FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Thursday 9/17/20

Is it worth pivoting away from Jayson Tatum on Thursday's single-game slate?

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 Boston Celtics and Miami Heat, which locks at 7:00pm.

MVP Considerations

Jayson Tatum (FanDuel Salary: $16,000), Jimmy Butler ($14,500), Bam Adebayo ($15,000), Kemba Walker ($11,500), and Jaylen Brown ($13,500) -- those are five players with a ceiling projection of at least 40 FanDuel points, but only Tatum, Butler, and Adebayo have marks above 50. Brown did have a 56.2-fantasy point performance against the Toronto Raptors, though that came in double-overtime and will be hard to duplicate.

Tatum has posted 65.3, 56.9, and 66.3 FanDuel points over his last three, which is exactly why he's the highest-salaried player on the slate. It's also a good bet that he'll be the most rostered player at the MVP spot -- his 55% mark on Tuesday was quite a bit higher than the next closest player (Butler -- 19.7%). Our model has Tatum outscoring the next closest player by 5.6 points, so I wouldn't fault you for going in that direction, though you'd really have to differentiate in your other spots.

Brown totaled only 28.0 FanDuel points in Game 1, which could make for a good opportunity to in the STAR or PRO spots if you're going with Tatum in the MVP slot. Prior to that performance, Brown had posted at least 42.4 FanDuel points in four of the previous five.

Butler is in a somewhat similar spot -- he hasn't topped 37.5 FanDuel points in any of his last three, and he hasn't reached 50 since Game 1 against the Milwaukee Bucks. Butler also hasn't topped 20 real-life points in any of his last three, which means he's due (very scientific, I know). He did have a 37-point performance against Boston earlier this season.

Brown and Butler were the two most-rostered players in the STAR slots on Tuesday, but that could change after the underwhelming performances.

Bam was rostered in the MVP or STAR slots in only 26.4% of lineups on Tuesday, though that could also change, as he posted 44.7 FanDuel points in Game 1.

Goran Dragic ($10,500) dropped 45.4 FanDuel points in Game 1 -- he'd be a real differentiator in any of the top-two spots if you're inclined to be bold.

Utility Considerations

Marcus Smart ($10,000) only totaled 28.1 fantasy points in Game 1, though he did have 52.2 and 38.4 in the final two games against Toronto. Smart has the ability to post a high fantasy output in a variety of ways, which makes him a worthy start.

Jae Crowder ($9,500) has a salary that makes it easy to fit in any studs in your top three spots. Crowder has posted at least 29.3 FanDuel points in five straight, topping out at 36.5 in Game 1. His 39.1 minutes were a postseason high, as he seems to have firmly supplanted Duncan Robinson in the rotation. At the same price, Tyler Herro ($9,500) should also garner consideration. Herro has totaled 35.6 and 36.7 in his last two. The 40.4 minutes he played in Game 1 was the second-most he'd played all season.

Though I'd avoid Kemba Walker ($11,500) in any of the top two slots (he's a consideration in the PRO spot), you can roster him as a utility. Kemba has had three performances of 44-plus FanDuel points this postseason, though he hasn't come close to that output in any of his last five.

Despite posting just 16.3 FanDuel points in the first game, Daniel Theis ($9,000) is still worth mentioning. Theis played 35.5 minutes in that contest and has shown the ability to surpass 30 fantasy points with ease in the postseason -- he's done it three times.