FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Sunday 5/2/21

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.

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 break down today's main slate on FanDuel.

The Slate

LeBron James returned to the NBA stage on Friday to the joy of many, but he is the biggest name who is a question mark for Sunday as the Los Angeles Lakers continue to monitor their star's ankle injury. It is a knee that continues to plague Dallas Mavericks forward Kristaps Porzingis, and between the two, significant star power could be off the slate if Porzingis is unable to go.

Point guard has plenty of concerns, as well. Kemba Walker is doubtful with an oblique injury for the Boston Celtics, and Dejounte Murray was a late addition to the San Antonio Spurs' injury report with a knee injury. The status of Kyle Lowry of the Toronto Raptors is also in doubt as Lowry missed Saturday's contest due to rest.

In the frontcourt, Harrison Barnes is at risk of missing a third straight game with a groin injury for the Sacramento Kings. The Oklahoma City Thunder may also be down a pair of their wings, as Luguentz Dort (hip) and Aleksej Pokusevski (knee) both missed Saturday's game and are questionable for Sunday.

Point Guard

Damian Lillard ($8,500): Just when you forget about "Dame Dolla," he reminds you of his insane upside. Lillard poured in 32 actual points against the Brooklyn Nets on Friday, which was his first time eclipsing 30 points scored since March 31st. Lillard has undoubtedly taken a step back in terms of fantasy output with the returns of C.J. McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic. Nurkic actually leads the Portland Trail Blazers at 1.50 FanDuel points per minute the past two weeks, but Lillard is second at 1.29 and still holds the team lead with 29.0% team usage.

Ben Simmons ($7,200): There is plenty of value with the Philadelphia 76ers, because they have been blistering their competition recently. Each of their last four games have been decided by more than 20 points, which means there has been disappointing overall production from Simmons, Joel Embiid, and other Philadelphia starters. However, on a per-minute basis since returning three games ago, Simmons has been on fire. In that stretch, he has posted 1.89 FanDuel points per minute. That could spell trouble for San Antonio if Simmons gets his normal workload on Sunday.

Other Notable Plays: Luka Doncic ($10,600), Dennis Schroder ($6,600; if LeBron sits), Theo Maledon ($5,000)

Shooting Guard

Devin Booker ($7,800): Booker does not provide much in fantasy besides scoring. That can be frustrating, but he is beginning to score well recently. He has scored 30 or more points in three of his last four contests, and it has to entice Booker that he gets the Thunder on Sunday. Oklahoma City has given up the most FanDuel points per game to opposing two guards and possess the seventh-worst defensive rating in the NBA. Plus, they could potentially be sans Lu Dort once again. In short, Booker has an elite matchup as the clear top pick in a cloudy stud tier at shooting guard.

Duncan Robinson ($4,100): Especially with Tyler Herro still on the sidelines with a foot injury, Robinson's ceiling is too high for his salary in this spot. He poured in 20 real-world points in just 21 minutes on Saturday, but his services were not required any further in a bludgeoning of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Normally, Robinson's floor is lower due to the potential of losing minutes to Herro or Kendrick Nunn, but there is plenty of run to go around at the moment. He should see upwards of 30 minutes at just $4,100.

Other Notable Plays: Tyrese Haliburton ($7,600), Fred VanVleet ($7,200), Seth Curry ($4,000)

Small Forward

Buddy Hield ($6,800): Replacing De'Aaron Fox takes a committee, but Hield has led it thus far. Hield paces all Kings at 1.15 FanDuel points per minute in the past two weeks without Fox, but he comes at a salary $800 less than Tyrese Haliburton's. A stingy Mavericks' defense is best exploited on the perimeter, as Dallas is bottom 10 in three-point makes allowed despite being bottom five in pace. There are plenty of top salary options at small forward on the slate, but Hield is a more-than-adequate alternative in the mid-range.

Josh Richardson ($4,500): As mentioned in the intro, the Mavericks may be without Kristaps Porzingis, and that has meant positive things for Richardson this season. Richardson sees a 1.7-percentage-point usage bump with Porzingis off the floor this year, and his salary already seems to be in a favorable spot. He is best for tournaments, though, as Richardson never got it going on Saturday and was benched after just 23 minutes due to 3-for-11 shooting and 4 turnovers. If he returns to his full minutes load, he could be a gold mine of a value on a slate where value may be tough to come by.

Other Notable Plays: Jimmy Butler ($9,800), Jaylen Brown ($8,800), RJ Barrett ($6,500)

Power Forward

Tobias Harris ($7,000): Assuming around a 35-minute workload, a $7,000 player would average around 1.00 FanDuel points per minute based on his salary. Harris, at 1.14 FanDuel points per minute this season, is well above that mark, but his raw output looks underwhelming for the same reason as Simmons above. Harris has not surpassed 25 minutes in the past four Philadelphia games -- all blowouts -- but his 1.23 FanDuel points per minute in the span is an indication of better overall performances to come. Philadelphia is just a 5.0-point favorite in San Antonio, per FanDuel Sportsbook, which makes a game stack firmly in play with so many undervalued 76ers.

PJ Washington ($6,800): The floor for Washington is always a concern, but with him playing at least 32 minutes in seven of his eight games since returning from injury, he's well worth checking out. Washington has also gone for 35-plus FanDuel points in four of those eight contests. Washington's ability to stretch the floor should help him stay on it against the Miami Heat, who have allowed the fourth-most made three-pointers a game (14.6) on the season.

Other Notable Plays: Julius Randle ($9,700), Trevor Ariza ($4,800), Marvin Bagley III ($4,600)


Kelly Olynyk ($9,000): Never did I believe that $9,000 Olynyk would be a reality. Not only is his salary up to that point, but he is firmly in play at the lofty tag. Olynyk has truly played like an All-Star the past week for the Houston Rockets. On fairly light 24.9% usage in that time, Olynyk has posted a mammoth 1.37 FanDuel points per minute on his way to posting at least 45 FanDuel points in four of his past five games. The Rockets were blown out by the Golden State Warriors on Saturday but will look to hang tighter against the slowest-paced team in the league on Sunday, the New York Knicks.

Other Notable Plays: Richaun Holmes ($6,900), Deandre Ayton ($6,600)

Austin Swaim is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Austin Swaim also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username ASwaim3. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.