FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Friday 3/26/21
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.
Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,100) - I always like to look at opportunity cost across all positions when I start to break down a slate, and it's most apparent with Antetokounmpo tonight. Tons of studs are injured, and Giannis just returned from his own injury to play 32 minutes on Wednesday. He wasn't quite himself, netting 34.1 FanDuel points over 32 minutes against the Boston Celtics, whom he will face again tonight. He shot just 4 of 11 from the field and 3 of 8 from two-point range in that game. That kept his fantasy tally in check because he had eight rebounds and seven assists. The fact that Boston ranks sixth in adjusted FanDuel points per minute allowed to power forwards is concerning, but what's less concerning is his sheer ceiling relative to the rest of the slate, which is unmatched.
Maxi Kleber ($3,800) - Kleber's minutes have elevated in recent games, and he has played at least 32 minutes in four of his past five. He hasn't gotten to double-digit shot attempts, though, and that's why his salary is where it is. The Indiana Pacers actually rank just 25th against power forwards once adjusted for individual opponents faced, so it's a plus matchup for Kleber. numberFire projects him for 23.6 FanDuel points over 30.6 minutes.
Luka Doncic ($10,800) - With the number of injuries to studs, we don't have the usual amount available on this 11-game slate, so that makes someone such as Doncic more appealing. The Pacers are a mid-level point guard defense (19th when adjusted for opponent) and overall defense (13th in adjusted defensive rating). He's coming off a huge disappointment with only 27.8 FanDuel points against the Minnesota Timberwolves, but we shouldn't ignore the 60-plus FanDuel points he had in three of his five prior games. We project him for 6.4 more FanDuel points than any other point guard and 10.9 more than all but one. At a certain point, we can't make up that gap if the projections pan out.
Malcolm Brogdon ($6,500) - The Pacers' implied total of 112.0 isn't overly appealing, but they do draw the subpar defense of the Dallas Mavericks (20th in adjusted defensive rating). Brogdon projects for a top-six minute workload among the position at 34.7 and a top-five value rating of 5.56 (projected FanDuel points per $1,000 in salary). He's entering with double-digit shot attempts in every single game this season, which explains his consistent floor.
C.J. McCollum ($7,500) - McCollum is getting a very positive matchup against the Orlando Magic. The Magic are 28th in adjusted FanDuel points per minute allowed to opposing shooting guards, and they are likely to look entirely different after their trade deadline moves. That probably doesn't mean they become a stellar perimeter defense. McCollum did just play 37 minutes last night but went off for 47.2 FanDuel points against the Miami Heat. There is blowout risk for sure, as the Portland Trail Blazers are 11.5-point favorites, yet McCollum's 28.8% usage rate would strongly indicate he's a key part in growing that lead.
Andrew Wiggins ($6,800) - Wiggins not only has a plus matchup (the Atlanta Hawks are 22nd against opposing shooting guards) but also huge split implications. Stephen Curry is out, and Draymond Green did not play last night but may play today. Wiggins averages 0.99 FanDuel points per minute on a 28.2% usage rate over 406.6 minutes without both on the floor, via RotoGrinders' CourtIQ tool, and those marks are actually a tinge better while sharing the floor with Green anyway (0.99 and 29.8%, respectively).
Gordon Hayward ($7,000) - Hayward stands out at small forward because the top of the pool is depleted, and the top three in salary tonight are out or are game-time decisions. Hayward and the Charlotte Hornets would certainly benefit if Jimmy Butler -- a game-time decision -- does, in fact, sit out. Hayward is getting a lot of love from our algorithm tonight and is projected for a value rating of 5.02 (35.1 FanDuel points over 34.0 minutes). Either way, the Heat should be light on bodies after a very active trade deadline, so we could look to a volatile Hayward to put up a big game.
Justin Holiday ($3,900) - Holiday bounced back from a 6.1-point fantasy outing (no joke) to net 27.5 on Wednesday against the Detroit Pistons and now benefits from a low-ceiling small forward position tonight. Dallas is just 17th against opposing small forwards, and Holiday is projected for 21.3 FanDuel points (a hefty 5.45 per $1,000 in salary) over 32.0 minutes in a game with a tight (for this slate) 4.5-point spread.
Nikola Jokic ($10,500) - Center is loaded, so I left it for last. There's a lot of depth, there is a stud (or two), and there are good matchups to be found. But I want to focus on Jokic simply because the depth and savings available could lead to him being overlooked. To clarify: I'm not saying that Jokic is going to be an unpopular dart throw but simply that he's probably going to get underrated as a result. That shouldn't happen for someone with 67 or more FanDuel points in three of his past six games (and had 57 against the Pelicans on Sunday at 12.4% roster rate on the all-day slate).
The New Orleans Pelicans do actually rank 8th against opposing centers despite sitting 28th in adjusted defensive rating. Perhaps Jokic becomes the chalk. In that case, he's still worth it, but we can spend at all levels at center today, making it less of a priority than other spots.