FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Wednesday 8/19/20
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 Wednesday's four-game main slate, which locks at 1:30 PM ET.
Jamal Murray ($7,500) is one of my core plays on this slate. In two games against the Utah Jazz in the last 10 days, Murray has posted 50.4 and 55.5 FanDuel points. At his price, Murray needs just 37.5 to reach 5X value (or 5.0 fantasy points for every $1,000 in salary). Utah will once again be without the defensive services of Mike Conley, which is an added bonus for Murray.
Our models absolutely love Kemba Walker ($6,900), projecting him as the best value at the position. Walker has seen a bump in usage and scoring without Gordon Hayward on the court, so the path to increased volume is there. However, it's worth noting that Walker needs 34.5 fantasy points to achieve 5X, and he hasn't posted a total that high since January. You can chase the upside, but beware of the risk.
At the risk of chasing points, I'd still have a hard time avoiding Donovan Mitchell ($8,200). Mitchell is fresh off a 76.3-fantasy point performance -- it was his second game with 55.2 or more against the Denver Nuggets in a 10-day span. With Conley out, Utah's offense will have to rely on everything they can get from Mitchell -- hence the 42.6% usage in Game 1.
Alec Burks ($4,100) is our model's best-projected value at shooting guard. Burks has averaged 30.6 FanDuel points over his last five, scoring a low of 26.2 in Game 1. At $4.1K, Burks would need just 20.5 points to pay off. He's a lock.
As long as he's on the slate, we have to talk about Luka Doncic ($10,500). Doncic dropped 61.9 in Game 1, his fourth 60-plus point performance in August alone. I do worry a bit about his ankle hindering him with the adrenaline having worn off, but Luka's proven to be superhuman on many occasions.
As it turns out, Kawhi Leonard ($9,600) can still flip a switch. After recording 46.6 or less in five of his first six bubble games, Kawhi pegged the Dallas Mavericks for 58.4 in Game 1. It should come as no surprise -- the Mavs have allowed the second-most fantasy points to small forwards in the bubble. Keep riding Kawhi while he's still priced under $10.0K. He's our model's top projected scorer and value at the position.
Jaylen Brown ($7,000) is going to be on a high percentage of rosters with Hayward out, but I still won't fade him. Brown needs 35 points to achieve 5X value, and he's topped that with ease in 9 of the 16 meaningful contests he's played without Hayward this season. Also in that price range, our model is a fan of Tobias Harris ($7,200). Harris has averaged 38.9 FD points over his last three and has scored 38.6 or more fantasy points in five of his eight bubble contests.
Marcus Morris ($4,700) should continue to garner serious consideration in most lineups despite Montrezl Harrell's return. Morris would need to record 23.5 points to reach 5X value on Wednesday, and he's exceeded that in five of his last six contests -- including a 38.7-point performance in Game 1 (with Harrell active). Morris stands out as a great value at a rather limited position.
Kristaps Porzingis ($8,600)* was already up to 25.7 FanDuel points in Game 1 before his utterly ridiculous ejection with 9:10 left in the third quarter. A 50-burger was surely not out of reach. In Game 2, we'll give Porzingis another shot at his $8.6K salary. Kristaps would need 43 for 5X, and that's a number he surpassed in all but one bubble game and likely would've exceeded it on Monday had the refs not decided that they wanted to be the stars of the show. In that same range, we should obviously consider Jayson Tatum ($8,700). Fresh of a 57.1-point performance, there's a possibility that Tatum could see a usage increase on Wednesday with Hayward out.
Royce O'Neale ($4,400) struggled in Game 1, managing just 13.4 fantasy points, though he did rack up 31.8 minutes of action. O'Neale has been an excellent fantasy play when getting big minutes, so I'd be willing to throw a dart there again.
Once again, the choices at center will come down to Joel Embiid ($9,300) and Nikola Jokic ($9,300). In their respective Game 1s, Embiid scored 50.7 fantasy points to Jokic's 50.5. However, Embiid did what he did on just 15 shot attempts, which could very well end up being a series-low. Meanwhile, for Jokic, it was his fourth performance of more than 50 FanDuel points against the Jazz this season.
So, is this an easy choice? Hell no. Our models have Embiid edging Jokic by 2.4 points, so feel free to lean on that if you'd like. I'd opt for having plenty of exposure to both if you're entering numerous lineups.
Montrezl Harrell ($5,000) is worth a flyer if you're in a contrarian mood.