FanDuel Single-Game Basketball Helper: Thunder at Clippers (11/18/19)
In a traditional FanDuel NBA lineup, you have a $60,000 salary cap to roster nine players: a center and two point guards, shooting guards, small forwards, and power forwards. Among those nine players, the top eight scores will count toward your team's total.
In the single-game setup, the salary cap is the same, but the lineup requirements are different. You select five players of any position. One of your player selections will be your MVP, whose FanDuel points are multiplied by two. You also select a STAR player (whose production is multiplied by 1.5) and a PRO (multiplied by 1.2). Two UTIL players round out the roster, and they don't receive a multiplier to their production.
This makes the five players you select important in more than one way, as you need to focus on slotting in the best plays in the multiplier slots rather than just nailing the best overall plays of the game.
Thunder at Clippers Overview
The Oklahoma City Thunder travel to face the Los Angeles Clippers in one of Monday's marquee games -- and one of FanDuel's single-game options for the night. The over/under of 221.5 means we should have plenty of fantasy production, but the 9.5-point spread in favor of the Clippers is borderline blowout territory.
Oklahoma City ranks 12th in defensive rating, while the Clippers are 10th. However, with Kawhi Leonard on the court, the Clips allow just 96.1 points per 100 possessions. That jumps to 109.2 without him. So, the Thunder could have a tough time getting their 24th-ranked offense going if Leonard suits up. He and Patrick Beverley are listed as questionable.
Injuries and What-Ifs
In addition to Leonard and Beverley being questionable, Landry Shamet is out with an ankle injury. Unfortunately, we don't have much to go on in terms of a sample without those two because of Paul George's return (and dominance with the ball in his hands).
Still, there would be plenty of minutes and shots for the cheaper Clippers players behind George. The most likely beneficiaries of the absences would be Louis Williams, Terance Mann, and Maurice Harkless. More on them to come.
At the Top
Paul George ($15,000) - George has a 40.0% usage rate (second-best in basketball) and a per-minute average of 2.19 FanDuel points, which is absolutely absurd. For context, only Giannis Antetokounmpo (1.86) is above 1.61 on the season. George is producing like a monster to start his season, and if Kawhi Leonard sits, George is a hard play to fade, given his insane numbers. He's the first place to look for MVP consideration even though he'll be popular and has a minutes concern.
Louis Williams ($13,500) - While sharing the court with George, Williams has a still-good 26.1% usage rate, and he has averaged 1.11 FanDuel points per minute on the full season (it's 1.19 in his 18 shared minutes with George). Williams' scoring prowess keeps him a high-ceiling play in a single-game format, and he could be an MVP pivot if you try to maneuver away from George.
Montrezl Harrell ($13,000) - Harrell has a 22.2% usage rate with George on the court. It's a small sample (27.4 minutes), but George's usage rate really changes things for the team, so we should be trying to adjust for his on-court presence. No team has rebounded worse than the Thunder this season in terms of rebounding rate, but with Steven Adams on the floor, they're a top-10 rebounding team. Regardless, Harrell's per-minute efficiency (1.15 FanDuel points) keeps him near the top of the list -- especially if you're trying to avoid loading up on the more popular George and Williams.
In the Middle
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ($12,500) - Like George, Gilgeous-Alexander will be up against his former team here. He has averaged 0.96 FanDuel points per minute this year, and his 25.5% usage rate leads to upside appeal if the Clippers' defense is thinned out (i.e. no Leonard and Beverley). He has had 15 or more shot attempts in four of his past five games.
Chris Paul ($11,500) - Paul's matchup depends a lot on Beverley's status. Paul has a steady 1.05 FanDuel points per minute and 22.4% usage rate this season, making him a high-floor play. Paul has yet to produce more than 44.1 FanDuel points yet, so he's not a priority play when seeking players with higher-end ceilings.
Danilo Gallinari ($10,000) - Gallinari (0.98) is a strong per-minute option and would be freed up without Leonard's defense in the mix. He also has a 23.2% usage rate on the year. Gallinari has returned at least 20 FanDuel points in every game but has maxed out at 39.5. He's in play as a STAR or PRO option.
At the Bottom
Dennis Schroder ($9,500) - Schroder is a boom-or-bust type, and that has value in a single-game format if paired with other high-upside players. Schroder has played 33, 29, 24, and 25 minutes the past four games with field goal attempts of 13, 12, 10, and 9. He still gets solid shot volume, thanks to a 23.8% usage rate.
Maurice Harkless ($7,500) - Harkless has played 31 and 28 minutes in two games without Leonard. He hasn't been a great per-minute fantasy option (0.70 FanDuel points per minute), but he would slot into elevated minutes in the event Leonard sits.
Terance Mann ($6,000) - Would be a priority value option if there were no Leonard and Beverley. Mann has played 24 and 33 minutes in two games without Leonard and actually showed a fantasy pulse with 13 points, 6 rebounds, and 8 assists on Saturday.
George is the obvious pick for the MVP slot, and the 9.5-point spread favors the Clippers quite heavily. However, this game hinges a lot on the status of Kawhi Leonard and Patrick Beverley.