FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Saturday 3/27/21
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:
Thursday's trade deadline creates a lot of uncertainty for this slate, and injuries at the top of the player pool do us no favors. Luka Doncic missed Friday's contest with a back injury and is questionable for the Dallas Mavericks. On the other side of that contest, Lonzo Ball remains out with a hip injury for the New Orleans Pelicans. In addition, Kawhi Leonard of the Los Angeles Clippers has a foot issue that has him in doubt for a marquee matchup with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Shooting guard is an infirmary ward. Bradley Beal is nursing a foot injury, and he is a question mark for the Washington Wizards against the Detroit Pistons. Zach LaVine is questionable with an ankle injury, but he appears to at least have a chance to play. There is no chance we see Shai Gilgeous-Alexander for the Oklahoma City Thunder, who will miss a second straight game and many more to come with a foot injury. Collin Sexton also missed Friday's game for the Cleveland Cavaliers and is a doubt for Saturday with his hamstring injury.
We also are still waiting on word for some old faces in new places who may be debuting on this slate, including Evan Fournier of the Boston Celtics, Delon Wright for the Sacramento Kings, Kelly Olynyk of the Houston Rockets, and Daniel Theis for the Chicago Bulls.
John Wall ($8,200): On the second half of a back-to-back, Wall's status in a lost season is always worth monitoring. However, if he plays, he remains a clear-cut top option on a Rockets squad that is simply lacking playmakers. Wall posted a 41.8% usage rate on Friday against the Minnesota Timberwolves in an embarrassing loss, but he did as much as he was capable of with 14 points and 15 assists -- even at the price of seven turnovers. Wall draws a second straight great matchup with Minnesota, a team that surrenders the seventh-most FanDuel points per game to opposing point guards.
Ben Simmons ($8,200): Simmons has not taken the leap this week without Joel Embiid that conventional wisdom and his 26.9% usage rate (which leads all starters) would indicate, and it is largely due to a shooting slump. Simmons is shooting just 43.6% the past four games, which is far too low considering his total lack of volume from outside with only two three-point attempts in the month of March. If Simmons can return closer to his 55.6% season-long field goal percentage, he should be able to turn his usage and role in FanDuel production.
Zach LaVine ($8,000): Although definitely a question mark due to injury, the marquee star of a new-look Chicago Bulls squad at a significant salary discount is intriguing if LaVine does end up facing the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday. The Bulls traded for Nikola Vucevic, which should immediately boost the overall efficiency and scoring threat in Chicago's frontcourt. LaVine's salary, however, is far too low for the 30.2% usage and 1.09 FanDuel points per minute that he has posted in the month of March. Due to his injury status, LaVine may carry less popularity than usual unless we get clarity on him early in the day.
Tyrese Haliburton ($5,600): The Kings are alive. They have won five of six contests, and a large part of that has to due with the insertion of star rookie Haliburton into the starting lineup. At a rate of 0.95 FanDuel points per minute this year, he just needed consistent minutes to start producing big numbers, and he is up to 32.5 minutes per game over the last six. He may still be more of a tournament option given he failed to score 25 FanDuel points in three of the six games in that time, but he totaled 35 or more in two others, showing a good ceiling in his new role.
Luguentz Dort ($5,200): With Shai Gilgeous-Alexander out, the Thunder have had a tough time replacing their top option, but it was Dort who filled the role on Thursday. The forward is known better for his defense, but he took a team-high 17 shots with a team-high 27.5% usage in the past week. That type of role provides -- at the very least -- interesting upside against the Boston Celtics. He has quietly scored at least 14 real-world points in three of his past four contests, which does give him a semblance of floor, as well.
Saddiq Bey ($5,200): With Delon Wright dealt to the Kings, the assumption behind using Bey on Saturday is that someone besides Jerami Grant has to be a usable option in a great DFS matchup against the top-paced Wizards. Bey was second behind Grant in minutes (33) on Friday night, and that is substantial given that the Detroit Pistons played a nauseating 13-man rotation with very little clarification on post-trade roles and outcomes. Bey's upside is capped with just a 19.4% usage rate, but thanks to his rebounding, he has posted at least 26 FanDuel points in four of his last five games.
Julius Randle ($9,900): There are sensible ways to save, but a well-rounded stat-stuffer in a gigantic pace-up spot cannot be ignored. Randle and the New York Knicks are the slowest-paced team in the league, and they are taking on the Milwaukee Bucks, who are third in pace. Randle should be the primary benefactor. At 28.0% usage and 1.19 FanDuel points per minute, Randle has a top-notch role and produces with it. The Bucks have struggled mightily to defend power forwards, relinquishing the third-most FanDuel points per game to opposing fours.
Kristaps Porzingis ($7,900): Missing the high-end usage of Luka Doncic on Friday, Porzingis stepped up for the Mavs. Dallas lost handily, but Porzingis played 37 minutes and posted a mammoth 37 points and 18 rebounds. That should come as no surprise with Porzingis at a strong 30.5% usage and 1.14 FanDuel points per minute on the entire season when Doncic has been off the floor. Porzingis gets the Pelicans on Saturday, and the Pels have struggled on D all year with the third-worst defensive rating (115.7).
Robert Williams ($5,600): Fear not, Boston Celtics fans, as "Time Lord" has been freed. With Daniel Theis traded and Tristan Thompson out, Williams drew the start on Friday, and while he played a somewhat disappointing minute total with just 27, he went off. As has been the case all season for the man averaging a team-high 1.31 FanDuel points per minute, Williams made the most of his run with 47.8 FanDuel points. Williams is no-brainer in his new role given that his salary is still appropriated to his previous role from before the Theis deal. Thompson is out again Saturday. If Williams continues to average 0.37 rebounds and 0.1 blocks per minute, he will remain a fantasy force the remainder of the season.
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.