FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Thursday 4/1/21

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 7:00 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.
BKN CHA 225.5 -3.0 114.25 123.1 1 112.8 18
NO ORL 219.5 -8.5 114.0 120.1 7 112.6 16
WSH DET 224.0 -3.0 113.50 105.7 22 112.0 14
DEN LAC 222.5 -1.5 112.0 122.2 4 110.5 11
SA ATL 222.0 -1.0 111.50 107.4 20 114.1 24
CHA BKN 225.5 3.0 111.25 110.5 16 115.9 26
PHI CLE 212.5 -9.5 111.0 111.1 14 113.2 20
ATL SA 222.0 1.0 110.50 115.1 11 110.5 12
DET WSH 224.0 3.0 110.50 104.5 24 115.1 25
LAC DEN 222.5 1.5 110.50 123.1 2 112.9 19
MIA GS 218.5 -2.5 110.50 104.1 25 108.1 8
GS MIA 218.5 2.5 108.0 106.3 21 107.3 6
ORL NO 219.5 8.5 105.50 99.0 27 119.7 28
CLE PHI 212.5 9.5 101.50 96.0 30 102.6 2

Point Guard


Kyrie Irving ($10,000) - As I outlined in today's studs column, Kyrie is a worthwhile spend if James Harden is out, and Harden has indeed been declared out. With Harden and Kevin Durant off the court this season, Irving sports a 36.6% usage rate along with a 1.58 FanDuel-point-per-minute average, according to RotoGrinders. Irving has topped 51 fantasy points in five of his last seven outings, including in four straight. A two-stud build at point guard is certainly justifiable.

Other Studs to Consider:
Russell Westbrook ($11,300)
- A must-start if Bradley Beal is out. Has 54.8 or more FanDuel points in 8 of his last 10 games.
Stephen Curry ($9,000) - Has 45.5-plus fantasy points in 14 of his last 22 games. Totaled 52.0 against Miami in February.
Trae Young ($8,700) - After a brief slump, has put up 43.1 or more FanDuel points in four of his last five. San Antonio is 25th against point guards this season.

Value Plays

Cory Joseph ($4,500) - In his last three games with the Detroit Pistons, Joseph has amassed 23.2, 28.9, and 36.3 FanDuel points. Tonight, he'll be facing a Washington Wizards team that's ceded the third-most fantasy points to opposing point guards, according to numberFire's DvP tool. For Detroit's backcourt, Hamidou Diallo and Rodney McGruder are out, while Dennis Smith and Wayne Ellington are questionable. It's within the realm of possibilities that Joseph is the only true guard available to them.

Reggie Jackson ($5,000) - In the four games since Lou Williams was traded, Jackson has averaged 30.9 minutes of action and 27.1 FanDuel points. In the two games during that stretch that the Los Angeles Clippers have been without either Kawhi Leonard or Paul George, he's amassed 30.1 and 36.8 FanDuel points. The Denver Nuggets are a brutal matchup for point guards, but Jackson doesn't need to do all that much to return adequate value.

Other Mid-Range Option:
Michael Carter-Williams ($5,300) - Erupted for 44.9 FanDuel points on Tuesday. New Orleans has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to one-guards in 2020-21.

Shooting Guard


Collin Sexton ($7,500) - Shooting guard isn't loaded with studs, but Sexton does get a solid draw in the Philadelphia 76ers. On the season. Philly is 22nd against the opposition's two-guards. Sexton has surpassed 40 FanDuel points with ease in 6 of his last 12 outings, and there's a good chance he can do so again tonight. Larry Nance Jr. and Jarrett Allen both being out tonight should lead to an increase in volume for the young guard.

Other Studs to Consider:
DeMar DeRozan ($7,700) - Has trumped 40 fantasy points in 12 of his last 19 games. Atlanta is 19th against the position this season.

Value Plays

Nickeil Alexander-Walker ($5,800) - Alexander-Walker has accumulated at least 28.6 FanDuel in 8 of his last 11 games, but his ceiling will be far, far higher than that tonight. With Zion Williamson and Lonzo Ball out, and Brandon Ingram doubtful, the 22-year-old could be asked to carry a heavy load. Eric Bledsoe ($5,500) is also in play at point guard.

Devonte' Graham ($5,600) - There's no reason not to keep riding the Graham value gravy train. Graham has surpassed 26 fantasy points in four straight, including outputs of 31.7 and 41 in his last two. He should remain in play with LaMelo Ball out, especially at a salary under $6,000.

