FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Thursday 4/8/21

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 seven-game slate, which locks at 7:30 PM Eastern.

All injury updates are via the NBA's official injury report or numberFire's player news.

Slate Overview

This table is via Brandon Gdula's matchup sheet -- it shows the over/under for each game, as well as each team's spread and implied total. The table also includes each squad's offensive rating, adjusted for opponent, as well as opponent-adjusted defensive rating for the opposing team, including the respective league-wide ranks for each of those ratings.

Teams are sorted by their implied total.

Team Opp Over/
Spread Implied
Rank Opp Adj.
UTAH POR 231.0 -7.0 119.0 122.4 4 121.5 29
SAC DET 227.0 -6.5 116.75 114.6 11 113.2 20
LAC PHX 224.0 -5.0 114.50 122.9 2 106.5 5
MIL DAL 228.0 -1.0 114.50 121.0 5 111.6 12
DAL MIL 228.0 1.0 113.50 115.3 10 109.5 9
POR UTAH 231.0 7.0 112.0 120.5 6 104.2 3
CHI TOR 216.5 -4.0 110.25 109.7 17 112.2 14
DET SAC 227.0 6.5 110.25 104.8 24 124.2 30
PHX LAC 224.0 5.0 109.50 118.5 7 109.7 10
CLE OKC 211.5 -3.5 107.50 96.7 30 112.8 19
TOR CHI 216.5 4.0 106.25 111.4 13 112.7 18
MIA LAL 204.0 -8.0 106.0 105.0 22 100.3 1
OKC CLE 211.5 3.5 104.0 97.0 29 113.3 21
LAL MIA 204.0 8.0 98.0 107.2 19 107.7 6

Point Guard


Luka Doncic ($10,300) - As I outlined in today's studs column, Luka Doncic is someone I'll be targeting today. Luka is averaging 4.7 more FanDuel points per game than any other player on tonight's slate, and our algorithm projects him to score 8.8 more fantasy points than anyone else. This matchup is a salivating one. In their last 15 games, the Milwaukee Bucks have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing point guards, per FantasyPros.

Other Studs to Consider (in order of preference): Jrue Holiday ($8,800), De'Aaron Fox ($9,300), Chris Paul ($8,200)

Value Play

Malachi Flynn ($6,000) - In his last three games, Flynn has posted 33.5, 33.6, and 47.2 FanDuel points, and with DeAndre Bembry joining Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet on the sidelines, he's the only ball-handler available for the Toronto Raptors tonight. Flynn should be able to return adequate value regardless of his matchup, but the Chicago Bulls' fortress against point guards has shown cracks recently. They've ceded the ninth-most fantasy points to the position over their last seven games.

Other Mid-Range and Value Options: Theo Maledon ($5,400), Patrick Beverley ($3,900)

Shooting Guard


Donovan Mitchell ($7,800) - Mitchell has surpassed 40 FanDuel points in 18 of his last 28 contests, including 46.2-plus in 7 of his last 11. Mike Conley might sit tonight, and in 10 games without the veteran point guard in the lineup in 2020-21, Mitchell has averaged 46.2 fantasy points. The matchup is a dandy, as well -- to date, the Portland Trail Blazers have allowed the second-most fantasy points to shooting guards, according to numberFire's DvP tool.

Other Studs to Consider: Collin Sexton ($7,500), Zach LaVine ($7,200), Paul George ($8,700)

Value Play

Josh Jackson ($4,400) - The Detroit Pistons will be sans Jerami Grant tonight, which means there will be plenty of usage opening up for others in their rotation. One of those beneficiaries should be Josh Jackson. Jackson will be facing a Sacramento Kings squad that ranks 27th against two-guards this season. In his lone matchup versus Sac-town at the end of February, he pegged them for 36.5 FanDuel points.

Other Mid-Range and Value Options: Tyrese Haliburton ($6,000), Joe Ingles ($5,200), Donte DiVincenzo ($5,700)

Small Forward


Khris Middleton ($8,200) - The small forward position is a crapshoot tonight as far as value is concerned, but perhaps we can get some from Khris Middleton. In 515.3 minutes without Giannis Antetokounmpo in the lineup this season, Middleton is averaging 1.28 FanDuel points per minute while utilizing a team-high 31.9% of possessions. It has yet to result in any explosive performances without the MVP on the floor, but the Deer might need it against a surging Dallas Mavericks team.

Other Studs to Consider: Kawhi Leonard ($10,000), OG Anunoby ($8,000), Jimmy Butler ($9,400)

Value Play

Kenrich Williams ($4,900) - Williams has amassed 30 and 37.3 FanDuel points in two of his last three games, and he'll look to keep that rolling against the Cleveland Cavaliers. This season, Cleveland has been the 12th-most-generous team to small forwards, and Williams is primed to take advantage. He's got a relatively safe floor, as well, as he's gone for at least 22 fantasy points in 10 of his last 14 games.

Other Mid-Range and Value Options: Saddiq Bey ($5,100), Patrick Williams ($4,500), Bojan Bogdanovic ($5,300)

Power Forward


Pascal Siakam ($8,700) - With VanVleet, Lowry, and Bembry out, Siakam's volume should be through the roof. In 56.9 minutes with those three and Norman Powell off the court, Siakam is averaging a whopping 1.61 FanDuel points per minute, according to RotoGrinders. He's had 46.4 or more FanDuel points in four of his last eight games, and he's no stranger to overcoming tough matchups. In his last 11 games, Siakam has dropped 46.4 on the Los Angeles Lakers (eighth-best against power forwards), 48.5 on the Jazz (sixth-best), and 52.2 on the Phoenix Suns (fifth-best).

Other Stud to Consider: Kristaps Porzingis ($8,400 - Check status on back-to-back)

Value Play

Isaiah Hartenstein ($4,000) - No position is more flush with value options than power forward, and Hartenstein tops the list. In three of his last four games, he has erupted for 27.9, 34.3, and 37.9 FanDuel points -- any of those would be fantastic value at his salary. A matchup with the Oklahoma City Thunder only improves his prospects, as OKC is second-worst against the position over their last 15 outings. If Mason Plumlee were to sit, Isaiah Stewart ($3,700) would join Hartenstein as one of the slate's best point-per-dollar plays.

Other Mid-Range and Value Options: Isaiah Stewart ($3,700), Aleksej Pokusevski ($5,500), Royce O'Neale ($4,000)



Nikola Vucevic ($9,900) - Vuce has recorded 49.5, 51.6, and 58.9 fantasy points in three of his last four games, which makes him pretty tough to ignore on a slate lacking high-upside players. The Raptors rank 20th against centers over their last 30 games, so the matchup shouldn't give Vucevic too many issues. Our algo has him projected as the fourth-highest scorer on tonight's slate, but his ceiling is higher than that.

Other Studs to Consider: Rudy Gobert ($8,100), Bam Adebayo ($9,000)

Value Play

Andre Drummond ($5,200) - Drummond is expected to make his second appearance as a member of the Lakers tonight, and our model projects him to be the second-best point-per-dollar play on tonight's slate. Drummond's debut with Los Angeles was a cautionary tale of the risk he possesses, but his upside is tremendous at a salary this low.

Other Mid-Range and Value Options: Chris Boucher ($6,000), Richaun Holmes ($6,500), Moses Brown ($5,100)