FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Monday 1/11/21
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 and COVID-19 situations. Our projections update up until tip-off to reflect current news and we also have player news updates.
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 tonight's eight-game slate, which locks at 7:00 PM Eastern Time.
Before we start with the high-salaried options at the position, let's take a look at the point guards our models think will return the most value, starting with Chris Paul ($6,900). Paul hasn't had many boom performances this season, as he's surpassed 38.8 FanDuel points just once through 10 games. That said, his salary is reasonable, and the matchup with the Washington Wizards is mouthwatering. According to Brandon Gdula's matchup sheet, Washington ranks dead last against point guards when adjusted for opponent. Paul is our model's fourth-best projected value at point.
While we're on the topic of good matchups, Malcolm Brogdon ($8,400) gets a juicy one against the Sacramento Kings. According to FantasyPros, no team is ceding more FanDuel points per game to the position than the Kings. Meanwhile, Brogdon has posted 52.1, 57.9, 55.9, and 40.7 fantasy points in his last four -- he'd need 42 to achieve 5X value at his salary (or 5.0 fantasy points for every $1,000 in salary). With T.J. Warren and T.J. McConnell both out, Brogdon's usage is not about to go down. He's an excellent play in a game where the Indiana Pacers have an implied total of 115.3.
On the high-end side, we have Damian Lillard ($9,600) and Trae Young ($8,800). After back-to-back underwhelming performances, Young comes in at his lowest salary in more than a calendar year. As a result, our model has him topping 5X with ease, projecting Young for 46.2 FanDuel points. With Ben Simmons expected to be inactive, Young's defensive assignment won't be anything to shy away from. As for Lillard, the Toronto Raptors rank as the 12th-toughest matchup for point guards, but with Luka Doncic suddenly off the slate, there aren't that many studs to choose from.
LaMelo Ball ($7,400) would need 37 for 5X, and he's exceeded that in five of his last seven. It is worth mentioning that his salary is $700 higher than it has been at any point thus far in his young career. However, given that he's posted 40.5 and 61.0 FanDuel points in his last two, he just might be worth it.
Don't fret -- there are plenty of salary-savers available at point guard. With Russell Westbrook out for Washington and Bradley Beal questionable, you can throw a dart at one of Ish Smith ($4,300), Raul Neto ($4,200), and Jerome Robinson ($3,600). Smith hasn't topped 28 minutes of 27.5 FanDuel points in any game, so let's focus on the other two. In three games Westbrook has missed this season, Neto has posted 41.3, 20.0, and 18.1 fantasy points. Neto has put up more than 18 FanDuel points in fewer than 23 minutes three times this season, so he doesn't necessarily need a ton of minutes in order to return value. Meanwhile, Robinson is just $100 more than the minimum, and he's fresh off a game in which he posted 21.8 FanDuel points in 23.8 minutes of action. It was his second game with more than 21 fantasy points in Westbrook's absence this season.
The "free square" spot on tonight's slate is Philly's Tyrese Maxey ($5,200). The Sixers will be without Simmons, Seth Curry, Shake Milton, Tobias Harris, Matisse Thybulle, and Furkan Korkmaz for tonight's matchup with the Atlanta Hawks, which means Maxey is set to see a ton of volume once again. On Saturday, Maxey exploded for 60.4 FanDuel points in 43.8 minutes of action. Fade him at your own risk tonight.
Maxey's salary range seems to be a sweet spot at shooting guard, as Kevin Huerter ($4,900), Tyrese Haliburton ($5,400), and Donte DiVincenzo ($4,600) all seem like worthwhile options tonight. The Hawks will be without Bogdan Bogdanovic and Danilo Gallinari for tonight's matchup, which means Huerter's role is secure. Huerter, who has topped 24 FanDuel points in five of his last eight, would need 24.5 for 5X at his salary. Meanwhile, Haliburton has posted 25.2, 32.6, 46.4, 37.4, and 26.4 in five of his last six outings, and he would need 27 to achieve adequate value. Finally, our model's second-best projected value at shooting guard, DiVincenzo, has eclipsed 26 FanDuel points 6 times through 10 efforts, and he only needs 23 for 5X.
If Bradley Beal ($10,100) is active, we can certainly justify some exposure. Beal has averaged 58.5 FanDuel points over his last three. The same can be said for Collin Sexton ($6,900), who is also questionable. numberFire's model has Sexton projected for 35.7 should he suit up. With Darius Garland, Dante Exum, and Matthew Dellavedova all out, the Cavs aren't exactly loaded at guard tonight.
