FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Saturday 5/15/21
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.
LaMelo Ball ($7,500) - With the playoff implications being what they are across the slate, we'll wind up having value plays pop up by the time lock hits, but I don't think point guard is the right place to save salary by looking at the bottom of the pool. It's pretty deep at the top, and I think we can stick with Ball against the New York Knicks, despite the tough matchup. Ball posted 46.3 FanDuel points on the Knicks in 29.6 minutes earlier this year (1.57 FanDuel points per minute). Ball puts up 1.27 FanDuel points per minute against top-10 point guard defenses on the year.
Derrick Rose ($6,700) - Rose has gone for 43.2 and 52.2 FanDuel points in his last two games with an average of 19.5 field goal attempts, a number that is very welcomed at his salary. The Charlotte Hornets and Knicks game has playoff implications on both sides, so that makes it an appealing one to target. Charlotte is actually the top adjusted point guard defense since the trade deadline, but Rose maintains a similar per-minute rate (1.05) to his full-season mark (1.03) against top-10 opponents.
James Harden ($10,000) - So, Harden returned to put up 50.9 FanDuel points in 25.7 minutes while taking just 8 shots. He had 18 points, 7 rebounds, and 11 assists (plus 4 combined steals and blocks). Harden's minutes may get capped around 30, but his elite per-minute production (1.43 FanDuel points per minute) can combat that. numberFire is projecting him to maintain that full-season rate against the Chicago Bulls.
Devin Booker ($7,300) - Booker gets the easiest shooting guard matchup of the main slate: the San Antonio Spurs rank 22nd against opposing shooting guards since the trade deadline, according to my opponent-adjusted data. Booker himself has been more of a floor play lately, but the playoff implications here are promising. Booker has played 23 bottom-10 shooting guard defenses and averaged 36.5 FanDuel points in them with 1.12 FanDuel points per minute.
Kevin Durant ($10,500) - The Brooklyn Nets' big three is all in play, but it's Durant who comes with the biggest opportunity cost within the position. If LeBron James ($9,300) sits, it's kind of just Durant at the top against the Bulls, who are just 20th against opposing small forwards since the trade deadline. Durant, in 17 games against bottom-half small forward opponents, has averaged 53.5 FanDuel points per game (1.45 per minute).
RJ Barrett ($6,600) - Barrett has surpassed 40 FanDuel points in two of his past three games and has put up 22, 18, 14, and 19 shot attempts in his past four. That's very appealing at such a salary. Barrett is also playing the Hornets' soft wing defense (they're 22nd against opposing small forwards since the deadline). Against bottom-10 opponents, Barrett has averaged 32.1 FanDuel points, which is 0.90 per minute, a nice uptick from his 0.85 average against all other opponents.
Domantas Sabonis ($10,500) - Only a quad injury could slow down Sabonis on Thursday night, as he had 10 points, 6 rebounds, and 14 assists through 26.4 minutes. The reason he didn't return was precautionary, and he wanted to go back into the game. We should assume he's good to go on Saturday against the Los Angeles Lakers, a below-average power forward defense since the deadline. Sabonis' per-minute fantasy output (1.26 this season) drops to only 1.23 against top-10 opponents and is 1.28 against bottom-half defenses. We shouldn't care about the matchup for him right now.
Julius Randle ($9,000) - Speaking of matchups, Randle has a great one against the Hornets, who rank 28th against power forwards since the trade deadline. Randle has been a high-floor, high-minutes option for the Knicks lately, as he has had at least 29.6 minutes in each of his past 30 games, just once dipping below 30.0 FanDuel points in that span -- and just six times falling below 40.0 FanDuel points. He has averaged 47.8 FanDuel points in 26 matchups against bottom-10 power forward defenses.
Andre Drummond ($6,400) - We should monitor news for LeBron James here, but Drummond should be able to produce either way. The Lakers are getting a Indiana Pacers team that ranks just 28th against opposing centers and 29th in rebounding rate since the deadline. It's those bottom-tier rebounding teams that bring out Drummond's upside. Against bottom-10 rebounding teams as a Laker (a six-game sample), Drummond averages 33.5 FanDuel points with 1.36 FanDuel points per minute (compared to 1.20 FanDuel points per minute in 19 games as a Laker).