FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Wednesday 5/5/21
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 loaded nine-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 since the NBA's trade deadline.
Teams are sorted by their implied total.
Russell Westbrook ($11,200) - I outlined this in today's studs column, but I prefer to roster Russ over Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,400) tonight, mainly due to the sheer number of studs available at power forward. Westbrook has been a model of consistency lately, as he has racked up 52.3-plus FanDuel points in 22 of his last 29 efforts, and that includes outputs of 71.5 and 75.2 in his last two. The former MVP has also eclipsed 60 fantasy points 14 times during that stretch. Brodie's had no trouble feasting on the Milwaukee Bucks this season, as he dropped 55.5 and 72.0 FanDuel points on them in mid-March. With the over/under of this game now at 245, we'll want all the exposure we can get here.
Delon Wright ($5,200) - After what Wright did last night, is it really possible to talk about anyone else here? In 36.7 minutes of action, the 29-year-old exploded for 60 FanDuel points against the Oklahoma City Thunder on the back of four steals and the same number of blocks. Now, Wright is unlikely to get anywhere close to that total of coveted defensive stats, but at a salary of $5,200, we don't need him to. In fact, Wright only needs 26 fantasy points to achieve our baseline value figure of 5.0, and he's surpassed that in three straight. Seeing as though the Sacramento Kings will likely be without De'Aaron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton, and Harrison Barnes, Wright should be able to return excellent value against an Indiana Pacers team that's reeling defensively.
C.J. McCollum ($7,700) - Shooting guard isn't loaded at the top, and McCollum stands out as one of the more affordable studs on tonight's slate. First, let's talk about the matchup. According to FantasyPros, no team in the league has been more generous to opposing two-guards over their last 15 than the Cleveland Cavaliers. McCollum's been somewhat hit-or-miss of late, though he has eclipsed 38 FanDuel points in 7 of his last 11 outings. With the Portland Trail Blazers having a healthy 118.25 implied total tonight, I wouldn't be afraid to go here.
Grayson Allen ($3,600) - Allen returned from a brief two-game absence on Monday and put up 18.5 FanDuel points in 26.5 minutes against the New York Knicks. While none of that is worth writing home about, the fact that he did that in a brutal matchup and without making a shot from the field is quite encouraging. That matchup will get quite a bit easier tonight, as Allen and the Memphis Grizzlies will be matched up with the Minnesota Timberwolves. On the season, the Wolves have given up the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing shooting guard per 48 minutes, according to numberFire's DvP tool.
Buddy Hield ($7,300) - As I mentioned in the Delon Wright blurb, the Kings will be down plenty of bodies tonight when they take on the Pacers, and that improves the outlook of Hield as well. Buddy recorded 42.2 FanDuel points last night, his fifth game with 37.7-plus in his last seven efforts. A matchup with Indiana makes him all the more appealing, as they rank 26th against the position over their last 30 contests.
Maurice Harkless ($3,700) - That's right -- another small forward from the Kings. If you want to load up on studs elsewhere, you'd going to need to shop in the clearance aisle at some positions, and Harkless appears to be one of the better options towards that end. The veteran journeyman comes with a low floor, though he has trumped 18.5 FanDuel points in 7 of his last 13 games, and that includes outputs of 23.3, 25.2, 30.6, 32.1, and 34.4. Given the matchup and the number of key rotation players out for Sacramento, Harkless could produce excellent value.
Jayson Tatum ($10,100) - There are enough studs at power forward tonight that we don't have to worry about Tatum being overly chalky, which makes him a great target in tournaments. The Boston Celtics will be without Jaylen Brown when they meet the Orlando Magic, and that means Tatum gets a sizable boost. Without Brown on the court this season, Tatum sports a team-high 36% usage rate while averaging a salivating 1.37 FanDuel points per minute, per RotoGrinders. In fact, Tatum has amassed 57.3 and 64.5 fantasy points in two of his last four games with Brown off the court. With the Magic coming in 27th against power forwards in their last 15 games, Tatum could be one of the slate's top scorers.
Domantas Sabonis ($10,300) - Due to the landscape of the power forward position today, my preferred strategy is to go with a two-stud build at the position. Sabonis missed six games with an injury, but he did not miss a beat in his return, as he's exploded for 67.8 and 71.3 FanDuel points in the two games since. It looks as if Indiana will still be extremely shorthanded -- Myles Turner and JaKarr Sampson are out, while Malcolm Brogdon, Jeremy Lamb, Goga Bitadze, and Edmond Sumner are all questionable -- which means that Sabonis will once again have to shoulder a heavy load. Given Indiana's 124.5 implied total, there's little chance of me passing on the big man tonight.
Joel Embiid ($9,600) - It's not the route I'd take, but with Embiid, Nikola Jokic, and a number of other studs on the slate, paying up at center is an option. Embiid is our model's preferred high-end option at the position, as he's numberFire's top point-per-dollar play among all centers with a salary above $6,700. Facing a Houston Rockets team that's likely to be sans Christian Wood doesn't hurt. Houston ranks third-worst versus fives over their last 30 games.
Robert Williams ($5,400) - Williams' upside has been on display for much of the last six or so weeks, and a bout with the tanking Magic makes him an intriguing option. Throughout their last 15 contests, Orlando has conceded the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing centers. Tristan Thompson being inactive certainly doesn't hurt, as Williams averages a robust 1.37 FanDuel points per minute with his fellow big man off the court. In his 13 games with Thompson inactive in 2020-21, Williams has averaged 34.3 FanDuel points, including eight performances of 33.5 or more.