FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Saturday 1/25/20
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 break down today's main slate:
It is important to note the missing totals on FanDuel Sportsbook as we await news on several key players, such as Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond, Los Angeles Lakers center Anthony Davis, and Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams.
Kyrie Irving ($8,700): Kyrie returned from injury five games ago and has reclaimed his role again as the Brooklyn Nets' offensive catalyst. Irving has played at least 31 minutes and taken 15 shots in all four games, but unfortunately the Nets have lost each contest. They will face an easier challenge today versus the Detroit Pistons, who have the fifth-worst opponent field goal percentage allowed (47.5%). Irving should put some of those shots through the hoop, and the Pistons are also sloppy with the basketball, giving up the fourth-most steals in the league, which could add to Kyrie's FanDuel total, as well. He is currently projected at 45.5 FanDuel points by our models.
Reggie Jackson ($4,600): The Pistons got their starting point guard back two games ago in Reggie Jackson, and he has come out on a tear. Even with averaging just 21.0 minutes due to a minutes restriction, Jackson has put up 34.2 FanDuel points per game over the two outings and has been a boost to an offense that has been missing Andre Drummond in those two games due to a lip injury. Jackson started Friday against the Memphis Grizzlies and should do so again against Brooklyn if he is cleared to play in this back-to-back. If he does, he will get to attack a Nets squad giving up the third-most FanDuel points to opposing point guards.
Zach LaVine ($8,600): With Lauri Markkanen now sidelined with a pelvic injury, the Chicago Bulls are searching for answers. LaVine, their reliable point guard, was the only Bulls player to eclipse 30 minutes in a loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday and may be one of the few trustworthy options to attack an incredibly weak Cleveland Cavaliers matchup. The Cavs give up the most field goals per game in the NBA despite being an incredibly slow 24th in pace. They're also third-worst in surrendering three-point makes, as well. The Bulls will need a source of offense, and it is going to be LaVine, who shot 21 times on Friday. He's the top high-priced option on the slate and a legitimate threat to drop 40 points on Cleveland.
Andrew Wiggins ($7,000): A classic NBA daily fantasy conundrum is, when injuries strike, balancing usage with defensive attention. With Karl-Anthony Towns on the sidelines, one would have expected Andrew Wiggins to take his 28.4% usage rate and boost his fantasy numbers. But in his last five without Towns, Wiggins averaged only 24.78 FanDuel points per game. Since KAT's return, however, Wiggins has really taken off, scoring 38.43 FanDuel points per game. Still at only $7,000, he will look to keep attacking a middle-of-the-road Oklahoma City defense that could be missing their rim protector, Steven Adams, due to a lingering ankle injury.
Tobias Harris ($7,200): Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid practiced on Friday for the first time since injuring his hand, but he will remain out for Philly's primetime showdown with the Lakers. That hurts the team, but Tobias Harris should be set up for an improved fantasy evening as a result. On a four-game slate, one could argue for fading this game in what is sure to a brutal defensive battle. The 76ers are fourth in defensive rating, the Lakers are fifth, and both fall outside the top half of the league in pace. Still, the 76ers will be without Josh Richardson due to a hamstring injury, and without him, Harris has averaged 17.5 shots per game in his last two. The max player will need to carry the offensive load against the Lakers, and therefore may be worth rostering in a tough matchup.
Danilo Gallinari ($6,200): On this small slate, beyond Harris, this position has a definitive pivot point -- to play or fade LeBron James. With the 76ers allowing the third-fewest points to opposing small forwards this year, turning to Gallinari might be a smart pivot. Gallinari has been outstanding in January, averaging 21.4 points and 6.4 rebounds this month, and finds himself only at $6,200 against a bad Minnesota Timberwolves squad that has two factors working in Gallo's favor. First, he will be one of the taller options on the floor for a Thunder team without Adams, and the 'Wolves are dead last in the NBA in rebounding. Additionally, they give up the most free-throw attempts in the league, too, and Gallinari has a sparkling 90.6% average at the charity stripe.
Kevin Love ($7,100): "Cluster injuries" are a common term in football for when a team loses multiple players at a certain positional group, and that definitely applies to the Bulls' frontcourt. They are without Wendell Carter Jr., Daniel Gafford, and Markkanen due to injury, and they really are lacking quality size inside to defend the rim, with Luke Kornet more of a stretch big and Thaddeus Young undersized. Cleveland's frontcourt may make for an excellent stack, and that starts with Kevin Love. The veteran, despite concerns about "resting" for his trade value, has played at least 30 minutes every game in January, producing to the clip of 19.8 points and 8.3 boards per game. Love is a great post scorer, which could make for a long night for the ailing Chicago big men.
Thaddeus Young ($4,500): Last time out, Thad Young got the start and played 29 minutes for Chicago, who is basically out of other options. The athletic big has a history of double-doubles, so it should come as no surprise he almost got there in a blowout Friday with 10 points and 8 rebounds. With an extremely positive matchup noted on the other side for Love and Cleveland's bigs, it is worth mentioning the Cavs are first in shots blocked by opponents this year, which could make for ample opportunities for Young. In limited playing time, Young has three games with multiple blocks this year.
Tristan Thompson ($5,800): Thompson is another member of the Cleveland frontcourt who should find ample opportunities, along with Larry Nance Jr. off the bench. Thompson had a rough day at the office Thursday evening, posting only six points and three boards in a loss to the Washington Wizards, but he has scored in double figures six times this month and sees a heavily reduced price in this great matchup. The Bulls have given up the fourth-most FanDuel points to opposing centers this year, and that was with their top options in place. Thompson should rebound on Saturday -- and rebound and rebound. Perhaps 10 times over, likely coasting toward a double-double and smashing value at this price tag.
Austin Swaim is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Austin Swaim also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username ASwaim3. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.