FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Monday 8/17/20

Joel Embiid is reasonably priced in a tasty matchup with the Boston Celtics. Who else should you target on today's four-game slate?

It's here. The NBA playoffs are finally upon us.

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 Monday's four-game main slate, which locks at 1:30 PM ET.

Point Guard

In his first game back in the bubble (and the only game in which he played more than 25.1 minutes), Jamal Murray ($6,100) posted 50.4 fantasy points against the Utah Jazz. Now he gets to face these very same Jazz, except this time they'll be without the defensive services of Mike Conley. At a mere $6.1K, Murray needs just 30.5 points to reach 5X value tonight (or 5.0 fantasy points for every $1,000 in salary) -- that's a number he should be able to surpass with ease. Our model has Murray as the second-best value at the position.

Despite being the most expensive player at the position, our model is a huge fan of Kyle Lowry ($7,300). Lowry has faced the Brooklyn Nets three times this season, posting an average of 42.4 fantasy points against them. The best part? He needs just 36.5 for 5X value tonight. numberFire's algorithm has him as the highest-projected player at point guard.

Emmanuel Mudiay ($3,700) should get a nice amount of run with Conley off the court. In the two games Conley missed in the bubble, Mudiay averaged 24.3 fantasy points per game. That would be a solid value at a price of just $3.7K.

Shooting Guard

As far as studs go, few have a better combination of floor and ceiling than Luka Doncic ($10,200). In four of his seven bubble games, Doncic dropped 56.6, 60.1, 76.0, and 82.3 fantasy points -- insane. What's even more insane is that his $10.2K price is the cheapest he's been since February. At that price point, Luka needs just 51 fantasy points to attain 5X value. Our model has Doncic scoring 54.8, surpassing that number with ease.

Jordan Clarkson ($4,400) has seen incredibly high usage with Conley inactive. In his last four games with Conley out (excluding Thursday's match, which Memphis did not care for), Clarkson has averaged 32.4 fantasy points. If you want to load your lineup with studs, Clarkson's a great filler. He's our model's highest-projected value on the entire slate.

In the mid-range, both Donovan Mitchell ($7,300) and Fred VanVleet ($7,000). Mitchell should be Utah's primary source of offense with both Conley and Bojan Bogdanovic out. Mitchell totaled 41.0 or more fantasy points in three of the final five bubble games that actually mattered. FVV recorded at least 36.3 fantasy in four of his five meaningful bubble games, and he needs just 35.0 for 5X. Caris LeVert ($8,300) has impressive upside, though the matchup is far from ideal.

Small Forward

Given the offensive firepower that the Dallas Mavericks possess, the Los Angeles Clippers will need every bit of offense they can get from Kawhi Leonard ($9,300). Kawhi scored between 40.9 and 46.6 fantasy points in all but one of his games following the restart, but you get the sense that he's going to turn it up a couple of notches in the postseason, as he usually does. I'd like to get exposure while he's still priced reasonably. In the bubble, only three teams allowed more fantasy points to small forwards than the Mavs.

In his last five meaningful games in the bubble, Dorian Finney-Smith ($4,100) averaged 31.3 fantasy points -- that includes performances of 34.7 and 50.7. Our model has Finney-Smith as the top projected value at small forward. Joe Ingles ($5,000) is another of our model's preferred options in that range.

It's hard not to look at both of the Boston Celtics' small forwards as intriguing value options. Jaylen Brown ($6,200) didn't showcase huge upside, but he did average 36.0 fantasy points in his six meaningful bubble games, never scoring fewer than 29.2. Gordon Hayward ($6,100) is the better upside play, as he totaled 51.3 eight days ago, though he displayed his floor with performances of 25.9 and 19.8 in the bubble.

Power Forward

Kristaps Porzingis ($8,600) totaled at least 46.7 FanDuel points in five of his six bubble games, including a 50.3-point performance against these very same Clippers. It's hard to ignore him, given his form and reasonable price.

Al Horford ($5,300) comes in at a reasonable price and should be a staple in lineups. The Philadelphia 76ers didn't give Horford much run toward the end of the seeding games, but he did score 28.7 and 36.8 in two of his final four. Only three teams allowed more points to opposing power forwards in the bubble than the Boston Celtics, which makes this a plus matchup for Horford against his former squad.

I'm willing to swing for the fences with Michael Porter Jr. ($6,800). In his last two bubble games, MPJ scored just 20.3 and 25.0, respectively, though he totaled at least 47.2 in each of the four prior contests. At a $6.8K price point, he's extremely enticing.


Boston allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing centers since the restart -- welcome to value town, Joel Embiid ($8,500). Embiid averaged just 14.1 minutes in his final three active bubble games, but that's about to change...drastically. In two of his first three games in the restart, Joel exploded for 80.2 and 59.7 fantasy points. That'll play. He's shown his entire range of outcomes in three matchups with the Celtics this season, posting 20.5, 44.1, and 63.6 points. However, Simmons being inactive is a huge plus Embiid. In 659.5 minutes with Simmons off the court this season, Embiid has usage of 36.7% to go with 1.59 fantasy points per minute -- those are bumps of 3.9% and 0.10.

Nikola Jokic ($8,600) has averaged 62.6 points in three matchups with the Jazz this season, which means going with Embiid won't be an easy choice. It's hard to go wrong with either, though our models prefer Embiid. Either way, I'm spending up at center today.