FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Saturday 8/1/20

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:

The Slate

UtahOklahoma City214.5-1.5106.51082520
New OrleansLA Clippers226-5.0110.5115.538
LA LakersToronto215.5-3.5106109.51214

With a relatively healthy opening to the playoff seeding restart, there are no missing totals from FanDuel Sportsbook, even with fairly significant and ambiguous injury news on Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray.

Point Guard

Mike Conley ($5,700): It's a tough Saturday slate for fantasy, with five of the 10 teams in action in the bottom-10 teams in the league in terms of pace. Perhaps, though, the former All-Star Mike Conley can make for a serviceable plug. With Bojan Bogdanovic now done for the year, Conley finally has some room to work inside this Utah Jazz offense, as he sees an uptick to a 24% usage rate without Bogdanovic on the floor. He turned that into 31.2 FanDuel points in Utah's restart opener on Thursday, and anything close to a replica of that should do well Saturday afternoon.

Reggie Jackson ($4,100): With Patrick Beverley's conditioning still in question -- Beverley played 16 minutes against the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday -- Jackson actually ended up seeing the bulk of the minutes at the point for the Los Angeles Clippers. With other stars on the team, Jackson will never be the focal point, but he did still see a healthy 34 minutes against the Lakers, and maybe he would have scored even more than his 19.2 FanDuel points if he had shot better (only 30% from the field). Jackson may not see quite as many minutes today, but if he can find a couple more baskets, he will pay off value at still a reasonable price tag.

Other Notable Picks: Ben Simmons ($8,000), Monte Morris ($3,900)

Shooting Guard

Paul George ($7,700): No player in the entire Association may have welcomed the COVID-19 break more than George, who was struggling through two shoulder injuries for much of the year. Feeling as healthy as he has at any point in the season, he dropped 30 on the Lakers Thursday en route to 44.5 FanDuel points and a spot in the tournament-winning lineup. George should continue to benefit with the usage bump due to the absences of Montrezl Harrell and Louis Williams, both of whom continue to navigate quarantine bubble trouble. George sees an astronomical usage rate of 33.1% without those two bench scorers, and he will continue to have opportunities against the New Orleans Pelicans, who cede the second-most FanDuel points to opposing shooting guards.

Torrey Craig ($3,600): The Nuggets are somewhat of a MASH unit, with the aforementioned Murray, Gary Harris, and Will Barton all on the mend for the Western Conference contenders. They have a tough draw today against the Miami Heat, who combine a slower pace (25th in the NBA) with giving up the fifth-fewest points in the paint in the league. With fewer easy baskets available, guys like Craig who can score with peripheral stats should be helpful. Despite scoring only 0.29 real-world points per minute, Craig still has an output of 0.71 FanDuel points per minute. He should get plenty of minutes Saturday, likely starting for Denver at a near minimum price.

Other Notable Picks: Jrue Holiday ($7,700), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ($7,300), Dennis Schroder ($6,300)

Small Forward

LeBron James ($10,900): LeBron had the game-winning bucket on Thursday, but it was mostly a poor fantasy outing with only 16 points and 11 rebounds in his 34 minutes. LeBron deferred to Anthony Davis for much of the night, but the tough interior defense of the Toronto Raptors has limited opposing power forwards to the fourth-fewest FanDuel points per game. James has a much more advantageous matchup, as on the wing missing Kawhi Leonard this season, the Raptors have surrendered the eighth-most points to opposing small forwards. LeBron should be able to take advantage of that matchup with his usual sky-high 31.9% usage.

T.J. Warren ($6,000): One of the most notable injuries inside the bubble thus far was to Domantas Sabonis, who continues to miss time with a foot injury. That helps Warren, not only on the offensive end, where he sees an uptick to 24.5% usage without Sabonis, but also on the glass, where Warren hops up to 0.14 rebounds per minute when Sabonis is not present on the floor. Warren is one of the more flexible scoring options at all levels in the NBA, and he may need to showcase that with the Indiana Pacers sans Sabonis and possibly also missing Malcolm Brogdon, who is still questionable with a neck injury.

Other Notable Picks: Kawhi Leonard ($9,500), Pascal Siakam ($7,800), Tobias Harris ($6,600)

Power Forward

Zion Williamson ($6,800): It's doesn't speak well of a position that I am turning to a player on a minutes restriction, but this is no average player. Reportedly the Pelicans' young superstar is still not going to play significant minutes, but he has shown he does not need many minutes to be effective. At a strong 1.21 FanDuel points per minute, he has shown bursts of greatness, and call this a hunch that New Orleans, fighting for a playoff spot, might play their star a little more on Saturday. numberFire is optimistic, as well, projecting Williamson for 28.9 minutes and a solid 33.0 FanDuel points in this one. Zion has a great matchup against the Clippers, who give up the third-most FanDuel points to opposing power forwards.

Serge Ibaka ($5,700): Ibaka did not take long to pick back up on his hot stretch heading into the COVID-19 break. Ibaka dropped 18 points in 17 minutes in Toronto's first scrimmage, and he then led the team with 19 points in the second practice game. Marc Gasol is still slowly returning from injury and working back into playing shape, so Ibaka should start and play significant minutes today. The Nuggets have three safe options at power forward (listed below) -- at least one of whom should start -- but in tournaments, Ibaka should be a high-upside target with explosive potential at position lacking it on this slate.

Other Notable Picks: Paul Millsap ($5,000), Jerami Grant ($4,300), Michael Porter Jr. ($3,700)


Nikola Jokic ($9,000): With Jamal Murray a huge question mark, the Nuggets may actually lean on their seven-foot Serbian to conduct the offense. No, seriously -- they started him at point guard during a scrimmage game. In a game that counts, Jokic is unlikely to start there, but that does not take away from the fact he has a huge 30.5% usage rate without Murray on the floor. Jokic's new, slimmer figure will be showcased against Miami on Saturday, but regardless of the girth of the opposing centers, Miami has struggled against the position relative to other positions. Miami ranks as a top-10 team in fewest FanDuel points allowed to every position except center, where they give up the 13th-most FanDuel points to opposing fives. That is the spot to target against the Heat, and Jokic is also the only member of Denver's squad guaranteed to see over 30 minutes.

Other Notable Picks: Joel Embiid ($9,000), Derrick Favors ($5,100)

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.