FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Thursday 5/13/21

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 nine-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.
MIL IND 234.5 -8.5 121.50 118.5 8 112.9 15
DEN MIN 235.5 -6.0 120.75 119.9 4 116.6 25
ATL ORL 227.5 -12.5 120.0 120.2 3 120.3 28
MEM SAC 228.5 -7.0 117.75 118.0 9 118.7 26
PHX POR 227.5 -5.5 116.50 124.4 1 113.3 17
LAC CHA 223.5 -8.0 115.75 119.2 7 112.0 13
MIN DEN 235.5 6.0 114.75 109.2 20 109.2 7
CHI TOR 218.5 -9.0 113.75 107.4 22 111.1 10
IND MIL 234.5 8.5 113.0 111.0 18 113.6 18
POR PHX 227.5 5.5 111.0 123.5 2 116.3 24
SAC MEM 228.5 7.0 110.75 112.7 14 112.3 14
NY SA 216.5 -4.5 110.50 112.5 15 115.5 22
PHI MIA 218.5 -1.5 110.0 110.2 19 114.8 21
MIA PHI 218.5 1.5 108.50 119.3 6 102.8 3
CHA LAC 223.5 8.0 107.75 103.4 25 107.0 5
ORL ATL 227.5 12.5 107.50 94.0 29 115.7 23
SA NY 216.5 4.5 106.0 112.2 16 101.6 1
TOR CHI 218.5 9.0 104.75 107.5 21 113.2 16

Point Guard


Trae Young ($8,600) - As I outlined in today's studs column, I'm targeting Young once again tonight. The 22-year-old has put up 48.8-plus fantasy points in 6 of his last 10 games, including just one outing with fewer than 38.4. That's a rock-solid floor/ceiling combination for a player who has a salary below $9,000. Young also gets a pristine matchup tonight, as the Orlando Magic are surrendering the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing point guards this season, according to numberFire's DvP tool. Additionally, Atlanta's 120.0-point implied total is something we'll definitely want exposure to, and Young is a good way to get there.

Other Studs to Consider (listed in order of preference): Ben Simmons ($7,100), Ja Morant ($7,400), Chris Paul ($8,100)

Value Play

Jalen Harris ($4,000) - For their meeting with the Chicago Bulls tonight, the Toronto Raptors will be without Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, Chris Boucher, Aron Baynes, Rodney Hood, and Paul Watson. Yeah...that's quite the list. Harris has played 29.5 and 25.3 minutes in his last two games and has 31.2 and 20.6 FanDuel points to show for it. Malachi Flynn ($5,500) is a worthwhile option, as well, but I'd rather save the $1,500 and roll with Harris. Our model agrees, projecting Harris to be the best point-per-dollar play at point guard and the fourth-best value on the entire slate.

Other Mid-Range and Value Options: Malachi Flynn ($5,500), Facundo Campazzo ($5,600), Ricky Rubio ($5,800)

Shooting Guard


Devin Booker ($7,500) - The Portland Trail Blazers currently rank 26th against two-guards this season, and one player at the position who has continually given them fits has been Devin Booker. In five matchups with Portland since the start of last season, Booker has pegged them for 43.8, 45.7, 47.0, 48.0, and 48.7 FanDuel points. The All-Star has feasted on bad defenses this campaign, averaging 42.3 fantasy points in 15 games against teams that are bottom-six in defensive efficiency.

Other Studs to Consider: Caris LeVert ($9,000), Paul George ($7,800), D'Angelo Russell ($7,700)

Value Play

Gary Trent Jr. ($4,900) - You essentially have a choice between three Toronto shooting guards -- Trent Jr., Yuta Watanabe ($3,500), or DeAndre Bembry ($3,600) -- but Trent is my preferred play due to the upside he brings to the table. While Trent managed only 18.3 FanDuel points against the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday, he had eclipsed 27 fantasy points in 8 of his previous 14 outings. The Chicago Bulls are far from an intimidating matchup, as they rank 21st against the position over their last 30 games.

