FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Wednesday 8/26/20
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 three-game slate, which locks at 4:00 PM ET.
Injuries to be aware of: Aaron Gordon and Michael Carter-Williams remain out for the Orlando Magic. Russell Westbrook is now questionable for the Houston Rockets. Damian Lillard is out for the Portland Trail Blazers. Rajon Rondo is doubtful for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Chris Paul ($7,900) is $1,500 more expensive than any active point guard on this slate, but our model sees that as a price worth paying for, projecting CP3 as the best value at the position. Paul needs a hair under 40.0 FanDuel points in order to record 5X value (or 5.0 fantasy points for every $1,000 in salary), and he's exceeded 40.0 in three of four games in this series. Ideally, you'd like to get a higher ceiling at that price tag, but Paul's floor more than makes up for it.
There are two options to consider from the Magic. The first is Markelle Fultz ($5,500), who, aside from Paul, is the only point guard our model projects to surpass 5X value. Fultz posted 34.5 fantasy points in Game 4, after recording 26.4, 25.9, and 11.7 in the first three games, respectively. Fultz is far from a sure thing, however, so proceed with caution. If you don't go with Fultz, you can certainly give thought to rostering D.J. Augustin ($4,800) at a much more reasonable price. Augustin has alternated plus performances and duds in this series, posting 32.1 in Game 1 and 32.6 in Game 3, as opposed to just 17.9 in Game 2 and 11.7 in Game 4. Our model prefers Fultz -- I lean Augustin.
As even steeper salary-savers, you can look to George Hill ($4,400) or Anfernee Simons ($3,500). Hill has recorded totals of 27.9 and 24.4 points in two of the four games this series, and he's proven more than capable of impressive playoff performances in his time with the Milwaukee Bucks. Meanwhile, Simons projects to get a lot of run with Lillard inactive for Game 5. In fact, with Lillard off the court, Simons sees a usage bump of 3.0% to go along with scoring an additional 0.10 fantasy points per minute. However, Simons is nothing more than a dart throw at a minimum salary.
The real beneficiary of Lillard's absence is C.J. McCollum ($7,200). In the eight games, Lillard has missed this season, C.J. has averaged 52.7 fantasy points -- his low during those contests was 39.6, and he scored at least 51.8 in five of the eight contests. At a salary of $7.2, McCollum needs just 36.0 for 5X tonight. He's numberFire's top-projected value at shooting guard.
James Harden ($11,600) is $300 more expensive than any player on the slate, but that doesn't mean you should avoid him. Harden has totaled 60.4 and 70.1 fantasy points in the last two games, and with the series tied, his usage will be through the roof.
In McCollum's price range, Khris Middleton ($6,600) is also worth a look. Much like they did in the fourth quarter of Game 4, the Bucks should look to get KMidd going heading into Round 2. Middleton attempted 10 shots in that quarter, hitting six of them. Expect him to shoot the rock early and often in Game 5. Middleton needs 33.0 for 5X today, and he's scored 35.6 and 33.5 in his last two. It's hard to ignore Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ($7,300) in that range as well. SGA has recorded 43.2, 54.4, and 40.4 FanDuel points in the last three games of the series.
Lillard is out and McCollum is playing through a vertebral fracture, which could make Gary Trent Jr. ($4,000) an excellent filler option. Trent has posted 36.0, 14.0, 30.3, 15.5, 19.0, 22.8, and 24.8 fantasy points in his last seven games with Lillard inactive -- there's some upside there.
Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,300) is averaging 60.0 fantasy points per game in the first round, and he has yet to score less than 52.5. That's a model of consistency worth rostering. Our model has him projected as the highest-scoring player on the slate, at 60.1 fantasy points. LeBron James ($10,600) is in the same price range as another stud to consider. LeBron pegged the Blazers for 66.4 and 62.4 fantasy points in the two close games this series, while he scored 27.7 and 53.2 in the two blowouts. Portland keeping it close would be ideal, but that could be a tough task without the services of Lillard.
The trickle-down effect of Lillard not playing continues with Carmelo Anthony ($5,400). Like LeBron, Melo has excelled in the close games in the series (34.5 and 44.2, respectively), while offering up duds in the blowouts (0.5 and 17.9). However, Melo should see significantly higher usage right from the get-go with Lillard out, which could raise his floor even in the event of a blowout. Melo is our model's top-projected value at small forward.
It would be wrong not to mention Danuel House Jr. ($4,800) as a value play at the position. House has posted 34.3, 26.0, and 31.7 fantasy points in the last three games of the series, and he needs just 24.0 for 5X in this one.
This slate features an abysmal group of power forwards. It might be worth saving money to pay up for Anthony Davis ($11,100), though I stress the word "might". AD is at his highest salary since early January, which makes him an even riskier play than he was. Davis is risky because of the blowout factor -- he managed 40.5 fantasy points in just 17.6 minutes in Game 4, though that's not what you'd want at an $11.1K salary. You could roster him and pray for a close game or for a superhuman performance in limited minutes, but he is a dangerous play.
Our model projects Robert Covington ($5,700) as the best value at the position. In Game 4, Covington exceeded 31 minutes for the first time this series, which is certainly encouraging. Covington has had his fair share of explosive performances as a member of the Rockets, and more big minutes could lead to another.
Jeff Green ($5,500) is priced up but could be worth rostering. Green has recorded 37.2 and 43.9 in two games this series, though the other two were, for the most part, duds. Another option is Orlando's Gary Clark ($4,400). Clark hasn't scored fewer than 19.4 this series, though he hasn't posted more than 26.1 either. He projects as a high floor/low ceiling play.
The Magic continue to run their entire offense through Nikola Vucevic ($8,600), and yet he's still priced under $9.0K. Vuce has posted 55.8, 47.0, and 59.7 in three of the four games this series, and he needs just 43.0 to achieve 5X. That's more than doable.
As a salary-saver, our model has Hassan Whiteside ($4,900) as the top value at center. I'm wary of starting any big against the Lakers' interior fortress, but Whiteside is inexpensive and could see extra usage with Lillard off the court. Jusuf Nurkic ($7,500) dropped 40.6 fantasy points in Monday's blowout loss and saw his highest usage (27.7%) in nine games. That could happen again, given the circumstances.