FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Wednesday 3/4/20
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 take a look at who you should target on today's main slate.
Notable injury situations to monitor: Boston's lineup will look a hell of a lot different tonight -- Kemba Walker (rest), Gordon Hayward, and Jaylen Brown are all OUT, and Jayson Tatum is probable -- there are also rumblings about a possible Marcus Smart suspension. For the Cleveland Cavaliers, Tristan Thompson is questionable, while Andre Drummond and Darius Garland are OUT. Zach LaVine will miss another game for the Chicago Bulls, while Lauri Markkanen could be making his return. Derrick Rose and Luke Kennard are OUT for the Detroit Pistons, while Bruce Brown Jr. is doubtful. Meyers Leonard and Tyler Herro remain OUT for the Miami Heat. The Memphis Grizzlies will continue to be without Jaren Jackson Jr., Justise Winslow, and Brandon Clarke for the foreseeable future. Dennis Smith will be OUT for the New York Knicks -- Mitchell Robinson and Kevin Knox are questionable. Karl-Anthony Towns, J.J. Redick, and Jeremy Lamb remain out for their respective teams.
(All matchup data is provided via FantasyPros)
Slam Dunk -- There's a non-zero percent chance that the Celtics will have to bring Paul Pierce out on a wheelchair tonight so that he could suit up for them. Boston could very well be down four starters. All that means that there's going to be fantastic value in their depth pieces. Now they're going up against a Cavaliers teams that's allowing the most fantasy points, assists, steals, and blocks to opposing point guards. Hello, Brad Wanamaker ($3,600). If you wanna make (I know, right?) a lineup full of studs, you're going to wanna start with cheap plays like Wanamaker. In the 12 games where Wanamaker has played at least 25 minutes, he has averaged 22.6 FanDuel points. At a near-minimum salary of $3,600, he needs just 18 fantasy points to equal 5x value (or 5.0 FanDuel points per $1,000 in salary) -- it's not difficult to imagine him finishing at 8-10x tonight.
And One -- Over their last 15 games, the ever-stingy Boston defense has surrendered the fourth-most fantasy points to the point guard position. Collin Sexton ($5,700) -- who has averaged 37.3 minutes over his last four contests -- is in a great spot tonight. Boston likely going with their JV lineup tonight should lead to a closer game, as indicated by the two-point spread. Also working in Sexton's favor is the fact that Darius Garland will miss his second consecutive game tonight. Sexton posted a season-high 50.5 fantasy points on Monday in Garland's first absence of the season. The 21-year-old needs 28.5 points to reach 5x -- he's topped that in 20 of his last 27 contests. Our model pegs him for 31.8 points tonight.
Free Throw -- According to our algorithm, Luka Doncic ($10,400) has the second-highest ceiling on tonight's slate. The "stud" risk here is not to be ignored, as Doncic has topped 50 fantasy points just twice in his last six contests, and he hasn't recorded a 60-point performance since January 21st. That said, he's participating in a significant pace-up game tonight, a game that has the second-biggest projected total on the slate. He'll be squaring off against a New Orleans Pelicans squad that has surrendered the fifth-most fantasy points to point guards on the season. Our model has him projected for 57.1 points tonight, clearing 5x value with ease.
Slam Dunk -- Caris LeVert ($6,000) posted 51 points against the Celtics last night -- not fantasy points, real-life points. As for fantasy, it was his second 60-plus point outing in his last four games. Amazingly, he's just $6,000 on FanDuel tonight. This is a guy who has exceeded 35 fantasy points -- usually with ease -- in 9 of his last 12 contests. He needs just 30 tonight for 5x value. It's likely that everyone and their grandmothers will have LeVert in the lineup, but I'd think long and hard before going contrarian here. His opponent, the Grizzlies, have been the second-most generous team to shooting guards over their last 30 contests. He's our projected second-best value at the position.
