FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Thursday 8/20/20

Bam Adebayo is a core play in Game 2 against the Pacers. Who else should you target on Thursday?

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 Thursday's four-game main slate, which locks at 1:00 PM ET.

Point Guard

Was there any doubt as to who I would start with at point guard? It's Damian Lillard ($10,000)...Duh. Lillard scoring under 50.0 fantasy points in Game 1 -- 47.5, to be exact -- resulted in a $100 drop in salary. We'll take it. Including that performance, Dame is averaging 62.1 FanDuel points over his last five -- he's also topped 65.0 in four of his last seven. There's a chance for a slight drop in rostership after his non-blow up performance, and I'd take advantage of that. Our model has Lillard outscoring the next-closest point guard by 13.0 fantasy points.

D.J. Augustin ($4,700) only saw a $200 price bump despite a 32.1-point performance. His usage in Game 1 was a salivating 31.3%. I'd be all over him on this slate. Unlike our models, I much prefer him to Markelle Fultz ($5,500).

Our model projects Eric Bledsoe ($5,900) to be the top value at the position. Drafters could benefit from players being down on the Milwaukee Bucks after their piss-poor performance in Game 1.

Shooting Guard

I'm going back to the James Harden ($11,800) well in this one, especially since his price will lead to many people looking elsewhere. Prior to Game 1, Harden had averaged 63.8 fantasy points in his 12 meaningful games without Westbrook on the court this season -- he totaled at least 59 in eight of them and 68-plus in five of them. He scored less than 55.7 just once. It's not like he busted in the series opener -- he totaled 51.7 fantasy points. I'm not shying away.

Khris Middleton ($7,000) has been one of the better bounceback players in the Association this season. In his last five games following a contest where he's shot under 35% from the field, Middleton has dropped 40.4, 45.1, 30.6, 43.4, and 44.4. The Bucks will need offensive production from Middleton in order to get their form back, so he could be in for a big game. Our algorithm has Khash as the highest-projected value on the slate. In the mid-range, Jimmy Butler ($8,100) is too good to ignore. Including Game 1, Butler has now totaled more than 50.0 in two of his last three.

Tyler Herro ($4,600) continues his impressive play. He's now exceeded 25.6 in five of his last six games. At a salary of $4.6K, Herro needs just 23.0 fantasy points to reach 5X value (or 5.0 fantasy points for every $1,000 in salary). In the bargain department, our model in infatuated with Gary Trent Jr. ($4,200). Despite his poor performance in Game 1 (6.4 fantasy points), Trent still played 31.3 minutes. He's a good bounceback candidate.

Small Forward

Despite recording 59.9 fantasy points in Game 1, Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,300) is still $500 cheaper than the aforementioned Harden. The series opener was the fourth time Giannis had scored 59.9 or more in his last five meaningful games. He's too good and too consistent to simply ignore. Our model has Giannis as the highest scorer on the slate by 4.7 points.

If you want to save the $800, you could dish out for LeBron James ($10,500). LeBron dropped 66.4 in Game 1, and it doesn't look like his workload is about to get any lighter. T.J. Warren ($7,700) showed little ill-effects from his plantar fasciitis injury. Warren scored 46.1 fantasy points in his first game back.

Carmelo Anthony ($5,500) has re-established himself as a core fantasy asset. After his performance in the opener, Melo has now scored 30.4 or more in 6 of his 10 games in the bubble. He needs just 27.5 to reach 5X value on Thursday. He's numberFire's third-highest projected value at small forward. If Aaron Gordon can't go again, James Ennis ($4,300) is a great bargain option. Ennis posted 32.6 fantasy points in 31.3 minutes in Game 1.

Power Forward

Bam Adebayo ($8,000) pegged the Indiana Pacers for 47.0 fantasy points in Game 1, as the Pacers continued their struggle against opposing frontcourts. Indiana had allowed the second-most fantasy points to centers in the seeding games. Bam is our model's top projected value at power forward.

Jeff Green ($5,100) has recorded 29.0 or more fantasy points in four of his last seven games. Green posted 37.2 in Game 1 and could be an excellent value again in Game 2. If Gordon is out, Gary Clark ($4,100) could be slotted into lineups again. Clark posted 25.2 in Game 1, his second 25.0-plus performance in four games.

Anthony Davis ($10,400) managed 53.7 fantasy points in the series opener, but the Los Angeles Lakers are going to need him to be a heck of a lot better. Shooting 8 for 24 from the field is just not going to cut it. But that's also a positive since a better shooting night would have led to a massive fantasy performance.


The Orlando Magic ran their entire offense through Nikola Vucevic ($8,300) in Game 1, and boy did it pay off. Vuce posted 55.8 fantasy points in that contest, which rewarded his drafted with 7.1X value. I'm chasing the points here.

Steven Adams ($5,900) scored 33.4 fantasy points in the series opener, despite the game being all but over after three quarters. He could exceed 5X in a similar situation, but if the Thunder are able to keep it close, he could easily surpass 6X value.