NBA

3 NBA FanDuel Studs to Target on 8/21/20

A lot of the stars are priced up at this point, but Kristaps Porzingis and a few others still possess a high per-dollar ceiling on Friday's slate.

Basketball is the most consistent sport for daily fantasy purposes.

A top slugger in baseball will have his fair share of 0-for-4 days, and an elite fantasy football player is at risk of having games where his team's offense as a whole is shut down. A high-priced NBA stud is generally going to get his, though. With so many possessions in a game providing opportunities to produce, top fantasy basketball options will be posting high scores just about every night.

While this consistency puts us in a good position to identify top plays, it also means you can't afford to miss when you're paying up for someone. Even with strong value plays in your lineup, paying up and getting a dud is likely going to leave your lineup drawing pretty close to dead.

Let's get right into it and look at which top players should be the focal points of your lineups today.

Kristaps Porzingis, PF, Dallas Mavericks ($8,500)

With so many star players receiving price increases to match their production, it will be important to balance floor with room for upside, especially in tournaments.

For example, with Joel Embiid having two monster games with 34.6% usage, his price tag has risen from $8,500 on Monday to $10,100 for Friday -- in the same matchup against the Boston Celtics. A lot of Embiid's ceiling has been priced out as a result of the increase, and therefore, he would need close to season-highs in scoring and rebounding to realize a FanDuel value score of 6.00 or higher.

A player who certainly has not realized his ceiling in these playoffs is Kristaps Porzingis for the Dallas Mavericks. He was prematurely ejected from Game 1 and -- despite seeing 36 minutes against the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday -- still significantly underperformed his season-long average of 1.27 FanDuel points per minute. He only posted 0.90 FanDuel points per minute in Game 2, largely due to a ceiling game from Maxi Kleber, who posted a bubble-high 10 rebounds.

Expect Porzingis to return closer to form on Friday, like the 50.8-FanDuel-point performance he put forward on August 6th against the Clippers. Porzingis is the second-best value in numberFire's projections among players above $6,000.

Caris LeVert, SG, Brooklyn Nets ($8,400)

Caris LeVert has well exceeded a 5.00 FanDuel value score (fantasy points per $1,000) or higher in his first two games against the Toronto Raptors, has been raised from $7,600 to $8,400 from Monday to this Friday slate, and still has plenty of value at this price.

LeVert has not even managed to score 20 points in a game for the Brooklyn Nets yet, who unfortunately find themselves in a two-game hole in their series with Toronto.

LeVert's usage rate has dropped from 35.0% since the NBA restart to 26.5% in the two postseason games. His scoring average has also dropped off dramatically, from 25.0 points per game in the NBA restart of the regular season down to 15.5 points per game during the playoffs on only 27.8% shooting from the field.

Now, LeVert has compensated with 13.0 assists per game in the playoffs, but down in this series, the Nets' star should have to shoulder more of the scoring load. That should make his FanDuel points total closer to the 56.66-FanDuel-points-per-36-minutes pace that he established inside the bubble during the regular season.

Rudy Gobert, C, Utah Jazz ($7,800)

The Denver Nuggets' putrid defense is the worst remaining in the playoffs, with their 127.7 defensive rating dead-last among the 16 squads left playing.

For daily fantasy, that would normally be an area to attack, but the return of Mike Conley makes that a difficult proposition amongst the Utah Jazz backcourt. Conley's integrated usage likely means the prices on Donovan Mitchell, Joe Ingles, and Jordan Clarkson are too high for the piece of the pie these four ball-handlers will all have to share. Jazz center Rudy Gobert shouldn't be affected negatively.

Gobert has yet to hit his ceiling in fantasy the first two games of this series, and a lot of that has to do with his rebounding numbers. Gobert has averaged 38.2 minutes per game, but only brought down 7 rebounds in both of those contests. It may have been because the Jazz were leaning on Mitchell and Clarkson, both of whom like to score at the rim.

Mike Conley shoots a lot of three-pointers, and as a result, Gobert has a dramatic and significant rebounding expectation with Conley on and off the floor. Gobert averages 11.2 rebounds per 36 minutes in all conditions, but that drops to only 8.7 rebounds with Conley off the floor. Expect Gobert to threaten for a double-double with another distance shooter on the floor.


Austin Swaim is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Austin Swaim also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username ASwaim3. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.