FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Sunday 3/28/21

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:

The Slate

OrlandoLA Lakers207.0-6.5100.25106.751917

On a three-game slate, there is not an abundance of injury news, but a couple of knee injuries to leading scorers could dramatically change the course of this slate. Damian Lillard missed Friday's game with his ailment and is questionable again for Sunday for the Portland Trail Blazers. The same can be said for Orlando Magic guard Terrence Ross, and following the mass exodus in Orlando, Ross' absence likely reflects that of their top usage option.

There is also some questions to be answered about potential team debuts on Sunday, including Denver Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon, new Magic center Wendell Carter Jr., and Orlando forward Otto Porter.

Point Guard

Dennis Schroder ($7,700): This will come as no surprise, but in the wake of the absences of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the Los Angeles Lakers' clear third perimeter scoring option has taken over. Schroder leads the team in usage (26.3%) and FanDuel points per minute (1.09) in the past week without James and AD. The shorthanded Lakers find themselves in a position as 7.0-point favorites over the Magic. While there is not near the blowout risk as usual for Schroder, the total in this game is a lowly 207.0.

Kyle Lowry ($6,600): The deadline has come and gone, and Lowry can get back to business. The longtime Toronto Raptors' guard stayed put and will look to turn around his recent production. Lowry has struggled mightily the past week from a fantasy perceptive and is just averaging 30.1 FanDuel points per game over the past three contests, but two of those were blowouts. Lowry though is averaging 1.05 FanDuel points per minute in 36.1 minutes per game in March, which means this salary has likely dropped too far even with his recent struggles.

Other Notable Plays: Trae Young ($8,700), Michael Carter-Williams ($5,300)

Shooting Guard

Fred VanVleet ($7,400): Like Lowry, VanVleet has taken a slight downturn recently by posting 31.3 and 22.0 FanDuel points in his last pair of contests. However, VanVleet exceeded 40 FanDuel points in each of his three games before that, and he it producing 0.99 FanDuel points per minute over the past month in a gaudy 37.5 minutes per game. On a three-game slate, it is hard to pass up FVV's combination of floor and ceiling. Portland is far and away the easiest defensive matchup on the slate with the third-worst defensive rating (118.1) in the league, so Raptors are in play at every position.

Talen Horton-Tucker ($5,200): If the Lakers are going to survive this period without LeBron James, they will need contributions from players who have been quiet much of the year, and the Lakers' top prospect appears to be ready to answer the bell. Last time out, Horton-Tucker led the second unit with 37 minutes played and was second only to Montrezl Harrell in points, as he dropped in 15. Getting to work primarily with the second unit has left THT with an incredibly health 24.8% usage since James was lost to injury, and he makes for a high-upside option if he were to see heavy minutes once again.

Other Notable Plays: Will Barton ($5,900), Dwayne Bacon ($5,500)

Small Forward

Kyle Kuzma ($7,200): Small forward is by far the most painful point of building a lineup tonight. Kuzma at least has a reasonable path to a ceiling against the Magic, as he has gone for at least 35 FanDuel points in four of his last nine games. Orlando has ceded the ninth-most FanDuel points per game to opposing small forwards, and that mark is likely to get worse with Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier out of town. With Norman Powell still an unknown in his new role with the Blazers, Kuzma's reliable role is really valuable. He has logged at least 33 minutes in four of his past five games.

James Ennis ($5,000): Orlando's rotation may not be the same as it was Friday given their arriving new pieces. Ennis has been a significant part of the rotation for a while but saw a massive uptick Friday to 35 minutes as a starter. He performed well as a scorer, too, netting 18 points on 10 shots. Ennis is a veteran who has been able to score, but perhaps Otto Porter Jr. starts instead. Whichever one of these two wings does start should be a good target at small forward.

Other Notable Plays: Michael Porter Jr. ($6,500), Otto Porter Jr. ($5,000)

Power Forward

Pascal Siakam ($8,500): The talk around the Toronto backcourt has been a recent drop in production, but that has not leaked to the All-Star forward, as Siakam has eclipsed 50 FanDuel points in back-to-back contests. In the past month, Siakam has been the Toronto player to target, leading the team in both usage (28.0%) and FanDuel points per minute (1.28), so in the best matchup on the slate against the Blazers, his salary is worth spending on.

Chuma Okeke ($5,300): Okeke was a rotational wing most of the year, but he made the most of an opportunity to start Friday with Orlando's short roster. Okeke led all Magic scorers with 22 points, and in a lost season for the team, the second-year player should continue to be a huge part of the equation for Orlando moving forward. With the hefty salary increase to John Collins, Siakam and Okeke seem like the optimal combination at power forward.

Other Notable Plays: Markieff Morris ($4,700)


Nikola Jokic ($11,300): There is a lack of star power on this slate, especially if Damian Lillard sits. If Lillard is out, Jokic clears the next highest-salaried player by $3,600, and that will likely lead to some enormous popularity for The Joker. However, on such a small state, it seems impossible to pass up Jokic in his current form. He has eclipsed 57 FanDuel points in four of his last five contests as the bonafide top option in Denver. Moving forward, the addition of Aaron Gordon could eat into Jokic's frontcourt stat stuffing, but with Gordon questionable tonight, that is merely a situation to monitor moving forward. An argument to fade Jokic in tournaments exists in matchup, as the Atlanta Hawks give up the 10th-fewest FanDuel points per game to opposing centers, including limiting Jokic to 41 FanDuel points on February 21st. But Jokic's ceiling is 10 FanDuel points clear of anyone else's on the slate, per our algorithm. And that'll be 14 points if Dame sits.

Other Notable Plays: Khem Birch ($5,800)

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.