FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Thursday 8/13/20
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 that a number of teams have nothing to play for, which can complicate matters considerably. Think of it like Week 17 of the NFL season. Try building your lineups using players on teams that have something on the line, such as the Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers, Memphis Grizzlies, and San Antonio Spurs.
Injuries to be aware of: Giannis Antetokounmpo (suspension) won't play for the Milwaukee Bucks, Wesley Matthews will be out as well. Rudy Gobert, Mike Conley, and Bojan Bogdanovic are all out for the Utah Jazz. Kristaps Porzingis and Seth Curry are questionable for the Dallas Mavericks. Aaron Gordon, Terrence Ross, Michael Carter-Williams, and Evan Fournier are all out for the Orlando Magic. Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, and Jrue Holiday are out for the New Orleans Pelicans.
The Grizzlies need a win, and they're going up against a Bucks team that's allowed the most fantasy points to opposing point guards in the bubble. That's where Ja Morant ($7,700) comes in. Morant has totaled 42.7 or more FanDuel points in four of his seven games since the restart, and he needs 38.5 to reach 5X value tonight (or 5.0 fantasy points for every $1,000 in salary). Even with Milwaukee having nothing to play for, they won't be an easy play -- Memphis will need whatever they can get from Morant. Like the Bucks, the Mavericks have also been generous to point guards, which makes Ricky Rubio ($6,500) a worthwhile play. Rubio needs 32.5 for 5X, and he's exceeded 34 in four of his seven bubble games.
It's impossible to fade Damian Lillard ($10,100), even at his most expensive salary since February. Lillard has dropped 65.1 or more fantasy points in three of his last four, averaging an insane 52.3 real-life points during those three contests. Brooklyn has been surprisingly competitive in the bubble, which means Portland could require another super-human performance from Dame. The Bucks could look to get Eric Bledsoe ($5,800) in a rhythm, which would result in him being a great value play. Bled needs 29.0 fantasy points for 5X, and he's averaged 29.5 over his last three. Memphis has been the fifth-worst team against the point position in the bubble. He's one of our model's preferred values.
On the cheap side, our model loves both Seth Curry ($4,000) and Emmanuel Mudiay ($3,700), though it's worth noting that both players are currently questionable. Markelle Fultz ($5,300) is my preferred play, though he's pricier than those two.
With Porzingis looking doubtful to play, Luka Doncic ($10,300) becomes an even higher-upside play, albeit with a low floor due to Dallas having nothing to play for. Doncic has exploded for 60.1-plus fantasy points in three of his last five. Given that half of Utah's roster will be sitting, Jordan Clarkson ($4,400) could be a prime value. Our model has Clarkson surpassing 6.5X value, best at the position.
Devin Booker ($8,800) has been one of the hottest players in the bubble, and he's priced like it. Book would need 44 for 5x -- he's averaged 52.0 fantasy points over his last three games and recorded at least 49.0 in four of his last five.
The Pelicans are also resting most of their starters, which makes Josh Hart ($4,000) an intriguing play. Hart goes up against an Orlando defense allowing the second-most points in the bubble to the position. Do you risk going with Khris Middleton ($7,000) in a pointless game? I'd take a flyer. Middleton needs 35.0 points for 5X, and he's topped 38.0 in four of his six games since the restart. He's got a good matchup, too. In Middleton's range, C.J. McCollum ($7,400) has much more on the line but could prove to be less bang for your buck. C.J. Needs 37 for 5X.
As long as Carmelo Anthony ($5,400) continues to be priced down, we should continue to prioritize him in our rosters. Melo has posted 31.4 or more FanDuel points in four of his last five, and he needs just 27 for 5X value. Luckily for him, the Nets allow the fourth-most fantasy points to small forwards in the bubble. Dorian Finney-Smith ($4,700) is our model's third-highest projected value at small forward. In three of his last four, Finney-Smith has totaled 34.7, 28.1, and 50.7 fantasy points. He needs just 23.5 for 5X tonight, and that's more than attainable with Porzingis likely out.
Joe Ingles ($5,300) has posted 35.3, 34.1, and 27.3 fantasy points in three of his last four -- he's also played under 17 minutes twice in those four contests. He's a risk/reward play with Utah resting a bunch of starters. Joe Harris ($5,100) has recorded 25.9 or more fantasy points in four straight, and he needs just 25.5 to hit 5X value.
Power forward is a barren wasteland today, though there are a couple of great value options. The first of those options is Brandon Clarke ($5,800). With Jaren Jackson Jr. out, Clarke will have to do the heavy lifting at power forward for Memphis. That's proved to be a valuable task, as Clarke has posted 30.8 and 26.7 fantasy points in his last two, respectively. Clarke is our model's top projected value at the position. Maxi Kleber ($5,100) is in a similar situation for Dallas. With Kristaps doubtful, Kleber could take on a bigger role. However, it is worth noting that Maxi has yet to post more than 23.8 fantasy points in the bubble.
Khem Birch ($3,800) is fresh off a 30.8 fantasy point performance on Tuesday against Brooklyn -- it was his second 30-plus point output in the bubble. With the Magic resting everyone and their kitchen sink, Birch was on the court for 27.3 minutes. He'll likely get a similar workload today against the practice squad of the Pelicans. Royce O'Neale ($4,700) could get a ton of run with Gobert sitting. O'Neale has posted 38.1, 30.9, and 30.2 fantasy points in three of his last four.
If you loaded up elsewhere, might I interest you in some Boban Marjanovic ($4,100)? In the last three games Porzingis has missed, Boban has exploded for 33.4, 55.9, and 42.8 fantasy points. Keep in mind, Boban needs just 20.5 points to hit 5X value. Boban is our model's top projected value on the entire slate, not just at the center position.
Despite consecutive underwhelming performances, I'm willing to pony up for Jusuf Nurkic ($8,500) at center. Jusuf will get a salivating matchup against a Brooklyn team allowing an average of 60.0 fantasy points per game to opposing centers in the bubble -- that's good for second-most. Nurkic has already showcased his ceiling, with three games of 55.3 or more since the restart.