FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Thursday 1/30/20
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.
There aren't expensive plays littering the slate, so a balanced build should probably be the default way to go. That can maximize our odds to hit on the Tier 2 players who cash in on their ceilings tonight. Point guard is really no exception.
Trae Young ($9,500), Ben Simmons ($9,300), Kemba Walker ($7,900), De'Aaron Fox ($7,800), and Kyle Lowry ($7,400) find themselves at the top of the point guard pool. All rate out well enough in their own matchups, but it's Simmons and Walker followed by Lowry in my model. Fox deals with the Los Angeles Clippers, and Young's Atlanta Hawks are playing down in pace whereas Simmons' Philadelphia 76ers are getting the pace boost on the opposite side of the game.
The value is looking to be Monte Morris ($4,400) again with Jamal Murray and Paul Millsap out. Morris has an 18.7% usage rate and a per-minute average of 0.89 FanDuel points when those two are off the floor. The matchup with the Utah Jazz is an unfortunate one, but Utah just played last night and now head to Denver.
Bradley Beal ($9,000) and Devonte' Graham ($6,600) are my model's top two picks, and they play one another in a game with a 227.5-point over/under. Beal's Washington Wizards will play down in pace, but the Charlotte Hornets are 24th in defensive rating since December 1st, and the Wizards are dead last. Offensively, Charlotte is also just 27th, but the Wizards are 16th. There should be points and possessions here, and that means fantasy points. Further, both teams are 25th or worse against shooting guards. Beal's ceiling is pretty much unmatched among shooting guards.
As for Graham, he wound up playing despite an illness on Tuesday but was just 1 for 8 from the field over 34 minutes for 17.0 FanDuel points. He racked up 10 assists, though, and has tallied at least 41.7 FanDuel points on both meetings with the Wizards so far this season.
Core Plays: Bradley Beal, Devonte' Graham
Secondary Plays: Bogdan Bogdanovic ($4,300), Kevin Huerter ($4,900), Donovan Mitchell ($7,200), Marcus Smart ($5,600)
Tournament Plays: D'Angelo Russell ($7,400), Fred VanVleet ($7,300), Louis Williams ($5,600)
Tobias Harris ($6,900) will be negatively impacted with Joel Embiid ($9,000) back in the lineup, yes. But with Embiid back last game, Harris still played 36.8 minutes, and tonight, he gets the Hawks, who are the best small forward matchup anyone could ask for on this six-game slate. Harris still has a decent 21.8% usage rate and averages 0.81 FanDuel points per minute with Embiid on the court. In the matchup, he still grades out well relative to the other small forwards on the slate.
Jaylen Brown ($6,600) and Gordon Hayward ($6,400) would both see a significant role boost if Jayson Tatum were to miss (he's questionable with a groin injury). There doesn't seem like a huge rush to get him back. Without Tatum, Brown has a 26.8% usage rate and a per-minute average of 0.94 FanDuel points. Hayward's numbers are 23.6% and 1.01, respectively. Those are usage boosts of at least 2.2 percentage points for each. Golden State is just 18th in defensive rating since December 1st.
Core Plays: Tobias Harris, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward
Secondary Plays: Troy Brown ($5,100), Will Barton ($6,100), Alec Burks ($4,900)
Tournament Plays: Pascal Siakam ($8,600), Paul George ($8,200), Bojan Bogdanovic ($5,500)
Kawhi Leonard ($10,200) comes with significant opportunity cost tonight. His ceiling is second-best on the entire slate, and if Tatum were to miss, then his ceiling is about 16 full FanDuel points higher than any other power forward's. We don't need much more analysis than that: he's a scary fade on a mid-sized slate.
Serge Ibaka ($5,200), though, is tempting value with Marc Gasol out. Without Gasol and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson on the court, Ibaka has a 25.7% usage rate and a strong 1.14 FanDuel point per minute average this season over 572 minutes.
Daniel Theis ($5,600) would become a core-level play with no Jayson Tatum. Theis has a per-minute average of 1.02 FanDuel points with Tatum off the floor, and Theis has played 32.4, 30.9, and 29.6 minutes without Tatum the past three games.
Core Plays: Serge Ibaka, Daniel Theis, Kawhi Leonard
Secondary Plays: John Collins ($7,400), Nemanja Bjelica ($6,100), Davis Bertans ($5,600)
Tournament Plays: Jayson Tatum ($7,500; questionable), Kevin Love ($6,800), Jerami Grant ($6,000)
Thomas Bryant ($4,400) is a really, really intriguing play for tonight at his price and in his matchup with the Hornets, who are the best center matchup on the board. With the combined spread and over/under, Bryant's matchup is the best among any center for Thursday's slate. Bryant's minutes jumped from the 17-or-so range he's been dealing with to 31.9 last game against the Milwaukee Bucks. Bryant in a 30-minute role against this Hornets frontcourt is a no-brainer.
Joel Embiid ($9,000) played 26.3 minutes in his return, and he would get a crack at an elite overall matchup with the Hawks, who are 9th among 12 teams in action against centers. Embiid scored 35.5 FanDuel points despite just 26 minutes last game with a 24-point, 10-rebound double-double. He still didn't pay off a $9,000 price tag with that number, but he could see his minutes tick up with Al Horford questionable.