FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Thursday 5/27/21

With the Lakers returning to the Staples Center for Game 3, LeBron James is worth targeting. Which other players should we be looking to add to our lineups on Thursday?

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 three-game playoff slate, which locks at 7:30 PM Eastern.

All injury updates are via the NBA's official injury report or numberFire's player news.

Point Guard

Damian Lillard ($10,500) - After only dishing out double-digit assists once in his previous 13 games, Dame has now accomplished that in three consecutive games against the Denver Nuggets. Oh, and he's also pegged them for 34 and 42 real-life points in the first two games of this series. Logo Lillard's performances have resulted in 53.9 and 61.8 FanDuel points in his last two, and our algorithm has him amassing 51.8 tonight -- 13.4 more than the next-closest point guard.

Cameron Payne ($5,300) - Chris Paul is very clearly not himself after injuring his shoulder in the series opener, and that resulted in a much larger workload for Payne in Game 2. The 26-year-old racked up 40.1 fantasy points in 32.9 minutes, which was the most action he had seen in any game this season. Unless CP3 makes a miraculous recovery, the Phoenix Suns will likely have to lean on Payne once again, which is why numberFire's models have him as the top value at point guard.

Shooting Guard

Donte DiVincenzo ($5,300) - Shooting guard is undoubtedly the thinnest position on tonight's slate, and you'd be lying if you said you feel 100% comfortable playing any of the available options. That said, DiVincenzo might be one of the easier plug-ins. A blowout in Game 2 held Donte to just 22.9 minutes, though he still managed 22.4 FanDuel points in the process. The 37.5 minutes he saw in Game 1 was very encouraging, and it's quite possible that we see the version of him that recorded 26.4-plus fantasy points in seven straight games to close out the season.

Austin Rivers ($4,100) - Rivers is more of a dart throw than anything else, but there's no sure thing at this position anyway, so why not? Rivers has eclipsed 20 minutes of playing time in 16 straight games, including a rock-solid 33.1 minutes in Game 1 against the Portland Trail Blazers. As a result, the 28-year-old has topped 20 fantasy points five times in his last nine outings. Portland ranked 26th against two-guards during the regular season, according to numberFire's DvP tool, so there's a good chance that Rivers will be able to exploit this matchup.

Small Forward

LeBron James ($10,300) - The Staples Center will be a welcome site for LeBron and the Los Angeles Lakers. Over his last 16 home games, King James is averaging 53.3 FanDuel points, including nine outings with at least 55. James has showcased a solid floor through three "playoff" games thus far, with at least 45.4 fantasy points in each contest. A ceiling performance could very well be in the makings tonight.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ($4,500) - Due to the fact that he's only managed to produce 9.3 and 15.4 fantasy points in the first two games of this series, KCP is very much a tournament-only play tonight. Caldwell-Pope has surpassed 30 minutes of playing time in each of the first two games of the series, he just needs his shot to start falling. He had recorded 21.3-plus FanDuel points in 9 of his 10 games prior to the start of the postseason.

Power Forward

Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,100) - At this point, you'll have your choice between Giannis and Anthony Davis ($10,400), and since I chose to roll with LeBron at small forward, I'll fire up Giannis here. Despite the blowout in Game 2, Giannis still accrued 65.6 FanDuel points. numberFire's algorithm has the Greek Freak projected for 58.3 fantasy points tonight, which would have him exceeding five-times value.

Robert Covington ($4,500) - Covington was featured here on Monday, and he rewarded us with a 13.7-fantasy-point dud. However, given that his minutes jumped to 37.2 in that outing, I'd be more than willing to go right back to him tonight. Our algo projects the veteran to be the top point-per-dollar play on tonight's slate.


Dewayne Dedmon ($4,500) - If you can't get up to Nikola Jokic ($10,700) or Deandre Ayton ($7,500), I'd suggest taking a gamble for the value play with Dedmon. In Game 2, Dedmon dropped 30.8 FanDuel points in 20.8 minutes, which is the most he's played in a game this season. And while you might think it was all because of the blowout, only 3.6 of those fantasy points came in the fourth quarter, and 18.1 came in the first half. Head coach Erik Spoelstra seemed to be comfortable turning to the veteran in that contest, and he's apparently mulling giving him more time on the court with fellow big man Bam Adebayo.