FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Tuesday 12/29/20

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 take a look at who you should target on tonight's 10-game slate, which locks at 7:00 PM Eastern Time.

Point Guard

The most expensive point guard on the slate is Russell Westbrook ($10,600), who will cost you $1,200 more than anyone else at the position. Russ has totaled 50.7 and 52 FanDuel points through two games, but he'd need 53 to achieve 5X value tonight (or 5.0 fantasy points for every $1,000 in salary) -- our model has him projected for just 41.3.

numberFire's algorithm is only a fan of one of the many point guards in the mid-range, and that's Kyle Lowry ($7,500). Lowry has yet to surpass 35 FanDuel points through two contests, and he would need 37.5 for 5X, and our projections have him posting 41.2. The 34-year-old is far from a lock, though, as the Philadelphia 76ers rank as the sixth-toughest adjusted matchup for point guards, per Brandon Gdula. For more than $1K less, you can roster Jrue Holiday ($6,400), who would need just 32 to record 5X at his salary.

Speaking of matchups, both Coby White ($5,900) and Elfrid Payton ($4,800) should be worth long looks due to their respective matchups. White will be facing a Washington Wizards team that ranks second-worst in adjusted fantasy points allowed to the position. The 20-year-old is fresh off a 32.9-point performance and would need just 29.5 for 5X. Meanwhile, Payton faced a Cleveland Cavaliers team that ranks dead last against the position. He'll also benefit from the fact that the New York Knicks have a list the size of a CVS receipt of players who may be inactive tonight. Payton amassed 41.1 FanDuel points on Sunday and would need a mere 24 to reach 5X tonight.

With a Karl-Anthony Towns and Josh Okogie likely out for the Minnesota Timberwolves tonight, some of that usage is bound to trickle down to Ricky Rubio ($5,100), who is our model's top-projected value at the position. It's worth noting that Rubio has topped out at 24.8 FanDuel points through three games and would need 25.5 to achieve 5X at his salary.

Shooting Guard

Bradley Beal ($9,600) is the only shooting guard with a salary above $7.6K, and our models don't believe he'll be a good bang for your buck. Instead, numberFire's algorithm prefers you pony up for Paul George ($7,600). PG13 racked up 42.7 and 39.5 FanDuel points in his first two outings this season before posting a clunker in a game in which the Los Angeles Clippers were down 50 at halftime. Yeah...that's not a typo. numberFire's models have George garnering 44.7 fantasy points, making him the second-best value at the position. Within that salary range, Khris Middleton ($7,800) is worth a look. Khash is averaging 45.1 FanDuel points through three games and would need just 39 to reach 5X at his salary.

Our model's top-projected value is Eric Bledsoe ($4,800). Bled has cooled down since recording 31.4 FanDuel points in the season-opener, but a salary under $5K just doesn't seem right. Bledsoe is averaging 32 minutes per game this season, and that should play well against a Phoenix Suns defense that ranks eighth-worst against shooting guards. In that same salary range, Buddy Hield ($5,400) seems like a smart play. Hield has yet to see fewer than 33.9 minutes in a game this season, and he'd only need 27 FanDuel points for 5X.

Delon Wright ($4,200) has posted 34.2 and 34.0 FanDuel points in his last two outings, with the latter coming in just 21.8 minutes of action. numberFire projects him to amass 23.5 tonight, eclipsing 5X with ease. Wright's teammate, Derrick Rose ($5,500), is another option to consider. Rose is projected to be the third-best value at the position by our models.

Small Forward

With Jimmy Butler doubtful for tonight's game, numberFire's models project Tyler Herro ($4,500) to be the third-best value on the entire slate. Herro's gotten off to an underwhelming start this season, but with Butler out, he should be able to produce against a Milwaukee Bucks team against whom he exceeded 25 FanDuel points in three of their five postseason matchups. With Butler and Jae Crowder off the court last season, Herro saw a usage bump of 2.9%, according to RotoGrinders.

However, with Kevin Love, Isaac Okoro, and Kevin Porter Jr. all out for the Cavs tonight, I'd prioritize rostering Larry Nance Jr. ($5,500). After totaling 53.6 FanDuel points in the opener, Nance has now eclipsed 43 fantasy points in three of his eight games without Love on the court since the start of last season.

With KAT and Okogie likely out for the Wolves, 2020 first overall pick Anthony Edwards ($4,900) becomes very much in play. Edwards has posted 24.8, 26.7, and 24.8 FanDuel points through three games, all of which would have been good enough to surpass 5X value at tonight's salary -- and he should have even higher upside in this matchup. For $500 cheaper, his teammate Jarrett Culver ($4,400) is also worthy of consideration.

While numberFire's algorithm doesn't have any of the three players with salaries of $8K or higher even reaching 4.6X, it does favor two players in the mid-range -- Tobias Harris ($6,400) and T.J. Warren ($5,100). Harris has posted 32.0 and 40.3 in his last two, and he'd need exactly 32.0 for 5X tonight. Meanwhile, Warren's stepped his game up since his 7.7-point dud in the opener, recording 34.7 and 25.5 in his last two. His upside is worth chasing.

Power Forward

Of all the players with salaries above $9.4K, numberFire's models see Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,000) as the best value, by far. Giannis would need 55 points to reach 5X tonight, and that's a number he surpassed in two of his seven healthy games against Miami last year. In total, he exceeded 50 FanDuel points in five of those seven, and Butler's absence certainly doesn't hurt his outlook. Our models have Giannis projected for 58.0 FanDuel points tonight, 9.5 more than any other player on the slate.

Thaddeus Young ($3,800) is our model's top-projected value in what is likely to be his season debut. Young would need just 19.0 FanDuel points to achieve 5X, and that's a number he outpaced with ease quite often last season. With KAT out, Naz Reid ($4,500) has to be at the forefront of our minds. Reid posted 28.0 fantasy points in 27.8 minutes without KAT in the lineup on Sunday.

In the mid-range, Julius Randle ($7,700) is quite enticing. Randle accrued 57.3 FanDuel points on Sunday after totaling 36.3 and 36.9 in his first two outings of the season. Our model projects Randle for 38.2 tonight.


The center position seems to be quite loaded tonight. On the value side, numberFire's projections have Thomas Bryant ($5,200) as the best value on the entire slate. Bryant has put up 26.5 and 36.9 FanDuel points in his last two, and he's facing a Chicago Bulls defense that ranks second-worst against opposing centers. In that same range, Mitchell Robinson ($4,900) projects to be an excellent value as well. Robinson has amassed 30.8 and 25.7 in his last two, and he'd need just 24.5 for 5X at his salary.

There's no shortage of options if you'd like to pay up at center. Our model has Nikola Jokic ($10,300) returning under 4.5X value, so there's no need to splurge for the Serbian. Instead, you can look towards any of Joel Embiid ($9,600), Andre Drummond ($9,400), and Bam Adebayo ($8,200). Embiid has posted 48.8 and 47.0 in his first two games, and he'll be facing a Toronto Raptors team that doesn't have Serge Ibaka or Marc Gasol this season. Drummond has exploded for 66.7 and 59.3 in his last two, so there's no doubting his upside. Bam exceeded 41 FanDuel points in 8 of his 13 games without Butler in the lineup last season, though his upside is considerably lower than both Embiid and Drummond.