FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Saturday 1/23/21

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. 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

New OrleansMinnesota223.0+8.0115.50107.50267
LA LakersChicago228.5+9.0118.75109.75172
Golden StateUtah226.0-6.5109.75116.25323

This will come as no surprise, but we have COVID-19 news on the slate. Karl-Anthony Towns is already definitively out for the Minnesota Timberwolves, which will continue to funnel minutes to Naz Reid. Unless something were to drastically change -- not even accounting for conditioning -- Jimmy Butler will remain out, but he is officially questionable for the Miami Heat. Tyler Herro is also still out for Miami with his neck injury, which continues to open decent value in Miami's backcourt.

In regards to other injuries, Christian Wood is doubtful for the Houston Rockets, and John Wall remains out, which will shift usage to Victor Oladipo and DeMarcus Cousins. The Los Angeles Lakers' star duo is also worth watching against the lowly Chicago Bulls, as Anthony Davis and LeBron James are both on the injury report, although Davis is probable.

Point Guard

Luka Doncic ($10,800): Doncic's slow start is somewhat behind him, and the Dallas Mavericks' offense should continue to get better and more efficient as Kristaps Porzingis gets up to speed. Dallas and Houston are likely the fantasy game of the day thanks to the Mavs' two stars and plenty of value in Houston with their ongoing injuries and drama in the wake of losing James Harden. Doncic could be less popular than he should be because of his recent performance, but he still is averaging an absurd 1.52 FanDuel points per minute with a very obvious ceiling, as he has broken 60 FanDuel points in four of his last eight games.

Dennis Schroder ($6,200): Based on my gut feeling, LeBron has a legitimate chance to sit against the less-than-stellar Bulls. He has not missed a single game due to the ankle injury that has had him on the injury report since opening day. If LeBron sits, that would open up massive usage for many -- especially Schroeder, who is the Lakers' secondary ball-handling option. Schroeder sees the highest increase in usage rate (5.3 percentage points) when LeBron is off the floor, and he also sees a bump of 0.11 FanDuel points per minute, as well. The matchup is pristine with Chicago giving up the sixth-most FanDuel points to opposing point guards.

Other Notable Plays: Chris Paul ($6,900), Goran Dragic ($5,700; if Butler sits), Lonzo Ball ($5,400)

Shooting Guard

Victor Oladipo ($8,800): Even with the salary increases, Houston's core contributors are not appropriately salaried for their roles -- largely because the production has yet to follow. Oladipo has a 38.9% usage rate in his games with the Rockets thus far, which would lead the league by 3.1 percentage points if it continued in a sample that was large enough for Oladipo to qualify. With Harden now traded and Wall and Christian Wood out, all three of Houston's top options to start the season are out of the picture right now, which has put the load squarely on the former All-Star. Oladipo's 1.54 FanDuel points per minute is well beyond that of a player who has a salary below $9,000.

Gary Harris ($4,600): It would be helpful if we get some injury news throughout the day to assist us with the shooting guard position. This slot took a huge blow when Devin Booker injured his hamstring Friday after scoring 45 FanDuel points, and Booker will likely miss Saturday's game as a result. With the volatile situation around James Harden as well as salary increases for Donovan Mitchell and D'Angelo Russell, the position is in a dire state -- which is the only way for Harris to make this section with his usual low usage rate (15.4%) and average of 0.61 FanDuel points per minute. The positive nod to Harris is heavy minutes (38 on Friday) in an efficient offense, but if there ever was a need for an unexpected chalk play to emerge, this would be it.

Other Notable Plays: Andrew Wiggins ($7,000), David Nwaba ($5,000), Seth Curry ($4,500)

Small Forward

Brandon Ingram ($7,700): Nickeil Alexander-Walker going back to the bench is good for Ingram's fantasy outlook. When Ingram and Alexander-Walker are on the floor together, Alexander-Walker has a 25.2% usage rate, which causes a precipitous drop for Ingram's production. Ingram's FanDuel points per minute falls by 0.22 with NAW on the floor. Lonzo Ball (20.7%) and Eric Bledsoe (18.9%) simply do not demand the same usage rate to be effective. Ingram's production and salary have both dropped over the past 10 days, but expect a turnaround soon for the New Orleans Pelicans' star.

Eric Gordon ($5,200): The largest beneficiary of Christian Wood's absence should be Gordon, who will be the most capable hands for the missing 28.0% usage rate to fall into. Gordon is already averaging 34.7 minutes per game in light of the missing pieces, and he should see a boost in usage, which might help him make better use of his actually solid 46.7% shooting -- which has historically been the key factor in his fantasy production. Expect Gordon to surpass the 3.7 rebounds and 2.0 assists he has averaged since Oladipo's acquisition as he takes on an even larger role.

Other Notable Plays: Malik Beasley ($6,500), Duncan Robinson ($4,900), Jae'Sean Tate ($4,000)

Power Forward

Anthony Davis ($9,900): If indeed Saturday is LeBron's first day off of the season, Davis will be asked to carry the load against his hometown team. To no surprise, AD leads Los Angeles when LeBron is off the floor in both usage (30.2%) and FanDuel points per minute (1.26). In a matchup against the Bulls, who cede the fifth-most FanDuel points to opposing power forwards, Davis could have a field day. If LeBron plays, Davis still can pay off this salary with his rebounding. In games where Davis has hit double-digit rebounds, he is averaging 51.9 FanDuel points. Davis could also exploit Chicago's fouling issues, as they give up the third-most free throw attempts in the NBA.

Jeff Green ($4,600): There is still plenty of sorting out to do with the new hierarchy of the Brooklyn Nets' usage, as Harden joins Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. But their role players are still affordable in many spots on a hyper-efficient offense. Green did not start on Friday but still played 26 minutes, and that has his average at a firm 33.8 minutes the last five games as a fixture in the Nets' offense. It is not like the minutes have been empty for him, either, as he has crossed 20 FanDuel points in six of his last nine games. The Nets' offense is one to target, and Green is an affordable piece of it.

Other Notable Plays: Bam Adebayo ($8,700), Royce O'Neale ($4,800), Thaddeus Young ($3,800)


Nikola Jokic ($11,200): Other than opting for some of the admittedly enticing value options at the five spot, how can you deny using Jokic? He has taken his already well-rounded game to an absurd level. Jokic has a team-high 28.9% usage rate and leads the NBA in FanDuel points per minute at 1.62. It is worth noting that Jokic's recent surge -- scoring more than 55 FanDuel points in five straight -- was mostly without secondary scoring option Michael Porter Jr., who returned for Friday's game. But Jokic still posted 61 FanDuel points in that contest.

Other Notable Plays: DeMarcus Cousins ($4,900), DeAndre Jordan ($4,800)

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.