FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Thursday 4/22/21

Cameron Johnson has the potential to return excellent value on a thin six-game slate. Who else should we target on Thursday?

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.

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.
MIL PHI 227.5 -7.0 117.25 120.3 5 102.0 2
NO ORL 223.0 -9.0 116.0 116.1 9 114.9 24
SA DET 216.5 -8.0 112.25 108.0 19 112.9 16
PHX BOS 219.5 -4.0 111.75 118.4 7 112.1 13
PHI MIL 227.5 7.0 110.25 110.0 16 109.6 9
DAL LAL 216.0 -4.0 110.0 114.9 11 100.8 1
BOS PHX 219.5 4.0 107.75 115.0 10 107.0 5
ORL NO 223.0 9.0 107.0 98.0 29 118.5 28
CHI CHA 209.0 -3.0 106.0 109.8 17 113.0 17
LAL DAL 216.0 4.0 106.0 107.4 20 113.1 19
DET SA 216.5 8.0 104.25 104.4 25 110.4 10
CHA CHI 209.0 3.0 103.0 108.5 18 113.8 22

Point Guard

Terry Rozier ($7,800) - In his last four outings, Rozier has posted 40.4, 48.2, 54.4, and 65.6 fantasy points, and three of those outputs came against teams that are among the seven stingiest versus opposing point guards. He won't have to worry about a matchup like that tonight, as the Chicago Bulls rank 23rd versus the position over their last 15 games, per FantasyPros.

Kemba Walker ($6,900) - Kemba has a very nice salary tonight, and despite a matchup with the Phoenix Suns, our model sees him as a worthwhile target. numberFire's projections have Walker as the second-best point-per-dollar play at the point tonight. Jaylen Brown is doubtful for the Boston Celtics tonight, and Walker's usage jump by 5.4 percentage points with Brown off the court this season, according to RotoGrinders.

Other Options to Consider (listed in order of preference): Derrick White ($5,800), Coby White ($5,800), Cameron Payne ($3,700)

Shooting Guard

Devonte' Graham ($6,000) - As far as players in good spots, shooting guard might just be the thinnest position on the slate. Given the status of the Charlotte Hornets' roster, Graham is an option well worth considering. Prior to his recent two-game absence, the 26-year-old had averaged 31.2 FanDuel points in his previous 10 outings. He'll face a Bulls team that's allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to two-guards over their last 15 games.

DeMar DeRozan ($7,900) - DeRozan is fairly volatile for a player with a salary that's nearly at $8,000, but the position's thin and his matchup is good. The veteran has produced at least 39.6 FanDuel points in five of his last seven games, and he'll square off against a Detroit Pistons squad that's surrendered the most real-life points and second-most fantasy points to the position over their last seven games.

Other Options to Consider: Terrence Ross ($4,700 - Questionable), Dwayne Bacon ($3,800), Josh Jackson ($5,500)

Small Forward

Brandon Ingram ($8,400) - I highlighted Ingram as a player to target in today's studs column, and there's good reason for that. So far this season, the Orlando Magic have ceded the second-most fantasy points to opposing small forwards. Ingram has thrived in good positional matchups -- in nine contests versus teams that are bottom-six against the position, he has averaged 42.2 FanDuel points, including performances of 47.2, 54.2, 57.9, and 58.9. The New Orleans Pelicans also have the second-highest implied total tonight, and we'll certainly want exposure to that.

Cam Johnson ($3,800) - For their bout with the Celtics tonight, the Suns could very well be without each of Jae Crowder, Dario Saric, and Abdel Nader -- that opens up a lot of potential volume for Johnson. In three games Crowder missed in February, Johnson averaged 22.6 FanDuel points. The 25-year-old has also recorded at least 23 fantasy points in 5 of his last 11 outings. He's numberFire's third-best projected value on the entire slate.

Other Options to Consider: Patrick Williams ($4,000), Keldon Johnson ($4,200), Naji Marshall ($4,800)

Power Forward

Jayson Tatum ($9,500) - According to RotoGrinders, without Jaylen Brown on the court this season, Tatum has a team-high 35.4% usage rate to go with a rock-solid 1.35 FanDuel-point-per-minute average. In the five games Brown has missed this season, Tatum has averaged 53.7 FanDuel points, and that includes amassing more than 50 in four of them. The Suns are definitely a tough matchup, but Tatum should have the volume to overcome it.

PJ Washington ($6,500) - Washington has eclipsed 30 FanDuel points in four of his last five games, and that includes outputs of 34.4, 37.4, and 46.6. The Bulls had been tough on power forwards all season, but they've shown cracks in that foundation recently -- they rank 23rd against the position over their last seven contests.

Other Options to Consider: Lauri Markkanen ($4,000), Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,000), Zion Williamson ($9,800)


Nikola Vucevic ($8,800) - Prior to a dud against the Cleveland Cavaliers last night, Vucevic had garnered 45.9 or more FanDuel points in five straight games. Our algorithm projects Vuce for 44 fantasy points tonight, which would be good enough for a 5.0 value figure.

Tristan Thompson ($4,100) - If you don't want to break out the wallet at center, our model is a fan of Thompson, projecting him to be the second-best point-per-dollar play on the entire slate. Robert Williams is still out for the Celtics, and in his absence, Thompson has accumulated at least 18.5 FanDuel points in six of his seven efforts.

Other Options to Consider: Joel Embiid ($10,700), Andre Drummond ($6,900)