FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Sunday 6/20/21
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.
A week ago, this four-team slate seemed very unlikely. The Los Angeles Clippers were down 2-0 to the Utah Jazz and then won the final four games of the series to advance to the franchise's first Western Conference Finals, and the Phoenix Suns have been patiently waiting since sweeping the Denver Nuggets.
Both teams in the afternoon showcase enter this Western Conference Finals down a star, as Kawhi Leonard is not even traveling to Phoenix with the knee injury that has kept him out since Wednesday, and Chris Paul has still not cleared health and safety protocols to return for Phoenix. Other than their two leaders, both teams enter the Western Conference Finals at maximum strength through the rest of the rotation.
The two teams in the pivotal Game 7 in the East Semis cannot say the same. The Atlanta Hawks could be without Bogdan Bogdanovic after Bogdanovic was unable to return in Game 6 with a knee injury. A knee also plagues Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers, and although he is listed questionable again, one has to think he is not missing this do-or-die contest.
Trae Young ($10,300): Young is hard to turn down given his sensational run late in this series. He has scored more than 57 FanDuel points in three straight games and is truly the only reliable Atlanta fantasy target. Young far and away leads the team in usage (33.3%) and FanDuel points per minute (1.31) this postseason, and he has played 40 minutes in three straight games. There are two reliable, heavy-minute options at point guard on this four-game slate, and Ben Simmons on the other side of this game is not one of them.
Reggie Jackson ($5,500): From a disgraced Detroit Pistons' starter to playoff hero, Jackson's rebound has been remarkable. His 3.5-percentage-point usage bump without Kawhi the past two games is one thing, but Jackson has also taken 31 shots in that same span. It would be easy to dismiss his 58% shooting from the field, but Jackson shot better than 50% in all six games of the Utah series. Frankly, his salary has not caught up to his role as he's got a lower salary than teammates Nicolas Batum and Marcus Morris despite a substantially better situation.
Devin Booker ($7,900): The theme of the slate will be Phoenix-heavy, as the Suns largely saw no salary adjustment from their last two-game slate and are now without high-usage point guard Chris Paul. Paul occupied a 26.3% usage rate this postseason, and it is worth a look back to the regular season to identify how Phoenix may now compose their offense. Booker -- to no one's surprise -- saw the biggest lift amongst regulars in both usage (2.1 percentage points) and FanDuel points per minute (+0.13), and that manifested itself in a 51.4 FanDuel-point game in Game 1 versus the Los Angeles Lakers when Paul initially hurt his shoulder. Book is certainly capable of replicating that in this contest.
Terance Mann ($4,400): Going out on a limb, Mann likely will not score 39 points in Game 1 against Phoenix, but he still is the top value option on the entire slate. The hero from Friday night has started the past two games in place of Kawhi Leonard, and Mann's red-hot stroke ended Utah's season. In that game, Mann saw 36 minutes and took 21 shots, and even if his shot attempts are halved, that is still is a tremendous role at this salary. The Clippers' offense is incredibly concentrated without Leonard, and to the surprise of many, Mann (24.6%) is second on the team in usage behind Paul George.
Other Notable Plays: Paul George ($10,600), Kevin Huerter ($4,200)
Nicolas Batum ($6,200): Relative to his teammates, Batum would not be a stellar play on a normal slate, but opportunity cost at a terrible small forward position locks him into one of two spots for me. Batum got his offense going in Game 6, scoring 16 points on nine shots. Batum still averaged just 0.31 points per minute in the series, and that limited upside offensively is always potentially going to bust at this salary. To this point, the savvy veteran has made use of his defense (three combined blocks plus steals per game in the Utah series) to supplement his scoring. In tournaments, you could justify punting way down and chasing that same defensive production at a lower salary from Matisse Thybulle.
Mikal Bridges ($5,500): Bridges should also see a bump without Paul, but he has not needed it to pay off at this salary, exceeding 39 FanDuel points in two of his past six contests even with Paul. Bridges is a likely bet to see 30-plus minutes, which he has in seven of 10 postseason games so far, but his 15.9% usage may see an lift without Paul. Bridges saw a bump of just a +0.01 FanDuel points per minute without Paul, but no one also saw more time on the court with Paul (1,715 minutes). He is an intriguing play with upside that Danilo Gallinari does not truly have as a reserve who could potentially sit large stretches of his game.
Other Notable Plays: Danilo Gallinari ($5,500)
Tobias Harris ($7,200): Joel Embiid has soaked up a massive 35.8% usage inside the Philadelphia offense, so apparently any Sixer besides Seth Curry appears to be at total risk of a dud, but Harris still is a viable option with upside at this salary. Harris got back to his scoring ways with 22 real-world points on Friday, and he has now scored at least 20 points in seven of the past eight contests. Where Harris would need to make inroads is on the glass. Despite averaging 6.1 rebounds per game in the regular season, Harris has surpassed that mark in just two of six games this series with Embiid gobbling up boards. If some positive regression comes in that category, Harris could produce a big fantasy output.
Jae Crowder ($5,000): Value is a must to stack stars in a Game 7 that could see many play giant minutes, and Crowder certainly provides that. Crowder has played 30 or more minutes in six of 10 postseason games and has started them all. He likely will see his full minutes allotment as the Clippers continue to play small, making versatile defenders like Crowder key. Something else to consider as a boon to a Phoenix-heavy strategy on Sunday's two-game slate is that the Clips' defensive rating has gone into the toilet in the past two games without Kawhi (121.7), and that should create open opportunities for the Suns.
Other Notable Plays: John Collins ($7,500)
Deandre Ayton ($7,000): While many will just lock Embiid into this spot -- and it makes perfect sense with Embiid likely to shoot 1,000 times in a must-win contest -- both Clint Capela and Ayton are viable double-double options themselves with big upside. Ayton is worth a special mention because of the inherent risk of what happened to Rudy Gobert. Gobert allowed a personal field goal percentage of 79% when defending the smaller Los Angeles wings the past two games, and Phoenix has the ability to adjust and simply pull Ayton off the floor for Cameron Johnson if they so choose. Gobert averaged a whopping 5.2 offensive rebounds per 36 minutes in the final two games of the series, so the scoring upside could be enormous if Ayton can stick on the floor, but that is a giant if, making Ayton better suited for tournaments.
Other Notable Plays: Joel Embiid ($11,200), Clint Capela ($7,100)
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.