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NBA Daily Fantasy Helper: Thursday 5/2/19

Is it worth paying up for Joel Embiid despite his slow start to the Eastern Conference semifinals?

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 hugely 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 ton of other great resources to help give you an edge.

We'll also be coming at you with this primer every day, breaking down a few of the day's top plays at each price point.

Let's take a look at who you should target on today's one-game slate, which follows a different format than typical NBA contests on FanDuel. Your lineup consists of five position-less slots, with one designated "MVP" having their fantasy score multiplied by 2.0, a "STAR" multiplied by 1.5 and a "PRO" multiplied by 1.2, as well as two utility slots receiving their usual points.

Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers ($15,500)

With the way the two have produced to start this series, on the surface it might seem like a no-brainer to pay the extra $500 to go up from Embiid to Kawhi Leonard. After all, Kawhi has opened the series with 68.2 and 54.4 FanDuel points, while Embiid has been terrible, with 28.6 and 23.7.

Neither of their performances are looking sustainable though. Kawhi has a .681 effective field goal percentage in the series and has averaged 1.53 FanDuel points per minute. Embiid has a .300 effective field goal percentage and is averaging 0.84 FanDuel points per minute.

On the season, though, Embiid averaged 1.59 FanDuel points per minute with a .517 effective field goal percentage, compared to 1.32 and .546 for Kawhi. Just because it's the playoffs doesn't mean we should be overreacting to two-game samples or betting against regression.

Upside and ownership percentages are especially important on a one-game slate, and with their recent play, ownership will likely skew heavily toward Kawhi. As far as upside goes, Embiid had four regular season games with more fantasy points than Leonard's most productive (73.7 FanDuel points), and between the two of them, Embiid had 9 of the 10 highest single-game fantasy scores.

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