Other Mid-Range and Value Options: Yuta Watanabe ($3,500), DeAndre Bembry ($3,600), Reggie Bullock ($4,800 - Currently Questionable)

Small Forward


Khris Middleton ($7,700) - Small forward is arguably the thinnest position on tonight's nine-gamer, especially now that Michael Porter Jr. has been declared out. However, one player who is in a great spot is Khris Middleton. Throughout their last 30 games, the Indiana Pacers have struggled mightily against opposing small forwards, as they rank 26th versus the position during that stretch. Khash has had at least 35 fantasy points in 10 of his last 16 games, including 40-plus in seven of those outings. As of writing, the Milwaukee Bucks' implied total sits at a whopping 126.5, which is nearly seven points better than any other team suiting up tonight.

Other Studs to Consider: Kawhi Leonard ($8,200), Jimmy Butler ($9,300)

Value Play

Kelan Martin ($3,500) - Malcolm Brogdon, Jeremy Lamb, Edmond Sumner, and Myles Turner have all been declared out already for the Indiana Pacers, who could also be sans Aaron Holiday (questionable). That means Kelan Martin could have a larger-than-usual role once again. Over his last five games, Martin has eclipsed 18 minutes three times, and he's posted 16.0, 20.2, and 35.4 FanDuel points in those outings. At the minimum salary, Martin wouldn't need to do all that much to return our baseline value figure of 5.0.

Other Mid-Range and Value Options: RJ Barrett ($6,200), Stanley Johnson ($3,700), Mikal Bridges ($5,600)

Power Forward


Domantas Sabonis ($10,500) - The fact that we have Giannis Antetokounmpo ($10,900) on tonight's slate should keep Sabonis from being too chalky, and that makes him an even better play. In his seven games since returning from injury, Sabonis' game logs have looked a lot like the Greek Freak's. The All-Star is averaging 62.1 FanDuel points during that stretch, producing at least 52.1 in six of the seven contests. During that seven-game stretch, the big man has exceeded 67.0 fantasy points four times. I'd prefer to roster Sabonis at the $400 discount over Giannis.

Other Studs to Consider: Giannis Antetokounmpo ($10,900), Julius Randle ($9,000), Tobias Harris ($7,000)

Value Play

Aaron Gordon ($3,900) - Gordon was going to be one of the top recommended value plays regardless, but now that Michael Porter Jr. and Monte Morris have been declared out, he looks like an even better option. On Tuesday, Gordon accrued 34.7 FanDuel points against the Charlotte Hornets, which was the 13th time in his last 21 games that he'd trumped 20.0. His matchup tonight makes him all the more appealing, too, as the Minnesota Timberwolves rank 22nd versus power forwards in 2020-21.

Other Mid-Range and Value Options: Freddie Gillespie ($3,700), Jaren Jackson Jr. ($6,000), Trevor Ariza ($4,600), Xavier Tillman ($4,000 - If Jonas Valanciunas is out)



Nikola Jokic ($10,800) - This season with MPJ and Jamal Murray off the court for the Denver Nuggets, Jokic averages an absurd 1.71 FanDuel points per minute, according to RotoGrinders. The MVP frontrunner will likely have to shoulder an even larger role today against a Wolves team that has been playing extremely competitive basketball over the last month or so. While Minnesota has been one of the best teams in the league at limiting opposing centers during that stretch, there is no matchup that the Serbian can't overcome. Our algorithm projects Jokic to be the top scorer on tonight's slate.

Other Studs to Consider: Nikola Vucevic ($9,700), Jonas Valanciunas ($8,200)

Value Play

Chimezie Metu ($4,200) - With Marvin Bagley III likely out once again, Metu should get another start for the shorthanded Sacramento Kings. In his last two games, Meto has seen 26.8 and 29.3 minutes of action, and he's turned that into 30.8 and 28.0 FanDuel points. His matchup tonight is just dreamy. Throughout their last 30 games, the Memphis Grizzlies have surrendered the second-most FanDuel points per night to opposing fives. Metu is numberFire's second-best point-per-dollar play on tonight's slate.

Other Mid-Range and Value Options: Nerlens Noel ($4,300), Richaun Holmes ($6,100), Deandre Ayton ($6,200)