FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Sunday 12/27/20

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 on FanDuel:

The Slate

Away Home Over/Under Home
San Antonio New Orleans 228 -5.0 111.5 116.5 14 4
Brooklyn Charlotte TBD +8.0 TBD TBD 10 30
Orlando Washington TBD -1.0 TBD TBD 26 5
Milwaukee New York 223 +11.0 112 101 1 25
Philadelphia Cleveland 217 +6.0 111.5 105.5 20 23
Boston Indiana 222 +2.5 113.25 110.75 17 22
Golden State Chicago 227.5 +2.0 114.75 112.75 15 16
Phoenix Sacramento 226.5 +3.5 115 111.5 9 19
Minnesota LA Lakers TBD -10.0 TBD TBD 3 11

The largest looming missing total is with the Los Angeles Lakers, who are taking on the Minnesota Timberwolves. Anthony Davis is listed questionable with a calf injury, and with LeBron James still on the injury report, as well, due to his ankle injury, it is possible one of the two stars does rest early in the season. The other remaining star and other Laker contributors would certainly see a huge boon if one of the stars were to sit, and as 10-point favorites now with both projected to play, the team will still definitely be competitive.

The other missing totals rest on the status of stars, as well, including the Brooklyn Nets. The Nets are unlikely to rest Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving, but it will always remain a possibility for the duo of stars who often fight injury. The Washington Wizards are also still contemplating the possible rest plan of Russell Westbrook on the second leg of their back-to-back. Any of those three stars sitting would open up enormous amounts of usage for fellow starters as well as minutes for players normally coming off the bench.

Point Guard

Stephen Curry ($8,300): The Chicago Bulls have lost two straight home games by 39 total points, and the Golden State Warriors have lost two road games by 65 total points. Both squads should fare better scoring against a similarly skilled opponent on Sunday, but the Warriors have a far clearer hierarchy of offensive options than the Bulls do, and that starts with Steph Curry. With Draymond Green still questionable for this contest with his foot injury, Curry could once again be the lone former All-Star left in the starting lineup. He leads Golden State with a 29.7% usage rate through two games, but it is worth nothing that clip is even more drastic given that Curry has yet to log a minute in the fourth quarter due to blowouts. Curry is certainly trying his best to score at 0.64 shot attempts per minute and may finally have four quarters to work with as the Warriors are a 2.0-point favorite on Sunday.

Markelle Fultz ($5,900): With D.J. Augustin now in Milwaukee, the timeshare at the Orlando Magic point guard spot is much more in favor of the former top overall pick, Markelle Fultz. He played 31 minutes against the Washington Wizards on Saturday and scored 21 points with 7 dimes on an extremely efficient 54% shooting from the field. Fultz has struggled with his shot, which makes the efficiency even more welcome and makes for a great compliment to his 27.4% usage rate -- tops among Orlando starters. There are two repeat matchups on Sunday that we saw on Saturday, which includes Orlando and Washington, which will draw justified popularity to Fultz in tournaments after he dropped 37.3 FanDuel points on the same Wizards squad last night.

Other Notable Picks: Jrue Holiday ($7,000), Chris Paul ($6,800), Lonzo Ball ($6,600)

Shooting Guard

DeMar DeRozan ($8,100): It can be hard to break old perceptions, but at least two games in, DeMar DeRozan seems to have delivered on his offseason promise to be a better all-around player instead of just a scorer. DeRozan is now averaging 27.5 points, 8.5 assists, and 7.0 rebounds a game this year, and the most impressive thing about DeRozan's additional usage, which now sits at 25.9% thus far, is that half the sample came against the Toronto Raptors. Toronto was second in the NBA in defensive rating last year and retained most of their perimeter defenders. Some of this may be attributed to the absence of Derrick White, but even with White expected back "soon", Sunday for his return would be a surprise given no further practice updates. Even with a new coaching staff, there is a possibility that the New Orleans Pelicans are still a soft matchup for DeRozan on Sunday, as they combined the fourth-highest pace with the ninth-worst defensive rating in the NBA last season.

Eric Bledsoe ($5,600): Bledsoe's primary job will likely be to stop the red-hot DeRozan on defense, but he will also look to get his offense goin. Bledsoe has had plenty of opportunity to score fantasy points thus far, as he is averaging a healthy 33.5 minutes per game and 11.0 shots per contest. The issue has been Bledsoe's efficiency as he is a frosty 36.4% from the field, which is a bit of a surprise for the guard who shot 47.4% from the field last season with the Milwaukee Bucks. Bledsoe's usage is also much better (20.0%) than one might anticipate given how far behind in the offensive pecking order he is compared to Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson, and he's got a very friendly salary.

