FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Sunday 4/11/21
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.
Some huge names will be missing from Sunday's packed slate. Giannis Antetokounmpo is doubtful to return for the Milwaukee Bucks from his knee injury, especially so against the lowly Orlando Magic. Kawhi Leonard has already been ruled out for rest purposes against the Detroit Pistons, but Pascal Siakam is expected back from rest for the Toronto Raptors after Siakam missed Saturday's contest.
Lonzo Ball sits for a sixth consecutive New Orleans Pelicans game with his hip concern, and Fred VanVleet is doubtful with a hip injury for Toronto, a team that is expected to be shorthanded even with Siakam returning, as Kyle Lowry (foot) is in jeopardy, as well. Speaking of shorthanded, the Cleveland Cavaliers will be missing Jarrett Allen and Larry Nance Jr. again, but both could return Wednesday against the Charlotte Hornets.
There are also injuries to quality starters that will free up plenty of usage and minutes on this slate. Jerami Grant missed Saturday's contest for the Detroit Pistons and is questionable to return for Sunday. Victor Oladipo will miss his first of at least four games with a knee injury for the Miami Heat, and Tyler Herro is also questionable as his backup with a foot injury. The Indiana Pacers will be without Myles Turner for a third straight contest due to his ankle injury. Chuma Okeke has emerged as a budding star for the Orlando Magic, but his status for Orlando is in doubt due to a hip injury.
Luka Doncic ($10,200): You know a player is talented when he has not scored fewer than 40 FanDuel points in 23 days and the collective public is asking, "What is wrong with Luka Doncic?" From a role perspective, nothing has changed for the worse, as Doncic holds a 36.1% usage rate for the entire season, and in this two-week cold spell, that usage is still 36.3%. Where Doncic has failed to realize his usual upside is with his shot. Coming off a month of March where he shot 52.7% from the field, Doncic is down to 45.4% to begin April. He is still a player who has broken 50 FanDuel points seven times in his last 24 games, and a recent poor shooting slump does not lower his upside if his role has not changed. A great matchup against the San Antonio Spurs could turn him in the right direction, as San Antonio allows the sixth-most FanDuel points per game to opposing point guards.
Kira Lewis Jr. ($4,400): With Lonzo Ball and Nickeil Alexander-Walker still out for New Orleans and shooting guard so loaded that Eric Bledsoe doesn't even merit consideration, the best place to attack the shortage in the Pels' backcourt is with Lewis, who is just returning from a calf injury. Lewis posted 20.1 FanDuel points in 20 minutes on Friday. The lottery pick may not start, but Lewis sees a 1.9-percentage-point usage bump with at Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson off the floor, and that will allow him to make the best use of his minutes. The Pelicans likely want to see what Lewis has to offer, so he may see closer to his average of 26.1 minutes per game in April now that he is a few days further removed from injury. Only time will tell if his 1.00 FanDuel points per minute sticks over a larger sample.
Collin Sexton ($7,400): Sexton was fantastic scoring the ball once again on Saturday, but that comes as no surprise for the Alabama product has now scored at least 20 real-world points in seven straight games. As the Cavs have been missing their two starters in the frontcourt, more of the offensive load has fallen on Sexton, who has posted a 29.9% usage rate to go alongside a clip of 1.05 FanDuel points per minute over the past two weeks. As a result of his role, Sexton's floor in daily fantasy is tremendous, as he has scored at least 31.6 FanDuel points in each of his seven games on this streak. Beyond the obvious chalk of Paul George with Kawhi resting, Sexton is the next best option and an interesting pivot.
Gary Trent Jr. ($6,200): It is possible the Portland Trail Blazers made a colossal mistake bailing on their former first-round pick. Trent launched a nuclear missile at the Cavaliers on Saturday, as he scored 44 points on 17-of-19 shooting, including 9-of-10 from three-point range. With VanVleet and Lowry both out, Trent is definitely the beneficiary, as he has seen a usage boost of 2.0 percentage points with the pair off the floor in a limited sample. His role in Sunday's game will obviously depend on the availability of both Lowry and VanVleet, and if either were to play, both George and Sexton are better options. Still, with such a quick turnaround, the time may be right to buy low on Trent's ceiling and ability to score, although he could be a popular play after last night's eruption.
Khris Middleton ($7,800): Middleton will likely go under the radar on Sunday, even at a difficult position. He just simply has not produced in the past five contests without Giannis, even though the offensive hierarchy would indicate he should. No Milwaukee player has a higher usage rate (30.1%) than Middleton when Giannis is off the floor this year, and Middleton's 1.09 FanDuel points per minute in that split for the season is better his clip in the split over the past five games (1.04 FanDuel points per minute). But if you want a piece of the Bucks, Middleton is my preferred pick. Opportunity cost is such a key factor of NBA daily fantasy, and there are more practical alternatives at Jrue Holiday's and Bobby Portis' positions than there are small forward. However, all of Milwaukee's players carry at least some element of blowout risk as sizable 8.5-point favorites over the Magic.
Kyle Anderson ($7,000): It feels like this moment has been coming since he entered the league in 2014, but Anderson finally has a role in the NBA. The Memphis Grizzlies' new starting power forward has put up some monstrous numbers on a per-minute basis over the past two weeks, so much so that he enters Sunday at the exact same salary as Grizzlies' leader Ja Morant. Anderson has averaged 1.27 FanDuel points per minute in the past two weeks. Among Grizzles, that trails only the unofficial champion of the stat, Jonas Valanciunas (1.41). However, unlike JV, Anderson is actually getting to play real minutes, as he is up to 27.6 minutes per game in April. Memphis has a tough matchup with Indiana, but one of the league's best defenses has been a little kinder to small forwards, as the Pacers give up the 11th-most FanDuel points per game to the position.
Domantas Sabonis ($9,100): The Pacers' frontcourt has been bitten by the injury bug, and Myles Turner is set to miss Sunday's game. Sabonis returned Friday to post 45 FanDuel points in 32 minutes. That should come as no surprise, as the All-Star owns a usage increase of 1.3 percentage points and a boost of 0.09 FanDuel points per minute when Turner has been off the court. Sabonis is one of the best big men in the NBA at bringing the ball up the floor, which presents interesting upside against Memphis' solid defense. The Grizzlies' one weakness has been their transition D as they give up the fourth-most fast-break points (14.1).
Marcus Morris ($4,700): An obvious place to turn when Kawhi Leonard sits is Paul George. Of the remaining members of the Clippers besides PG, Morris is second in usage (23.4%) and third in FanDuel points per minute (0.89) when Kawhi is off the floor. Morris is already in the starting lineup, but he could be in for more minutes than the 27.4 per game he has seen in April. Morris might be heavily overlooked due to the presence of Bobby Portis at this position, but Morris is a very strong play tonight.
Jakob Poeltl ($6,800): With LaMarcus Aldridge out of the picture, Poeltl is the big man in charge for the Spurs, and he has delivered when given the opportunity. In the last 10 contests in which Poeltl has seen at least 30 minutes, he is averaging 39.5 FanDuel points per game, and he should get a healthy amount of minutes with the Dallas Mavericks willing to play big men Kristaps Porzingis and Maxi Kleber. With so many long-standing injuries, value is a little tough to come by at the moment, so it won't be easy to get to top-end centers like Karl-Anthony Towns and Bam Adebayo, and there's a distinct lack of mid-range center seeing stable minutes. So there are worse route to take than going with Poeltl.
Other Notable Plays: Bam Adebayo ($8,800), Ivica Zubac ($4,600)
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.