just 23.5%. In Game 2, Leonard was just 3 for 10 with Jerami Grant defending him but was 4 of 5 against Grant in Game 1. Any hint that we get that other players are worried about drafting Kawhi should make us giddy to go after the player with the slate's highest ceiling.
OG Anunoby ($6,000) - Game 3's hero was rewarded with 35 minutes in Game 4 (actually fewer than he played in Game 3), and he's been an efficient shooter on limited attempts. Anunoby also has averaged 2.5 combined steals and blocks so far in the series (that's 7.5 FanDuel points from defensive actions alone). Anunoby has averaged 29.5 total FanDuel points in this series, right around where his salary implies he should be. Any time we can flirt with 40 minutes for a salary of $6,000, we should be open to it.
Jayson Tatum ($9,400) - Similar to Leonard, Tatum is at a deep position (with five options) but is the most realistic shot for an eruption game among the position, even more than Leonard (who has Siakam nearby). Tatum is the only power forward on the slate to average at least 30 minutes per game in his respective series, and he's at 40.3 through four games. He has 11 straight games with at least 33 FanDuel points and put up 51.6 in Game 2's win. The shots are there (18, 17, 18, 18), and he's been above a 55.6% effective field goal percentage in three of four games in the series.
Paul Millsap ($4,900) - The salaries at power forward drop off pretty quickly after Tatum, so Millsap isn't a huge value from the rest of the power forward pool, but he should get minutes in Game 3. A starter, Millsap was part of a +12 plus/minus spurt to start Game 2 and has a passable 19.8% usage rate for the salary. He's now averaged 1.02 FanDuel points per minute in the series, a stellar rate for a player at a reasonable salary and with a starting role that allowed him to close out Game 2.
Nikola Jokic ($9,400) - Jokic is the only center projected for at least 25 minutes, and he's up near 38 in our projections. He's a priority play after a 26-point, 18-rebound showing in Game 2. Not much else needs to be said if he is deemed healthy to play. Mason Plumlee ($3,700) would open up a lot if Jokic were to miss. Plumlee averaged 1.13 FanDuel points per minute over 248 minutes while sharing the floor with Murray sans-Jokic.
Marc Gasol ($4,400) - If you can't afford to roster Jokic, you're going to save a lot of salary cap because it's Montrezl Harrell ($5,200) with the next-highest salary. But of all the other eligible center picks, Gasol has played the most minutes in a series game so far (26), and he actually is the only one to crack 25 (which he's done in three of four games in the series). Only Ivica Zubac ($5,000) has been above 20 (which he's done in both games). That said, Harrell (1.27 FanDuel points per minute) is the most efficient of this group in his series so far, followed closely by Robert Williams ($4,000; 1.22). Zubac (0.92) and Gasol (0.73). Gasol is the best floor play, followed by Zubac.
Other Notable Picks: Ivica Zubac, Robert Williams, Montrezl Harrell