FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Saturday 4/24/21

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

San AntonioNew Orleans229.0-3.0113.00116.001714
LA LakersDallas216.5-2.5107.00109.501826

There is significant carnage at top of the two different positions on this slate. At shooting guard, Donovan Mitchell remains sidelined for the Utah Jazz with his ankle injury, and Zach LaVine is still out due to COVID-19 protocols for the Chicago Bulls. DeMar DeRozan is also potentially missing from the San Antonio Spurs' lineup for a second consecutive game given his questionable status with a quad injury.

In the frontcourt at power forward, multiple stars could miss Saturday. Anthony Davis is question mark for the Los Angeles Lakers after just playing 15 minutes in his return on Thursday from his calf injury. Domantas Sabonis is one of several Indiana Pacers on the injury report, and he is out for Saturday due to his back injury. Kristaps Porzingis may also miss for the Dallas Mavericks after leaving Thursday's game with an ankle injury, and Jerami Grant has taken every other Detroit Pistons game off with a quad injury, so his status is unknown.

The rest of the positions are fairly clean, although at small forward, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is questionable for the Lakers with an ankle injury. The status of Steven Adams is worth watching, as well, as the New Orleans Pelicans' center left Thursday's game and did not return due to an ankle injury.

Point Guard

Mike Conley ($7,100): With Donovan Mitchell still out, Conley heads a stacked point guard position on Saturday. Without Mitchell this season, Conley has seen a usage bump of 0.8 percentage points and a boost of 0.05 FanDuel points per minute, and his role as a playmaker has elevated recently. In his last four games, two of which were with Mitchell, Conley is averaging 11.5 assists per game, which gives him tremendous double-double upside. Conley's only problem might be blowout risk as the Jazz are an 11.5-point favorite, but he delivered 41.5 FanDuel points in just 25 minutes on Wednesday in his new role sans Mitchell.

Dennis Schroder ($6,900): Even if Anthony Davis plays, it will be in a reduced role just as it was Thursday, and that put Schroder firmly back in the conversation. Schroder has posted a 25.6% usage and 1.08 FanDuel point per minute rating without both Davis and LeBron James, and that has increased even more recently in terms of FanDuel points, as Schroder is averaging 44.6 FanDuel points in his past three games. It is likely he will be the top option in Saturday's primetime meeting with the Mavericks, with the upside to post 6.0 FanDuel points per $1,000 in salary if his recent scoring tear continues.

Other Notable Plays: Malcolm Brogdon ($8,000), Killian Hayes ($4,600), Facundo Campazzo ($4,300)

Shooting Guard

Caris LeVert ($8,200): With Domantas Sabonis out again, the Indiana starting five is small and heavily reliant on two players -- Malcolm Brogdon and LeVert. The two combined for 113.5 FanDuel points in a massive 79 minutes on Wednesday. The pair has also carried a 28.0% usage in past week as well with Sabonis banged up, and against the Detroit Pistons' poor defense, both will have the ball in their hands plenty once again. With all the injuries at shooting guard, LeVert will probably be enormously popular -- but for good reason.

Lonnie Walker ($3,600): The Spurs rested Dejounte Murray and Patrick Mills on Thursday, which brought Lonnie Walker IV back into a starting role, where he saw 33 minutes. Both may return tonight, but there will still be some additional minutes available for Walker if DeMar DeRozan misses Saturday's contest. Walker should see fairly significant action, as he is already projected for 21.7 minutes by numberFire before DeRozan -- or any other Spurs -- have been listed out due to rest or injury.

Other Notable Plays: D'Angelo Russell ($6,300), Jordan Clarkson ($5,900), P.J. Dozier ($3,900)

Small Forward

Jimmy Butler ($9,400): Putting aside the narrative for a moment -- as the former Chicago star faces his former team -- there is reason to expect Butler to soon return to his torrid March pace. Butler is still averaging 1.49 FanDuel points per minute in the past week -- with a 28.9% usage rate -- but just simply has not gotten the same minutes with four of Miami's past five contests decided by 15 or more points. With the Miami Heat just 4.5-point favorites, the expectation is Butler should see his full minutes against the Bulls, which realistically brings 50-FanDuel-point upside into play -- a mark he exceeded five times last month.

Josh Richardson ($4,600): The natural pivot to value if Kristaps Porzingis is ruled out would be to Willie Cauley-Stein, who played 31 minutes on Thursday after Porzingis left early. However, at center, using Cauley-Stein comes at a significant opportunity cost at a position with several tremendous plays. The permanently inconsistent Richardson is an interesting, (likely) less-popular route given that he will not benefit from a minutes perspective without Porzingis but does see a 1 usage bump of 1.7 percentage points without KP. Richardson is always a factor in tournaments, as he has scored more than 25 FanDuel points 11 times since March 1st.

Other Notable Plays: Brandon Ingram ($8,200), Kyle Kuzma ($6,000), Justin Holiday ($4,100)

Power Forward

Jae'Sean Tate ($5,900): With power forward the other significant injury position on the slate, Tate is effectively the highest-salaried available power forward other than Zion Williamson. Christian Wood will likely miss Saturday's game with a lingering ankle issue, and that means Tate comes at a substantial salary discount with a large role. The Denver Nuggets have allowed the sixth-most FanDuel points per game to opposing power forwards, which plays into Tate's hands well. But the blowout potential is serious, particularly with John Wall always a potential question mark for rest.

Jaden McDaniels ($4,600): Minutes do not always lead to results. McDaniels has started and posted at least 29 minutes in three straight games, although his highest FanDuel output in that span was just 20.2 points. His role has just not materialized yet with a 10.8% usage rate in this past week. Strangely, McDaniels exceeded 21 FanDuel points in four straight games in late March, but he has not been able to recreate those results in his latest stretch starting. While Doug McDermott is a punt play to watch if he is able to suit up, McDaniels is a fine second option if "Dougie Buckets" cannot go for Indiana.

Other Notable Plays: Aaron Gordon ($5,100), Lauri Markkanen ($3,900), Doug McDermott ($3,800; if he plays)


Nikola Jokic ($11,400): If Nikola Jokic is going to win his first career MVP award this season, he will have earned it with the weight of the world on his shoulders. Now without Jamal Murray, Jokic's 29.5% usage for the entire season has been elevated to 32.8% over the past seven days, and he has posted a gaudy 1.75 FanDuel points per minute in that period of time. Jokic amassed an absurd 64.7 FanDuel points in just 27 minutes in a blowout last Friday, so even in the worst-case scenario, he looks to be secure to cook a Houston squad that has given up the most rebounds per game to opponents (48.0) on the year. That reliability is tough to pass on, even with great alternatives scattered at various salaries at the center position.

Other Notable Plays: Nikola Vucevic ($8,700), Willie Cauley-Stein ($4,300)

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.