FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Thursday 8/6/20
After a 4.5-month hiatus, the 2019-20 NBA restart is officially underway.
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 -- and that's especially the case now.
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 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 take a look at who you should target on Thursday's five-game main slate, which locks at 4:00 PM ET. Keep in mind, the game between the New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings is not included in the main slate.
The Milwaukee Bucks have allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing point guards since play resumed, which makes Goran Dragic ($5,400) a great play. In his three games since the restart, Dragic has posted 31.9, 42.5, and 31.1 FanDuel points, respectively. He's even more of a lock if Jimmy Butler can't go. With Patrick Beverley ailing, Reggie Jackson ($4,000) could be a great value. His opponent, the Dallas Mavericks, have surrendered more than 50 fantasy points per game to opposing point guards in the bubble.
In two games against the Los Angeles Lakers this season, Russell Westbrook ($9,600) has posted 53.1 and 60.3 FanDuel points. The Lakers are the second-worst team at defending point guards this season. In fact, they've been awful against backcourts in general. I want a piece of what is bound to be a high-scoring affair, and Westbrook is a great way to get exposure. He's our top projected scorer at point guard.
Thursday update: Westbrook is unlikely to play. Beverley is out. Dragic is OUT with an ankle injury. Alex Caruso is questionable with a neck injury. Austin Rivers ($3,500) and Kendrick Nunn ($4,500) becomes excellent plays.
Lou Williams ($4,700) is our model's favorite value if he's healthy. Lou was on the court for 20 minutes in his return and recorded 20.2 fantasy points. With less rust and a possible Beverley absence, Williams could have solid performance. The Mavs have been the leakiest team in the bubble to opposing shooting guards. The Los Angeles Clippers are (usually) a stout defensive team, but it's almost impossible to pass up on the current form of Luka Doncic ($10,700). All Doncic has done since the league restarted is post outputs of 56.6, 60.1, and 76.0. That'll play.
Thursday update: Butler is OUT. With Westbrook out, James Harden ($10,600) becomes an absolute must-start. In nine games Westbrook has missed, Harden has averaged an astounding 61.7 fantasy points -- scoring fewer than 55.7 just once. He averages an additional 0.21 fantasy points per minute with Westbrook and Eric Gordon off the court. With LeBron James (groin) INACTIVE (and possibly Caruso as well), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ($3,600) becomes an attractive play.
The Milwaukee Bucks' decision to rest the starters for the second half of Tuesday's game against the Brooklyn Nets resulted in $600 getting shaved off Giannis Antetokounmpo's ($11,000) salary. That could pay dividends. Giannis has shown his floor and ceiling in two matches with the Heat, posting 38.5 fantasy points in one and 69.9 in the other. Our model has him reaching that ceiling, projecting the Greek Freak for a slate-high 56.8 points.
At some point, Kawhi Leonard ($8,400) is going to pop, and it's going to be glorious. Kawhi has yet to top 46.6 points on FanDuel, but a matchup with the high-powered Mavs is a good a time as any. Leonard's $8.4K salary is his lowest of the season. Our model projects him as the second-best value on the slate.
numberFire's current top projected value at small forward is Jae Crowder ($4,000), though that's likely based on the assumption that Butler sits. T.J. Warren ($8,800) is finally priced up, but does it matter? Warren has dropped 67.3, 74.2, and 50.9 fantasy points since returning. I'd say including him in your lineups would be wise.
Thursday update: With Butler out, Crowder is a strong play. As I already mentioned, LeBron is OUT...so don't include him in your lineups, unlike you like zeros. Danuel House Jr. ($4,500) is worth a look with Westbrook sitting.
You want to talk about upside? You can't do it without discussing Anthony Davis ($10,500). Davis' squares off against a Rockets team that's allowed an average of 58.5 fantasy points to opposing power forwards since the restart -- most in the league. Davis has already had one game with more than 70 fantasy points in the bubble, and he scored 70.1 in his lone matchup with Houston this season. Our model has him exceeding 5X value (or 5.0 points for every $1,000 in salary).
Bam Adebayo ($7,800) is one of our model's favorite values at the position. In two games against Milwaukee this season, Adebayo has posted 46.6 and 44.1. He needs just 39.0 for 5X on Thursday.
Thursday update: Davis averages an additional 0.20 fantasy points per minute with James off the court. He's a must start. His teammate, Kyle Kuzma ($4,700), could see a big bump in usage as well. Michael Porter Jr. ($5,500) has posted 55.9 and 49 fantasy points in his last two games. He's severely underpriced.
The Indiana Pacers have been a punching bag for opposing centers since the restart, allowing 70.1 fantasy points per game -- 8.1 more than the next closest team. With that in mind, it's hard not to like Deandre Ayton ($7,500) on this slate. Ayton has a high range of outcomes -- as evidenced by his performances of 47.9, 16.6, and 32.4 since the restart -- but our model has him eclipsing 40 fantasy points in this game. He needs 37.5 for 5X.
Jusuf Nurkic ($9,100) has to be considered if you can afford him. In three contests since his return, Nurkic has recorded 56.3, 55.3, and 55.3. He is, however, considerably more expensive than he was in those contests.
Ivica Zubac ($4,500) is the way to go if you're starved for cash.