FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Monday 10/25/21

C.J. McCollum is the surprising top usage option in Portland on the young season. Who else stands out to roster on FanDuel for Monday's main slate?

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 a player's 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

Away Home Game
New OrleansMinnesota226.5110.5116101
PortlandLA Clippers231114117725

Nine games. A beautiful sweet spot. Enough to create value, but not enough to overwhelm.

It might be our lucky day with injury news to stars limited, as well. Bradley Beal (probable with a hip injury) is expected to return for the Wizards, and Jaylen Brown (knee) is expected to return on the second leg of the back-to-back for Boston.

The most substantial shift will be with Milwaukee, as Brook Lopez is already ruled out with a back injury, and Jrue Holiday is listed doubtful with his ankle ailment. That should open minutes and usage for the Bucks, although finding the correct home for it will be a puzzle beyond George Hill. Bobby Portis -- who has been out with a hamstring issue -- may make his season debut on Monday for Milwaukee to help curb that dilemma.

Norman Powell has already been ruled out with a knee injury for Portland, and that should free up additional work for Nassir Little, Larry Nance Jr., and Ben McLemore.

The Hornets may be without Terry Rozier again due to his ankle injury, but the salaries are largely adjusted for that. If he plays, Kelly Oubre, Gordon Hayward, and LaMelo Ball become slightly tougher to roster at the elevated marks.

The Heat and Cavaliers may join Charlotte down their starting guards, as well. Kyle Lowry and Darius Garland are both questionable with ankle injuries, and that would result in one-for-one plugs with Tyler Herro and Ricky Rubio, respectively, once again.


James Harden ($10,000): If just looking at his box scores, Harden does not seem like himself. Still, last season's primary beneficiary without Kyrie Irving has been woefully underperforming his strong 29.4% usage this season. It is concerning that he only has eight free-throw attempts in three games given the new rule changes on flopping, which, admittedly, was a huge part of his scoring. Still, he has a strong matchup against the lowly Wizards between two top-six teams in pace last season. I still want to potentially buy low on the former MVP approaching a four-digit salary.

C.J. McCollum ($8,200): The Blazers' usage and production leader is not whom you may guess. It is McCollum -- not Damian Lillard -- who leads Portland in both usage (34.5%) and FanDuel points per minute (1.52) on the young season. While McCollum's overall usage rate has risen in each of the past four seasons, it is unlikely it stays that way, but for now, McCollum appears significantly under-salaried compared to his role, and Lillard might be a touch over-salaried. Their matchup with the Clippers tonight features the highest game total (231) on the slate.

George Hill ($4,300): Tonight's most obvious value play is Hill. With Jrue Holiday likely sitting, Hill will plug into the starting lineup just as he did Thursday in Miami. He saw 28 minutes despite a total blowout. His ceiling is not limitless, but his 0.71 FanDuel points per minute are enough to get the job done if he sees his expected 30-plus minutes. He is likely a lock in cash games, but his 15.9% usage rate probably is not enough to burn you for fading him with a 40-burger in tournaments, either.

Others to Consider:
D'Angelo Russell ($7,400): Surprisingly the Timberwolves' leader in usage (32.6%). Ice cold shooting (36.7%) should turn around soon.
Collin Sexton ($7,200): Fine with Garland, much better without. 29.2% usage at a salary implying far less. Love targeting drive-and-kick guards against Jokic and Porter Jr.
Eric Bledsoe ($5,900): A reborn man in L.A.? Clear second option (22.7% usage) thus far. Top value option from a top game on the slate.
Franz Wagner ($4,100): Plenty of minutes in a role that would make Tony Snell proud. Unlike Snell, plenty of room to grow for the talented rookie inside of them.


Paul George ($10,500): At this pace, "PG13" will have a second run at an MVP trophy. George is carrying the Clippers with a 33.6% usage rate and a production rate of 1.62 FanDuel points per minute. The latter would be a career-high for George in his 12th NBA season. George is the clear top option on the Los Angeles side in tonight's juiciest fantasy game, and in most spots, he seems like a lock. I likely end up deploying him most at shooting guard spots with the rest of the forward group absolutely loaded.

