FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Thursday 9/3/20

The NBA playoffs keep churning on, as the Conference Semis are underway.

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 Thursday's two-game slate, which locks at 6:30 PM ET.

Point Guard

The point guard position has a few playable options on this two-game slate, though none jump off the page. Kyle Lowry ($7,800) is our model's top-projected value. After recording 45.5 fantasy points in Game 2 versus the Boston Celtics, Lowry has now posted at least 41.5 in three of his last five games -- one of the instances, where he failed to do so, was a blowout against the Brooklyn Nets in which he played just 9.2 minutes. Lowry needs 39.0 fantasy points to reach 5X value (or 5.0 fantasy points for every $1,000 in salary), and that's certainly attainable with the Toronto Raptors having their backs up against the wall.

Kemba Walker ($7,600) totaled just 28.2 FanDuel points in Game 2 after scoring 37.6 in Game 1 -- that Game 2 performance could lead to slightly depressed rostership. Prior to that outing, Walker had averaged 45.0 fantasy points in his three previous efforts and had posted 40-plus fantasy points twice against Toronto this season.

Jamal Murray ($9,000) was absolutely unreal for much of the opening series against the Utah Jazz, posting 60 or more fantasy points in each of Games 4 through 6 -- he also totaled 55.5 in Game 1. However, the Los Angeles Clippers present a much stiffer task. Murray averaged just 21.6 fantasy points in three matchups with the Clips this season. Still, he's not a total fade given his upside.

Lou Williams ($5,300) averaged 34.5 points in three matchups against the Denver Nuggets this season, and he could be lightly rostered after a piss-poor performance in Game 6 against the Dallas Mavericks.

Shooting Guard

Fred VanVleet ($7,700) is the core play for me at shooting guard. FVV has posted at least 37.5 fantasy points in every non-blowout game in the postseason, including at least 38.5 (what he needs for 5X) four of those five contests. VanVleet has an impressive floor even when he doesn't shoot well, but when he does, his ceiling is salivating -- he dropped 56.9 fantasy points in Game 1 against Brooklyn. After back-to-back poor shooting outings to open the series against Boston, FVV is due for improvement.

Marcus Smart ($5,700) is our model's top-projected value on the entire slate. Smart has posted 32.2 and 25.1 fantasy points in the first two games of the series, though that's been on the back of shooting 11 of 20 from downtown -- seems unsustainable. However, Smart is always capable of posting big nights in the rebound, assist, or defensive categories, which raises his floor and ceiling even if his shooting regresses.

Our model has Paul George ($7,700) as the second-best value at shooting guard, but his salary makes him a tough sell for me. At $7.7K, PG13 would need 38.5 fantasy points to reach 5X -- he attained that just once in the first round against Dallas, and barely (39.6).

Gary Harris ($3,900) is an intriguing dart-throw at a very low salary. Harris garnered 20.8 and 26.2 minutes in his first two games back in the bubble, though he shot just 2 for 13 from the field. If his shooting corrects itself, he could be a fantastic value play.

Small Forward

At small forward, there's Kawhi Leonard ($10,500), and there's everybody else. Kawhi was a model of consistency in the first-round series against Dallas, posting at least 50.0 fantasy points in every game -- including performances of 58.4, 65.8, 55.8, and 72.3. Leonard needs 52.5 to achieve 5X tonight, and he has the ability to get there with ease, especially in the postseason.

Jaylen Brown ($6,800) still finds himself under $7.0K, which makes him a worthy play. Brown posted 39.6 fantasy points in Game 2, which would've been pretty close to 6X value at tonight's salary. Like FVV, if Brown can shoot the ball well (40% or worse in four straight), he can have a monster output, as evidenced by his 49.2 fantasy points in Game 1 against the Sixers.

OG Anunoby ($5,300) is one of the safer "salary-saving" options on the slate. OG posted 30.4 fantasy points in Game 2 and has posted at least 24.4 in five of his six games this postseason. The upside isn't huge, but the floor is enticing. His teammate, Pascal Siakam ($8,200), should garner consideration. Siakam has struggled as a scorer in the bubble, but he has posted at least 44.1 FanDuel points in three of his last four.

Power Forward

Jayson Tatum ($9,200) has one of the higher ceilings you can find at a salary under $10.0K. Tatum has posted at least 51.6 fantasy points in three of his six games this postseason, including a 60.0-fantasy point performance in Game 4 against Philly. Tatum needs 46.0 for 5X tonight, and he's surpassed that in four of his six outings in the playoffs. He's numberFire's top-projected value at small forward.

Tatum's teammate, Daniel Theis ($5,400), should not fly under your radars. Theis has recorded 37.5 and 28.8 fantasy points in the first two games of the series, the latter coming in 30.5 minutes of play.

Serge Ibaka ($6,500) has quietly had a nice postseason run thus far. Through six games, Ibaka has recorded at least 34.8 fantasy points four times. Serge would need 32.5 to attain 5X value tonight.

If Marcus Morris ($4,800) can avoid any dumb or dirty fouls, he can easily return good value tonight. Morris would need 24.0 FanDuel points for 5X, and he exceeded that in four of the five games in which he didn't get ejected.


What you decide to do at center will depend on how much salary you have left over. Nikola Jokic ($9,800) is our model's top-projected play at the position, though he could be a tough sell at his salary. Jokic would need 49.0 fantasy points to achieve 5X tonight -- he's exceeded that just 3 times in his last 13 games and two of them were by 1.5 and 1.8 points, respectively. In three matchups against the Clippers this season, Jokic averaged 42.2 FanDuel points.

One guy that's piqued my interest is Montrezl Harrell ($4,900). Harrell recorded 18.4 fantasy points or less in five of six games against the Mavs, though he did manage 34.7 points in LA's blowout win in Game 5. In two matchups with the Mavs this season, Harrell posted 45.0 and 41.6 fantasy points in just 20.5 and 29.7 minutes of play, respectively. Harrell has a floor under 10.0 fantasy points, but his ceiling is titillating. His frontcourt mate, Ivica Zubac ($4,900), posted at least 25.2 fantasy points in four of the six games against the Mavs, and he needs 24.5 for 5X. Our models project him for 26.3 tonight.

Robert Williams ($3,800) is the way to go if you want extreme savings. Williams has posted 27.0 and 17.8 fantasy points in the first two games of the series. It's worth noting that in the 62 minutes Williams has played against Toronto this season, the Celtics have outscored the Raptors by 49.