FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Wednesday 1/6/21
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 11-game slate, which locks at 7:00 PM Eastern Time.
It's a loaded slate, so there should be no shortage of options at every salary range. On the more expensive end of the point guard position, our model sees potential value in Trae Young ($9,400), Ben Simmons ($8,700), and Kyle Lowry ($7,500). Young has eclipsed 48 FanDuel points in four of his seven outings this season, and he would need 47 to achieve 5X value tonight (or 5.0 fantasy points for every $1,000 in salary). It doesn't hurt that the Atlanta Hawks have the second-highest implied total on the slate and that their opponent, the Charlotte Hornets, surrender the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing point guards, according to FantasyPros. Meanwhile, Simmons has an even better matchup against a Washington Wizards team that's the fourth-most generous to the position. Our model has him projected for 44 FanDuel points tonight. As for Lowry, despite our model's lofty projection of 39.3, he has only surpassed 36.5 on one occasion this season. He would need 37.5 for 5X.
There are two players in that range that I'd prioritize getting into some lineups and those are Malcolm Brogdon ($8,200) and De'Aaron Fox ($7,800). Brogdon has averaged 41.3 minutes of action in the three games since T.J. Warren went down, and he's recorded 52.1 and 57.9 FanDuel points in his last two. He'll be facing a Houston Rockets defense that's ceding the ninth-most FanDuel points to the point. Fox gets the best matchup on the slate -- the Chicago Bulls. To date, Chicago has surrendered the most fantasy points to the position. The 23-year-old would need just 39 FanDuel points for 5X, and he's posted more than 40 in five of his seven contests.
Now, let's get on to the mid- and value-range options, starting with Markelle Fultz ($5,800). Evan Fournier was already in doubt with a bad back, but Michael Carter-Williams will be inactive due to a foot injury. That opens up a potentially higher-volume role for Fultz. The former first-overall pick would need 29 FanDuel points to accrue 5X, and he's reached or topped that number in four of his seven games this season. numberFire's algorithm also likes Lou Williams ($4,000). Lou has underwhelmed to start the season, but in this one, he'd need only 20 to return proper value -- he's had 22 or more in three of his last five. Finally, given Chicago's laundry list of potential inactives, Coby White ($6,200) remains a stellar play. White needs 31 for 5X, and he's reached or exceeded that in five of his last six.
Another day, another slate we get to choose between James Harden ($11,200) and the Greek Freak. In the two games that he and John Wall have shared the court, Harden has posted 52.2 and 43.6 FanDuel points -- not exactly anything to write home about. Still, that sample size isn't anything to focus on. The matchup with the Indiana Pacers, however, does deserve our attention. According to Brandon Gdula's matchup sheet, Indiana ranks as the fifth-toughest matchup for points guards and second-toughest for shooting guards. Not great, Bob! Harden is hardly one to shy away from in tough matchups, but given that he needs 56 FanDuel points just to return 5X, it is something to consider.
Speaking of matchups, not many get a better draw than Buddy Hield ($5,200). Hield will face a Bulls team that's surrendering the third-most FanDuel points to the shooting guard position. The issue is that Hield just hasn't been a good fantasy option this season. He's topped 26 (what he needs for 5X) in just three of his seven games, and he has yet to drop more than 31.1. Nevertheless, numberFire's models project him to be the best value at the position. Right behind Hield in our model's top-projected values are Eric Bledsoe ($5,300) and Derrick Rose ($6,000). Bled has put up 25.1, 46.0, and 28.7 fantasy points over his last three, and he'd need to reach 26.5 for 5X -- definitely doable. Meanwhile, Rose has recorded at least 31 in four of his six games, and he needs just 30 for 5X. The absence of Killian Hayes certainly does not hurt his outlook.
If you want a stud but you don't want to pay up for Harden, you need not worry. If Paul George ($9,000) is active, our model projects him to rack up 44.2 FanDuel points. PG13 faces a Golden State Warriors team that ranks dead last against the position, per Gdula. He'll be close to a must-start if Kawhi were to sit (which seems likely). You can also look towards Collin Sexton ($7,100), seeing as though the Cavs will be without Darius Garland and Dante Exum.
