FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Friday 8/21/20
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 Friday's four-game main slate, which locks at 1:30 PM ET.
There are very few prices at point guard that leave room for value. However, if Mike Conley ($5,800) gets cleared on time -- and it appears that he will --, there's potential for real value there. Conley's priced under $6.0K, which means anything above 29.0 points is returning more than 5X value (or 5.0 fantasy points for every $1,000 in salary). In Conley's five meaningful games in the bubble, he totaled 31.2, 20.4, 35.4, 40.5, and 32.7. In two matchups against the Denver Nuggets this season, the veteran recorded 32.7 and 39.1. Our model projects him for 30.6, surpassing 5X. Denver has allowed the third-most fantasy points to point guard in the bubble.
My Jamal Murray ($7,500) pick on Wednesday came back to smack me in the face, but I'm willing to give it another go -- point guard is a pit of emptiness on this slate. Prior to the Game 2 dud, Murray had posted 50.4 and 55.5 in his two matchups with the Utah Jazz this season. He's got a low floor, but I'll chase Murray's upside.
Shake Milton ($4,000) is our model's top projected value. Milton posted 22.6 FanDuel points in Game 2, and he needs just 20.0 for 5X value in Game 3. Our model has Kemba Walker ($7,200) as their second-best value. Walker looks like he's heating up, but he hasn't scored 36.0 or more fantasy points (what he needs for 5X) since January.
Luka Doncic ($10,500) is still priced fairly at $10.5K. Luka managed "just" 47.1 fantasy points in Game 2, but he dropped 60-plus in four of his previous six meaningful games. Our model has Luka totaling 59.9 fantasy points, resulting in 5.7X value. Fred VanVleet ($7,900) has been fantastic against the Brooklyn Nets, recording 56.9 and 46.0 fantasy points in the first two. As long as Brooklyn is able to keep it close, FVV could be in for another big performance in Game 3.
Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot ($5,100) tends to see a big bump in volume with Joe Harris out. In the three games prior to Game 2, TLC recorded 32.4, 28.1, and 36.4. At a salary of $5.1K, he needs 25.5 for 5X -- very attainable. Lou Williams ($5,600) has taken absolutely no time to get back up to speed. In his last four games, Lou has recorded 33.1, 36.9, 26.1, and 36.3 FanDuel points. Three of those four would have been good enough for 6X value at Friday's price tag.
Caris LeVert ($8,400) had already seen a usage rate of 30% or higher in four straight, and that's not about to go down with Joe Harris out. LeVert recorded 43.9 and 40.7 in the first two games of the series, but that could rise in Game 3. Donovan Mitchell ($8,200) has posted 76.3 and 43.2 in the first two games of the series, but his usage will take a hit if Conley returns.
How Kawhi Leonard ($9,700) is still under $10.0K is beyond me. Kawhi has averaged 39.6 minutes through the first two games, seeing usage rates of 29.1% and 30.2% in those contests, respectively. That volume has resulted in him scoring 58.4 and 50.0 fantasy points. There's no one close to Kawhi's tier at the position, and our model agrees, projecting him to outscore the next closest small forward by 12.6 fantasy points. He's numberFire's top-projected value at small forward.
I'd be willing to roll the dice again with OG Anunoby ($4,800). In the first two games of the series, Anunoby posted 27.5 and 25.5 FanDuel points, respectively, while averaging 35.3 minutes of court time. In that same price range, Garrett Temple ($4,900) must garner consideration with Harris out. Temple has recorded 31.1 or more fantasy points in three of his last four, and he needs a mere 24.5 to achieve 5X.
The public could be down a bit on Jaylen Brown ($7,000) after he recorded 30.5 fantasy points on a $7.0K salary, which could make him a decent play. Brown had recorded 42.9 and 49.2 in two of his previous three outings.
Jayson Tatum ($9,000) has pegged the Philadelphia 76ers for 57.1 and 46.5 fantasy points through the first two games of the series, and his Game 2 total likely would have been significantly higher had the game been more competitive. If Philly can keep Game 3 close, Tatum could post another explosion similar to the one we saw in Game 1.
Despite dropping 38.2 fantasy points in Game 2, Michael Porter Jr. ($6,800) remains under $7.0K for Game 3. MPJ is a low-floor, high-upside play that I'd want some exposure to. Marcus Morris ($5,100) is showing no signs of slowing down, despite Montrezl Harrell's return. In the two games since Harrell's come back, Morris has posted 38.7 and 31.6 fantasy points while averaging 33.8 minutes on the court.
Kristaps Porzingis ($8,500) is an interesting option because he isn't going to be highly-rostered after scoring 25.7 and 32.4 in the first two games of the series. I'd be willing to include Kristaps in some lineups.
Unlike the previous two slates, the choice between Nikola Jokic ($9,400) and Joel Embiid ($10,100) seems pretty straightforward. With Embiid coming in $700 pricier, Jokic is the way to go. Embiid has averaged 51.1 fantasy points to Jokic's 49.4 through the first two games of the postseason, but that's not enough to pay the premium. In fact, Jokic has averaged 57.3 through five games against the Jazz this season, which is certainly encouraging.
If you can't afford either of the big two, Jarrett Allen ($7,400) is a solid backup option. Allen has posted at least 41.2 fantasy points in four of his last five games.