FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Monday 1/13/20
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.
Anthony Davis ($10,900) is questionable with a glute injury. Without him the past two games, Kyle Kuzma ($4,700) has played 33.9 and 39.7 minutes. Kuzma put up 36.2 and 43.4 FanDuel points in those games. So either Davis plays against the Cleveland Cavaliers and becomes a standout play in his own right, or we get Kuzma at a significant value. We have to note that LeBron James ($10,700) missed the Los Angeles Lakers' most recent game, but Kuzma shot at least 22 times and scored at least 26 points in both of them (including 36 without James and Davis). James is listed as probable.
Al Horford ($6,200) will be without Joel Embiid indefinitely. When playing without Embiid on the court, Horford sees a usage rate boost of 4.2 percentage points (up to 22.5%), and his FanDuel-point-per-minute average increases by 0.19 to 1.19. The overall game environment isn't elite, but few games have substantially higher totals than the one between the Indiana Pacers and Philadelphia 76ers. Horford rates out with the best floor/ceiling combination in my model.
Nemanja Bjelica ($4,900) and/or Marvin Bagley III ($4,700) would be in play, depending on their health. Richaun Holmes and Bogdan Bogdanovic are listed as out for the Sacramento Kings, while Bjelica is probable and Bagley is questionable. The Kings are in the game with the lowest total on the board, yet they rate out as numberFire's top two power forward values. Bagley (1.08 FanDuel points per minute) and Bjelica (0.95) are productive enough to make good on their extended minutes at their respective salaries.
Core Plays: Anthony Davis/Kyle Kuzma, Al Horford, Nemanja Bjelica/Marvin Bagley
Secondary Plays: Lauri Markkanen ($5,400), Aaron Gordon ($5,400), Domantas Sabonis ($8,300)
Tournament Plays: Kevin Love ($6,800), Jayson Tatum ($8,000), Robert Covington ($6,000)
LeBron James ($10,700) has a 37.5% usage rate and a per-minute average of 1.59 FanDuel points with Anthony Davis off the floor this season. Those would rank him first and third, respectively, on the full season. So, James would be given the best role in basketball against his former team. Cleveland ranks only 25th in defensive rating over their past 15 games.
Tobias Harris ($6,700) also benefits greatly from the absence of Embiid. Harris sees a team-high 26.1% usage rate and a per-minute average of 1.17 FanDuel points with their starting center on the sidelines. While Harris' overall game environment is pretty lukewarm, he is still projected for 5.00 FanDuel points per $1,000 in salary (5x value).
Gordon Hayward ($6,600), Jaylen Brown ($6,100), and some other Boston Celtics will see a bump in opportunity with Daniel Theis out tonight. When Theis is off the court, Hayward has a 22.2% usage rate, and Brown jumps to 25.2%. Brown ranks as a top-five small forward value in numberFire's projections, and their range of outcomes is pretty similar in my model. Brown is cheaper and has the better floor.
Core Plays: LeBron James, Tobias Harris, Jaylen Brown
Secondary Plays: Gordon Hayward, Brandon Ingram ($9,100), Danilo Gallinari ($6,100)
Tournament Plays: T.J. Warren ($5,100), Jarrett Culver ($4,700), Miles Bridges ($5,000)
Buddy Hield ($5,800) is in the game with the lowest total of the evening, but he's cheap enough to overcome it, considering the opportunity awaiting him. With no Bogdanovic and Holmes, Hield actually sees a tiny drop in usage rate. It's likely variance -- and it's also still a 27.1% usage rate. Hield gets an above-average matchup in terms of fantasy points allowed to shooting guards, as well.
Andrew Wiggins ($6,700) draws a mid-level defense as well. The Oklahoma City Thunder are 11th in defensive rating over the past 15 games but are third in defense-versus-position fantasy production. Still, Wiggins rates out well because Karl-Anthony Towns is out. Wiggins has a stellar 29.5% usage rate when KAT is sitting out. Wiggins also is projected for nearly 35 minutes. Despite the matchup, he can overcome it with the usage.
Devonte' Graham ($6,600) is priced down $1,100 from where he was 11 days ago. The Charlotte Hornets will play up in pace tonight against the Portland Trail Blazers, though both teams are outside the top 20 in offensive tempo. Still, Graham ranks as a top-five value play, per numberFire's model, among shooting guards because he's expected to play 37 minutes. Graham ranks top-three in my model in both tournament value and floor/ceiling rating.
Core Plays: Buddy Hield, Andrew Wiggins, Devonte' Graham
Secondary Plays: Dennis Schroder ($5,400), Bruce Brown Jr. ($4,900), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ($6,700)
Tournament Plays: Josh Hart ($4,400), Evan Fournier ($5,600), Zach LaVine ($7,800)
Damian Lillard ($8,500) will play down in pace, yet he still ranks as both the priciest point guard on the slate and the one with the highest median and ceiling projection. That has value. Lillard has played at least 35 minutes in three of his past four games and has had his price drop $8,000 over the past 10 days. Dame is an elite tournament play and has a high floor, as well.
De'Aaron Fox ($7,600) is yet another piece of that Kings team, one that could be really thinned out. Fox sees a 30.5% usage rate and 1.22 FanDuel points per minute with Holmes and Bogdanovic on the sidelines, both team-bests.
numberFire's algorithm loves Tomas Satoransky ($4,600) and projects him for the second-highest value rating of any non-center of the night. Satoransky is projected for 33.4 minutes, a top-eight mark among all point guards. He's productive enough (0.87 FanDuel points) to pay off even in a less-than-ideal matchup.
Core Plays: Damian Lillard, De'Aaron Fox, Tomas Satoransky
Secondary Plays: Malcolm Brogdon ($6,100), Shabazz Napier ($3,800), Chris Paul ($6,900)
Tournament Plays: Ben Simmons ($8,200), Collin Sexton ($5,500), Derrick Rose ($6,900)
Andre Drummond ($10,500) should carve up the New Orleans Pelicans, who rank a decent 16th in defensive rating and 8th in rebounding rate over the past 15 games. Drummond followed up two straight 20/20 games (23 points and 20 rebounds; 28 points and 23 rebounds) with a 9-point, 4-rebound, 19-minute showing on Saturday when he got ejected. His price dropped $500 as a result, and he owns the best ceiling among all players outside of Anthony Davis and LeBron James.
Gorgui Dieng ($4,500) is once again on the menu without Towns. Dieng has a decent 18.7% usage rate without Towns on the floor and averages 1.23 FanDuel points per minute in this split. Dieng projects for 6.46 FanDuel points per $1,000 in salary, ranking him second on the board behind only Enes Kanter ($5,100).
Frankly, you have multiple ways to save at center tonight with Kanter and Dieng, so that makes spending up for either Drummond, Hassan Whiteside ($10,000), or Nikola Vucevic ($8,200) an intriguing pivot.
Core Plays: Andre Drummond, Gorgui Dieng
Secondary Plays: Enes Kanter, Steven Adams ($6,600)
Tournament Plays: Hassan Whiteside, Nikola Vucevic