FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Sunday 3/21/21

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

PhiladelphiaNew York215.5+1.0108.25107.25630
LA LakersPhoenixTBD-8.5TBDTBD1925

A strange Saturday in the NBA has left some fresh injury question marks entering the Sunday slate of games. LeBron James suffered an ankle injury that has already ruled him out for Sunday. With the Los Angeles Lakers still sans Anthony Davis, huge usage and minutes are available for the Lakers as they take on the Phoenix Suns.

While LeBron left mid-game yesterday, Ben Simmons never made it to the floor. He was scratched for the Philadelphia 76ers game with the Sacramento Kings with a knee issue, and that has left him as a giant question mark for Sunday. Seth Curry is definitively out for a third straight game with his lingering ankle issue.

The remaining significant injury news is on the other side of that contest with the New York Knicks. Derrick Rose is already out as he continues to navigate COVID-19 protocols, but other point guards may join him. Elfrid Payton has missed the last four games with his hamstring injury, but he at least has a shot to play. On the injury report as well is Immanuel Quickley, who is listed questionable with an ankle injury. Quickley sitting would significantly dent the already tested depth of New York's backcourt.

Point Guard

Luka Doncic ($10,800): Do not look now, but Luka is doing Luka things again. Doncic has scored more than 60 FanDuel points in three straight games, including Friday's contest against these same Portland Trail Blazers. Doncic's usage on this latest hot streak (38.3%) is nearly 15 percentage points higher than his nearest fellow Dallas Mavericks starter, and Doncic has turned that into a 1.64 FanDuel points per minute. Doncic is also averaging 39.33 minutes per game in the past week as Dallas leans on their star player. Portland has allowed the fifth-most FanDuel points per game to opposing point guards.

Delon Wright ($6,200): The Detroit Pistons have been unreliable and unproductive for large stretches of this season, but move over Jerami Grant, because there is a second viable Pistons scorer. Delon Wright has posted at least 30 FanDuel points in four straight games, totaling 1.07 FanDuel points per minute in that stretch. His usage (17.7%) is not near that of Grant's (29.2%), but Wright has out-produced Grant in the span for a reason. Wright has at least eight assists in three straight games, and that has his March total up to 6.6 assists per game. Wright actually has a chance to raise his ceiling even higher if he can improve upon his 3-for-12 three-point shooting this month.

Other Notable Plays: Kyrie Irving ($9,100), Dennis Schroder ($6,100), Darius Garland ($5,500)

Shooting Guard

Fred VanVleet ($8,200): The Toronto Raptors are back to full strength, which makes this salary just a little low for someone with the nuclear upside that Fred VanVleet has displayed in spots this season. Before his layoff, VanVleet broke 48 FanDuel points in three of his last seven games, and that was on the back of a frigid February in which he shot just 40.9% from the field during the month. The Cleveland Cavaliers' defense is not good, as they have allowed the third-highest field goal percentage and boast the seventh-worst defensive rating. Positionally, however, Cleveland does worst against shooting guards, surrendering the fifth-most FanDuel points per game to opposing twos.

Alec Burks ($4,900): This is definitely contingent on the Knicks' point guard trio all being inactive on Sunday, but if they are, Burks flies to the top of the value board. Burks posted a 26.0% usage rate and 1.13 FanDuel points per minute as the secondary option to Julius Randle on Thursday against the Orlando Magic, but his production is nothing new besides opportunity. Burks has actually been more productive on a per-minute basis (0.90 FanDuel points per minute) than RJ Barrett (0.89), Elfrid Payton (0.86), and Nerlens Noel (0.82), but he has been buried at New York's deepest position. Injury news definitely will be key to watch, but if the dominoes fall as expected, Burks will be a great value again.

Other Notable Plays: Bradley Beal ($9,600), Reggie Bullock ($4,200), Talen Horton-Tucker ($4,000)

Small Forward

Rui Hachimura ($4,900): At the slate's worst position, it is time to talk about the slate's best game. The Washington Wizards and Brooklyn Nets combined for 295 points -- all in regulation -- in their last meeting, and the two high-pace squads square off again with new-looking units on Sunday. In some ways, being contrarian on this slate could be as simple as using stars from other games, and then picking value options from the Wiz and Nets. Hachimura is fully entrenched into the Wizards' frontcourt, as he is averaging 37.5 minutes per game over his last four contests. However, his production has ranged from as few as 17.4 FanDuel points to as many as 50.4. The pace of this game should help increase Hachimura's floor, which is usually lower because of his 17.8% usage rate, and this is a ceiling spot if there ever was one.

Joe Harris ($4,500): What could a sniper like Joe Harris do in a game with a 246.0-point total? Well, look no further than the last Nets-Wizards contest, when he dropped in eight three-pointers and 30 points overall. And, while that was his ceiling on FanDuel this year (37.7 FanDuel points), the reasoning for expecting another big performance again is sound. The Wizards not only have the fourth-worst defensive rating in the NBA (113.9), they also allow the fourth-highest three-point percentage (38.4%). Harris is averaging 32.4 minutes per game while Kevin Durant remains sidelined, and he is budget option to fill out a small forward position that is lacking on this slate.

Other Notable Plays: RJ Barrett ($5,900), Larry Nance Jr. ($5,300), OG Anunoby ($5,200)

Power Forward

Tobias Harris ($8,300): Yesterday's helper featured Harris because of his usage bump of 4.4 percentage points when Joel Embiid sits for Philadelphia, and while the salaries on FanDuel largely account for Embiid's absence, they do not account for possibly Ben Simmons being out, too. In a decent 190-minute sample without Embiid and Simmons on the floor this year, Harris has a monstrous 30.5% usage rate and has generated 1.24 FanDuel points per minute -- which blows any other 76ers player away. Extrapolating his scoring out to a 36-minute basis would leave Harris at 25.5 real-world points per game in this sample. Combined with his usual 7.76 rebounds per game, Harris is a player with a huge ceiling and a sturdy floor if Simmons sits.

Kyle Kuzma ($5,900): One of the greatest players of all time and the leading MVP candidate will miss Sunday's slate -- and I have not mentioned his team yet. The Lakers are 8.5-point road underdogs to the Suns, and they may struggle to keep pace without LeBron and AD. There is a surplus of usage and minutes to go around, but the ultimate efficiency downgrade of the offense is worrying enough to keep it out of no-brainer territory. The best overall package based on salary might be Kuzma, who does see a usage lift of 2.2 percentage points without LA's star pairing on the court. Kuzma has already scored more than 40 FanDuel points twice in March playing with LeBron. While he struggled Sunday from the field, Kuzma still saw the largest direct lift in minutes once LeBron left, totaling 37, compared to his 26.2 season average.

Other Notable Plays: Pascal Siakam ($7,900), Jerami Grant ($7,000), Jae Crowder ($3,900)


Jarrett Allen ($6,300): A month ago, Jarrett Allen was in play at nearly $10,000 in salary on his hot streak, but this salary is still curious with Allen averaging 37.5 FanDuel points per game in March. The return of Larry Nance Jr. certainly has capped Allen's upside a bit, but Allen has had plenty of usage and role battles this season between Brooklyn (with DeAndre Jordan) and Cleveland (with Andre Drummond), and he has still put out a top-shelf 1.14 FanDuel points per minute on the season as a whole. A key situation to watch in regards to Allen's upside on Sunday is on the offensive glass, as the Raptors' turmoil at the center position has led to them permitting the fifth-most second-chance points in the league. Allen is averaging the 10th-most offensive rebounds per game (3.1) among all players.

Other Notable Plays: Montrezl Harrell ($7,000), 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.