If you're in desperate need of a salary-saver at shooting guard, you can do worse than Gary Trent Jr. ($3,500). Trent Jr. has exceeded 27 minutes in four of his seven games this season, which is enough to make him worthy of consideration at a minimum salary.
One of the players who stands to benefit from Thomas Bryant's season-ending injury, as well as Westbrook's absence, is Deni Avdija ($4,600). Avdija has recorded 29.3, 31.9, and 39.5 FanDuel points in the three games Westbrook has missed this season. Our model projects him to be the second-best value at the position. His teammate, Rui Hachimura ($4,900), has racked up at least 26 fantasy points in three of his six games, and he should enjoy a larger role as well.
While we're on the topic of benefitting from injuries and/or COVID protocols, let's talk about Cam Reddish ($4,500), De'Andre Hunter ($6,300), and Danny Green ($4,800). Like Huerter, Reddish and Hunter should have secure roles with Gallinari and Bogdan out with injuries. Reddish needs 22.5 for 5X, and he's amassed at least 23.9 five times this season. Hunter needs a more hefty 31.5 fantasy points for 5X, but he's bested that number in five straight games. As for Green, we've already mentioned Philly's roster situation. Green posted 28.1 fantasy points in a season-high 36.2 minutes of action on Saturday -- it was his third game with 26.7 or more in his last four outings. He only needs 24 for 5X.
The only small forward with a salary above $5.8K that's projected to eclipse 4.7X value is Khris Middleton ($7,800). With a projection of 39.5 fantasy points, Middleton is our model's top projected scorer at the position.
Unlike the previous two positions, power forward is one where you might want to dust off your wallet. Of course, having Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,200) on a slate will make the position look all the more attractive. Giannis has garnered at least 51.6 FanDuel points in six of his nine efforts this season, and in eight matchups with the Orlando Magic last season, Giannis never scored fewer than 52.5 while posting an average of 58.4.
One of the best values at the position might just be Julius Randle ($9,400). On the season, no team is ceding more fantasy points to power forwards than the Charlotte Hornets, who are top-seven in real-life points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks allowed to the position. Randle is averaging 50.5 FanDuel points over his last four and has recorded at least 52.9 four times this season -- he has yet to score fewer than 35.5, so his floor is quite high. In that same range, Domantas Sabonis ($9,200) is worth plenty of exposure. Sabonis has topped 46 FanDuel points (what he needs for 5X) in five of his nine games, and he's scored fewer than 40.4 just twice. Both Giannis and Randle have far superior matchups, however.
If Sexton can't go tonight, Cedi Osman ($5,100). Osman dropped a dud on Saturday, though it was his fourth straight game with more than 30 minutes of action. Osman had posted 42.9, 27.5, and 33.5 in his previous three efforts, so the potential for him to return value is certainly there. Davis Bertans ($4,600) is our model's top-projected value at power forward. Logically, it makes sense with Westbrook and Bryant out. However, with both players off the court on Saturday (Bryant did play one minute), Bertans finished just seventh on the team in minutes and managed a mere 16.1 fantasy points. The sharpshooter would need 23 for 5X, and he has only exceeded 22.2 twice all season.
Whatever the season-high usage rate is for a center in 2020-21, Joel Embiid ($9,700) might blow that away tonight. Embiid didn't suit up in Philly's matchup on Saturday but he is probable to play tonight. He'll face a Hawks team that ranks fourth-worst against centers when adjusted for competition. Embiid would need 48.5 FanDuel points for 5X, and a performance in the 60s is more than achievable. For $700 less, Nikola Vucevic ($9,000) is also worthy of consideration. Vuce recorded at least 47 FanDuel points in six of his eight games against the Milwaukee Bucks last season, and he only needs 45 for 5X tonight.
If you can't get up to Embiid's salary (and you should), Deandre Ayton ($6,700) is not the worst consolation prize. 2018's first overall pick faces a Wizards team that's allowed the second-most fantasy points to centers and will be without Thomas Bryant. Ayton has yet to amass 40 FanDuel points in a game this season, so his ceiling is likely limited.
If you're in a pinch, you can turn to either Moritz Wagner ($4,000) or Robin Lopez ($3,500), both of whom should see a big bump in minutes with Bryant out. Wagner accrued 25.9 FanDuel points in 19.7 minutes on Saturday, while Lopez accumulated just 13.1 fantasy points, though he did play a season-high 21 minutes.