Usage rate is one of the most common statistics used to try to predict production in daily fantasy basketball. However, it is a flawed statistic for our purposes, as it essentially rewards turnovers. A player’s usage rate increases when he takes a shot, gets an assist, or turns the ball over. Since turnovers are inherently bad, we should take this out of the equation. Starting with today’s article, I will be using a turnover-adjusted usage rate.
With seven games on the schedule for Monday night, let’s get to the picks. Keep in mind that these are my favorite plays at each position on FanDuel; this is not meant to be an entire lineup.
Damian Lillard vs. Denver Nuggets
FD Salary: $8,900
Usage (TO-Adj): 27.7
Lillard knew heading into the season that he was going to have to step up, as the Blazers lost four of their five starters. He has made the transition look seamless, as he has averaged 40.7 fantasy points per game while leading the Blazers to a 4-3 record. He draws one of the best matchups on the board tonight against the Nuggets, who are routinely one of the worst defenses in the NBA.
Austin Rivers vs. Memphis Grizzlies
FD Salary: $3,500
Usage (TO-Adj): 14.9
Chris Paul is listed as doubtful for tonight’s game against the Grizzlies. That generally means that he is going to be out. Austin Rivers should draw another start at point guard. He was very quiet in his spot start against the Rockets, but don’t let that influence your decision tonight. He is going to be a starting point guard and he is priced at the bare minimum. He should easily reach value tonight against the Grizzlies.
Jimmy Butler vs. Philadelphia 76ers
FD Salary: $7,900
Usage (TO-Adj): 20.5
Butler has been one of the most consistent fantasy options at shooting guard this season. He logs heavy minutes, is a great scorer, and is a multi-dimensional player that can fill up all areas of the stat sheet. He draws a favorable matchup tonight against the Sixers. The only concern here is a potential blowout, as Philadelphia has yet to win a game this season.
C.J. McCollum vs. Denver Nuggets
FD Salary: $6,600
Usage (TO-Adj): 23.7
McCollum went from being a backup shooting guard to being the second scoring option on the Blazers. He has taken full advantage of his opportunity, averaging over 31 fantasy points per game in just over 34 minutes of action. McCollum has a high usage rate and he draws a terrific matchup against the Nuggets, who are ranked dead last against shooting guards this season.
Paul George vs. Orlando Magic
FD Salary: $8,500
Usage (TO-Adj): 25.9
George has scored at least 45 fantasy points in each of his last three games. He looks as good as ever and it’s clear that his injury is behind him. George has a high turnover-adjusted usage rate of 25.9 and he is one of the best at accumulating peripheral stats. He draws a favorable matchup tonight against the Magic, who play at a fast pace and are average at best defensively.
Al-Farouq Aminu vs. Denver Nuggets
FD Salary: $5,800
Usage (TO-Adj): 15.3
Aminu is another Blazers’ player that has made the most of his opportunity this season. He is averaging 26.4 fantasy points in 33 minutes per game. He is playing with a ton of confidence right now and we have never seen him be this aggressive offensively. Aminu should be able to post another quality all-around fantasy performance tonight against the struggling Nuggets.
Blake Griffin vs. Memphis Grizzlies
FD Salary: $10,200
Usage (TO-Adj): 26.9
The Grizzlies aren’t as bad defensively as their early season numbers would lead you to believe. This would have been a good spot to fade Griffin, however, with Chris Paul doubtful, he stands to benefit the most. The offense is going to be tunneled through Griffin and we could see him get close to a triple-double tonight. If I can spend up for only one player tonight, it will be Griffin.
Paul Millsap vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
FD Salary: $8,100
Usage (TO-Adj): 18.3
Millsap has been the best fantasy option on the Hawks this season. His minutes have not been limited like some of the other starters, and he is averaging 37.9 fantasy points per game. He draws a mediocre matchup tonight against the Wolves, who have been surprisingly stout on the defensive end of the floor. Millsap’s ability to contribute in all areas of the stat sheet make him an elite play tonight at the thin power forward position.
Marc Gasol vs. Los Angeles Clippers
FD Salary: $7,200
Usage (TO-Adj): 21.1
I generally don’t mind following the masses in cash games. Andre Drummond and Dewayne Dedmon will likely be the most popular plays at center tonight, but I’m looking elsewhere. Drummond is in a game that could potentially be a blowout and Dedmon’s price continues to rise. Gasol’s price on the other hand is all the way down to $7,200. He draws a better matchup than the other two as well, as the Clippers are ranked 26th against centers this season.