FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Thursday 5/6/21

De'Anthony Melton projects to be one of the best point-per-dollar plays on Thursday's seven-game slate. Who else should you target?

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 7:00 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 since the league's trade deadline.

Teams are sorted by their implied total.

Team Opp Over/
Spread Implied
Rank Opp Adj.
BKN DAL 232.5 -4.0 118.25 115.0 11 113.0 14
GS OKC 221.5 -13.5 117.50 110.3 18 122.5 29
ATL IND 228.5 -5.0 116.75 119.6 3 114.3 18
LAC LAL 222.5 -7.5 115.0 119.3 4 101.4 3
DAL BKN 232.5 4.0 114.25 116.9 9 114.7 21
TOR WSH 226.5 -1.5 114.0 108.8 20 108.5 6
MEM DET 215.5 -10.0 112.75 117.6 8 114.5 19
WSH TOR 226.5 1.5 112.50 111.5 15 110.4 10
IND ATL 228.5 5.0 111.75 109.9 19 114.9 23
CHI CHA 218.5 -2.5 110.50 105.3 23 111.1 11
CHA CHI 218.5 2.5 108.0 103.8 24 115.7 24
LAL LAC 222.5 7.5 107.50 99.6 28 108.9 9
OKC GS 221.5 13.5 104.0 85.9 30 111.3 12
DET MEM 215.5 10.0 102.75 102.2 26 113.4 15

Point Guard


LaMelo Ball ($7,500) - Yes, on a slate that includes Russell Westbrook ($11,600), Luka Doncic ($10,900), Stephen Curry ($9,900), and many, many others, it's the rookie Ball who gets the nod here. As I noted in today's studs column, we're going to want to save some dough for studs at other positions, and that means perhaps saving some salary at point. Ball has averaged 39.5 FanDuel points in the three games since he's returned to the lineup, and with the Charlotte Hornets down Gordon Hayward, Miles Bridges, Devonte' Graham, and Cody Martin, he will need to shoulder a heavy load -- that should lead to plenty of fantasy production.

Other Studs to Consider (listed in order of preference): Russell Westbrook ($11,600), Stephen Curry ($9,900), Trae Young ($8,600).

Value Play

Alex Caruso ($3,900) - With Dennis Schroder and LeBron James out for the Los Angeles Lakers, it's Caruso's turn to run point for the champs. In 27.6 minutes on Monday, Bald Mamba totaled 24.5 FanDuel points -- a solid return for a salary under $4,000. Tonight, he'll have a great chance to repeat that against a Los Angeles Clippers defense that ranks 20th versus point guards over their last 30 games, according to FantasyPros.

Other Mid-Range and Value Options: Ja Morant ($7,000), Brad Wanamaker ($3,900), Frank Jackson ($5,200)

Shooting Guard


Fred VanVleet ($8,000) - VanVleet is in an excellent spot tonight against a Washington Wizards unit that ranks 25th against shooting guards this season per 48 minutes, according to numberFire's DvP tool. FVV is our model's second-highest projected scorer at the position, as well as the third-best value play. His recent game log has been pretty wonky, though he has accrued at least 53.7 FanDuel points in three of his last five. As of writing, this matchup between the Toronto Raptors and Wizards has an over/under of 236.0, which is second-highest on the slate. That helps.

Other Studs to Consider: Bradley Beal ($8,900), Andrew Wiggins ($7,400), Caris LeVert ($8,500)

Value Play

De'Anthony Melton ($3,900) - Grayson Allen's absence means Melton should have a more defined role tonight, and in the past, that's meant excellent production. Melton has surpassed 20 FanDuel points in 25 of his 45 outings this season, including 15 outputs of 25-plus. However, in the 14 games he's played without Allen on the court, Melton has averaged 26.7 fantasy points, and that includes at least 26.4 in eight of those efforts. The matchup with the Detroit Pistons is just an added bonus. Detroit has surrendered the third-most fantasy points to the position over their last 15 games.

