FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Saturday 11/16/19
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 take a look at who you should target on today's main slate.
There's a lot (a lot) -- read: a lot -- of injury news that will dictate how this slate works, so this is the perfect night to make sure you have FanDuel Scout loaded up and to track our player news pages. Early in the day, there are 15 players questionable to play.
So it's James Harden ($12,700) night again. That much we know. Russell Westbrook and Clint Capela are out. Without them on the court, Harden has a 54.4% usage rate over a 73-minute sample. Also, Eric Gordon is out (for multiple weeks). Danuel House Jr. ($5,500) is a game-time call. Harden will be the first, second, and third option for scoring for the Houston Rockets in the night's highest over/under.
Jimmy Butler ($9,400) rates out second in my model on a per-dollar basis among shooting guards. He's pricey, and with Harden a near lock, you'd be allocating beaucoup bucks to one roster position by playing both. However, Butler is up in pace, the New Orleans Pelicans are 29th in defensive rating, and Justise Winslow is still out with a concussion. Without Winslow on the floor, Butler has a 23.7% usage rate -- which ain't great -- but he's played 38-plus minutes in three straight games.
DeAndre Bembry ($4,800) rates out third for me tonight -- before all the news. We already know that Kevin Huerter is out, as is Vince Carter. Bembry should see minutes approaching 30 at a cheap price.
Core Plays: James Harden, Jimmy Butler, Louis Williams (if no Kawhi Leonard and/or Patrick Beverley)
Secondary Plays: DeAndre Bembry, DeMar DeRozan ($7,600)
Tournament Plays: Norman Powell ($4,600), Bryn Forbes ($4,100), Jrue Holiday ($9,200)
In order to spend up at shooting guard, we'll need to save elsewhere, and point guard is a viable option to do just that. Three cheap plays find themselves near the top of the pool for Saturday's slate.
Aaron Holiday ($4,000) would see a huge boost without Malcolm Brogdon, who is questionable for tonight after a back injury sustained on Friday. Without Brogdon and Jeremy Lamb on the court, Holiday has a 27.5% usage rate and could be projected for roughly 30 minutes if Brogdon sits.
Kendrick Nunn ($5,400) is pricier but still affordable. He's in that great pace-up game against the Pelicans, and he produces 0.96 FanDuel points per minute. Extra possessions against a dreadful defense can easily lead to increased efficiency. Goran Dragic ($5,800) isn't far behind on the projections list, but Nunn is my Miami Heat point guard of preference.
While Derrick White ($5,200) always carries some risk with his minutes never getting past 28, he puts up 0.87 FanDuel points per minute. With Dejounte Murray out, the potential is there for White to get up toward his higher end of the minutes range.
Small forward is wide open early in the day, and that means that we can probably fill out our small forwards last, depending on the price. With James Harden being such a priority, it'll be hard to get to Giannis Antetokounmpo ($12,600), who will be playing down in pace. Giannis easily leads the NBA in per-minute FanDuel points, but he's going to take a backseat to Harden in terms of prioritization.
Minnesota Timberwolves teammates Josh Okogie ($4,300) and Jarrett Culver ($4,200) stand out in the game with the fastest expected tempo and most total points against Houston. Okogie (0.87) and Culver (0.75) should see an uptick in per-minute efficiency in such a ripe fantasy game.
Punt-level plays include Cam Reddish ($3,500) and Maurice Harkless ($3,700). Both the Atlanta Hawks and Los Angeles Clippers are (or should be) a bit thin on the wings tonight, and these two rate out best on a per-dollar basis in my model. De'Andre Hunter ($4,600) also is in the mix given the Hawks' openings.
Core Plays: Josh Okogie, Cam Reddish, Maurice Harkless
Secondary Plays: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jarrett Culver, De'Andre Hunter
Tournament Plays: Pascal Siakam ($10,100), Paul George ($9,100), Rudy Gay ($5,400)
Kawhi Leonard ($10,700) is questionable, but there are still cheaper studs at power forward to consider spending for, primarily LaMarcus Aldridge ($7,900), Bam Adebayo ($8,000), Julius Randle ($8,100), and Domantas Sabonis ($9,300). The value options at point guard and small forward really help if you go with two of those four, all of whom rate out well on a per-dollar basis in their matchups.
Of course, if you're looking to spend up at point guard and/or roster Antetokounmpo, JaMychal Green ($3,900), P.J. Tucker ($5,000), and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson ($4,500) can be options at power forward. numberFire's projections already love Green even before ruling Leonard out, Tucker is projected for nearly 38 minutes for the shorthanded Rockets, and Hollis-Jefferson has put up 30.3 and 34.7 FanDuel points in his second and third games back. He's still underpriced.
Core Plays: LaMarcus Aldridge, Bam Adebayo, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
Secondary Plays: JaMychal Green, P.J. Tucker, Domantas Sabonis
Tournament Plays: Julius Randle, Kawhi Leonard (if he plays), Robert Covington ($5,800)
We have the super productive Karl-Anthony Towns ($11,500; 1.60 FanDuel points per minute) at the top before dropping all the way down to Hassan Whiteside ($7,900), so there's a significant opportunity cost if passing up Towns. His 25th-percentile outcome (so on the low end of his range) is 48.7 FanDuel points, according to my model. No other center option has a 75th-percentile outcome (so, basically, a spike game) above 41.9. It's sure hard to prioritize both Towns and Harden, but it's doable with the value that should open by tip-off.
Montrezl Harrell ($7,600) has intrigue if not getting to Towns. He has averaged 1.15 FanDuel points per minute on the full season and should surpass 30 minutes here. He and Whiteside are both viable tonight in the upper-mid-range.
There aren't many punt options at center tonight, though we do have the Hawks' Alex Len ($4,100) and Damian Jones ($3,500). Len (0.98) and Jones (0.88) are -- overall -- getting it done with John Collins suspended.