FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Monday 8/24/20

LeBron James is flexing his postseason muscles once again, making him a core play on today's four-game slate. What other players should you target?

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.

Injuries to be aware of: For the Orlando Magic, Aaron Gordon is questionable while Michael Carter-Williams is out. Russell Westbrook remains out for the Houston Rockets. Steven Adams left Game 3 against Houston with a knee contusion, and he's questionable for Game 4 for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Jae Crowder and Derrick Jones Jr. are questionable for the Miami Heat.

Point Guard

The price range I'll be looking at to start off at point guard is the one where both Malcolm Brogdon ($7,600) and Chris Paul ($7,900) sit. Brogdon offers the higher ceiling, as evidenced by his 64.4 fantasy point performance in Game 3. In 42.9 minutes, Brogdon exploded for 34 points, 7 rebounds, 14 assists, and 2 steals -- that'll play. In the other two games against the Heat, Brogdon posted 38.2 and 36.5 points, respectively. He needs 38 to attain 5X value tonight (or 5.0 fantasy points for every $1,000 in salary). Meanwhile, Paul has been the steadier hand, albeit with a lower ceiling. Paul's exceeded 40 fantasy points in two of the three games against Houston, and he needs 39.5 for 5X -- he's topped that in four of six games against the Rockets this season. Our model has Paul projected for 41.5, besting 5X.

Our model's top-projected value is Damian Lillard ($9,500), who's a good $600 cheaper than he was in Game 1. Lillard has scored 47.5, 22.1, and 46.5 in the first three games of the series against the Los Angeles Lakers, which is far from inspiring. However, we know Lillard is as capable of popping as anyone, which makes him an interesting contrarian play as far as studs are concerned.

D.J. Augustin ($5,000) might be the best "value" option at the position. Augustin has posted 32.1 and 33.6 in two of his three games this series, and he needs just 25.0 for 5X. Goran Dragic ($6,500) has had similar success paying off his respective price tag. Alex Caruso ($4,100) is an option if you want to dig deeper, but that's not a path I'd go down.

Shooting Guard

Khris Middleton ($6,600) is our model's top-projected value at shooting guard. Khash is fresh off a 35.6-point performance in Game 3, and he'd need 33.0 to achieve 5X in Game 4. Middleton is due to pop the series, and it's likely that the Bucks will want to get him going if they're to make a deep playoff run. He's not lacking a ceiling, as Middleton has had his fair share of 40-plus fantasy point performances this season.

On the stud end, we'd look at either James Harden ($11,300) or Jimmy Butler ($8,500). Harden's the second most expensive player on the slate, though he is $400 cheaper than he was in Game 3 -- a game in which he racked up 60.4 fantasy points. It was Harden's fifth 60-plus point performance in the bubble. He could see lower rostership than other studs on this slate due to not having had a true ceiling game yet in the postseason. Meanwhile, Butler's posted 51.6 and 49.6 fantasy points in two of his three games against the Pacers. He'd need 42.5 tonight to achieve 5X. Our model has Butler projected for 44.9, surpassing 5X.

Lu Dort ($3,500) is an option to consider if you're looking for extreme savings. Since returning from injury in Game 2, Dort has been on the court for 25.3 and 36.2 minutes, respectively. On the back of three blocks, Dort totaled 27.1 fantasy points in Game 3 -- that came close to 8X value. There's potential for a similar outing today. Miami's Tyler Herro ($5,000) and Duncan Robinson ($4,700) are other salary-saving options to mull over, especially if Crowder can't go. Herro's posted a consistent 25.6, 27.5, and 25.1 in the first three games of the series, though that doesn't offer much of a ceiling at $5.0K. Robinson has recorded 30.4 and 20.9 in his last two, and he's my preferred play given the $300 price difference.

Small Forward

This slate starts and ends with Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,500) and LeBron James ($10,500). Giannis has been a model of consistency, posting 59.9, 52.5, and 65.7 in three games this series. Giannis has been in the 50.0-60.0 point range in four of his six games against Orlando this season, which means a pivot to LeBron could make sense if you can't roster both. LeBron has popped for 66.4 and 62.4 in two of his three games this series, and his usage rate was an absurd 41.9% in Game 3. The $1,000 savings you get by rostering him over Giannis is nothing to scoff at. As long as Portland keeps it competitive tonight, LeBron could pay off his price tag with ease.

Carmelo Anthony ($5,400) is going to be anything but a stress-less option, but that doesn't deter you. In two of his three games this series, Melo has posted 34.5 and 44.2 FanDuel points -- considering that he needs just 27.0 for 5X, that'll play. However, in Game 2, Anthony managed just 0.5 fantasy That floor game isn't likely to happen again, and I'd be willing to take a shot at Melo turning the clock back once again. Justin Holiday ($4,400) is even more reasonably priced, though he comes without that ceiling. Holiday has dropped 34.4 and 20.1 fantasy points in his last two, and something close to the former would prove to be great value. Holiday's teammate, T.J. Warren ($7,600), won't quite have the ceiling he displayed at the start of the seeding games, though he has exceeded 46.0 fantasy points in two of the three games in the series. Warren needs 38 for 5X.

Danilo Gallinari ($6,300) is our model's second-best projected value at the position, though he comes with a limited ceiling. I'd much rather have James Ennis ($4,400) for nearly $2.0K less.

Power Forward

Jeff Green ($5,500) continues to answer the call for the Rockets. Green has averaged 36 minutes this series, posting 37.2, 20.4, and 43.9 FanDuel points in the process. His price tag is more than fair, at just $5.5K. He'd need 27.5 to reach 5X value at that price, and he's proven that he can exceed that number with ease. At a thin position, Green is a core play.

Anthony Davis ($10,900) hasn't had consecutive games with more than 55.0 fantasy points since the beginning of January, which is concerning, but the playoffs are a whole different animal. AD has recorded 53.7, 52.7, and 67.2 in the first three bouts against Portland, and that gives him a fantastic floor. Davis and Bam Adebayo ($8,000) are the only two players at the position projected to surpass 5X value on today's slate.


Our model's top-projected value at center is Hassan Whiteside ($5,100). Whiteside won't cost you a ton, which would allow you to spend up at other positions. In the two competitive games this series, Whiteside has been on the court for 25.8 and 25.73 minutes, respectively. Whiteside has averaged 25.7 fantasy points per game, but with Jusuf Nurkic looking fatigued, the Blazers could need more production from him.

In the mid-range, I'd look towards Myles Turner ($6,700). Turner has recorded 41.6 and 37.9 FanDuel points in his last two, and he needs 33.5 to achieve 5X. Nikola Vucevic ($8,200) could go overlooked after a "poor" performance in Game 3 -- he scored just 32.0 fantasy points -- but his ceiling makes him worth considering. Vuce popped off 55.8 and 47.0 fantasy points in the first two games of the series.