FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Sunday 8/2/20
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 break down today's main slate:
Russell Westbrook ($9,900): My goodness, what a fantasy goldmine the Houston Rockets have turned into. Their "small ball" lineup concentrated on creating offense has totally disintegrated their defense to the point where they and the Dallas Mavericks passed the over/under in the third quarter on Friday night. They still sit fourth in the NBA in pace, and they welcome the Milwaukee Bucks, who are sporting the NBA's best record, onto the floor in Orlando. In such a high-paced game, with a current total of 242.5 (bet the over, by the way), I prefer Westbrook to James Harden. Westbrook continues to accumulate peripheral stats built on pace as he's still averaging 0.22 rebounds and 0.19 assists per minute. That may give him easier access to FanDuel points than Harden, who will have to score on the Bucks' number-one rated defense (101.6 defensive rating).
Kemba Walker ($5,400): This price tag may be the tiniest ever for a current-year All-Star starter, but Kemba was on a minutes restriction on Friday, playing just 19 minutes as he still continues to work on returning from a knee injury. Still, he scored 16 points in just those 19 minutes, and reports are he will see his minutes limit increased. numberFire is optimistic, as well, currently projecting 27 minutes and 33.6 FanDuel points for Walker. At the very least, there is a lot of talent baked into this smaller price tag, and he has a great matchup against a Portland Trail Blazers team that gives up the second-most FanDuel points per game to opposing point guards.
Khris Middleton ($6,900): On the other side of the Rockets' revolution will be those Bucks, and a lot of them are in great spots. Not only because of Houston's abandonment of all things defense, but also because Eric Bledsoe may continue to miss time as he works on conditioning after arriving late to the bubble. Whether Bledsoe plays or not, Middleton should have plenty of looks at the Rockets' defense that does not mind letting shooters do just that. Houston gives up the fourth-most three-point attempts in the NBA and just allowed Trey Burke to hit eight of them off the bench. Middleton, at 41.3% on the season from distance, is a good deal better than Burke. He will be a threat to drop 30 points on Sunday night in addition to his usual playmaking and rebounding.
Lonnie Walker ($4,400): The former first-round pick from the Miami Hurricanes is finally starting to get some run. Walker took advantage of injuries to LaMarcus Aldridge and Trey Lyles to crack the starting five -- as a forward. It's hard to argue he did not play well as he had 16 points and 4 assists in 32 minutes for the San Antonio Spurs. Walker is very affordable again here, is seeing a good amount of minutes, and has talent to back it up. With so much salary to allocate to the Bucks/Rockets game, Walker is a cheap plug at a position that will need one, whether you start your lineup building with Middleton or Harden.
Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,200): Where do I even begin with Giannis? He is priced up, but for very good reason, and he checks just about every box in this matchup with Houston. The athletic rim-runner with be able to attack a Rockets team that cedes the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing small forwards -- usually because they are playing a traditional guard at this spot -- and they just gave up 64 points in the paint to the Mavericks. Antetokounmpo prefers to score inside, posting an astronomical 59.2% of his points from inside the paint, which more closely resembles a center. Giannis will have a chance to better his 1.88 FanDuel points per minute in such a high-paced affair that will give him plenty of chances to amass rebounds and assists. Don't go cheap. Roster Giannis.
Troy Brown ($4,900): There is some value inside the Washington Wizards as they continue to sort out their rotation without Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans. It feels like throwing a dart to pick which player sees a lot of minutes, but I like Brown in this spot. Brown got the start on Friday, which indicates a desire to play the young wing, but he struggled with fouls early in the contest. Brown still scored 15 points in 27 minutes despite that foul trouble, but where he has room to improve DFS-wise should come is in peripheral stats. Brown should make better use out of his 22.0% usage rate without Beal and Bertans on the floor than only a single assist and single rebound, which was the case Friday. He has a great chance against a sputtering Brooklyn Nets squad that gives up the ninth-most FanDuel points per game to opposing small forwards.
Jaren Jackson Jr. ($5,900): Jackson was simply too cheap on Friday ($4,700), and he saw a ton of ownership as a result. He sees a huge price increase today, but he still very much is in a position to produce value from it. The athletic big man can score FanDuel points in a lot of ways, evident by his average of 1.06 FanDuel points per minute. He should be the first real test to a Spurs' defense now without LaMarcus Aldridge and Trey Lyles, and he presents a potential mismatch athletically to their personnel. He is too large (6'10") for DeMar DeRozan, who started at the four on Friday, and far too athletic for Jakob Poeltl. San Antonio already gives up the eighth-most FanDuel points per game to opposing power forwards, and it may only get worse from here.
Nemanja Bjelica ($4,700): De'Aaron Fox went absolutely nuts for the Kings on Friday, scoring 39 points on 33 shots against the Spurs. All other members of the Kings paid the price in terms of volume for scoring, as only one other player shot more than 13 times. Bjelica capitalized on his eight shots, scoring 12 points in 30 minutes, which was good enough to hit value on FanDuel with 27.5 points. The hope is Bjelica returns closer to his 9.4 shots per game in this next contest as well as closer to his 8.09 rebounds per 36 minutes, as well. He sets up as a nice play today at a bargain price.
Thomas Bryant ($5,400): Minutes for the productive young Wizards' center is something worth rejoicing. Bryant's production has never been the issue -- 1.06 FanDuel points per minute -- but rather getting enough time on the court has been the problem. He saw a huge uptick in minutes on Friday from his 23.9 minutes per game average on the season as he logged 32 against the Nets. His poor shooting may have him flying under the radar from a fantasy perspective as he went 4 of 12 from the field, scoring 10 points. numberFire is optimistic, projecting him to total 27.4 FanDuel points in only 24.3 minutes, but Bryant may more minutes than that as the Wizards' best defensive hope against Jarrett Allen.
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.