FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Sunday 4/18/21
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.
Impact news with stars will have a profound impact on the trajectory of this slate. Kawhi Leonard is the biggest remaining question mark for the Los Angeles Clippers, as he is in danger of missing a fifth straight game with his foot injury. He is listed questionable with a possibility to play.
Damian Lillard is already out of Sunday's contest for the Portland Trail Blazers with his hamstring injury, and fellow point guard John Wall will also be out Sunday for the Houston Rockets due to injury maintenance. Gary Trent Jr. is a question mark for the Toronto Raptors with his ankle injury.
The Charlotte Hornets possess a bulk of the remaining pieces of the puzzle, as PJ Washington could be out a fourth straight game with his ankle injury, and Devonte' Graham could miss a second straight appearance with his lingering quadriceps injury.
Terry Rozier ($7,500): With LaMelo Ball done for the year and Gordon Hayward still on the shelf, the Hornets' playoff hopes lie on Terry Rozier, and Charlotte knows it. Rozier has played 40 or more minutes in back-to-back games and has delivered with at least 48 FanDuel points in both contests. Rozier's role has taken off, as well, as he is up to 26.3% usage and 1.20 FanDuel points per minute over the past week. With that ceiling in mind, he also has a great matchup against Portland, a team that has allowed the sixth-most FanDuel points per game to opposing point guards.
Kyle Lowry ($7,000): Beyond Rozier, point guard gets difficult unless you're opting for Damian Lillard's replacement, Anfernee Simons, in a value spot. At this low of a salary, Lowry certainly deserves attention given that he has broken 40 FanDuel points six times since February 15th. Worth monitoring is the status of Fred VanVleet, who played only 23 minutes on Friday and is very much in doubt for Saturday's contest. Lowry sees a usage bump of 3.2 percentage points without VanVleet on the floor this season, so he would become a major factor in Sunday's affair with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
C.J. McCollum ($7,900): The formula in the Portland backcourt is nothing new -- when one member misses, the other becomes immediately relevant for fantasy purposes, especially with McCollum's slight salary decrease. McCollum has seen a 3.1-percentage-point usage bump without Lillard in a limited sample due to McCollum's injury for most of 2021, and McCollum made good on that with a 44.1 FanDuel-point performance Friday in Lillard's absence. The matchup does not get much more positive than this as the Hornets give up the sixth-most FanDuel points per game to opposing two guards.
Gary Harris ($4,000): "The unknown" is the reason that Harris is intriguing in this spot. The former lottery pick has been a fourth or fifth option with the Denver Nuggets nearly his whole career, but now back from injury, Harris is starting and has averaged 28.5 minutes per game the last two contests for the Orlando Magic. Harris has a 20.7% usage rate so far in Orlando, which is 4.1 percentage points higher than his mark this season with Denver. That creates some fairly significant upside for him at a $4,000 salary.
Kevin Porter Jr. ($6,500): Especially with John Wall sitting, Kevin Porter Jr. is always going to be a factor in tournaments. Porter has broken 35 FanDuel points eight times with the Rockets, most recently on April 12th with a 22-point, 14-assist outburst. Porter sees the biggest lift this season of anyone on Houston's current roster when Wall sits, with a usage rate increase of 2.5 percentage points and spike of +0.11 FanDuel points per minute. Over the past two weeks, Orlando has the fourth-worst defensive rating in the league, and this showdown of poor defenses makes for one of the best fantasy spots on this small slate.
Luguentz Dort ($6,200): The Thunder have been searching for an offensive answer after the loss of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Dort appears to be the answer. He is in his own zip code on OKC in terms of shooting volume, averaging 21.0 shots per game in April thus far. That has been accompanied in the past week with 32.6% usage and 1.42 FanDuel points per minute, which, in a blind comparison, is far closer to Giannis Antetokounmpo's numbers than your average defensive-minded small forward. Dort's progression is worth a steady eye, and a narrative never hurts, as the Canadian native faces the Raptors on Sunday.
Kristaps Porzingis ($8,800): As Luka Doncic has fallen off slightly from a fantasy perspective, his partner in crime is building speed. Porzingis has scored 20 or more real-world points in five straight games and piled up at least 12 rebounds in four of his last five. If he can match those efforts against the Sacramento Kings, he will be the clear top option at an iffy power forward position. The Kings give up the third-most offensive rebounds in the NBA (10.5), and they will be without starting center Richaun Holmes.
Darius Bazley ($5,500): When examining his role further, Bazley is due for some regression in his recent fantasy production. His usage the past week is up to 24.0% without Gilgeous-Alexander in the lineup, compared to a 20.7% usage mark on the season, but his production has not followed. In fact, despite averaging 0.79 FanDuel points per minute on the whole season, he has actually dropped to 0.78 in this latest stretch, and it has a lot to do with just 2-for-18 shooting in this most recent three-game span. Even so, Bazley has still broken 29 FanDuel points in three of four contests, so his ceiling could be unlocked with a better shooting night.
Chris Boucher ($7,300): The curious case of Chris Boucher is he has produced better without regular minutes than with them. All season, Boucher has failed to lock down a high-minute role, and he averages just 24.0 minutes per game as a result. But he has still posted a Toronto-best 1.22 FanDuel points per minute. Boucher has bumped up to a healthy 28.7 minutes in April, but his production has dropped to 1.11 FanDuel points per minute as some of Toronto's other players sitting has downgraded the offense as a whole. There is a big night lurking for Boucher, one when his per-minute production matches his new role, and the upside will be tremendous when he finds it.
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.