FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Saturday 5/29/21
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.
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A comfortable 3-0 series lead for the Milwaukee Bucks would normally lead to a potential opportunity to rest Giannis Antetokounmpo through his latest groin injury, but Antetokounmpo appears poised to attempt to take care of business and rest between series, as he is probable and expected to play. Donte DiVincenzo will not be as lucky, as the guard will miss the remainder of the playoffs for Milwaukee with his foot issue. On the other side, the Miami Heat injury report is clean in the must-win affair.
The Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers will also have their current rotations healthy and without limits, and Denver's one potential addition of Will Barton has been ruled out again prior to Saturday, as he continues to attempt a comeback from his hamstring injury. The injury report is similarly quiet for the Utah Jazz-Memphis Grizzlies affair late Saturday night, as well -- especially now with the successful return of Donovan Mitchell in Game 2.
However, the lede has been successfully buried, as the dynamic of this slate could be flipped upside down if Russell Westbrook misses Game 3 for the Washington Wizards as they play host to the Philadelphia 76ers. Westbrook is questionable with the ankle injury that forced him to leave Game 2, and an ankle could also impact the Philadelphia side, as well, as the Sixers may be without Seth Curry. Tobias Harris came away from Game 2 with an ankle injury also but fully expects to play.
Jrue Holiday ($8,500): There is a strong argument to be made that the sole key difference between Milwaukee and Miami from last year to this year is Holiday. Even despite two comfortable blowouts, Holiday is average 42.9 FanDuel points per game in this series, and that might be even more impressive when taken into the context of just his 20.0% usage. Given the spirit and talent of the Miami club, this game should stay close, but even if it does not, Holiday's floor has been incredible.
Ja Morant ($8,400): A star on an 8 seed trying to will their team to the promised land is not an entirely new dynamic, but it does make Morant the top target at the position on this slate. Morant scored 47 points Wednesday, but the fantasy aspect that is much more relevant is his enormous volume and role, as he took 26 shots and 20 free-throw attempts. Add in Morant's team-high 33.0% usage, and it does appear Memphis is willing to ride their star point guard to victory or defeat, and that provides a superstar-level role at a salary far lower than that.
Bradley Beal ($9,800): This entire helper is being written on the assumption that Russell Westbrook plays in a significant capacity in a must-win game for Washington, because if he does not, the entire slate becomes centered around Wizards' value plays. While it comes as no surprise, there was no bigger beneficiary from a fantasy perspective than Beal when Westbrook missed time. Beal saw a usage boost of 5.9 percentage points and an increase of 0.21 FanDuel points per minute when Westbrook was off the floor in 2020-21, and that will likely only be amplified in a playoff setting. Even at the higher salary, shooting guard is so weak that Beal is worth it regardless of Westbrook's status simply on the basis of opportunity cost.
C.J. McCollum ($7,300): There is seemingly no comfortable way to avoid a Beal/McCollum shooting guard duo with Donovan Mitchell's workload still a question mark (though Mitchell is still potentially in play for tournaments). With that in mind, using McCollum more than Damian Lillard -- the better player in the better spot -- might be forced into the lineup construction process out of necessity. McCollum has been fine, scoring more than 35 FanDuel points twice in the three-game series, but he has yet to tap into the 40-FanDuel point upside he has flashed nine times since April 1st.
Rui Hachimura ($4,900): With or without Westbrook, Rui Hachimura is the third (and perhaps final) Wizards player who possesses a trustable role. Hachimura's 31.0 minutes per game is the third-best on the team this series, although he has failed to eclipse 19 FanDuel points in either contest. With no steals or blocks in, his fantasy output should rise if his minutes hold, and the potential absence of Westbrook might shift that into overdrive. Hachimura saw a usage increase of 2.1 percentage points and a bump of 0.12 FanDuel points per minute without Russ on the floor this year.
Danny Green ($4,400): Seth Curry is questionable with an ankle injury, which would not increase Green's minutes as much as it would solidify Green's role and shooting volume -- especially if Matisse Thybulle continues to play world-class defense. Green's 23 minutes in Game 2 were comparable to all of the Philadelphia starters, and that should be closer to the 31 minutes he got in Game 1 if this one stays close. Green saw a FanDuel points per minute increase of 0.05 with Curry off the floor this season -- tops among 76ers' starters.
Robert Covington ($5,200): Spending so much salary on terrific backcourt options means that the forward spots are largely for saving salary, and Covington fits that mold. Covington is always going to be one of few quality value options given his 36.3 minutes per game, which is tops among all power forwards in the playoffs on the slate. He still has yet to realize his true ceiling in this series thus far. Despite hitting multiple three-point shots in five of nine contests in the month of May during the regular season, he has yet to do so at all in the playoffs. Minutes are king in postseason DFS, and that vaults Covington to the top of the board.
Royce O'Neale ($4,200): The second-best offensive rating in the playoffs belongs to the crafty Jazz, and the top value play on the slate -- in my eyes -- is the three-and-D forward who is averaging 35.5 minutes per game for Utah. No one played more regular season minutes alongside Donovan Mitchell than O'Neale (1,573), and that is because of Mitchell's ability to overcome O'Neale's offensive limitations in exchange for O'Neale's great work defensively. Royce will never lead the game in scoring, but numberFire's projection of 21.4 FanDuel points makes him a great low-salary pick.
Bam Adebayo ($7,900): Any Miami player has to be considered risky since the team just frankly has failed to show up offensively in this series, with a league-worst 93.2 offensive rating thus far in the playoffs. It is no secret that Adebayo, Jimmy Butler, and Goran Dragic are Miami's top three players in usage, minutes, and FanDuel points per game. But especially when Dragic comes off the bench, none have been given a chance to sniff FanDuel value since their opening game loss last Saturday. Adebayo's 1.24 FanDuel points per minute in the regular season indicates he should be a good value at center, but he likely needs the rest of the Heat's offense to start clicking to hit for a ceiling game.
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.