FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Saturday 2/20/21
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 best news to deliver about this slate's injury landscape is that there is not much. The highest profile names still in doubt for Saturday are both on the Sacramento Kings, as Richaun Holmes is at risk of missing a third straight game with his knee injury, and Harrison Barnes could miss his second contest due to his foot ailment. That opened the door for Nemanja Bjelica on Thursday, and it could make Bjelica a value option again, as only he and De'Aaron Fox saw an excess of 30 minutes in the perpetually scrambled Sacramento rotation. Elsewhere, Dennis Schroder will miss the Los Angeles Lakers' contest with the Miami Heat due to COVID-19 protocols.
Devonte' Graham of the Charlotte Hornets is the only other marquee injury to watch, as he is doubtful with a hamstring injury. The Phoenix Suns, Memphis Grizzlies, and Golden State Warriors are on the second half of a back-to-back, which opens the possibility of veterans sitting for those teams. The Kings are also on the front half of a back-to-back, but they do not have any likely rest candidates beyond their current injury report.
De'Aaron Fox ($8,100): With only two Kings players seeing 30-plus minutes in their last game in the wake of the injuries to Richaun Holmes and Harrison Barnes, it makes sense to target both of them. One was Fox, and he has remained Sacramento's most consistent option despite his own personal struggles, as he leads Kings starters in usage (29.7%) and FanDuel points per minute (1.25) over the past two weeks. Fox is a great buy for two reasons. The first of which is his matchup, as he gets a Chicago Bulls team that has allowed the fifth-most FanDuel points per game to opposing guards. The second reason is positive shooting regression. While a 44.6% clip in his last four games is still decent, it is definitely below his season-long average (47.4%) as well as his average inside the month of February (50.0%). Overall, Fox is one of the few reliable Kings to target in their great matchup with Chicago.
LaMelo Ball ($7,800): With Graham off the floor, Ball becomes a money target. The rookie leads Charlotte in both usage (28.5%) and FanDuel points per minute (1.37) when the Hornets have kept Graham off the floor in the past two weeks. Ball may actually be less popular than his recent production -- scoring more than 40 FanDuel points in three of the last four contests -- may indicate. Terry Rozier and Ball are perceived to eat into each other's output in the backcourt, and Rozier will likely be one of the more popular players on the slate after averaging 36 points per game in his last three contests. Ball, though, has better peripheral usage if Rozier's red-hot 59% shooting over the last three games eventually cools down.
Gary Trent Jr. ($5,500): Getting significant minutes against the Washington Wizards is enough to be fantasy relevant in 2021, but it helps that Trent has played well in wake of the absence of C.J. McCollum for the Portland Trail Blazers. Trent's role in the offense is better than his salary hints at, as in the month of February, he is averaging 19.6 points on 15.7 shot attempts per game. He has eclipsed 33 minutes in all but one contest in February. The issue for Trent in DFS has been adding peripheral stats beyond his scoring, but the remedy may well be a Wizards team that is both first in the NBA in pace and bottom five in just about every defensive category.
Grayson Allen ($4,700): The inactive status of Dillon Brooks on Friday due a thigh injury does not exactly help his case to play in Saturday's contest, and the benefactor could once again be Allen. Allen has seen more than 30 minutes per game in five of the last six contests, and he is averaging 0.89 FanDuel points per minute. Allen's 24.4-FanDuel point performance on Friday was just okay, so he may not be super popular tonight. And Allen was able to still obtain requisite value last night despite scoring only four real-world points. The matchup against the Suns is not ideal, but Allen is one of the best value options on the slate if Brooks sits.
Other Notable Plays: Terry Rozier ($7,000), Andrew Wiggins ($6,400)
Jimmy Butler ($9,200): The Miami have struggled after their Eastern Conference championship in the bubble, but Jimmy Butler is not a reason why. Even with the salary increase, Butler makes plenty of sense. He is averaging 48.4 FanDuel points per game in February, and his ceiling has been showcased often, with him topping 50 FanDuel points in four contests. With Goran Dragic still sidelined, Butler has taken on the role of ball-handler to the tune of team-high usage (25.3%) and FanDuel points per minute (1.38) over the last two weeks. On national television with just a 3.0-point spread, the Miami-LA game is perhaps the best one to target on the slate, even without the fast pace one might expect.
Derrick Jones Jr. ($4,400): Jones can be a frustrating DFS option, as his season-long rate of 0.67 FanDuel points per minute is among the worst of any player still fortunate enough to be seeing in excess of 30 minutes a night. However, in the past two weeks, that clip has elevated to 0.76. Jones has logged more than 31 minutes in each of the last three contests, and he has scored at least 13 points in each of the past two. There is no doubt that Jones is a lower-ceiling option than Malik Monk is at this same salary, but getting so many minutes against a poor Washington defense at least makes Jones an interesting pivot off rostering yet another Hornets player -- and that is not even including the extremely viable Gordon Hayward ($7,300) at this same position, as well.
Other Notable Plays: Mikal Bridges ($5,600), Malik Monk ($4,400)
Bam Adebayo ($8,800): In cash games, Adebayo feels similar to his fellow well-rounded power forward peer Julius Randle, as the floor is tough to pass on. Adebayo has failed to score at least 38 FanDuel points only twice in his last 14 contests dating back to January 23rd. He has also failed to reach the 30-minute plateau in just one contest since January 16th, which means that Miami does not mind using their star player in less-than-optimal game conditions and blowouts. That likely will not be the case in their contest with Lakers with such a tight spread, and Adebayo will have the benefit of facing them sans Anthony Davis. LA struggled against the smaller Brooklyn Nets on Thursday and gave up 51 boards to the ninth-worst rebounding team in the league.
Kyle Kuzma ($5,900): Kuzma is probable with his minor back issue, and that should mean another start and upwards of 30 minutes for the Lakers' forward if this game stays close. Kuzma has seen a FanDuel-points-per-minute increase from 0.89 to 0.99 in the last two weeks without Davis, and as crazy as this might sound, he really has yet to flash his per-minute upside since entering the starting lineup. Kuzma has scored at least 25 FanDuel points in fewer than 25 minutes five times this season, but zero of those have come since Davis exited the lineup earlier this month. That could change against Miami, a team that has surrendered the second-most three-point makes of any team in the league, and their porous perimeter defense has been the main culprit of their poor start to the season.
Other Notable Plays: PJ Washington ($5,600), Nemanja Bjelica ($5,100)
Deandre Ayton ($6,600): Even with poor recent results in hand, this salary is the lowest Ayton has had on FanDuel since entering the league, and it may be too low considering that the former top pick has broken 35 FanDuel points in 10 of 28 games this season. The strange thing about Ayton's drop has been that he is still averaging an incredibly healthy 32.4 minutes per game in February, so his role is in no danger. Ayton was the only member of Phoenix's frontcourt on Friday who played more than 30 minutes, and that court time should be valuable against the Memphis Grizzlies, who give up the third-most FanDuel points per game to opposing centers.
Other Notable Plays: Enes Kanter ($6,200)
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.