FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Wednesday 3/11/20
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.
Notable injury situations to monitor: Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro, and Kendrick Nunn are all questionable for the Miami Heat. For the Philadelphia 76ers, Ben Simmons remains OUT, but Joel Embiid is questionable and Josh Richardson is probable. The Detroit Pistons are banged-up -- Derrick Rose, John Henson, and Luke Kennard are all OUT, while Bruce Brown Jr. is questionable. Seth Curry, Willie Cauley-Stein, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist are questionable for the Dallas Mavericks. J.J. Redick is OUT for the New Orleans Pelicans.
(All matchup data is provided via FantasyPros)
Slam Dunk -- Trusting someone on the New York Knicks is basically begging for misery, but tonight I'm going to pin all my hopes and dreams on Elfrid Payton ($6,200). In just his last four games, Payton has had performances of 40.9 points and 13.4 points. Basically, he's either going to make you want to run through a wall -- the only question is whether it'll be due to happiness or extreme anger. Tonight, Payton squares off against an Atlanta Hawks defense (can we call it that) that has allowed the most fantasy points to point guards over their last 15 contests. That includes allowing the most steals to the position, which is an area where Payton can rack up points quickly. The 26-year-old needs 31 FanDuel points to equal 5x value (or 5.0 FanDuel points per $1,000 in salary), and he's topped that number in 16 of his last 20 bouts. Goran Dragic ($5,100) is a potential slam dunk play, but that depends on the statuses of Herro, Nunn, and Butler. He's topped 25.5 points -- which is what he needs for 5x -- in seven of his last nine.
And One -- Let's call a spade a spade -- the value at point guard seems to be quite scarce. De'Aaron Fox ($7,800) has a matchup against a New Orleans Pelicans that's allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to the position, though they have been better as of late. Rostering Fox is a way to get a part of the game with the highest projected total on the slate. The 22-year-old needs a steep 39 FanDuel points to reach 5x, which makes owning him a tough pill to swallow. Even if he exceeds 39 -- as he's done in four of his last six -- he's not likely to exceed it by much, as he hasn't topped 43.1 fantasy points since the end of January (16 games). Nevertheless, our model has him projected as the second-best value at the position. If he plays, Kendrick Nunn ($4,600) is projected to be the best value at point guard in an average matchup, and for good reason. At $4,600, he would need just 23 points to return 5x. He's eclipsed 23 in six of his last nine, including three games with 33.6-plus.
Free Throw -- Let's talk about the studs, shall we? The two most expensive players on tonight's slate -- and the only players priced at $10,000 or above -- are at point guard. At the top of the totem pole is Luka Doncic ($11,200). Doncic has our model's highest ceiling, but he's also $1,200 more than any player on the slate. Is he worth it? The short answer is, probably not. The Denver Nuggets have been a top-tier defense against point guards for a majority of the season. In fact, in two matchups with Denver this season, Luka has managed just 46.8 and 26.3, respectively. That doesn't inspire confidence. Doncic needs 56 points to reach 5x, which could be a tall task. In his eight games versus top-seven defenses against the position, Luka has averaged just 45.8. Meanwhile, Trae Young ($10,000) is the second-priciest player on the slate but is my preferred play. The New York Knicks have allowed the fifth-most points to the position over the last seven, so his matchup is certainly more attractive. Young has posted 55.8 and 67.7 in his two bouts with the Knicks. He has also posted more than 50 fantasy points in 11 of his last 17 home games -- that includes 9 instances of at least 58.8 points.
Slam Dunk -- In his return from a concussion, Josh Richardson ($5,000) is in a great spot tonight. Richardson needs just 25 points for 5x value, which is a number surpassed with ease in five of his last six games before getting injured. Detroit has been a tough matchup for shooting guards, but they haven't fared as well against the point position -- which is where Richardson has spent most of his time with Simmons out. numberFire's model projects him as the best value at the position. Even though he plays for the Knicks, RJ Barrett ($4,800) is an option seriously worth considering tonight. As they are with every other position, the Hawks are quite generous to opposing shooting guards. Barrett has posted at least 25.3 in six of his last seven contests, and he needs just 24 for 5x. He's our algorithm's second-best projected value at the position.
And One -- No team has allowed more fantasy points to opposing shooting guards over their last 15 games than the Utah Jazz. Unfortunately, the Oklahoma City Thunder have two options to choose from here -- though both are intriguing. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ($7,000) is the guy you want to go with if you're looking for upside, as he's capable of dropping 50 any given game. SGA needs 35 for five-times value tonight, which is a number he's covered in 6 of his last 8 overall and 11 of his last 14 at home. Dennis Schroder ($6,000) is a grand cheaper, but he comes with a lower floor and ceiling. Schroder has topped 30 FanDuel points -- that's what he needs for 5x -- in three straight, but had failed to reach that number in each of his prior six. I'd much prefer SGA if you can afford him.
