FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Tuesday 2/16/21

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.

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 and COVID-19 situations. Our projections update up until tip-off to reflect current news and we also have player news updates.

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.

Please note: When I'm referencing a player's value figure, it is the number of fantasy points scored for every $1,000 in salary. Typically, a value figure of 5.0 (meaning, 5.0 FanDuel points for every $1,000 in salary) is the minimum baseline we'll be targeting.

Let's take a look at who you should target on tonight's six-game slate, which locks at 7:00 PM Eastern.

Slate Overview

Via Brandon Gdula's matchup sheet, this table shows each team's spread and implied total (plus the over/under for their game). It also includes opponent-adjusted offensive rating and the adjusted defensive rating for each team's opponent, including league-wide ranks for each.

Teams are sorted by implied team total.

Team Opp Over/
Spread Implied
Rank Opp Adj.
MIL TOR 235.0 -5.5 120.25 128.9 2 113.8 19
PHX BKN 232.0 -4.5 118.25 116.8 10 115.7 25
NO MEM 232.0 -1.0 116.50 120.5 7 110.7 12
MEM NO 232.0 1.0 115.50 112.2 20 120.8 28
POR OKC 223.5 -6.0 114.75 122.5 5 109.1 10
TOR MIL 235.0 5.5 114.75 117.9 9 109.8 11
LAL MIN 221.5 -7.0 114.25 115.0 14 115.3 24
BKN PHX 232.0 4.5 113.75 126.3 3 106.1 5
BOS DEN 220.0 -2.5 111.25 112.5 18 112.9 17
DEN BOS 220.0 2.5 108.75 122.5 6 111.2 13
OKC POR 223.5 6.0 108.75 104.3 25 121.4 29
MIN LAL 221.5 7.0 107.25 101.9 27 101.4 2

Point Guard

Core Play: The injury bug has officially gotten to the Denver Nuggets, as they will be without Gary Harris, P.J. Dozier, Will Barton, and Paul Millsap tonight. Oh, and Monte Morris is questionable. Enter Jamal Murray ($6,500). Consistency has never been Murray's middle name, but there's no question that he can pay off his salary tonight, especially given the state of Denver's roster. The 23-year-old has managed to eclipse 35 FanDuel points in 10 of his last 21 outings, and that includes 9 outputs of more than 39 and 6 of at least 41.7. The Boston Celtics rank as the third-toughest matchups for point guards this season, according to numberFire's DvP tool. That said, they've only been league average against the position over their last 15 games, per FantasyPros. If he does suit up, our model projects Monte Morris ($4,100) to be the second-best value play on the entire slate.

Key Stud: As I mentioned in my piece on studs to target tonight, Damian Lillard ($9,500) is well worth his salary. Lillard has exceeded 44 fantasy points in 11 of his last 13 efforts, and that includes 5 outings with more than 52. Behind Murray and Morris (who, again, is questionable), Lillard is our model's top-projected value at the position.

Mid-Range and Value Options: In the last two games that Anthony Davis missed, Dennis Schroder ($5,700) put up 35.9 and 39.9 FanDuel points, respectively. Against a Minnesota Timberwolves defense that ranks 27th against point guards this season, Schroder could be an excellent option.

Meanwhile, both Lonzo Ball ($6,800) and Hamidou Diallo ($6,000) have friendly matchups as well. Lonzo squares off against a Memphis Grizzlies that's ceding the sixth-most fantasy points to point guards. Ball posted a dud on Sunday, but he did surpass 40 FanDuel points in two of his four outings prior to that. As for Diallo, he's facing the Portland Trail Blazers and their 23rd-ranked point guard defense. Though he has failed to reach 30 fantasy points in either of his last two, he did top that number in each of his five games before that.

If Monte Morris doesn't suit up, Facundo Campazzo ($3,500) is worthy of consideration in a studs-and-scrubs build. Campazzo has posted 18.5, 19.9, and 28.2 FanDuel points in the last three games that he's played 12.7 or more minutes.

Shooting Guard

Studs to Consider: Of the shooting guards with a salary higher than $5,300, the only player our model projects for a value figure better than 4.54 is Fred VanVleet ($7,500). Due to the scarcity of high-end shooting guards in good spots tonight, I mentioned FVV as one of the top studs to target on this slate. VanVleet has managed at least 50 FanDuel points in 5 of his 10 games without OG Anunoby in the lineup, and Anunoby is doubtful to suit up tonight.

In his last five games, Devin Booker ($8,300) has had outings with 38.7, 40.8, 45.9, 46.0, and 50.0 FanDuel points, and tonight he'll face a Brooklyn Nets defense that ranks 24th against shooting guards this campaign.

Speaking of the Nets, James Harden ($11,000) has surpassed 60 fantasy points in two of his last three games without Durant in the lineup, and now Brooklyn will be sans Kyrie Irving as well. In 162.7 minutes without Durant and Irving on the court this season, Harden is averaging 1.55 FanDuel points per minute. If you want reasons to fade Harden -- he will be quite chalky and the Phoenix Suns are the stingiest team against point guards and second-toughest on shooting guards.

Value Options: Donte DiVincenzo ($5,100) is one of our model's top-projected values at the position. DiVincenzo would need 25.5 fantasy points to reach our baseline value figure, and he's topped that number in five of his last seven games.

