FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Saturday 10/23/21

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. Our projections update up until tip-off to reflect current news, and we also have player news updates.

We'll be coming at you with this primer every day, breaking down a few of the day's top plays at each position.


Damian Lillard, PG, FanDuel Salary: $10,100 - Of the three guard-eligible players with five-digit salaries -- which includes Lillard, Luka Doncic ($10,900) and Paul George ($10,200) -- Lillard is my favorite play. He is taking on the Phoenix Suns in a game with a 2.5-point spread and the slate's highest total (232.0). It should be a perfect fantasy environment. Lillard played 40 minutes in his first game and put up 45.7 FanDuel points on a 27.6% usage rate. He finished last year with a 30.6% usage rate. Dame's ceiling is comparable to PG's and Luka's, and he's got the best game environment of the three.

Jimmy Butler, SG/SF, $8,900 - The Indiana Pacers allowed 123 points to the Charlotte Hornets in their opener and 135 to the Washington Wizards last night in an overtime game. The OT game was in DC, so Indiana had to fly home last night for this one, where they'll see a Miami Heat team that was off yesterday. That sets up super well for Butler and the Heat, who own an appealing 114.50 implied total. Butler got just 29 minutes in a blowout win on Thursday and used only 20.8% of Miami's possessions -- only the fifth-highest rate on the team -- but he still posted 36.8 FanDuel points. Butler had a 29.5% usage rate last year and could feast on a tired Pacers squad. We have Butler as the top point-per-dollar play on the slate among those with a salary of at least $8,700.

Lonzo Ball, PG, $6,200 - Ball is a great way to fill a point guard slot as he draws a tasty matchup with the Detroit Pistons. Ball's 17.6% usage rate through two games with the Chicago Bulls leaves a lot to be desired, but he's always been able to fill it up in the peripheral stats to compensate for his so-so scoring. He did just that last night, tallying only 17 real-world points but generating 56.0 FanDuel points in a triple-double. That outburst and the friendly salary will likely have him on everyone's radar, but he looks like good chalk, projecting as the second-best point-per-dollar point guard, per our model.

Nickeil Alexander-Walker, SG/SF, $6,000 - NAW has been a fairly popular target on the first two slates he's been on this year, and that probably won't change tonight. The New Orleans Pelicans are hosting the Minnesota Timberwolves in a game with a 229.0-point total, the second-highest of the slate. Alexander-Walker has put forth outputs of 35.5 and 37.5 through two games, averaging 33 minutes with a decent 20.4% usage rate. A similar game would have him once again surpassing 5.0 points per $1,000, and we forecast him for 31.1 FanDuel points.

Others to Consider: Luka Doncic ($10,900), Derrick White ($5,900), De'Anthony Melton ($5,100)


Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF/PF, $11,200 - Giannis has played just 23 and 30 minutes through two games due to one blowout. He averaged 33.0 minutes per game last year, and there isn't a lot of blowout risk tonight with the Milwaukee Bucks 6.5-point favorites at the San Antonio Spurs. Amazingly, Antetokounmpo scored 64.3 FanDuel points in 30 minutes in his first game, and we know what kind of ceiling he has. I'll likely prioritize him at small forward, especially if I use Butler at shooting guard. Other than Butler and George, we have no small forwards projected within 12 FanDuel points of Giannis. He's our top-projected overall player, at 50.2 FanDuel points.

Anthony Edwards, SG/SF, $7,900 - We could be in store for an Edwards Year-2 leap. He was electric in the Wolves' opener, netting 29 points on his way to 39.7 FanDuel points in 31 minutes. He can be pretty reliant on scoring for his DFS production, but scoring shouldn't be an issue against the Pels. With the caveat that it's obviously very early, New Orleans is fifth-worst in defensive efficiency, and Minnesota carries the slate's highest implied total (118.75).

Scottie Barnes, SF/PF, $5,100 - Barnes is seeing big minutes -- 32 and 35 through two games -- and comes at a modest salary. They aren't empty minutes, either, as he's totaled 42.6 and 21.3 FanDuel points on a 22.4% usage rate. The Toronto Raptors do battle with the Dallas Mavericks in a game that has the second-lowest total (216.5), but Barnes projects as one of the better midrange options at either forward spot.

Patrick Williams, SF/PF, $3,800 - Williams gets the same dope matchup with the Pistons that we talked about with Ball. Williams hasn't done much yet this year, going for a total of 22.0 FanDuel points through two games. Yuck. But he's played 28 and 24 minutes in a starting role and is due to pick up some blocks and steals. He has just one total thus far after averaging 2.3 combined blocks/steals per contest as a rookie.

Others to Consider: Brandon Ingram ($8,300), Kristaps Porzingis ($6,800), Tyler Herro ($5,500), Terance Mann ($4,400)


Bam Adebayo, PF/C, $8,100 - Adebayo can take advantage of the matchup with the Pacers. He was excellent in Miami's one game, generating 37.1 FanDuel points in 23 minutes in a blowout. Miami is just a 4.5-point favorite over Indiana, so he should see more run in this one. In the early going, the Pacers are allowing 46.8 FanDuel points per game to power forwards, the fourth-most. We have Bam scoring 41.5 FanDuel points, which is good for 5.13 per $1,000. He can be a pivot off Butler or stacked alongside him.

Jonas Valanciunas, C, $6,300 - Valanciunas is averaging 32.5 FanDuel points per game through two outings with New Orleans, and he finished with only 9 real-world points in one of those. He's got a 23.1% usage rate and is seeing 31.0 minutes per night. All in all, his role and production are a little too good for this salary, and the matchup with Minnesota is a stellar one. Our model is in love with him, projecting JV for 37.0 FanDuel points and ranking him as one of the slate's best point-per-dollar options.

Others to Consider: Karl-Anthony Towns ($11,000), Nikola Vucevic ($8,500), Sandro Mamukelashvili ($3,900)