FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Thursday 9/10/20

Russell Westbrook could be a high-leverage play in tonight's single-game format on FanDuel. Who else should you roster?

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 one-game slate between the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets, which locks at 7:00.

The Slate

Away Home Over/Under Home
LA Lakers Houston 218.5 +5.0 111.75 106.75 16 18

Among 22 teams that played basketball in the return, the Lakers are 16th in offensive seconds per play, and the Rockets are 18th, but they've each averaged at least 107.7 points per game in the series (pitting them top-three among the eight teams in the semis).

MVP Considerations

LeBron James (FanDuel Salary: $16,000), Anthony Davis ($15,500), James Harden ($15,000), and Russell Westbrook ($13,000) - These are the four players with a ceiling projection of at least 40 FanDuel points, and they all have marks above 60. That's panned out in the series itself, as only Rajon Rondo ($10,500; 41.1) and P.J. Tucker ($10,000; 40.2) cracked that 40-FanDuel-point mark so far and did so just barely.

Of course, salaries reflect that gap.

Per game, these four have all averaged at least 42 FanDuel points in the series. James (57.6) leads, followed by Davis (54.4), Harden (48.7), and Westbrook (42.3). It's quite possible to roster three of them in your multiplier slots on FanDuel and still feel okay with the rest of your lineup, especially if you forego James and/or force in Westbrook.

The biggest leverage should come from Westbrook in the MVP slot, as he was rostered as MVP in only 4% of lineups on Tuesday compared to 37% for James, 36% for Davis, and 20% for Harden. Westbrook, though, leads the semis in usage rate (36.1%). In terms of projected value, Davis and Harden outrank Westbrook and James, but if Westbrook erupts, you can get a boost on the field.

Utility Considerations

Robert Covington ($11,500) - The Rockets themselves could get a bit of a value boost once more with Danuel House Jr. not playing again in Game 4. Covington played 36.3 minutes on Tuesday and is going to play despite a scary collision with Davis. Per-minute, Covington (0.78) has been the third-most productive fantasy performer for Houston in the series behind Harden (1.31) and Westbrook (1.26). He's also led the team in minutes in the series.

Rajon Rondo ($10,500) - Rondo is up to 1.20 FanDuel points per minute in the series, thanks a lot to 51.7% shooting from the field and 40.0% from three-point range. His minutes have climbed in each game (24.5, 28.9, and 30.1), and his 21.2% usage rate in the series inspires confidence as a relevant ball-handler.

Eric Gordon ($9,500) - Gordon's 19.5% usage rate isn't anything stellar, but for this game, it works. Gordon has put up 17.4, 28.7, and 31.1 FanDuel points so far in the series while playing at least 34.0 minutes in all three games. The only players to get at least 30 minutes in every game of the series include the four studs, P.J. Tucker, Covington, and Gordon.

Others to Consider: P.J. Tucker ($10,000), Markieff Morris ($7,000), Jeff Green ($9,500), Danny Green ($8,500)