Brandon Ingram ($8,200): At 1.13 FanDuel points per minute, one would expect Brandon Ingram has had a disappointing season in fantasy terms. Not at all. He has scored at least 39 points in all three games for the Pelicans, and he is just seeing a boatload of minutes (36.7 per game) very early in the season. Those minutes have a 34.1% usage rate inside of them, so in many respects, Ingram just has not hit his ceiling yet with the monstrous performance. Ingram is averaging 6.0 assists per game with the heightened usage, and if that were to hold all season, it would be a fifth straight career-high mark for the developing playmaker.

Scottie Barnes ($5,100): Barnes already broke out with 25 points and 13 rebounds against Boston on Friday, but his salary has not caught up to that performance yet. He will be popular as a result, but it also may not matter at this low of a salary. The Raptors are a logjam of options with five different players between 20.0% and 26.0% usage rates, but Barnes has the best combination of upside and security in his role; Precious Achiuwa and Chris Boucher are still battling for minutes.

Others to Consider:
Khris Middleton ($7,800): Tremendous play with Holiday out. Likely less popular than Giannis, but he also has much lower of a floor. A solid matchup with Indiana.
Jerami Grant ($7,300): Chaos at Detroit's point guard spot has been good for him. Team-high 27.1% usage rate. Still, likely the only Piston to trust at his salary.
Gordon Hayward ($6,900): 24.7% usage without Rozier is close enough to LaMelo's (28.3%) to overcome the massive salary and popularity the latter would carry.
Nassir Little ($4,000): Stepped in for Powell and played 27 minutes on Saturday. Historically a bad FanDuel point scorer, but 11 points and 7 rebounds in that game was a nice start.


Karl-Anthony Towns ($10,900): Outside of Portland and Los Angeles, the best fantasy game might be New Orleans and Minnesota's clash. Towns is very worthy of consideration inside of it, as he has posted an absurd 31.8% usage rate and 1.59 FanDuel points per minute mark thus far. His salary is lofty, but he, Russell, and Anthony Edwards (30.1% usage) are the only three Wolves starters with a usage rate above 9.2%. This is an easy game to target for stacks as a result, but the value options will need to come from other contests.

Nikola Vucevic ($8,700): The "Vuc-spolsion" already took place over the weekend, as he posted 15 points and 19 boards against the Pistons on Saturday. His salary has not caught up to that performance, yet, but his popularity on the young season made it seems the mass of DFS players expected it before too long. He is in a great spot against the undersized Toronto frontcourt, but it is worth noting that Vucevic popped onto the injury report with an illness early Monday morning. If he can't go, both teams may be more than happy to go small.

Jonas Valanciunas ($6,600): Another popular center option in his games this season has been Valanciunus, and he surged over the weekend, too. Valanciunas posted 20 points and 17 rebounds against this same Timberwolves squad on Saturday, which sets up for a great matchup now hosting the same squad. Center is so deep on Monday that Valanciunas, in some ways, may go overlooked by his stud contemporaries. Still, as long as Zion Williamson is out, Valanciunus is nearly guaranteed 30-plus minutes for the Pels, and he has never disappointed (1.33 FanDuel points per minute last season) when the minutes are a constant.

Others to Consider:
Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,200): Obvious great play with no Holiday and likely starts at the five with no Lopez to boost boards. Absurd, league-best 1.73 FanDuel points per minute so far.
Jusuf Nurkic
($7,700): Buy-low opportunity in a great game to stack. Low minutes total in blowouts but still tremendous per minute (1.36 FanDuel points per minute) as usual.
Al Horford ($6,100): Boston badly needs a third offensive option. Is it Horford? Solid 23.7% usage rate and 1.56 FanDuel points per minute thus far. Watch his status on the back-to-back.
Aaron Gordon ($4,600): Plenty of centers, so an extra power forward here. The role is too good for his salary. Projected well as a result. A top value if injury news stays quiet.