FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Friday 2/26/21
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 and COVID-19 situations. Our projections update up until tip-off to reflect current news and we also have player news updates.
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.
LeBron James ($10,500) - I always like to start by looking at the slate from a positional scarcity standpoint, and that's why I'm starting with small forward and LeBron James. James' projection of 53.3 FanDuel points gives him a 7.7-point edge over the third-ranked small forward tonight, which is the the second-largest gap on the slate across all positions. With Jimmy Butler ($9,200) up against the Utah Jazz with the lowest implied total of the night, it's more about just James and Kawhi Leonard ($9,700). James is facing the Portland Trail Blazers, who rank as the second-best adjusted defense against small forwards, but James is more of a point guard and ranks fifth in touches per game. Portland is only 29th in adjusted defensive rating overall, and without Anthony Davis on the court, James has a 33.7% usage rate and a per-minute average of 1.38 FanDuel points, via RotoGrinders' CourtIQ tool.
Saddiq Bey ($5,100) - Bey is questionable here, so we have to keep an eye on that situation, but if he plays, he's a nice baseline value. Bey has been hovering around the 30-minute mark for the past few games and would face the Sacramento Kings if he suits up. The Kings are just 23rd in adjusted FanDuel points allowed to opposing small forwards, and they are dead last in adjusted defensive rating, as well. numberFire projects him for 25.5 FanDuel points, which is 4.99 per $1,000 in salary, a nice benchmark number.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ($8,000) - Gilgeous-Alexander should see plenty of opportunities tonight. The Oklahoma City Thunder have a long injury list that includes George Hill, Al Horford, and Hamidou Diallo. Without those three on the floor, SGA boasts a team-high 27.1% usage rate and averages 1.15 FanDuel points per minute. His full-season rates are actually 27.6% and 1.19, respectively, so it's not exactly a huge shift. However, The Atlanta Hawks are 21st in adjusted FanDuel points allowed to opposing shooting guards and 18th in adjusted defensive rating, so the matchup isn't imposing. Gilgeous-Alexander is projected for nearly 35.0 minutes at a reasonable salary in a good matchup.
Talen Horton-Tucker ($3,900) and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ($3,700) - Horton-Tucker and Caldwell-Pope are some punt-level options at the position. Their splits without Davis on the floor favor Horton-Tucker (20.8% usage rate and 0.88 FanDuel points per minute) over Caldwell-Pope (14.1% and 0.53). Horton-Tucker rates as numberFire's top value projection (5.49 FanDuel points per $1,000 in salary) at the position. He's the clear preference over KCP.
Isaiah Roby ($4,600) - Yes, Domantas Sabonis ($9,900) and Jayson Tatum ($9,400) should have high floors in a matchup with one another, but we don't have to break the bank at power forward necessarily. Roby is the second-best projected value at the position with plenty of room between the third-ranked power forward. Roby carries a 17.0% usage rate with an average of 0.92 FanDuel points per minute without those three relevant Thunder players on the floor over a 106.8-minute sample this season. Further, in games without Horford, Roby averages 23.6 minutes per game, starting in all 10.
Jerami Grant ($7,600) - Grant doesn't have a star-level salary but does have three games with at least 50.0 FanDuel points this season. The Kings and Detroit Pistons game brings with it a 226.0-point over/under, which won't drop our jaws (though it is tied for the second-highest total of the night). Further, the spread is just a single point. Sacramento ranks just 26th against opposing power forwards, as well.
De'Aaron Fox ($7,800) - Fox could be lumped in with a good mid-tier at point guard -- along with (specifically) LaMelo Ball ($7,600) and Chris Paul ($7,500). Though Fox is actually the worst in per-minute producer of the three (1.16 with Ball at 1.21 and Paul at 1.17), he is in that Pistons/Kings game that is projected to be tight. numberFire projects Fox to be the fourth-best value at the position, and his ceiling value is best at the position overall.
Stephen Curry ($10,000) - Curry, Damian Lillard ($10,300), and Trae Young ($9,600) headline the position, and with the deep second range discussed above, it's hard to get excited about the value at the position with the ceiling so clearly belonging to the top of the position. Curry's matchup with the Charlotte Hornets gives him the highest implied total of these three studs and the best adjusted matchup for point guards. Not only that, but only one team allows a higher rate of field goal attempts to come from behind the arc than Charlotte. Curry should have no issue getting up his shots.
Others to Consider: Damian Lillard ($10,300), LaMelo Ball ($7,600), Chris Paul ($7,600), Theo Maledon ($4,500)
Clint Capela ($8,200) - I mentioned in the James blurb that he had the second-best gap over the third-ranked player at his position on the night. Capela has the best, though it's only 8.23 points and he's only one of two centers with a salary of at least $8,000. The Thunder rank only 26th in rebounding rate and will be without Horford. Capela's value rating of 5.28 is fourth-best at the position despite leading it in salary.