And One -- As of now, Marcus Smart ($6,500) has yet to be suspended for his actions last night. If he plays, it'll be hard to ignore the value he brings. The Cavaliers are the eighth-most giving team to shooting guards this season. More importantly, they're top-three in steals and blocks allowed to the position, which is where Smart brings home the bread. Smart has averaged 48.3 FanDuel points over his last three contests, and he should be in that range once again tonight.
Free Throw -- The Utah Jazz have surrendered the most fantasy and real-life points to shooting guards over their last 15 games. Thus, the matchup for RJ Barrett ($5,200) isn't as grim as some people might believe. Now, the New York Knicks are so dysfunctional that they managed to get Spike Lee to stop attending their games -- but hey, at least they still have James Dolan. With this team, it's hard to trust anyone without instantly regretting it, but Barrett has posted at least 25.3 points in four of his last five contests.
Slam Dunk -- Boston is usually elite at defending small forwards -- second-best, in fact -- but they also usually have Jaylen Brown and Gordon Hayward, both of whom are out tonight. Kevin Porter Jr. ($5,000) has quietly averaged 33.1 over his last five games. He has also scored at least 27.9 in five of his last six home bouts. With Andre Drummond and Alfonzo McKinnie -- and possibly Tristan Thompson -- inactive tonight, there should once again be plenty of minutes for Porter Jr. to do his thing. He's projected to be the second-best value at the position, per our models.
And One -- You're going to want to sit down for this one -- I'm predicting that Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,600) is going to score a lot of fantasy points tonight. I know it's bold, but I'm sticking with it. In all seriousness, knowing what studs to go with is nearly as important as finding good value plays. Giannis is coming off a poor performance against the Heat, one where he posted just 38.5 points on FanDuel. In the last seven instances where Giannis has failed to reach 50 fantasy points, he has bounced back with an average of 62.23 points, including at least 57.8 in each contest. Anchor your lineup with the MVP tonight, as he has our highest projected ceiling by 6.14 points.
Free Throw -- Over their last 15 games, only the Wolves have allowed more points to small forwards than the Pelicans. Tim Hardaway Jr. ($5,800) often flies under the radar -- especially when Doncic is active -- but he should actually be a solid play for the team with the second-highest implied total on the slate. Hardaway has topped 30 points on FanDuel in six of his last nine games, and he needs just 29 to reach 5x.
Slam Dunk -- I'm going back to the Boston well for this one now that Jayson Tatum ($9,300) is listed as probable. The Cavaliers have allowed the second-most real-life and fourth-most fantasy points to power forwards over their last 15 games, but that's not the reason why Tatum is a slam dunk play. Tatum has played 295.9 minutes without each of Walker, Brown, and Hayward on the floor -- his usage in those minutes is an absurd 39.7%. He also averaged an additional 0.18 fantasy points per minute in that sample. The recently-turned 22-year-old needs 46.5 to reach 5x on FanDuel, and he's exceeded that in 7 of his last 11 games.
And One -- Naz Reid ($4,500) has been a popular "value" play for quite some time, and that's not going to come to an end against the pitful Chicago Bulls. On the season, only the Portland Trail Blazers have been more generous to opposing power forwards than the Bulls, who are also top-five in real-life points, assists, steals, and blocks allowed to the position. Reid needs 22.5 points to reach 5x value, and he's surpassed that in five of his last eight. Our model has Reid projected as the best value on the entire slate.
Free Throw -- As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, the team most inept at defending power forwards are the Blazers. Portland has been kind enough to allow the most fantasy and real-life points to the position this season. They're also top-six in rebounds, made three-pointers, and blocks conceded to the position. Davis Bertans ($4,500) needs 24.5 points to reach 5x, and he's gone over that total in five of his last seven. numberFire projects him as the second-best value at the position.
Slam Dunk -- Steven Adams ($6,000) has failed to reach 24 fantasy points in three consecutive contests. However, prior to that, he had scored at least 36 in five straight. Over their last 30 games, only the Atlanta Hawks have been worse at defending centers than the Detroit Pistons. During that period, Detroit has also allowed the most blocks to the position, which makes this a salivating matchup for Adams. Look for the seven-footer to break out of funk in this one.