FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Tuesday 10/19/21

James Harden led the Nets in usage and production in floor situations without Kyrie last season. Where else should we turn on Tuesday's opening-night NBA slate?

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 a player's 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.

The Slate

Away Home Home
Brooklyn Milwaukee 119.5 117.5 11 2
Golden State LA Lakers 112 115.5 3 21

The NBA season kicks off in earnest with this tricky, two-game slate. In the opener, the Bucks will receive their rings while hosting the Eastern Conference favorite Nets. Then, the new-look Lakers will host Stephen Curry and the Warriors.

There is one notable absence, and that is "Kanye in Sneakers" himself -- Kyrie Irving. Irving is not currently cleared to play basketball in New York due to his vaccination status and is away from the team.

Milwaukee is also without a rotation piece as well, as Bobby Portis is currently out with a hamstring injury. That opens up room in Milwaukee's minute hierarchy for Semi Ojeleye and Pat Connaughton.


James Harden ($10,600): With Kyrie out, Brooklyn's two other stars seem to give the most bang for their buck. With Irving off the floor last season, Harden posted a team-high usage rate (34.9%) and FanDuel points per minute mark (1.63). Harden has coasted through preseason with just a 24.7% usage rate, but now fully healthy, expect him to be the Nets' primary ball-handler for the entire season. He fills either guard spot at $200 short of Kevin Durant's salary.

Stephen Curry ($9,800): The Dubs will be without Klay Thompson to begin the regular season, and that likely means Curry sees a gaudy workload that put him into the MVP conversation one year ago. Curry posted a team-high 34.0% usage that cleared the next highest starter (24.3%) by nearly 10 percentage points. He also tacked on 1.40 FanDuel points per minute in that period behind a surprising career-high 5.80 rebounds per contest. It's hard to trust anyone else on the Warriors like Curry, even in a pace-down spot against the Lakers.

Patrick Mills ($4,600): Mills should be an interesting piece off the Nets' bench all season, and he even could close games in small-ball lineups for them. There are so many new additions to the Brooklyn lineup that it is virtually impossible to predict their rotation off a half-hearted preseason effort, but Mills should at least play substantial minutes with solid usage. His role could be a better player inserted into Mike James' old role. James saw 20 or more minutes in 8 of Brooklyn's final 22 games -- including the postseason.

Others to Consider:
Russell Westbrook ($9,500): Elite ceiling (1.48 FanDuel points per minute last year) worth considering in tournaments if LeBron defers primary duties to his new teammate.
Khris Middleton ($7,800): Salary is friendly for a second option; 25.1% usage rate last year. Always overlooked in tournaments.
Joe Harris ($4,300): FanDuel-point-per-minute production stinks (0.74 last season) but is likely the third-best bet to see 30-plus minutes on Brooklyn.


Kevin Durant ($10,800): Durant was Brooklyn's top-tier option in the playoffs last year. He posted an absurd 1.43 FanDuel points per minute in essentially whole-game minutes until the Nets were eliminated. He slightly trailed Harden in usage (34.0%) and FanDuel points per minute (1.56) without Kyrie on the floor last year, but the pair still both posted elite marks worth targeting. Brooklyn gets a slight pace upgrade with the Bucks, who have been lightning fast two years in a row. Durant, Curry, and Harden are tough to fit all in one lineup, but they are in a tier of their own for cash games.

Draymond Green ($7,000): At 31 years old, Green is either untouchable or an affordable lineup cog depending on your perception of his abilities. I am bullish. The Warriors should have more to play for this season as Thompson returns, and Green has already spoken to trying to add his three-ball back into his offensive skillset. His 2020-21 was bizarre, as he was clearly limited to just 63 games when Golden State fell out of contention. He averaged 10.04 assists per 36 minutes (good!) on just a 13.0% overall usage rate (bad!), and that appears to just be his role and play-making capacity in this unique offense. The positive news will always be that his scoring volume does not significantly impact his FanDuel-point production, which makes him fairly steady.

Carmelo Anthony ($5,000): Like Brooklyn, a lot is left to be determined about the Lakers' rotation, but Carmelo Anthony seems primed for a decent-sized role. He started with Kent Bazemore in Los Angeles' exhibition with this same Warriors squad on October 12th and played comparable minutes to the Lakers' Big 3. At this point in his career, his contribution is basically unknown, but he did average 0.90 FanDuel points per minute on 23.6% usage with Portland last season. There just are not many locked-in starters in this salary tier, and Anthony should get plenty of great looks as a forgotten option in the L.A. offense.

Others to Consider:
Andrew Wiggins ($7,200): Obvious secondary scoring option for Golden State; guard/forward eligibility and generally not popular to roster.
James Johnson ($4,900): Decently-productive (1.07 FanDuel points per minute without Zion and Ingram) for the Pels at the end of last season; dark-horse production candidate for Brooklyn.
Otto Porter ($4,400): Path to 30-plus minutes; plus three-point shot the best offense of his career.


Anthony Davis ($10,000): In a limited preview of their new offense, Davis' fantasy stock is on the rise. LeBron led the way with 31.6% usage in the preseason, but Westbrook (26.1%) and Davis (26.0%) posted respectable marks, as well. Davis, of course, provides the upside without the ball in his hands of 8.80 rebounds per 36 minutes last season, and that number should only increase with "The Brow" expected to spend much more time at the five for L.A. this season. The center position should be stacked this season on FanDuel with multi-position eligibility now in play, but Tuesday's slate is incredibly thin behind A.D.

Others to Consider:
Brook Lopez ($6,000): Always a hit-and-miss workload (0.90 FanDuel points per minute last year), but should see 30-plus minutes with no Portis.
Paul Millsap ($4,300): Good production (1.05 FanDuel points per minute) in last season with starter minutes in Denver. Could see plenty of minutes if he's not dust.