FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Saturday 3/20/21
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:
On a four-game slate, there are not many pending injury notes to hold up early lineup building on Saturday. Joel Embiid is once again out with his knee injury for the Philadelphia 76ers, and he will be joined in missing that contest by teammate Seth Curry, who has an ankle injury. On the other side, the Sacramento Kings will be without Marvin Bagley III, who broke his hand earlier this week.
Stephen Curry will miss Saturday's game after a injuring his tailbone on Wednesday night against the Houston Rockets. James Wiseman also remains out for this contest with the Memphis Grizzlies as he fights to clear COVID-19 protocols.
With no pending news or missing pieces in the San Antonio Spurs-Milwaukee Bucks game, the Charlotte Hornets and Los Angeles Clippers are the final remaining source of news gathering -- and are unfortunately the latest game on the slate. Serge Ibaka is the major pending news of the evening, as he is questionable with a back injury that has kept him out for the last two games. Cody Zeller has already been ruled out by Charlotte with a shoulder injury, and Patrick Beverley will remain out with his knee injury, which has forced him to miss the last three contests.
Jrue Holiday ($6,700): This salary is more appropriate than the sub-$6,000 one that Holiday carried out of the All-Star break, but it's still tough to pass on him since he has surpassed 32 FanDuel points in nine of the last 10 games in which he saw at least 30 minutes. With COVID-19 protocols behind him, Holiday is back in his full role and performing well, but even so, he still has left production on the table. Understandably with the long layoff, Holiday has shot just 42.9% from the field and 25% from three-point range in March, both of which are significantly down from his season-long marks. If Holiday's shot returns, his ceiling could be astronomical.
Jordan Poole ($4,600): Some DFS players who lean heavily into game theory for their tournament strategy do not particularly enjoy NBA, and Jordan Poole might be why. With back-to-back efforts exceeding 30 FanDuel points, Poole will be an incredibly popular pick at just $4,600 starting in the place of Steph Curry on Saturday. Poole also could see run in a blowout, which makes him difficult to fade. numberFire's fairly conservative projection for Poole has him smashing value at a projected 26.9 FanDuel points in 29.1 minutes.
Paul George ($7,600): George did plenty of DFS players dirty on Sunday and Monday's back-to-back, failing to eclipse 15 real-world points in both games, but he responded with a return to form and 28 points against the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday. That is George's daily fantasy outlook at the moment. While he has gone for at least 40 FanDuel points three times in March, he failed to hit 26-plus FanDuel points in the other four contests. George is highly dependent on his shot and his ability to score from outside, as his peripheral rebounding (0.18 rebounds per minute) and assist (0.16 per minute) stats are just not what they used to be when George was not paired with the heavy usage of Kawhi Leonard. It should help that Charlotte has allowed the second-most three-point makes per game this season and has given up the fourth-most FanDuel points per game to opposing shooting guards as a result.
Andrew Wiggins ($5,200): Fighting through plenty of unproductive nights in his first full year with Golden State, Wiggins is now the primary backcourt option for the Warriors with Curry out temporarily and Klay Thompson sidelined for the season. Wiggins did not disappoint Friday night, as he dropped his first 40-point effort of the season with 8 rebounds and 4 assists. The former number-one pick has always had talent, but putting it together consistently as a top option has been a struggle. His salary is far too low for the 28.9% usage and 0.94 FanDuel points per minute he posts without Curry on the floor. He and Poole will be a force in FanDuel lineups in all formats and should be very chalky.
Harrison Barnes ($5,900): Far from the point of this article is dating advice, but try to find a significant other as consistent as Harrison Barnes. Barnes' lowest FanDuel point total of the entire month of March was 23.9 FanDuel points, which is a tremendous floor at this salary. Barnes often goes overlooked because he is not the top option, and his ceiling is not tremendous. But he still is commanding a passable 18.9% usage rate and 0.89 FanDuel points per minute over the entire season. It is not like Barnes has no ceiling at this salary, as the forward has recorded at least 40 FanDuel points three times since February 25th.
Danny Green ($4,600): With Seth Curry out, Green's role is finally stable. The 76ers can have a strange rotation -- sometimes going big with Tony Bradley or small with Shake Milton -- but Green at least appears to have a defined floor. Green has averaged 32.5 minutes and 31.6 FanDuel points per game in the two-game sample without Curry in the last 30 days, and that is plenty of reason to fire up the Philadelphia wing on just a four-game slate. Both Green and Milton will be sought-after options to absorb the minutes and usage left behind by Curry, but positional opportunity cost makes the decision between the two significantly easier given how weak the small forward position is as a whole on Saturday's small slate.
Tobias Harris ($8,300): When Joel Embiid misses time, Tobias Harris is your guy. Both Tony Bradley and Dwight Howard have flashed upside at times, but Harris has proved over a quickly growing sample sans Embiid that he benefits the most among the 76ers' frontcourt when the star big man is out. Without Embiid this season, Harris sees a usage increase of 4.4 percentage points and a bump of 0.12 FanDuel points per minute, and he has averaged 48.1 FanDuel points per game in the latest three-game stretch without him. Sacramento has done very well against big men this season, ceding the second-fewest FanDuel points per game to opposing power forwards, but that sample is largely with an entirely different frontcourt rotation, one that included Marvin Bagley, who will miss Saturday's contest.
Marcus Morris ($3,700): This slate is loaded with value plays who would be significantly popular on a normal slate, but they could be absurdly popular on a four-game slate. Morris has moved into the Clippers' starting lineup over Nicolas Batum and has averaged 33 minutes per game and 28.3 FanDuel points per night since doing so. That makes his upside fairly large in a comfortable role, especially with the Clippers likely playing smaller to match a Charlotte team missing their starting center, Cody Zeller, on Saturday. There are plenty of great places to spend up at power forward, and the slate is not short on value, but Morris is comfortably among the top low-salary options on the slate.
Ivica Zubac ($4,500): Marcus Morris did not move into the lineup because of an injury, but Ivica Zubac certainly did. Zubac will be the consensus free square at center if Serge Ibaka is to miss a third straight game on Saturday. Zubac has flourished without having to share a platoon with Ibaka, as he has averaged 34.5 minutes and 33.1 FanDuel points per game in the two contests without Ibaka. As mentioned, Charlotte will be without Zeller in this contest, which might mean Zubac will log more minutes against the defensively sound Bismack Biyombo, but that matchup is not substantial reason to fade a $4,500 center averaging 0.92 FanDuel points per minute with no challengers to his role.
Other Notable Plays: Jakob Poeltl ($5,600), Bismack Biyombo ($3,600)
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.