Lu Dort ($5,000) should also be on your radars. Dort is averaging 36.0 minutes and 27.8 FanDuel points over his last three games. His opponent, the Blazers, rank third-worst against shooting guards in 2020-21. In that same salary range, Dillon Brooks ($5,300) is also in play with a tasty matchup. On the season, the New Orleans Pelicans are allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to the position.

Without KD and Kyrie tonight, both Bruce Brown Jr. ($4,800) and Landry Shamet ($3,900) are in play. Finally, Wesley Matthews ($3,800) has put up 18.4, 20.9, and 30.1 FanDuel points in three of his last four games without AD in the lineup. The veteran is a complete dart throw, but he did see 26.1 and 29.9 minutes of action in the last two games Davis was out.

Small Forward

Studs to Consider: numberFire's algorithm projects LeBron James ($10,500) to outscore every other small forward by 13.7 FanDuel points tonight -- that alone makes him worth considering. LeBron has scored fewer than 49.5 fantasy points just once in his last seven games, and he's equaled or surpassed 55 in three of his last six. Over their last seven games, only three teams are ceding more fantasy points to small forwards than the Wolves.

Khris Middleton ($7,500) has scuffled a bit in his last two contests, but he is still averaging 44.5 FanDuel points per 36 minutes with Jrue Holiday off the court this season. Khash is averaging 36.3 minutes over his last four, and he's our model's second-best projected value at the position.

Other Studs to Consider: Brandon Ingram ($8,200) has managed at least 42.8 FanDuel points in five of his last seven efforts and faces a Grizzlies defense that's third-worst against small forwards.

Mid-Range and Value Options: The chalk of the slate is undoubtedly going to be Michael Porter Jr. ($5,500). With Barton, Dozier, Millsap, and Harris inactive, MPJ is bound to see heavy usage. Porter needs 27 fantasy points for a 5.0 value figure, and he's eclipsed that three times in his last five outings. Due to the chalkiness, fading the 22-year-old in tournaments is not the worst idea.

Kyle Anderson ($6,500) is averaging 36.9 fantasy points over his last five games and will face a Pelicans squad that's 26th against power forwards so far this season.

Behind MPJ and Middleton, our model's top-projected value at the position is Mikal Bridges ($5,300). Bridges has a low floor, but he has also recorded at least 32.5 fantasy points in three of his last five games. For $100 cheaper, Kenrich Williams ($5,200) is also worth considering. Williams is putting up 29.3 FanDuel points over his last five outings.

Power Forward

Key Stud: Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,200) is projected to outscore the next-highest power forward by a whopping 18.7 FanDuel points, and he's also our model's top-projected overall scorer on this six-game slate. The two-time MVP is averaging an insane 1.7 FanDuel points per minute with Jrue Holiday off the court this season, and he's averaging 68.7 fantasy points in the last three games Holiday has missed. Antetokounmpo's posted an average of 65.6 fantasy points in three bouts with the Raptors over the last two seasons, so this is certainly not a matchup to fear.

Mid-Range and Value Options: Like Michael Porter Jr., JaMychal Green ($4,400) is going to be the chalk at his position tonight given Denver's thin roster. Green has played at least 22 minutes in nine games this season, and he has posted an average of 23.7 fantasy points in those contests. numberFire's algorithm projects him for 27.2 minutes tonight and has him as the second-best value.

Kyle Kuzma ($5,800) has amassed at least 30 FanDuel points in four of his five games without Davis in the lineup this season. Kuzma has picked up his play of late, exceeding 28 fantasy points in five of his last six games.

Our model's top-projected value at the position is Jarred Vanderbilt ($4,000). Vanderbilt entered the starting lineup on Sunday and totaled 29.4 fantasy points in 23.4 minutes of action.


Studs to Consider: The true beneficiary of all of Denver's absences might just be their MVP candidate, Nikola Jokic ($10,600). Tied for his lowest salary in nearly six weeks, Jokic would need just 53 FanDuel points to accrue a 5.0 value figure -- he's trumped 55 in 16 of his 26 games this season. The Celtics rank just 18th against centers this season, and they will be without Daniel Theis for this one.

Deandre Ayton ($7,000) hasn't had that many ceiling games of late, but it wouldn't be far-fetched to expect him to post one against a Brooklyn team that can't defend the interior. To date, the Nets rank 27th against the opposition's centers this season.

Mid-Range and Value Options: numberFire's top-projected value at the position is Enes Kanter ($6,600). The Thunder are surrendering the fifth-most fantasy points to centers over their last 15 games, and Kanter has exceeded 34 FanDuel points in 7 of his 11 games since Jusuf Nurkic went down with a wrist injury.

Al Horford ($6,900) has managed at least 38.2 FanDuel points in five of his last nine games, and that includes outputs of 41.9, 59.4, and 59.6 in three of his last five. Montrezl Harrell ($5,900) could fly a bit under the radar, but he is facing a Wolves defense that's allowing the most fantasy points to opposing centers this season. In three of his last four games without AD in the lineup, Harrell has put up 32.3, 33.6, and 34.8 FanDuel points.

Finally, with Daniel Theis out, Robert Williams ($3,800) could prove to be a worthwhile dart throw if you need to save salary. Williams has already had six games with more than 26 fantasy points, so the ceiling is there.