Other Notable Picks: Khris Middleton ($7,800), Collin Sexton ($6,300), Spencer Dinwiddie ($4,800)

Small Forward

Jaylen Brown ($8,000): On a similar theme to DeRozan, it might be difficult to shake the perception around Jaylen Brown, who historically did not have a salary this high when having to share the ball with Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker, and Gordon Hayward. But with only Tatum still remaining active currently, Brown has a much larger share of the offensive load for the Boston Celtics, as Brown actually leads the Celtics starting five with a 34.1% usage rate. He has always been an efficient player, and that provides even more optimism given that he has boosted his shot total to 24.5 shots per game and has still posted an efficient 49% field goal percentage. His tall frame gives him rebounding upside, as well, and he will look to continue to relish his new opportunity against the Indiana Pacers.

Isaac Okoro ($3,900): The short recommendation on Isaac Okoro is that he is seeing a boatload of minutes at a very small salary. Okoro is averaging 33 regulation minutes per game thus far (and did play all 10 in overtime on Saturday against the Detroit Pistons), and while he is a definitive fifth option amongst Cavaliers' starters, he is inside a much more efficient offense than expected to begin the new year. The Cavs are sixth in effective field goal percentage and eighth in true shooting percentage thus far, and while they have not needed Okoro offensively, that could easily change. Okoro showed some ability to score with the Auburn Tigers last year, averaging 12.9 points per game. Earning so many minutes, Okoro is easy to like at this salary.

Other Notable Picks: Tobias Harris ($6,400), Kelly Oubre ($6,000), Deni Avdija ($3,700)

Power Forward

Domantas Sabonis ($9,100): When stars reside in offenses with plenty of talented options to score and rebound the basketball, they have to be versatile to avoid having a drastically low floor by only being able to impact the game in one way. Amongst several NBA stars who fit that description, Sabonis is right there with the best, as he averaged 1.20 FanDuel points per minute last season and is right on that mark to begin his 2020-21 campaign. Sabonis posted 22 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists on Saturday against the Bulls, and the benefit of his role in the Pacers' rotation is that he is one of the rare high-salary options less exposed to blowout risk because of his minutes schedule. Sabonis generally starts the fourth quarter, which allowed him log 34 minutes on Saturday in a 19-point win, while no other Pacers starter eclipsed 30 minutes. Indiana draws a tough Celtics matchup on Sunday, which likely reduces the risk of a blowout, but the Pacers will need their top producing big man to beat Boston, and Sabonis will look to eclipse 50 FanDuel points in his third straight game.

Julius Randle ($7,500): There can be value buried amongst bad teams, and usually their deficit in talent means heightened responsibilities for their best players. Randle has been exactly that for the New York Knicks so far and is averaging 1.11 FanDuel points per minute after barely missing a triple-double on Wednesday as well as leading the team with 25 points on Saturday. Randle's role occasionally wavered last season, but it is encouraging to see his 35-minute gig unchanged so far despite losing by an average margin of 14 points in the two contests. That blowout-proof role will meet its toughest test yet as the Milwaukee Bucks enter Madison Square Garden on Sunday as 11.0-point favorites and averaging 130 points per game thus far. The Bucks led the NBA in pace last season, though, which should add to Randle's chances for buckets and boards for as long as the game stays competitive.

Other Notable Picks: Zion Williamson ($7,900), LaMarcus Aldridge ($6,900), Davis Bertans ($4,500; pending news on his minutes limit)


Nikola Vucevic ($8,200): The Fultz-Vucevic stack was a successful endeavor against Washington on Saturday, and with the same matchup in the same building, expect it to be a popular one on Sunday's slate. This salary is too low for Vucevic, who now sports a rate of 1.35 FanDuel points per minute in two games thus far after averaging 1.30 FanDuel points per minute last season. His role is in no question, either, especially with Aaron Gordon continuing to remain restricted coming off his hamstring injury. With less competition surrounding his rebounds as well as his usual role as the top scoring option (16.5 shots per game), Vucevic has a solid floor, but his ceiling may be untapped yet. Vucevic has shot a poor 39% from the field so far, and if he were to get close to his 47.7% shooting percentage from last year, the former Southern California Trojans star could bust the slate open.

Other Notable Picks: Montrezl Harrell ($6,200), James Wiseman ($5,000; if Draymond Green sits)

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.