NBA

FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Thursday 10/28/21

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 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
Total
Away
Implied
Total
Home
Implied
Total
Away
Pace
Home
Pace
AtlantaWashington222112.5109.52915
DetroitPhiladelphia217.5103.75113.751230
New YorkChicago215.5107108.51923
UtahHouston220.5114.75105.75194
San AntonioDallas220.5107.25113.251024
MemphisGolden State228.5111.25117.25157


The main injury status to watch of the day is -- shocker -- Joel Embiid of the 76ers. Embiid has been playing through a knee injury, but that may change with Philadelphia positioned as a 10.0-point favorite over the lowly Pistons. Andre Drummond would be plug-and-play if Embiid misses the contest.

Jerami Grant is also questionable on the other side of that contest for Detroit, as he is still fighting an elbow issue.

Zach LaVine is questionable for the Bulls due to a thumb issue. LaVine's absence would make for one fewer mouth to feed in the loaded Chicago scoring hierarchy. Troy Brown likely would start, but DeMar DeRozan and Lonzo Ball would see the largest production impact.

Daniel Gafford injured his quad last night for the Wizards. If he can't go, Montrezl Harrell had a monster night in his place and would be justified chalk this evening.

Kristaps Porzingis makes his inevitable 2021-22 debut on the injury report today for Dallas. Porzingis is a game-time call with a back issue.

The Jazz travel to Houston to face the Rockets, but they may be without Bojan Bogdanovic due to a non-COVID illness. If he can't go, Jordan Clarkson and Joe Ingles should see all the minutes they can handle.

Guards

Luka Doncic ($10.700): As it stands this very second, Doncic is an elite fantasy play. He encroaches on a 100% type of play if Porzingis were to miss his first game of the season. Porzingis has a 28.3% usage rate this season -- much higher than last. It's very difficult to pinpoint where that would go other than pushing Doncic (33.7% usage for the season) close to a 40.0% usage rate. The Spurs are the 10th-fastest team in the league by pace, so Doncic should have plenty of opportunities to approach a triple-double.

Bradley Beal ($8,700): Beal's shot is a tire fire entering Thursday, but the talent makes his role worth believing in. A 7-for-25 effort last night in Boston has pushed Beal's current field goal percentage to a putrid 33.3%, and that mark is even worse from three-point land (16.5%). Beal -- obviously -- is a tremendous shooter, and his peripheral role is even better (34.7% usage) than it was last year. It is only a matter of time before he explodes at this salary.

Tyrese Maxey ($5,500): The talented 76ers' point guard has been lulling the fantasy community to sleep. Admittedly, it's hard for him to make an imprint with Joel Embiid's 29.6% usage on the floor. However, when exploring what happens if Embiid sits against lowly Detroit, Maxey could be significantly more interesting. Maxey has seen a 3.8 percentage-point usage increase when Embiid is off the floor -- second on the team to Tobias Harris. His minutes role is already defined, so the additional usage Thursday could serve him well.

Others to Consider:
Stephen Curry ($10,400): Tough to pass up Luka in most spots, but in such a great environment, Steph is lurking for tournaments. Premium pivot.
De'Anthony Melton ($5,500): Melton should return closer to 30 minutes if Memphis stays competitive. Friendly salary. Interesting pivot off Maxey if Embiid sits and Maxey garners popularity.
Jordan Clarkson ($5,100): Utah bench is incredibly shorthanded. If Bogdanovic misses, Clarkson will likely see 30-plus minutes. Always productive.
Jalen Brunson ($4,900): The talent (1.00 FanDuel points per minute) makes him the one place outside the obvious options I trust to exploit if Porzingis misses.

Wings

Tobias Harris ($7,400): Harris -- other than Drummond plugging into Embiid's minutes -- is the best spot to turn if Embiid does take the night off. Harris sees a massive 11.3% percentage-point usage increase with Embiid off the floor this season. His stock is up regardless of Embiid's status thanks to his newfound playmaking ability; his 5.0 assists per game are on pace to shatter his career-high mark.

Kevin Porter Jr. ($5,900): The backcourt hierarchy in Houston seems largely decided. KPJ's usage (27.1%) is far and away better than Jalen Green's (21.5%), and the rookie has largely struggled outside of dropping 30 on the Celtics. Porter's salary is likely too low due to the Rockets' propensity to get blown out, and numberFire is projecting him for an output that would smash value in this spot. Porter has scored double-digit real-world points in all four games this season but just hasn't yet broken out with the 20-plus point effort.

Keldon Johnson ($5,600): Ultimately, Dejounte Murray doesn't trust his ability to score the ball enough to command the 30.0% usage rate he was projected for entering the season. In his place, Johnson has had the ball in his hands (25.8% usage) more than any other Spur. Johnson and Doug McDermott were benched against the Lakers after a combined 4-for-18 shooting in favor of Lonnie Walker and Devin Vassell (14-for-26). The starting lineup is worth watching, but if Johnson can get his shot going a little better, he likely returns to his role of 30-plus minutes at minuscule popularity.

Others to Consider:
Saddiq Bey ($6,800): The most comfortable Piston to roster if Grant sits, but if that happens, the entire team might be worth fading headed to Philadelphia without their best player.
RJ Barrett ($5,400): The shot is cold, but the salary is sliding, as well. Likely to pay off in a big way when he regains his touch. Best way to get Knicks exposure with Julius Randle's salary up.
Tim Hardaway Jr. ($5,000): Obvious value if Porzingis sits and is already projected well with the assumption KP plays.
Joe Ingles ($4,700): Same song, second verse as Clarkson. Lower salary and G/F eligible, though. Likely starts if Bogdanovic misses.

Bigs

Rudy Gobert ($8,300): Well, Gobert disappointed with a new season-low in rebounds against the Denver Nuggets. It was still a total of 16, though. Gobert's glass gobbling tendencies have been absurd thus far this season, and he leads the NBA amongst qualified players in rebounds per 36 minutes (21.52). That makes his nightly floor incredibly high for cash games, and Gobert draws a Houston squad on Thursday that has allowed the fifth-most FanDuel points per game to centers on the young season.

John Collins ($6,400): I was one of very few who rostered Collins on Wednesday and watching his game was jaw-dropping. Collins still found a path to 35.4 FanDuel points while navigating foul trouble, and the low minutes total has been a theme for Collins. He has failed to eclipse 30 minutes in his past three games. Still, he leads all Hawks -- yes, even over Trae Young -- in FanDuel points per minute (1.33). Eventually, that production has to lead to more secure playing time, and it could do just that tonight against Washington.

Montrezl Harrell ($5,600): Thank goodness for dual-position eligibility. If Joel Embiid were to sit, the choice between Drummond and Harrell would have been impossible. Now, Harrell as a PF/C can be used alongside Drummond should news break that way. He's absolutely worth it; Harrell played 38 minutes in Daniel Gafford's place last night and poured in 25 points and 11 rebounds on his way to a spot in the perfect lineup. If Gafford misses an extended period of time, Harrell's per-minute production (1.12 FanDuel points) will place him close to an $8,000 salary. Buy low here.

Others to Consider:
Nikola Vucevic ($8,700): Likely worth considering only if LaVine sits. Current role (1.23 FanDuel points per minute) makes him slightly over-salaried at this mark.
Jakob Poeltl ($7,000): Spurs' wing situation could be a mess with Walker and Vassell. Poeltl is high-floor access to the Spurs in game stacks.
Andre Drummond ($5,700): Don't even think twice about it if Embiid sits. Play him.
Kelly Olynyk ($5,400): Would start for Jerami Grant, but he would see absolutely no playing time in a blowout. A pass personally but viable.