Free Throw -- With few studs on tonight's slate, Jimmy Butler ($7,800) is one of the highest-ceiling plays available -- fourth-highest, in fact, per our model. In his last fully healthy game on Friday, Butler showed what he was capable of, with a 55.6-point fantasy performance. That said, there is some cause for hesitancy here. First, he's dealing with a toe injury, so he's not entirely healthy. Second, he needs 39 points for 5x, and that's a number he's achieved just twice in his last 10 games. Third, given Miami's home dominance, there is the risk that he won't have to do much in a potential blowout against the Hornets. Speaking of upside, Jrue Holiday ($8,700) is one of the few players on this slate capable of reaching 60 fantasy points. That said, he's priced extremely high for someone so volatile, and the matchup is not a good one. That means he's likely to see low ownership, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.
Slam Dunk -- While he's about as exciting as watching paint dry, Harrison Barnes ($4,900) should capture your attention tonight. The Pelicans have been bad at defending small forwards all season, but they've been the worst defense against the position over their last 15, allowing an average of 50.12 fantasy points per game. Barnes does not have a high ceiling (at all), but he's one of the safest bets to not tank your lineup. He needs 24.5 for 5x tonight, and he's scored 23.8 or more in 11 of his last 13 -- that includes five games with 29-plus. If you're looking for more upside, might I suggest Tim Hardaway Jr. ($6,000). Hardaway has surpassed 30 points (5x value tonight) on FanDuel in 8 of his last 12, including four games with at least 37.9. The matchup isn't as scary as it looks, as the Nuggets have allowed the sixth-most points to small forwards over their last seven games.
And One -- Tobias Harris ($7,500) is a near lineup-lock if Joel Embiid is out tonight. Harris averages a rock-solid 1.15 fantasy points per minute when both Embiid and Simmons are off the court, though that number drops to 0.95 with Embiid on the court. While Harris is at the highest price he's been since mid-December, he might still be worth paying up for. The 27-year-old is averaging 47.4 points over his last four home games. Do keep in mind the fact that the Pistons have been the second-stingiest defense to the position over their last 30. If Butler is out, Jae Crowder ($4,300) becomes my favorite play at the position. In three games without Butler, Crowder has posted 43.7, 34.8, and 31.3, respectively. At just $4,300, he's worth a play regardless, if you're digging for a cheap option.
Free Throw -- Dallas has been the third-most charitable team to small forwards over their last seven, which makes Will Barton ($5,700) a solid mid-range option. Barton has scored 35.6-plus in two straight after failing to top 26.4 in his previous six games. He's our model's second-best value projection at the position. Miles Bridges ($5,300) is another mid-range option worth considering. He's had back-to-back floor games, but he's capable of dropping 30 or more any given night.
Slam Dunk -- Power forward is the most loaded position on the slate. There are seven players priced at $6,900 or more, and you can make a case that most of them are worth paying up for. The question is, which ones do we actually pay up for? The Knicks have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points and second-most real-life points to opposing power forwards over their last 15. Enter John Collins ($8,900). Collins has been on fire lately, posting at least 45.2 FanDuel points in seven of his last nine contests. Seeing as though he only needs 44.5 to reach 5x value, that's quite encouraging. In a February 9th home game against New York, Collins erupted for 58.7 fantasy points. The Hornets have been nearly as bad against power forwards as the Knicks -- surrendering an average of 49.63 to the position over their last 15. Bam Adebayo ($8,500) needs 42.5 for 5x tonight, and he's eclipsed that in 8 of his last 11. He averages a salivating 1.31 fantasy points per minute with Butler off the court -- so Bam's a lock if Butler is inactive.
And One -- Three consecutive games with under 35 points has Zion Williamson ($7,300) at the cheapest price he's been in a month. That means it's time to pounce. New Orleans has the second-highest implied total on the slate, and Zion is going to eat a piece of that pie. Sacramento has been a decent matchup for power forwards throughout the last couple of weeks. Christian Wood ($7,900) is in an enviable position against a Sixers squad that's allowed the ninth-most points to power forwards over their last 15 matches. Wood has five 40-plus point performances in his last nine games.
Free Throw -- Maxi Kleber ($4,400) is our top-projected value at the position. He's a good bet to trump 5x value. The same can be said for Nemanja Bjelica ($4,800). Nevertheless, it makes little sense to cheap out at power forward tonight.
Slam Dunk -- If he plays, I'm rostering Joel Embiid ($9,000), no questions asked. Embiid had posted at least 66.9 points in three of his last four home games before getting injured. Remember, the 76ers only know how to play basketball on their home court -- The Process is no exception. Only the Hawks have been worse at defending opposing centers over their last 30 games than the Pistons. Speaking of the Hawks shitting the bed against centers, Mitchell Robinson ($5,700) is going against them tonight. Robinson has a low floor, but he's posted 39.2 or more in four of his last eight. Cody Zeller ($4,300) is the best option is you're really stingy.