FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Saturday 5/1/21

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

Here's to the Brooklyn Nets being off this slate. However, there is still plenty of injury news to dissect on this 10-gamer. Starting at point guard, Malcolm Brogdon left Thursday's game with a hamstring issue and is questionable to be able to play Saturday for the Indiana Pacers. Darius Garland left Friday night's contest with an ankle injury and is a giant question mark for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Kyle Lowry is out for the Toronto Raptors for rest purposes, but LaMelo Ball is interestingly now questionable, which would mark a return to action for the first time since breaking his wrist.

In terms of wings, the Atlanta Hawks may be missing a pair, as Kevin Huerter sat out Friday's game with his shoulder issue, and Bogdan Bogdanovic has missed three straight games with a hamstring injury. Kawhi Leonard has missed five straight games with a foot issue and is questionable to return for Saturday, and the Golden State Warriors may be without Kelly Oubre for a second straight contest due to his shoulder injury. Newfound Oklahoma City Thunder star Luguentz Dort will also be missing from the small-forward pool due to a hip injury.

Power forward has significant news on the slate, as three stars are truly questionable for Saturday. Domantas Sabonis has missed six straight games with his back issue, but the loss of Brogdon could potentially spark his return for the Pacers. Draymond Green's latest ailment is a back injury, and he is questionable. The Dallas Mavericks will also potentially be without Kristaps Porzingis, who has sat three of the last four games with a knee injury.

Point Guard

Stephen Curry ($9,700): The decision at the top between Curry and Luka Doncic feels like bacon or sausage -- there is no bad pick. However, the edge in floor and ceiling both seem to lie with Curry on account of him scoring more than 50 FanDuel points in seven of his past ten games. The matchup against the Houston Rockets -- who have given up the most FanDuel points per game to opposing point guards -- is no different here than it was two weekends ago, when Curry torched Houston for 38 real-world points in 34 minutes. Curry is tied for the league lead in scoring, and his season-long 33.0% usage is up to 34.5% over the past week as he continues to gun for the scoring title.

Malachi Flynn ($4,700): Flynn posted an adequate 16 points and 6 assists in 32 minutes on Thursday in a start for Fred VanVleet, and he likely will get another chance in the starting five with Kyle Lowry resting and Gary Trent Jr. still injured. Flynn was initially more of a "minutes eater" with a season-long FanDuel points per minute mark of 0.86, but that clip has increased to 1.13 FanDuel points per minute over the past week as he's played in a variety of roles between spot starting and leading the second unit. There is tremendous value in two spots at point guard, which is somewhat rare, and that leads to a tight core of high-upside plays between Curry, Doncic, Flynn, and Facundo Campazzo.

Other Notable Plays: Luka Doncic ($10,800), Coby White ($6,200), Facundo Campazzo ($5,000)

Shooting Guard

Bradley Beal ($9,300): I mentioned that Curry is tied for the league lead in scoring, and he is tied with Beal, who has surged back to this position. Before a drubbing of the Cleveland Cavaliers Thursday where his services were not particularly required, Beal had scored at least 25 points in 10 straight games, and his role in the offense gave him a tremendous floor in daily fantasy. Motivation is so key at this point of the season, and Beal has a ton to play for between his scoring title and a potential play-in spot for the Washington Wizards. With that in mind, Beal is taking on a team-high 33.2% usage and 1.22 FanDuel points per minute in his past 10. He still feels like a bargain at this salary.

Caris LeVert ($8,100): Someone may need to burn sage somewhere at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana has been without Domantas Sabonis for six games, and Malcolm Brogdon tweaked his hamstring Thursday and is up in the air for Saturday. That should shift even more of the offensive burden onto LeVert, who already has a team-high 30.3% usage and 1.26 FanDuel points per minute over the last week as it is. The result has been him surpassing 45 FanDuel points in three of his past five contests, and he gets a nice matchup versus an OKC team that has given up the third-most FanDuel points per game to opposing shooting guards and will be missing their top defender, Lu Dort.

Other Notable Plays: Andrew Wiggins ($6,900), Jordan Clarkson ($6,500), P.J. Dozier ($4,800)

Small Forward

Brandon Ingram ($7,500): Ingram has been oversalaried for much of the NBA season given the emergence of Zion Williamson, but the stars may have finally aligned entering Saturday's contest with the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves. For just $7,500 in a great fantasy matchup between two top-12 paced squads, Ingram is New Orleans' top option in both usage (31.6%) and FanDuel points per minute (1.14) over the past week with Zion struggling. Both Ingram and Zion are certainly in play against Minnesota, but Ingram does more of his scoring from the perimeter, and that is the secret sauce to beat the Timberwolves, who allow the highest three-point percentage (39.5%) in the league. With the ball in his hands so much against a bad defense, Ingram has a high ceiling today.

Rui Hachimura ($4,000): In just his fourth game back from injury, Hachimura would normally be a minutes issue, but he played 31 and 29 minutes in his first two games back before dropping down to just 22 minutes in the blowout of Cleveland. The salary has dropped too low here for a guy who is seeing 30 or more minutes as a starter in one of the highest-paced games of the day. Hachimura has posted at least 19 FanDuel points in all three games since returning from injury, which makes him an intriguing option in game Mavs-Wiz game stacks.

Other Notable Plays: Kevin Porter Jr. ($6,100), Joe Ingles ($5,800), Josh Richardson ($4,500)

Power Forward

Christian Wood ($8,700): Many scoffed at Christian Wood's comments that he would be a max player sooner than later. Well, he is certainly starting to play like it. Over the past week, the Rockets' big man has paired a 27.2% usage with a lofty 1.32 FanDuel points per minute, and Wood has yet to dip below 45 FanDuel points in any of the three contests. He has proven to be a solid pairing alongside Kelly Olynyk, and Wood will get his easiest matchup of this recent sample on Saturday. Only his own team allows more rebounds per game than the Warriors (47.6) do. Stacking Curry and Wood makes a ton of sense in what should be a fantasy-friendly game.

Doug McDermott ($4,400): McDermott is not yet starting but is playing a closing role in the wake of Sabonis being out. McDermott has been fighting an ankle injury of his own that has limited his production, but he played 32 minutes on Thursday, so it appears he close to full health. Oshae Brissett and McDermott now have fairly similar roles in terms of usage and FanDuel points per minute, but McDermott comes at a $2,600 discount to his contemporary and has a history of scoring the ball off the bench. McDermott took the second-most shots on the Pacers (11) behind LeVert Thursday, and that number could increase significantly if Brogdon misses Saturday's game.

Other Notable Plays: Zion Williamson ($8,900), Isaiah Stewart ($5,900), Aaron Gordon ($4,600)


Rudy Gobert ($7,900): The salary on Gobert has dipped a bit too low, even with his production dropping sans Donovan Mitchell. Gobert's season-long FanDuel points per minute of 1.32 has slipped to 1.28 the past two weeks, but even a clip of 1.28 on a per-minute basis is outstanding production for a potential 35-minute workload against Toronto on Saturday. The issue with Gobert has been the same of many of his Utah Jazz teammates, as the Jazz bludgeon people to the point of their starters resting the fourth quarter. Utah is only a 6.5-point favorite tonight versus the Raptors. There is enough value on this slate to have the cap room to go big at center, which brings Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns into play.

Other Notable Plays: Karl-Anthony Towns ($9,200), Moses Brown ($4,600)

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.