Other Mid-Range and Value Options:
Terance Mann ($5,100) - Has 27.4, 28.1, 31.9, 33.2, and 36 FanDuel points in five of his last six games. No reason to fade him with PG13 out and Lou Williams elsewhere.
Luke Kennard ($4,700) - Has 25.6 and 28 fantasy points in his last two games without George in the lineup. Denver has been the 12th-most generous to the position over their last 15 games.

Small Forward


Kawhi Leonard ($9,600) - Without Paul George on the court the last two seasons, Kawhi is utilizing a team-high 34.8% of possessions while averaging a rock-solid 1.51 FanDuel points per minute. That should play well against a Nuggets squad that's giving up the second-most fantasy points to small forwards per 48 minutes this season. numberFire's algorithm projects Kawhi to be the highest-scoring small forward and fourth-highest scoring player on this seven-gamer.

Other Studs to Consider:
Gordon Hayward ($7,000) - Has now dropped 44.4 and 47.2 fantasy points in two of his five games without Ball in the lineup. Brooklyn is 19th against small forwards in their last 15 outings.

Joe Harris ($4,800) - A volume uptick is headed Harris' way with Harden inactive. Harris has managed at least 25.3 fantasy points in four of his last seven games, and he'll be in a great position to surpass that number against a Charlotte Hornets team that's third-worst versus the position.

Other Mid-Range and Value Options:
Bogdan Bogdanovic ($4,200) - Exploded for a season-best 46.8 fantasy points on Tuesday and has now totaled at least 21 in five of his last seven efforts. Should see more volume with John Collins, De'Andre Hunter, and Lou Williams in doubt.
Rui Hachimura ($6,000) - Has accrued 31 or more FanDuel points in 7 of his last 10 games, including five performances of 37.1-plus.
Matisse Thybulle ($3,700) - Our model's top-projected value at the position. Has racked up 17.3 or more fantasy points in 7 of his last 11.

Power Forward


Jerami Grant ($6,600) - Grant gets a matchup against the defensively-challenged Washington Wizards. Over their last 15 games, only two teams have surrendered more fantasy points to opposing power forwards than Washington has, according to FantasyPros. Detroit could also be dangerously short on bodies -- in addition to the players they traded at the deadline, the Detroit Pistons will be without Rodney McGruder and Hamidou Diallo, while Dennis Smith and Wayne Ellington are questionable. Grant is fresh off a 49.4-fantasy-point performance last night and has now topped 33 FanDuel points in 26 of his 44 games this season.

Value Play

Isaiah Hartenstein ($4,000) - Hartenstein made his Cleveland debut on Monday and ended up pegging the Utah Jazz for 34.3 fantasy points in 26.2 minutes of action. Tonight, he could see an even larger role with both Larry Nance Jr. and Jarrett Allen out. numberFire's algorithm projects Hartenstein to be the best point-per-dollar play on tonight's slate.

Other Mid-Range and Value Options:
James Johnson ($3,500) - Given all of New Orleans' inactives, our model loves Johnson should he make his team debut tonight -- projecting him to be the second-best value play on the slate.
Nicolas Claxton ($4,600) - Has at least 28.1 fantasy points in four of his last eight. numberFire projects him to garner 29.7 tonight against a Hornets interior that ranks 27th versus power forwards.
Dean Wade ($4,100) - Has collected 22-plus FanDuel points in five of his last six outings and should see a bump in volume with the Cavs shorthanded.



Bam Adebayo ($9,400) - Bam has eclipsed 54 FanDuel points three times in his last six games and now gets to face a Golden State Warriors team that's allowed the second-most FanDuel points to opposing centers over their last five games.

Other Studs to Consider:
Nikola Jokic ($11,000) - Has failed to reach 50 FanDuel points in three of his last four games but still possesses more upside than any other player at the position. Our model projects him to be the slate's top scorer.
Clint Capela ($8,500) - Has cumulated 50.0 and 52.4 fantasy points in two of his last four and could see an uptick in volume down low with John Collins out.

Value Play

James Wiseman ($4,000) - The rookie has produced 26 and 29 FanDuel points in last two games, making it six times in his last eight tries that he has surpassed 20. numberFire's algorithm projects Wiseman to be the top point-per-dollar play at the five position.

Other Mid-Range and Value Options:
Mason Plumlee ($6,000) - Washington is 28th against centers this season. Plumlee has topped 30 FanDuel points -- often with ease -- in 16 of his last 27 games.