FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Monday 8/31/20

numberFire's models project Khris Middleton to be one of the best values on Monday's slate. Who else should you target?

The NBA playoffs keeps churning on, with the first game of the Conference Semis 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 two-game slate, which locks at 6:30 PM ET.

Point Guard

Goran Dragic ($6,500) is a core play at point guard. In four games against the Indiana Pacers in the first round, Dragic averaged 36.3 FanDuel points, scoring below 34.5 just once. He needs just 32.5 to achieve 5X value tonight (or 5.0 fantasy points for every $1,000 in salary). Dragic's usage rate was at least 26.5% in every game in the series -- that's quite appealing. A matchup with the team that's first in pace -- the Milwaukee Bucks -- definitely doesn't hurt.

Chris Paul ($8,200) doesn't have a ridiculously high ceiling, but he should have a solid floor if the Oklahoma City Thunder can keep the game close. CP3 has totaled at least 42.7 points in three of the five games this series, and he needs 41.0 for 5X tonight. It's very attainable.

This slate isn't devoid of bargain options. George Hill ($4,400) could be an excellent play if Eric Bledsoe is unable to go. Bledsoe is dealing with a hamstring injury.

Shooting Guard

The Bucks needed to get Khris Middleton ($6,800) going at the end of their series with the Orlando Magic, and they very much did that. Middleton dropped 35.6, 33.5, and 44.5 fantasy points in the last three games of the series, and they'll need him to duplicate that success against a Miami Heat that has played the Bucks very well. In his lone bubble game against Miami, Middleton pegged the Heat for 33 real-life points and 49.2 fantasy points. Our model has him as the top-projected value at the position.

James Harden ($11,200) could see depressed rostership after posting a "dud" in Game 5. Harden managed just 43.9 in that contest after scoring 60.4 and 70.1 fantasy points in the previous two. This is the lowest price Harden has been thus far in the playoffs.

In order for Miami to win the series, they're going to need their shooters to show up -- that'll start with Duncan Robinson ($4,700). Robinson attempted at least seven threes in three of the four contests against the Pacers, and that volume should only go up against the high-paced Bucks. Milwaukee allowed the most three-point attempts against them during the regular season. Tyler Herro ($5,200) could be a beneficiary, as well, though I prefer the cheaper Robinson.

Jimmy Butler ($8,500) scored 51.6 and 49.6 in two of the four games in the first round -- he's a decent option if you've got the salary.

Small Forward

Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,500) needs a whopping 57.5 tonight to reach 5X. Miami is one of the teams that's actually done a decent job on Giannis this year. In three games this season, they've limited the Greek Freak to "just" 52.9 fantasy points, but that includes performances of 50.4 and 38.5. Giannis averaged 58.6 in the five games against Orlando in round one, and that was just in 31.7 minutes. A bigger load could result in a massive performance. Fading Giannis would make for interesting contrarian lineups, but do so at your own risk. He's our model's highest-projected scorer and top-projected value at small forward.

It's impossible to ignore Eric Gordon ($6,000) on a slate this small. Gordon's totaled at least 31.6 fantasy points in each of the last four games, and he needs just 30.0 for 5X tonight. However, Russell Westbrook returning did put a small dent in his usage -- 24.6% in Game 5, down from 29.8% and 29.9% in Games 1 and 2.

Danilo Gallinari ($5,500) has been an "all-or-nothing" guy in the playoffs, but he comes in priced down after a piss-poor performance where he failed to even hit a shot. In two of the five games this series, Gallinari has posted 30.9 and 39.1 fantasy points -- that's the upside you're chasing. His floor is low, but the ceiling is there. Our model has Gallinari projected to be the second-best value at the position.

If you need to save even more salary, Jae Crowder ($4,700) is an intriguing option. Crowder posted 27.1, 28.1, and 22.0 in the last three games against Indiana, but his minutes and volume could rise against Milwaukee.

Power Forward

Robert Covington ($5,600) had been seeing the minutes in the postseason -- all he was missing was the big game. In Game 5, that "big game" finally came. Covington posted 42.9 FanDuel points on the back of 22 real-life points and 3 steals. Covington is priced at $5.6K, which means he needs 28.0 for 5X. He can certainly surpass that if he has the hot hand.

Bam Adebayo ($8,000) is likely going to be a popular play at a razor-thin position. Bam totaled 47.0 and 45.8 in two of the four games against Indiana, though he managed only 28.0 in Game 2. Bam's matchups with the Deer have been a mixed bag. He pegged them for 46.6 and 44.1 fantasy points in his two pre-bubble games against them, but he managed just 20.0 in his lone contest against Milwaukee in the bubble.

The only other player at the position to realistically consider is Jeff Green ($5,100). Green has posted 37.2, 20.4, 43.9, 19.5, and 24.5 fantasy points in five games this series, and he's played at least 30.7 minutes in each contest. Feel free to swing for the fences and hope he gets hot.


Brook Lopez ($5,700) is going to be a key piece for the Bucks with the way this Miami team is built -- he's averaged 31.5 minutes in three games against Miami this season, which is a pretty large load for a Bucks player. Brook has scored 32.8 and 33.2 fantasy points in two of his three games against Miami, and he needs 28.5 for 5X tonight.

Our model's top-projected value at the position is Steven Adams ($5,500). Adams has not exceeded 28.8 fantasy points since Game 1 of the series, but his upside against Houston's small-ball lineup is still there.

If you want to swing for the fences, you could give Kelly Olynyk ($4,000) a whirl. In three games against the Bucks this season, Olynyk has posted 16.2, 25.2, and 26.3 FanDuel points. If Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra wants to stretch Brook Lopez out of the paint, playing Olynyk might accomplish that.