Kawhi Leonard ($9,600) has never played in both legs of a back-to-back as a member of the Los Angeles Clippers, so he's unlikely to be available tonight. Jayson Tatum ($9,400) is the only other player at the position with a salary over $8.8K. The Miami Heat have yielded the ninth-fewest points to opposing small forwards, though Tatum did manage to eclipse 50 in five of their six postseason matchups last season. numberFire's model doesn't have him -- or any small forward with a salary above $6.5K -- achieving 5X value.
Instead, our models like Otto Porter ($5,600) to once again be one of the best values on the slate. Porter piled up 36.1 FanDuel points last night, and he's now topped 30 in three of his last four -- he only needs 28 for 5X at tonight's salary. The Utah Jazz cede the fifth-most fantasy points to the opposition's small forwards, which brings RJ Barrett ($6,500) firmly into play. With Alec Burks, Obi Toppin, Dennis Smith, and Frank Ntilikina all still out for the New York Knicks, Barrett should continue to handle a larger role. Barrett would need 32.5 for 5X, and he's trumped that in four of his seven games this season, including two straight.
If you're looking for a relatively safe, salary-saving option, look no further than Justin Holiday ($4,000). Holiday has totaled at least 21.3 in four of his last five, and he'd need 20 FanDuel points to accrue 5X value. While he's nowhere near as cheap, Kelly Oubre ($5,300) also looks like a value play. Oubre has recorded at least 30 fantasy points in four of his last five, and he'd need 26.5 for 5X -- our model projects him to post 27.1.
Once again, Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,400) is in a tier by himself at power forward. The two-time MVP comes in $2,300 more than any player at the position, and he's projected to score 10.6 more FanDuel points than any other power forward. Giannis would need an absurd 57 fantasy points just to return 5X, but he has exploded for 64.6, 65.4, and 59.8 FanDuel points in his last three outings. Fade him at your own risk.
One (or both) of Paul George and Kawhi Leonard is likely to be out tonight (probably Kawhi), which brings us to both Serge Ibaka ($5,000) and Nicolas Batum ($4,400). Ibaka would need 25 to attain 5X value, which is a number he hasn't reached in any of his last three. That said, our models have him projected for 28.9, making him the best value at power forward. I'd argue that Batum gives you a much better bang for your buck. The veteran would need only 22 for 5X, and he's eclipsed that in five of his eight efforts this season -- including in each game that either Kawhi or George weren't able to suit up.
Against Charlotte, numberFire's models are big fans of John Collins ($6,800). On the season, the Hornets ceded 4.2 more fantasy points per game to power forwards than any other team in the league. At his salary, Collins would need 34 FanDuel points to return 5X, and he's exceeded that in three of his last four. If you need another salary-saving option to get up to Giannis, our model projects Jae Crowder ($4,400) to be the second-best value at the position. Crowder's quite volatile -- he's totaled fewer than 13 in three of his last five, but he has also exceeded 27 in three of his last six games.
Our model projects Joel Embiid ($9,900) to be the third-highest scorer on tonight's slate, so if you can afford him, go for it. Embiid faces a Wizards defense that's allowed the third-most fantasy points to centers and that ranks second-worst against the position, per Gdula.
However, if you want to pay up for other stars, our model's top-two projected values on the entire slate -- Ivica Zubac ($3,900) and Wendell Carter Jr. ($4,900) -- happen to be listed as centers. Zubac only needs 19.5 to achieve 5X tonight, though it's worth noting that he has failed to reach that number in five of his eight games. That said, numberFire's algorithm has him projected for 27 FanDuel points tonight. Meanwhile, WCJ needs 24.5 for 5X, and he's either equaled or surpassed that in five of his last six games. Carter Jr. gets a pristine matchup against a Kings team that's allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to centers this season.
If you have the salary to afford someone in the middle, Clint Capela ($6,500) is worthy of consideration. Capela's our model's third-best projected value at the five, as he's projected to record 36.6 FanDuel points against a Charlotte team that's allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to centers.