Other Mid-Range and Value Options: Terry Rozier ($6,200), Dillon Brooks ($5,500), Talen Horton-Tucker ($4,000)

Small Forward


Kevin Durant ($10,600) - You'd be hard-pressed to find a position thinner than small forward tonight, and that makes Durant a worthwhile spend. With plenty of seeding implications on the line, KD has seen at least 36.4 minutes of action in three straight games, and he has put up 54.2 or more FanDuel points in four of his last five. The Brooklyn Nets have an implied total of 119.0 against the Dallas Mavericks, which is third-highest among all teams. Dallas enters this game ranking eighth in offensive efficiency, and in nine other matchups against top-10 offensive teams, Durant has averaged 32.4 real-life points (4.1 above his season average) and 52 fantasy points. Our algorithm has Durant out-scoring the third-ranked small forward by a whopping 15.8 FanDuel points.

Other Studs to Consider: Bogdan Bogdanovic ($7,400), Kawhi Leonard ($8,800)

Value Play

Kent Bazemore ($5,600) - Bazemore dropped a dud in a good spot on Tuesday, but I'm more than willing to go back to him tonight. In four games prior to that one, Bazemore had recorded 29.3, 34, 34.6, and 57.3 FanDuel points, and he'll have an excellent shot of posting a number in that range with Kelly Oubre still out. As for his matchup -- well, the Oklahoma City Thunder come in ranking dead last against small forwards this season.

Other Mid-Range and Value Options: Lu Dort ($5,300), Caleb Martin ($5,000), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ($4,400)

Power Forward


Domantas Sabonis ($10,500) - Sabonis underwhelmed a bit after being one of my featured studs yesterday, though his 46.6-FanDuel-point performance likely wasn't a lineup killer. The big man had dropped 54.5, 67.8, and 71.3 fantasy points in three of his four games prior to that, and he certainly has that kind of upside tonight. With the Indiana Pacers still banged up, he could feast on an Atlanta Hawks defense that has permitted the third-most fantasy points to power forwards over their last 30 games.

Other Studs to Consider: Pascal Siakam ($8,600), Anthony Davis ($9,400), Draymond Green ($7,900)

Value Play

Isaiah Stewart ($5,800) - Stewart busted on Tuesday with just 13.4 FanDuel points against Charlotte, but don't let that deter you from going right back to him tonight. His matchup is simply mouth-watering. Throughout Memphis' last 30 games, only one team in the league has been more generous to opposing centers than the Grizz have. Stewart would need 29 fantasy points to achieve five-times value tonight (5.0 per $1,000 in salary), and he had managed 31.7-plus in six of his 10 outings prior to Tuesday's dud.

Other Mid-Range and Value Options: Jaren Jackson Jr. ($5,300), PJ Washington ($6,600), Davis Bertans ($4,100)



Clint Capela ($8,000) - Capela has failed to reach 40 fantasy points in all of his last seven games, but that streak could end tonight. The big man will be going up against a Pacers interior that has been absolutely dreadful at defending the five, especially without Myles Turner in the lineup. In their last 30 contests, Indiana has conceded an average of 2.5 more FanDuel points per game to the position than any other team in the league has. When he last faced them three weeks ago, Capela erupted for 25 points, 24 rebounds, four combined steals plus blocks, and 67.8 fantasy points.

Other Studs to Consider: Nikola Vucevic ($9,000), Jonas Valanciunas ($8,100)

Value Play

Khem Birch ($5,800) - The injury to Chris Boucher has left a gaping hole in the frontcourt for the Raptors, and more often than not, Birch has been the one to fill that void. Before scuffling in two tough matchups in his last couple of outings, he had garnered 34.3 or more FanDuel points in four straight. A matchup versus a Wizards team that ranks 26th against centers should only improve his prospects.

Other Mid-Range and Value Options: Ivica Zubac ($4,300), Kevon Looney ($4,000)