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NBA Daily Fantasy Helper: Friday 5/10/19

Kevin Durant's absence has a huge impact on tonight's one-game slate. Is it still worth paying up for James Harden's slate-high salary?

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.

James Harden, Houston Rockets ($17,000)

The big story heading into this game is the absence of Kevin Durant (calf). Playing to force a Game 7, the Houston Rockets are big 7.5-point favorites over the Golden State Warriors, and KD's absence will have a massive impact on how this plays out.

But one thing that doesn't change is James Harden reigning supreme in fantasy. Although $17,000 is a steep price tag, with your MVP spot getting that two-times multiplier, it's incredibly hard to fade the Beard's upside.

In the regular season, Harden put up the NBA's first, second, fourth, sixth and ninth-highest single-game scores. We've also seen him hit 60 FanDuel points in each of his last three games. Yes, the Warriors' starters should see increased usage (and thus upside) with Durant out of the lineup, but even with an uptick in usage and fantasy efficiency, none are likely to match Harden. He ranked third in the NBA with 1.60 FanDuel points per minute in the regular season, and his 36.8% usage rate in the postseason is the highest for anyone with at least five minutes played.

Hopefully the price tag and increased workload to go around for the Warriors holds Harden's ownership down somewhat, but chalk or not, you're not going to want to miss out on his upside on this slate.

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