FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Saturday 2/6/21
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:
There are plenty of injuries to marquee names on this slate. The most notable confirmed absence thus far is with the Houston Rockets, as they will be without Christian Wood due to his ankle injury. John Wall is also questionable with a back injury for a Rockets squad that -- fair to say -- is not pushing its stars to play in every game. In that same contest, Dejounte Murray is listed questionable with his ankle injury for the San Antonio Spurs.
Elsewhere in the league, the Philadelphia 76ers are a question mark nightly in regards to Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Embiid once again is fighting his knee injury, and Simmons is carrying a calf ailment -- although Simmons is listed as probable. A calf injury is also the reason Trae Young missed the Atlanta Hawks' game on Thursday, and Young is questionable for Saturday's slate.
I would be also remiss to not mention the Oklahoma City Thunder, who turned Friday's slate upside down as Shai Gilgeous-Alexander missed another game with his ongoing knee battles. However, that was not all, as Theo Maledon also missed Friday's game due to COVID-19 protocols. The value train would once again roll into the OKC station if one or both players were to be missing from the Thunder's backcourt again on Saturday.
Ja Morant ($7,000): Daily fantasy basketball is not a team game, but you need some assistance from your teammates to keep it close. Ever since returning from their COVID-19 absence, the Memphis Grizzlies have not helped Morant post his usual gaudy numbers, as Memphis has been blown out in three of the four games. Morant's 1.19 FanDuel points per minute and 29.3% usage rate on the season are both still excellent, though, and he should finally be in for a turnaround at this salary if the Grizzlies can hold true to their 1.0-point spread versus the New Orleans Pelicans.
Coby White ($5,600): It is really difficult to explain why Coby White has dropped off so dramatically for the Chicago Bulls. He is still averaging 33.8 minutes per game in a full starting role but has not recently performed like the player who scored more than 30 FanDuel points in 10 of his 21 games this year -- including some outings with huge upside. The one most notable change in the Chicago rotation is Thaddeus Young's emergence off the bench, but White sees a 2.0-percentage-point usage bump and a +0.11 FanDuel points per minute bump when Young is on the floor. It still seems reasonable to expect a breakout and return to form soon for White.
DeMar DeRozan ($7,800): If Dejounte Murray misses Saturday's game, DeRozan deserves even further consideration, but even if Murray plays, DeRozan's ceiling at this salary is still a wise place to spend salary against the high-paced Rockets. DeRozan broke 45 FanDuel points for the eighth time this season on Thursday with a dominant 30-point performance in the Spurs' win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. In another high-paced matchup on Saturday (versus Houston), it is hard to break away from the Spurs' leader, especially as he continues to benefit from the extra 4.0-percentage-point bump in usage without LaMarcus Aldridge on the floor.
Eric Bledsoe ($4,900): Cash-game players need not read this section -- just continue to monitor the Thunder's situation to potentially play Gilgeous-Alexander or Hamidou Diallo instead. However, in tournaments, Bledsoe's salary being below $5,000 again at least makes for an interesting tournament option at a tough position. He is still averaging 30.8 minutes per game in his last five games, so his role has not decreased, and he has scored more 30 FanDuel points five times this season in this similar role. Likewise as Coby White, regression to the mean may help Bledsoe bounce back on Saturday night.
Tobias Harris ($7,900): Harris is a featured scoring option in the no-brainer fantasy game of the night. The Brooklyn Nets and 76ers face off in a battle of two top-six teams in pace, and frankly, the Nets just are not playing any defense at the moment. Brooklyn has allowed more than 120 points in five straight games, so Harris makes plenty of sense as the only 76ers' star not on the injury report. If Joel Embiid does sit, Harris benefits with a 4.0-percentage-point usage bump and an increase of 0.11 FanDuel points per minute.
Jerami Grant ($7,200): On the second half of a back-to-back, the Detroit Pistons will almost certainly be without Blake Griffin, and that benefits Grant, who is definitely a 2020-21 Most Improved Player of the Year candidate. At a rise of 1.5 percentage points, Grant sees the largest usage rate increase of any Pistons player sans Griffin, which puts his total usage without Griffin at a team-high 29.6%. As a player who has posted at least 40 FanDuel points 11 times already on the season, Grant's salary is much lower than his role should the Pistons find a way to keep pace with the Los Angeles Lakers, who are sizable 14.0-point favorites to beat Detroit.
Kristaps Porzingis ($7,800): In last Saturday's helper, I featured the peripheral usage hoping to indicate Porzingis would bounce back into his ceiling by eclipsing 40 FanDuel points. He was actually ruled out for that night, but in the three games since, Porzingis has surpassed 40 FanDuel points in all of them, including doing so against the same Golden State Warriors team he will face on Saturday. That was also in just 25 minutes. James Wiseman and Kevon Looney continue to sit out with injuries, and Golden State is left with very little size to face off with the Latvian star.
P.J. Tucker ($3,900): While the obvious place to turn when targeting Houston without Christian Wood is DeMarcus Cousins, Boogie comes at a great opportunity cost of other centers who are both more reliable and have a higher ceiling. An off-the-radar option might be Tucker, who continues to see heavy minutes (33 on Thursday) in a low-usage role for the Rockets. He has gone for at least 24 FanDuel points five times this season. Tucker is a high-floor option to save major salary at a tough position.
Nikola Vucevic ($8,800): The player who has made it a tough decision to go away from Cousins in cash and single-entry tournaments is Vucevic, who has been absurd the last three games with Aaron Gordon on the shelf. Vucevic had 43 points and 19 rebounds in this identical matchup with Chicago last night, bringing his average in the past three games to 54.7 FanDuel points without his frontcourt mate. The downside of Vucevic's huge outing Friday will be his popularity today, but some will still opt for Cousins. Vucevic's 3.2-percentage-point usage rate increase without Gordon on the floor indicates his big-time production is here to stay.
Other Notable Plays: DeMarcus Cousins ($5,900), Steven Adams ($5,500)
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.