Frascella’s Fantasy Corner: It’s Time to Master NBA Daily Fantasy

First and foremost, I want to sincerely thank all of you who read my column throughout that terrific fantasy football season. I truly cannot thank you enough.


Unfortunately, that Super Bowl was a read dud. All that build-up…all that hype… for that?


It was most certainly a letdown, but sports and – perhaps most importantly – fantasy sports do not stop there. I love being your go-to guy for fantasy football, but I’ve also covered basketball since 2004. We can’t just stop when the air comes out of the football. With that in mind, it’s time for us to turn our attention to NBA DFS. Let’s make some serious money!


NBA DFS Tip of the Week


Anyone can tell you to play Giannis Antetokounmpo, Luka Doncic and/or Nikola Jokic – that’s not what we are here for. That’s not why you come to Aaron Torres Online for your coverage. We are here to get down in the weeds. We are here to dig for value, and find those profitable plays that no one else is making.


My NBA DFS Tip of the Week: Success in NBA DFS revolves around injury news. When you are looking at a 9, 10 or 11-game slate, the player pool can be absolutely overwhelming. I’m telling you: start your lineup building based on injury news.


The first thing you should do is slide down to that “Util” spot in your roster… start from the top and scroll through looking for “O” (out) or “Q” (questionable, which can also mean probable or doubtful) in red on the left. Start with the guys who are out, and look for their teammates who are going to pick up extra minutes and usage.


There are the two golden words of NBA DFS – minutes and usage. I cannot stress this enough.


Of course we will get to different and varying strategies in future weeks, but let’s take what we have established here to analyze today’s NBA slate.


Key Injuries: February 14, 2021


Anthony Davis, PF/C, Lakers (Q, Achilles): “AD” is iffy today, while LeBron is on the right side of probable. I don’t think we’ll get the final news on AD until later in the day, but LBJ will be a high-usage play if AD sits.


De’Aaron Fox, PG, Kings (Q, Knee): This lightning-quick floor general missed Friday’s contest vs. Orlando, and he seems to be around 50-50 for today’s matchup with Memphis. Impressive rookie Tyrese Haliburton would be the ultimate benefactor if Fox needs another night off.


Paul George, G/F, Clippers (Out, Toe): Obviously Kawhi Leonard picks up all of the usage here, but watch out for veterans like Lou Williams, Serge Ibaka and Reggie Jackson. It’s not that you want to play them, but they do occasionally cut into Kawhi’s dominance. The Clippers tend to play unselfish basketball, but Kawhi is still worth a look in some spots.


Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, G, Thunder (Out, Knee): Backup PG Theo Maledon is also out (COVID protocols), so this opens the door to G/F Hamidou Diallo as a primary playmaker for OKC. His price tag is higher than you’d think, but the Thunder don’t have much lightning right now. Al Horford, Darius Bazley and Luguentz Dort benefit, as well.


Jrue Holiday, PG, Bucks (Out, COVID protocols): Giannis’ price is super high, but he and Khris Middleton will dominate Milwaukee’s usage. If you want to play Giannis, we’ll need to find value at the lower salary points (coming in next segment). Middleton is a play; but in general, I really don’t like to play any Bucks other than these two. Not enough usage from the others.


D’Angelo Russell, PG, Wolves (Out, Leg): Ricky Rubio takes over at PG, but “KAT” is the real beneficiary here. I don’t like playing Russell or KAT when they are out there together, but alone you can get the right bang for your buck. Backup PG Jordan McLaughin is the sneaky low-salary play on this roster.


LaMarcus Aldridge, PF/C, Spurs (Out, Hip): Obviously DeMar DeRozan has the lead role here, but Dejounte Murray and Keldon Johnson also get bumps in value. Sort of like what I said about the Clippers, sometimes San Antonio’s unselfishness eats into individual production. It’s just about getting lucky and picking the right Spur on that particular day.


Frascella’s DFS Plays of the Day


High Salaries


Nikola Jokic, C, Nuggets: Gary Harris, Will Barton and PJ Dozier are out, and quarterback Jamal Murray is questionable. Jokic is already (arguably) the best fantasy asset in the world. This is a no-brainer today.


Nikola Vucevic, C, Magic: Aaron Gordon and Frank Mason are out, while Cole Anthony and Evan Fournier are both questionable. Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac are already long gone; “Vuc” is undoubtedly Orlando’s centerpiece. He’s been hot lately, too.


Karl-Anthony Towns, C, Wolves


Reasonable Salaries


Darius Bazley, PF/C, Thunder: Again, SGA, Maledon and George Hill are out; Bazley is coming off a dud and his salary increased. Signs are pointing to a strong bounce-back performance from the youngster.


Michael Porter Jr., F, Nuggets: Same injury situation that Jokic is in. At least one of the two will hit; just mix-and-match and vary your looks.


Cody Zeller, C, Hornets: Both Caleb and Cody Martin are out, while PJ Washington is doubtful. Zeller has an easy path to 10+ rebounds here. He’s the primary big and glass-cleaner today.


Sleepers


RJ Hampton, G, Nuggets: Played 19 minutes last game, even with Barton active. Remember, Murray is questionable, too.


Bismack Biyombo, C, Hornets: See, this is how you find salary to play guys like Jokic and Giannis. Bismack is probably one of the top-10 shotblockers in the NBA, and the Hornets are extremely short-handed today. When he’s forced into minutes, he can do some good things for ya.


Michael Carter-Williams, PG/SF, Magic: Looked strong in his return from injury hiatus. Continue to keep an eye on the injury reports for Cole Anthony and Evan Fournier. The PG/SF flexibility is always interesting from “MCW”. His teammate Dwayne Bacon is also a value play.


I hope you hit it big today!


John Frascella is a published sports author and fantasy sports analyst with over two decades of experience, and will be contributing frequent DFS columns to Aaron Torres Online. Follow him on Twitter @LegendSports7 for all things fantasy sports.