FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Friday 1/1/21

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.

Point Guard

Trae Young ($9,700) - Young and Kyrie Irving ($9,300) face off for the second time in three days. Young went 8 for 18 from the field (0 for 4 from beyond the arc) in 32 minutes in that high-scoring game, ultimately pouring in 30 points and 48.7 FanDuel points. Young is yet to fall shy of 29 actual points or 38.6 FanDuel points in any of his four games this season, and that's with zero steals and blocks combined thus far. Young has gotten to the free throw line a minimum of 14 times in every game, giving him a floor to points and a ceiling if the three-pointer is falling. He and Kyrie stacked together -- plus value at other positions -- is appealing.

Ricky Rubio ($6,300) - The Minnesota Timberwolves are 2-2 but have gotten trounced by both Los Angeles teams the past two games by a combined 59 points. Karl-Anthony Towns is out, and that should lead to bigger usage for Rubio against the 0-5 Washington Wizards. Without KAT on the court this season, Rubio's usage rate is just 16.4%, but he's putting forth 0.90 FanDuel points per minute. The Wizards are just 26th in estimated defensive rating to start the season, as well.

Others to Consider: Kyrie Irving ($9,300), Jamal Murray ($6,800), Tyus Jones ($3,800), Ish Smith ($3,800)

Shooting Guard

Bradley Beal ($9,500) - We project Beal for 1.19 FanDuel points per minute (48.0 FanDuel points over 37.8 minutes). Without Russell Westbrook on Sunday, Beal played 39.1 minutes and took a season-high 22 shot attempts. In 70 minutes without Westbrook, Beal has an elite 36.4% usage rate. The Timberwolves' defense has been getting shredded, and since the start of last season, they're 28th in opponent-adjusted FanDuel points per minute allowed to opposing shooting guards.

D'Angelo Russell ($7,500) - Similar to Beal, Russell gets a more secure role without a star teammate tonight. Russell, without Towns on the court over 86 minutes, has a 29.8% usage rate albeit with not great efficiency (0.83 FanDuel points per minute). The Wizards are generous to wings and guards, so we could see some back-and-forth between Beal and Russell.

Others to Consider: Paul George ($7,800), Devonte' Graham ($6,100), Delon Wright ($4,400), Desmond Bane ($3,700)

Small Forward

LeBron James ($10,400) - James is listed as questionable but has been playing through his ankle injury. He is projected for 55.6 FanDuel points, and we do have some other stud small forwards on the slate, but James' per-minute projection is pretty off the charts (1.76 FanDuel points). The San Antonio Spurs are gettable by opposing small forwards and point guards, as well, so everything points to James so long as he's a full go.

Josh Jackson ($4,800) - Jackson's minutes have been pretty steady with at least 28 in three of four games. In those games with big minutes, he has 14, 19, and 14 shot attempts with at least 30.2 FanDuel points in each. That implies a salary closer to $6,000. The overall matchup with the Boston Celtics is a tough one generally, but they are off to a slow start defensively, ranking 20th in estimated defensive rating. Jackson is projected for 30.6 minutes and 29.7 FanDuel points.

Others to Consider: Kevin Durant ($9,400), Jaylen Brown ($7,900), Joe Harris ($4,500), Jarrett Culver ($4,300)

Power Forward

John Collins ($7,000) - Collins is part of the on-paper game of the night. The over/under between the Brooklyn Nets and Atlanta Hawks is 245.5, and two days ago, they totaled 286 points in a 145-141 loss for Collins and the Hawks. Collins played 31 minutes in that game and doubled his prior high in shot attempts with 20 total field goal attempts, leading to a 30-point, 10-rebound double-double. We project Collins for the best value rating among all power forwards.

Naz Reid ($4,700) - Reid has been productive on a per-minute basis this season, generating 24.5, 15.4, 28.0, and 16.1 FanDuel points in 18, 18, 28, and 20 minutes. That's 1.01 FanDuel points per minute. numberFire's projections up that mark to 1.11 FanDuel points per minute against the weak defense of the Wizards, who are bottom-half in opponent adjusted FanDuel points per minute allowed to power forwards and centers.

Others to Consider: Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,400), Anthony Davis ($10,500), Bojan Bogdanovic ($5,200), Brandon Clarke ($4,800)


Thomas Bryant ($5,800) - Bryant really can open things up and allow us to roster some studs I glossed over here -- Giannis, Durant, Luka Doncic ($11,300). Bryant is the second-best projected player relative to his salary's expectation in my model, and he's actually numberFire's third-best center projection despite the middling salary. Bryant -- in just 52 minutes without Westbrook -- has a 21.3% usage rate and a per-minute average of 0.96 FanDuel points. We're projecting him for 1.20 tonight against the Timberwolves.

Others to Consider: Nikola Jokic ($10,200), Jusuf Nurkic ($7,000), Jarrett Allen ($5,600)