FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Saturday 3/13/21
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 break down today's main slate on FanDuel:
Relatively speaking, given the mess that NBA daily fantasy has been coming out of the All-Star break, the news is fairly quiet entering Saturday. The focus of the slate's potential value once again revolves around the Toronto Raptors, who will be without Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, and others once again due to COVID-19 protocols. That will open up huge minutes for Toronto's other rotational players.
Toronto, though, is not the only team slightly shorthanded due to COVID-19 protocols. The Detroit Pistons will be without starting (I suppose?) point guard Dennis Smith, and the Sacramento Kings will once again be missing Hassan Whiteside. The Washington Wizards are the only team on the second leg of a back-to-back, which does make the status of Russell Westbrook worth some attention.
Chris Paul ($7,100): The salary on the reliable veteran is a curious one in this spot, as the Phoenix Suns' point guard has gone for at least 40 FanDuel points three times in his last seven games. As is going to be the case when sharing the court with Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton, Paul's floor may not be there on a nightly basis, but CP3 is still fairly consistent and has eclipsed 30 FanDuel points in five of his last seven. The Indiana Pacers are a middle-of-the-road matchup for floor generals, but their pace still represents a speeding up for Phoenix, who plays at the second-slowest pace in the league. With a lot of stars in more difficult matchups, Paul is a reliable mid-range cog.
Jrue Holiday ($6,100): Long injury layoffs can create inefficiencies from time to time, but the Milwaukee Bucks' point guard is in a dream fantasy matchup against the Wiz and is at a salary that is easy to love. Given that he entered the starting lineup on Thursday against the New York Knicks, Holiday should be fully good to go. His 25 minutes in that contest was more indicative of the margin of victory than his personal health. Before his COVID-19 battle, when he was playing his full minutes, Holiday exceeded 30 FanDuel points in seven straight games, and he broke 40 FanDuel points in four of those seven. Needless to say, his floor/ceiling combination is too good for this salary.
Anthony Edwards ($6,500): With D'Angelo Russell still nursing his knee injury and Malik Beasley suspended, Edwards is the primary perimeter option for the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves. In fact, Edwards leads all Minnesota starters with a 31.9% usage rate since losing Beasley -- even above Karl-Anthony Towns -- and is second to only Towns in FanDuel points per minute (1.05). It will not be pretty in many spots, as Edwards has been incredibly inefficient (37.2% shooting in the last full month in February), but right now, it is all volume for a team that needs shot creation on offense. Edwards' role has meant a solid floor, as well, as he has scored more than 35 FanDuel points in four of his last five games.
Gary Trent Jr. ($4,900): Buying low on cold shooting is always an interesting strategy in NBA DFS, and few elite shooters are colder than Trent is right now. Trent is still averaging 34.5 minutes per game in March, so his role replacing the sidelined C.J. McCollum has not changed, but his shooting certainly has. Trent shot 40% or better from three-point land in each of the first three months of the year, bu het is down to a frigid 29.6% from deep in March. Trent is not exactly a highly-productive player as is, as he is just averaging 0.74 FanDuel points per minute since replacing McCollum, but seeing such heavy minutes at this low of a salary means that when his scoring touch returns, he should cruise to value.
Norman Powell ($7,600): Only the world of health and safety protocols could lead to not only the salary of Powell being $7,600 but also the staunch possibility he is worth it. Powell leads all Raptors with a 27.0% usage over the past two weeks as they have navigated their absences, and he has made it count at 1.17 FanDuel points per minute. Powell has scored at least 25 real-world points in all three games in March as the primary option, and what is incredibly positive and an indicator of continued success is that the scoring has come on tremendous 56.1% shooting. Only three Toronto players scored more than 11 points on Thursday, which makes this offense simple to force rank. Powell is the clear "A" option when doing so.
Dorian Finney-Smith ($4,100): There are not many injuries on this slate as a whole, which means the best sources of value can come from our usual high-minute, low-production budget options like Finney-Smith. Finney-Smith's issue in tournaments is not his floor, as he has he has scored more than 20 FanDuel points in 5 of his past 12 games, but it is his perceived lack of a ceiling with just a 0.60 FanDuel points per minute rate and 9.8% usage in the past month. Still, the potential is in there, as five games ago, Finney-Smith went off for 35.6 FanDuel points against the Brooklyn Nets. Another soft matchup against the Denver Nuggets may help him realize that again, as Denver has given up the seventh-most FanDuel points per game to opposing small forwards.
Jerami Grant ($7,400): The Detroit Pistons are awful at 10-27, but the lone bright spot of their season has been Jerami Grant. At a 27.4% usage and 1.07 FanDuel points per minute for the entire season -- on an incredibly inefficient offense no less -- Grant has been far and away the most reliable member of the Pistons for fantasy purposes. Targeting Detroit players will be crucial against the high-pace, low-defense Nets on Saturday. But Detroit's rotation is a mess, as Grant was the only player to surpass 30 minutes played on Thursday versus Charlotte. The Nets are 11.5-point favorites, which makes allocating heavy salary to this game a little riskier than normal, but Grant absolutely has the role to still deliver enough worthwhile production in three quarters against a bad defense if he has to.
Chris Boucher ($6,700): The Raptors right now are a three-headed monster with Boucher, Powell, and Kyle Lowry, as all three are averaging at least 1.17 FanDuel points per minute over the past two weeks. While Boucher's role has been unstable, it seems to have solidified temporarily as Toronto tries to replace Pascal Siakam, as Boucher has played at least 24 minutes in each of the past four games. Boucher's 1.22 FanDuel points per minute are tops on the entire team, so it is never a question of production for the young forward. Minutes are the issue, but the absence of Siakam has allowed Boucher to get good run.
Richaun Holmes ($6,700): One of the hardest things to do in the entire NBA the past few years has been to lock down a normal rotation spot as a Sacramento Kings player, and Holmes deserves a tip of the hat for doing so. Holmes is Sacramento's indisputable starting center, and his role is in no doubt with Hassan Whiteside still on the shelf. He has really started to gain some momentum in March, as on the Kings, he trails only De'Aaron Fox in FanDuel points per minute (1.14) and leads all Kings players with an impressive 12.44 rebounds per 36 minutes this month. With at least 12 points and 8 rebounds in each of the last five games, Holmes is a persistent double-double threat and has the slight edge in a loaded mid-range tier at the center position for Saturday.
Austin Swaim is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Austin Swaim also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username ASwaim3. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.