FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Thursday 2/25/21

Is Luka Doncic worth his lofty salary against 76ers? Which players should we look to target on tonight's six-game slate?

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 NO 242.5 -9.0 125.75 124.3 3 121.3 28
DEN WSH 237.0 -6.5 121.75 120.8 6 116.9 27
BKN ORL 228.0 -9.0 118.50 125.8 2 113.5 19
LAC MEM 227.0 -8.0 117.50 127.5 1 112.3 16
NO MIL 242.5 9.0 116.75 121.2 5 109.0 9
WSH DEN 237.0 6.5 115.25 105.6 22 115.3 24
PHI DAL 225.5 -4.5 115.0 112.7 14 112.7 17
NY SAC 224.0 -2.0 113.0 102.0 25 123.2 30
SAC NY 224.0 2.0 111.0 113.7 13 104.0 3
DAL PHI 225.5 4.5 110.50 116.4 9 107.2 5
MEM LAC 227.0 8.0 109.50 107.9 21 110.7 13
ORL BKN 228.0 9.0 109.50 99.7 28 115.5 25

Point Guard


Luka Doncic ($11,000): As I outlined in my studs to target column, there are a number of reasons why Luka could be a priority over other studs. First, the matchup between the Dallas Mavericks and Philadelphia 76ers has the second-smallest spread on the slate, and we want to avoid that blowout risk. Second, this is a fantastic matchup for the soon-to-be 22-year-old. On the season, the Sixers rank 22nd against point guards, per numberFire's DvP tool. However, in their last 15 games, Philly has given up the third-most real-life and fifth-most fantasy points to opposing point guards. This season, in eight games against teams that are bottom-nine versus the position, Doncic has averaged 66.4 FanDuel points per game -- he only totaled fewer than 59 in one of those outings.

Other Studs to Consider:
Ben Simmons ($9,400):
Dallas has ceded the third-most fantasy points to the position in their last 15 games. Simmons has outputs of 48.3, 54.7, and 72.8 FanDuel points in three of his last five.
Russell Westbrook ($9,200): Hasn't recorded fewer than 46.6 FanDuel points in five straight. That 46.6-fantasy point outing came against these same Nuggets.
Jamal Murray ($8,300): Is averaging 52.2 fantasy points in his last five. Washington ranks 29th against the position.
Ja Morant ($7,200): Clippers are seventh-worst against point guards in their last 15 games. Morant has had 39.6, 42.4, 45.3, and 46.2 FanDuel points in four of his last five.

Value Play

D.J. Augustin ($3,900): The bargain bin isn't overflowing with options at point guard tonight, which leaves Augustin as one of the better salary-saving candidates. The veteran has averaged 27.7 minutes of action in his last four games, and he posted 21.9 and 22.9 fantasy points in two of those outings. Throughout their last 15 games, only the San Antonio Spurs have given up more fantasy points to point guards than the New Orleans Pelicans.

Other Mid-Range and Value Options:
Derrick Rose ($5,700): On Tuesday, Rose had his second game with more than 36 fantasy points as a member of the Knicks. This is a pace-up spot for New York -- Sacramento is fifth in adjusted pace. It helps that Elfrid Payton is doubtful.
Facundo Campazzo ($4,200): Our model's top-projected value at the position, Campazzo has posted at least 21.6 FanDuel points in four of his last six.

Shooting Guard


James Harden ($11,200): Harden has produced 59.6 or more fantasy points in six of his last eight, and he had 53.5 in of the two in which he failed to do so. Tonight, he faces an Orlando Magic squad that ranks 27th against point guards and 28th versus shooting guards. Brooklyn is tied with Milwaukee for being the largest favorite on the slate, so there is some blowout risk here -- Orlando has entered the fourth quarter down 19 or more in 4 of their last 14 games.

Other Studs to Consider:
Bradley Beal ($9,800): Has topped 50 fantasy points in five of his last eight. Denver is third-stingiest against shooting guards over their last 15 contests.
Paul George ($8,600): Had put up 42.7-plus in 13 of his 23 games this season. The Grizzlies rank ninth versus shooting guards, however.

Value Play

Alec Burks ($4,000): With Elfrid Payton doubtful for tonight's bout with the Kings, Burks is officially back in play. The Kings rank dead last against shooting guards this season, which certainly helps Burks' outlook. The 29-year-old has had at least 20 fantasy points in 13 of his 20 games this season.

