FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Friday 4/16/21
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 10-game slate, which locks at 7:00 PM Eastern.
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.
Damian Lillard ($8,600) - In today's studs column, I outlined why I'll be targeting Lillard on tonight's slate. Dame has been in a funk recently, as he's shooting just 35.9% from the field over his last six games, but the San Antonio Spurs present a perfect "get right" matchup. In 2020-21, San Antonio has surrendered the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing point guards, according to numberFire's DvP tool. That's fantastic news for Lillard, who is averaging 51.8 FanDuel points in 18 outings against bottom-nine positional defenses this season, including a mere 3 efforts with fewer than 44 and 10 games with 48-plus.
Malachi Flynn ($5,500) - Even with Fred VanVleet returning (more on that later), Flynn projects to be a top value play. After all, the Toronto Raptors are still likely to be without Kyle Lowry, OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, Gary Trent Jr., and DeAndre Bembry -- that's a lot of bodies. In the last seven games that he's played with Lowry inactive, Flynn has averaged 37.2 fantasy points per game, including a low-water mark of 28.6. At tonight's salary, he would need just 27.5 FanDuel points to return five-times value. The fact that the Orlando Magic rank 27th against point guards this season certainly doesn't hurt.
Fred VanVleet ($7,400) - As I mentioned above, VanVleet is returning, and he's returning to a Raptors team decimated by injuries. As it is, FVV had topped 38 FanDuel points in 25 of his 43 healthy games, including 21 performances of 42-plus -- the extra volume will only help his cause. Also helping his cause is the fact that this matchup is as good as it gets...literally. On the season, no team in the Association has surrendered more fantasy points to opposing shooting guards than the Magic.
Hamidou Diallo ($4,100) - Speaking of teams decimated by injuries, allow me to introduce you to the Detroit Pistons. For tonight's bout with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Detroit will be down Jerami Grant, Mason Plumlee, Cory Joseph, Dennis Smith, Wayne Ellington, and Rodney McGruder. That's quite a list. Even Diallo himself is questionable. However, if he does suit up, he's our model's top point-per-dollar play at the position. He's had three efforts with more than 30 fantasy points since joining the Pistons, including a 30.6-FanDuel-point outing against this very same Thunder team.
Brandon Ingram ($8,300) - Ingram and the New Orleans Pelicans will be going up against the defensive-deficient Washington Wizards in a game that has an over/under that's 7.5 points higher than any other on the slate. While Washington has been better against small forwards of late (fourth over their last 15 games), this is far from a spot we should be avoiding. Ingram has dropped 41.8, 44.1, and 55.7 fantasy points in his last three contests, and he managed 47.2 against the Wiz in late January.
Saddiq Bey ($5,300) - In the Diallo blurb I outlined all the injuries Detroit is dealing with, and one of the prime beneficiaries should be Saddiq Bey. Bey's accrued 25.7 or more fantasy points in four of his last five games, and he should be able to thrive against an OKC defense that ranks 30th versus small forwards per 48 minutes this season.
Christian Wood ($7,800) - Wood has put together 50.5- and 54.6-FanDuel-point performances his last two times out, which means that he's now racked up 38.5 or more in 7 of his last 10 contests. He could easily go for 50-plus again against a Denver Nuggets frontcourt that has ceded the second-most fantasy points to power forwards over their last 30 games.
Khem Birch ($4,000) - That's right, yet another player from the Raptors. This time it's Khem Birch going up against his former team. In 25.1 and 29.1 minutes over his last two games, Birch has amassed 28.4 and 31.7 FanDuel points, and another performance like that is more than attainable tonight. Orlando is sixth-worst against power forwards over their last seven contests.
Nikola Vucevic ($9,000) - The Chicago Bulls will be without Zach LaVine for their next several games, which means their entire offense is about to run through Vucevic. According to RotoGrinders, Vuce has a 27.4% usage rate and averages 1.51 FanDuel points per minute as a member of the Bulls with LaVine off the court. That should play well against a Memphis interior that's surrendered the second-most fantasy points to the five position over their last 15 games.
Moses Brown ($5,400) - The Thunder are also pretty banged-up/tanking, which has allowed for Brown to feast inside. Brown has put up 37 and 40.4 FanDuel points in his last two, and he should have no trouble dominating a Pistons team that's also banged-up/tanking. Brown is our model's second-best point-per-dollar play at center.