FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Tuesday 1/26/21
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 and COVID-19 situations. Our projections update up until tip-off to reflect current news and we also have player news updates.
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.
Please note: When I'm referencing a player's value figure, it is the number of fantasy points scored for every $1,000 in salary. Typically, a value figure of 5.0 (meaning, 5.0 FanDuel points for every $1,000 in salary) is the minimum baseline we'll be targeting.
Let's take a look at who you should target on tonight's three-game slate, which locks at 7:30 PM Eastern.
Via Brandon Gdula's matchup sheet, this table shows each team's spread and implied total (plus the over/under for their game). It also includes opponent-adjusted offensive rating and the adjusted defensive rating for each team's opponent, including league-wide ranks for each.
Teams are sorted by implied team total.
Core Plays and Value options: We don't have much to work off this season but in 568.6 minutes with PG13, Kawhi, and Beverley off the court last season, Lou Williams ($6,000) had a 35.5% usage rate while averaging 1.32 FanDuel points per minute, according to RotoGrinders. Williams hasn't done much this season, though this is a guy who topped 35 fantasy points 18 times in 2019-20. In fact, in the 26 games in which Williams saw at least 30 minutes of action, he averaged 35.9 FanDuel points. On the season, the Atlanta Hawks have ceded the sixth-most fantasy points to point guards, according to numberFire's DvP tool. Williams wasn't the only one to see a bump with those players off the court, however -- Reggie Jackson ($5,000) saw an increase of 5.4% in usage while averaging an additional 0.32 FanDuel points per minute. The Clips aren't the only team who will be down a number of bodies on Tuesday, as the Washington Wizards could very well be without seven players. In the first game with that short roster, Jerome Robinson ($3,600) posted 31 FanDuel points in 35.3 minutes of action. Our model has Robinson projected as the best value at the position.
Key Stud: Our model's second-best projected value is John Wall ($7,700). Wall only played 20.7 minutes in his return to the lineup on Saturday, but he should see a significant uptick in that department against his former squad. To date, the Wizards have surrendered the second-most fantasy points to the position.
Other option: Trae Young ($10,600) is worth some exposure if he's active, though his salary would require him to reach a number (53.0) he's only achieved once this season in order to return our baseline value figure. I'd consider him more of a fade on this slate.
Key Stud: The upside of Bradley Beal ($10,300) is damn near impossible to match on this slate, and our model projects him to outscore every other player by 7.5 FanDuel points. In his last five games, Beal has had outings of 53.5, 74.9, and 65.1 fantasy points. The 27-year-old hasn't posted fewer than 40 FanDuel points in any contest this season. Beal is damn near a must-roster on this one.
Core(ish) Plays and Value options: Our model's second-best projected value on the entire slate is Alec Burks ($5,300). Burks has topped 26.5 (what he needs for a value figure of 5.0) in four of his six games this season, and numberFire has him projected for 32.0 tonight. Burks gets a good draw in the Utah Jazz, who are allowing the sixth-most fantasy points to shooting guards this campaign. Of course, Luke Kennard ($5,500) and Terance Mann ($3,500) must also be considered with LA's stars out. Mann recorded 31.3 FanDuel points in the only game he saw more than 25 minutes this season. Our algorithm's second-best projected value at shooting guard is Kevin Huerter ($4,800). A number of players are banged-up for the, so Huerter could see increased usage.
Core Plays and Value options: Nicolas Batum ($5,500) is going to be popular tonight at perhaps the thinnest position on the slate. Batum has had four games this season with more than 29 FanDuel points, and he'll be facing an Atlanta defense that's allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to small forwards this season. On the other side, De'Andre Hunter ($5,600) could be worth rostering. Hunter's posted more than 30 fantasy points in 7 of his last 11 outings -- he would only need 28 for a 5.0 value figure tonight.
Other options: Garrison Mathews ($4,300) is averaging 24.4 FanDuel points over his last three, and he should see a larger-than-usual role, given how shorthanded Washington might be. Jae'Sean Tate ($3,800) has eclipsed 20 fantasy points in five of his last eight games, and he would only need 19 for a value figure of 5.0. That's all we should be looking for at small forward tonight.
Studs to consider: Julius Randle ($9,100) has failed to total at least 41.9 FanDuel points just once in his last 12 games. He'll be popular, but you might just have to eat the chalk on this slate. You can also pivot to John Collins ($7,400), though he has tended to disappoint this season when Atlanta's been relatively healthy. If either Clint Capela or Trae Young were to miss this game, Collins' outlook would improve dramatically.
Core(ish) Plays: Our model's top-two projected values at the position are Serge Ibaka ($5,800) and Marcus Morris ($5,000). Ibaka has already had five outings with more than 30 FanDuel points this season, and the incoming bump in volume makes him an excellent play. Morris likely doesn't possess the same upside as his teammate, though he should have a relatively safe floor at his salary.
Dart throw: Isaac Bonga ($4,200) played 32.6 minutes on Sunday and could see a similar workload tonight. Bonga garnered 22.9 fantasy points in that contest.
Key Stud and Core Play: Save some salary for center -- this isn't a position you want to go thrift-shopping at. With Christian Wood off the court, DeMarcus Cousins ($7,200) averages 1.4 FanDuel points per minute. He's played 32.8 and 29.8 minutes in his last two, and our model projects him to see 29.3 minutes of action tonight. Better yet, numberFire's algorithm projects Cousins to be the second-highest scorer on the entire slate -- that would make him the best value on the slate, by far. Cousins is facing a Wizards team that ranks dead last against centers when adjusted for competition. Cousins is a no-brainer on this limited three-gamer.
Other options: If you'd like to be contrarian, Rudy Gobert ($8,300) could be worth a look. Gobert's topped 40 FanDuel points seven times and the New York Knicks are the second-most generous team to centers this season.
The injured stud: Clint Capela ($10,500) missed the last game with an injured hand, though he was averaging an eye-popping 64.8 FanDuel points in the four games prior. Capela is currently questionable. I'd split my exposure between him and Cousins were he to be active.