FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Saturday 12/4/21
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.
Luka Doncic, PG/SG, (FanDuel Salary: $10,500) - Doncic flopped last night as a chalky high-salary play sans Kristaps Porzingis, totaling a mere 36.5 FanDuel points. We shouldn't hesitate to go back to Doncic tonight versus the Memphis Grizzlies in a game with a 217.0-point total and 5.5-point spread in favor of the Dallas Mavericks. Memphis plays at the ninth-fastest pace with the third-worst defensive efficiency. Yes, please. Doncic owns a 37.3% usage rate over the past five games, so he's a good pick even if Porzingis returns. If Porzingis sits, Doncic is an even better option as the star guard carries a 38.5% usage rate with Porzingis off the floor this year, per RotoGrinders CourtIQ. Editor's Note: Since publication, Doncic has been ruled out.
C.J. McCollum, SG, $8,200 - With Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons off the court this season, both of whom are out tonight, McCollum boasts a team-best 35.9% usage rate -- up 7.3 percentage points from his year-long mark -- while averaging 1.10 FanDuel points per minute. Prior to a blowout last time out, McCollum had played at least 36 minutes in four straight. He'll be up against the Boston Celtics, who are on the second leg of a back-to-back. Our projections forecast McCollum to score 39.5 FanDuel points.
Kyle Lowry, PG, $6,600 - As of Saturday morning, our model is accounting for Jimmy Butler playing -- which he didn't on Friday -- and we still have Lowry as an outstanding play, projecting the new Miami Heat man for 35.9 FanDuel points (5.44 per $1,000). Bam Adebayo is definitely out. If Butler sits, too, Lowry's projection will rise. Without Butler and Bam last night, Lowry racked up a 28.0% usage rate on his way to 39.1 FanDuel points. In a pace-up spot against the Milwaukee Bucks, Lowry is a good play with Butler and a great play without Butler.
Paul George, SG/SF, $9,100 - George made his return last night after a one-game absence and produced 45.1 FanDuel points against the Los Angeles Lakers. It wouldn't be surprising to see PG-13 get the night off on the back-to-back, especially after he reportedly tweaked his ankle, so that's something to watch for. But if George plays, I really like him in a road date with the Sacramento Kings, a team allowing the most FanDuel points per game to shooting guards (44.0).
Khris Middleton, SG/SF, $7,400 - Giannis Antetokounmpo is listed as doubtful, which obviously shakes up the usage for the Bucks. With Giannis off the court this year, Middleton paces Milwaukee with a 36.7% usage rate while averaging 1.15 FanDuel points per minute. The usage rate is a rise of 10.0 percentage points from his clip with Giannis on the court. Giddy up. That helps make up for a blah matchup with Miami, and we project Middleton for 39.8 FanDuel points (5.38 per $1,000).
Norman Powell, SG/SF, $5,400 - Powell stands to benefit from Simons and Dame sitting. His usage rate rises by an eye-popping 8.5 percentage points with those two off the floor this season -- up to 30.9% -- and Powell comes at a very friendly salary. Our algorithm projects him for 29.1 FanDuel points (5.39 per $1,000), but I like him a little more than our numbers do.
Bobby Portis, PF/C, $6,400 - With Giannis off the court, Portis has recorded a 24.6% usage rate and is posting 1.05 FanDuel points per minute. Normally the matchup with Miami would be an awful one as the Heat have surrendered the second-fewest FanDuel points per game to centers (46.2). But Miami's interior D isn't quite as intimidating with Adebayo out, and Portis should be able to deliver solid numbers -- with upside for more -- at a center position that isn't super strong on this slate. It's looking like a place where I'll want to save some salary. We project Portis to amass 34.1 FanDuel points (5.32 per $1,000).
LaMarcus Aldridge, PF/C, $5,600 - I like Aldridge as a low-salary way to get a piece of a Brooklyn Nets-Chicago Bulls game that should be perfect for fantasy. It holds a slate-best 221.0-point total and has a tight 2.5-point spread in favor of the Nets. LMA has been very steady lately, scoring at least 23.3 FanDuel points in seven straight, and there is some upside, too, as he's had games of 35.3, 37.2 and 37.3 FanDuel points in that span. With a projection of 28.2 FanDuel points (5.03 per $1,000), Aldridge is a fine salary-saver.