Other Mid-Range and Value Options:
Terrence Ross ($6,200): Is averaging 36.6 FanDuel points over his last eight. The Nets come in 22nd against shooting guards this season.
Seth Curry ($4,000): Has produced 22.8-plus FanDuel points in half of his efforts in 2020-21. Dallas ranks fourth-worst against the position over their last 15 games.

Small Forward


Khris Middleton ($7,600): Middleton made an appearance in the studs piece today, as this is quite an enticing matchup. On the season, the Pels rank 24th against small forwards, and, according to FantasyPros, they rank bottom-six in real-life points (25th), made three-pointers (30th), steals (27th), and fantasy points (26th) allowed to shooting guards in their last 15 games. Of the seven players at the position with a salary of $6,000 or higher, Khash is the only one projected to return a value figure better than 4.9.

Other Studs to Consider:
Kawhi Leonard ($9,700): Has had 48.4 or more fantasy points in 9 of his last 14. Memphis ranks 28th against shooting guards this season.
Brandon Ingram ($8,000): Has eclipsed 40 in 8 of his last 12, including 5 outputs of 44.3-plus. The Deer are sixth-worst against small forwards.

Value Play

Michael Porter Jr. ($5,700): MPJ is our model's second-best projected point-per-dollar play on the entire slate, as he's facing a Washington unit that's second-worst against shooting guards over their last 15 games. Porter Jr. has had at least 27.8 FanDuel points in 6 of his last 10 games, though he's only exceeded 30 once in his last 13 efforts. There is some buyer beware here.

Other Mid-Range and Value Options:
RJ Barrett ($5,500): Over their last 15 games, the Kings are dead last against small forwards. Barrett has 27.9, 31.3, and 34.7 FanDuel points in three of his last four.
Evan Fournier ($7,000): Has outputs of 43.9 and 45.8 fantasy points in two of his last three. The Nets are sixth-worst against small forwards in their last seven games.

Power Forward


Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,400): Why even bother writing up anyone else? In his last eight games, Anetotokounmpo has averaged 66.7 FanDuel points per game, posting fewer than 62.6 just once during that stretch. Milwaukee's implied total tonight is four points higher than any other team on the slate, so we'll definitely want a slice of that pie. Giannis poured in 66.7 FanDuel points in his first meeting with New Orleans less than a month ago.

Other Studs to Consider:
Julius Randle ($8,900): The Kings are 24th against power forwards this season. Randle has topped 46 in 7 of his last 12 efforts.
Zion Williamson ($8,500): Has been on a tear -- 45.1-plus fantasy points in six of his last seven. The Bucks are average defending the interior this season.

Value Play

Al-Farouq Aminu ($3,700): Power forward seems like the thinnest position as far as value options are concerned. One viable option is Aminu, who has seen 19.0 and 21.5 minutes in his last two outings and faces a Nets frontcourt that allowed the eighth-most FanDuel points to the position.

Other Mid-Range and Value Options:
Moe Wagner ($4,900): Has had outings of 26.8, 31.1, and 36.9 FanDuel points in three of his last six. He's a risky play with how Washington rotates their bigs -- he only played 3.1 minutes against Denver eight days ago.
Chuma Okeke ($4,600): Has posted 23.3-plus in four of his last eight. Like Aminu, he'll go up against Brooklyn's lackluster interior defense.



Nikola Jokic ($10,800): numberFire's algorithm projects the Serbian to be the second-highest scorer and fourth-best point-per dollar play on Thursday's entire slate. The Wiz rank 29th against centers this campaign, and they've surrendered the most fantasy points to the position over their last 15 games. Jokic is currently fantasy's leading-scorer, and he's eclipsed 55 FanDuel points 20 times this season. Only the Bucks have a higher implied total than the Nuggets on tonight's slate, which certainly improves Jokic's ceiling.

Other Studs to Consider:
Joel Embiid ($10,400): The Mavs are third-worst against centers in their last 15 games. Embiid is averaging 61 FanDuel points in his last six games following a sub-50 fantasy-point performance -- he managed just 35.4 on Tuesday.
Nikola Vucevic ($9,900): Brooklyn ranks 24th against centers in 2020-21. Vuce pegged the Nets for 67.5 FanDuel points a month ago.

Value Play

Robin Lopez ($4,200): It truly is slim pickings at center if you decide not to pay up for one of the top three. If the Wizards decide that they want a more true big against Jokic and the Nuggets -- as they in their previous matchup -- Lopez could be the beneficiary. Robin amassed 26.8 minutes in that game, and he has exceeded 20 fantasy points in four of his last eight outings.