FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Tuesday 9/8/20
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 Tuesday's two-game slate, which locks at 6:30 PM ET.
If Giannis Antetokounmpo can't go tonight, the biggest beneficiary might just be Eric Bledsoe ($5,200). In 542 minutes without Giannis on the court this season, Bledsoe has seen a 7.5% usage bump while scoring an additional 0.26 fantasy points per minute. While Middleton could outscore him, it'll be quite hard to match the value of Bledsoe's $5.2K salary. With Giannis sitting for a majority of Game 4, Bled posted 34.0 fantasy points. In the six meaningful games Bledsoe played without Antetokounmpo on the court this season, he averaged 42.2 FanDuel points -- chase that upside. He's our model's top-projected value on the entire slate.
Goran Dragic ($7,200) is at a salary he's likely to right around 5X value (or 5.0 fantasy points for every $1,000 in salary), but his floor makes him worthy of consideration. Dragic has posted 42.7, 39.0, 33.5, and 34.8 fantasy points in the first four games of the series, and he needs 36.0 for 5X -- that's very attainable, but he isn't likely to surpass it by much.
Rajon Rondo ($6,200) dropped 41.1 fantasy points, but that was on the back of five steals -- not exactly very repeatable. However, the veteran is capable of stuffing the statsheet in a number of other categories, so reaching value here is still possible.
Russell Westbrook ($9,000) is going to be an interesting pivot on this slate due to what's likely to be low rostership. Westbrook has recorded more than 31.8 fantasy points just once this postseason, and he'd need 45.0 to achieve 5X. He's due for a big one, but who knows when that'll come.
Khris Middleton ($8,000) is going to be highly rostered on this slate, and it's going to be well-deserved. Midd pegged the Miami Heat for 59.6 fantasy points in Game 4, his third performance of 41.1 or more in the series. Khash would need just 40.0 for 5X. In 762.9 minutes without Giannis on the court this season, Middleton saw a usage bump of 7.0%, to go with averaging an additional 0.18 fantasy points per minute. Pay up here.
Here are the fantasy-point game logs for Jimmy Butler ($8,300) this postseason -- see if you can notice a trend: 51.6, 36.4, 49.6, 17.6, 53.8, 32.6, 48.4, and 29.0. As you can see, after every "dud," Butler's bounced back in a big way. Well, he's coming off a dud. Along those lines, our models have Butler as the top-projected value at shooting guard on this slate.
James Harden ($10,800) is an even more interesting pivot than Westbrook. Harden hasn't reached 50.0 fantasy points in five games, which has his salary at his lowest point in the postseason. We're all well aware of the ceiling Harden possesses, but his floor has been a bit lower than usual as of late.
Jae Crowder, Tyler Herro, and Kelly Olynyk are all questionable for Miami, which presents an opportunity for someone like Duncan Robinson ($5,300). Robinson posted 32.5 fantasy points in Game 4, which resulted in a salary bump of $800. However, if a couple of the aforementioned players can't go -- especially Herro -- Robinson should see increased volume.
If Giannis Antetokounmpo ($10,600) is a go, play him at your own risk. That leaves LeBron James ($11,100) as the lone star at the position. LeBron has posted performances of 60-plus fantasy points in six of his last seven, but like Butler, he has yet to do it in consecutive games in the postseason. However, streaks are meant to be broken, and LeBron looks like his usual postseason self.
If Jae Crowder ($5,100) plays, I'd have a hard time looking past him. Crowder has posted 32.2, 29.3, and 29.5 FanDuel points in his last three, and he needs just 25.5 for 5X tonight. The Milwaukee Bucks have made a habit of dropping beneath screens, allowing Crowder to get plenty of wide-open looks -- that bodes well for his fantasy production.
Like Crowder, Eric Gordon ($5,400) is a solid play in that range. Gordon needs 27.0 fantasy points for 5X tonight, and he's exceeded that in nine straight. I'll insert without thinking twice.
Bam Adebayo ($8,500) is going to be the chalk at power forward, and it's going to be extremely tough to avoid him with Anthony Davis now listed as a center on FanDuel. Bam has posted 45.4 or more in four of his last five contests, and he needs 42.5 for 5X tonight. Giannis being inactive certainly would not hurt his fantasy prospects.
Dwight Howard was not part of the rotation in Game 2, and JaVale McGee only played 8 minutes with a sprained ankle, which led to increased production for both Markieff Morris ($4,400) and Kyle Kuzma ($4,600). McGee is questionable for Game 3, which means either (or both) of those players could see increased volume once again. Morris had an outlier night from downtown, which makes him an iffy play. Kuzma has shown the capability to produce big fantasy performances, but he hasn't done so since the end of the seeding games. Both are dart throws, though I'd prefer Kuzma.
Speaking of dart-throws, Marvin Williams ($4,000) should get plenty of run with Giannis out. Williams has exceeded 18.8 fantasy points just once since February, so the risk is baked in.
Robert Covington ($6,700) is priced-up, has an absolutely brutal matchup, and will likely still see high rostership at the thinnest position on the slate. That's why I'm avoiding. However, Covington has posted 42.9 or more in three of his last five, so feel free to join that bandwagon if you so wish.
Let's start with the obvious -- Anthony Davis ($11,400) is listed as a center, and he must garner consideration. AD has posted 58.3, 61.2, and 67.2 in three of his seven postseason games, and he's been between 52.7 and 53.7 in three of the other four. Given that he needs 57.0 for 5X, I'm not all that excited about Davis at this salary.
Instead, I'll be rostering Brook Lopez ($5,800). Lopez has posted at least 29.0 FanDuel points in five straight, and, coincidentally (or not), he needs 29.0 for 5X tonight. With Giannis off the court this season, Lopez has seen a usage bump of 5.2% to go with a points-per-minute bump of 0.13.