FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Thursday 5/11/23

Since it's much simpler to predict than baseball or football, daily fantasy basketball would get plenty of votes as the best sport to play on FanDuel. Players usually stick to the same minutes and produce at roughly the same rate. Sounds easy, right?

As a result, NBA daily fantasy is highly reliant on a player's opportunity, so you'll need to ensure 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.

With so much changing so quickly, we're here with plenty of tools to help you. We have daily projections, a matchup heat map, a lineup optimizer, and a bunch of other great resources to help give you an edge.

We'll also come at you with this primer daily, 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 and Key Injuries

Away Home Game

There is one slight new wrinkle to Thursday's injury report compared to Tuesday's.

Phoenix has Deandre Ayton (rib) listed as questionable for tonight's Game 6. Chris Paul (groin) remains out for the Suns, and Denver, looking to close out the series, is at full strength.

The only listing in Celtics-76ers is Joel Embiid (knee), who is questionable but has pounded north of 40 minutes in three consecutive games. He'll be playing tonight with a chance to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.


The good version of James Harden ($9,600) showed up again Tuesday, tallying 45.6 FanDuel points despite battling foul trouble.

Before writing him off from another solid outing, keep in mind that it took 5-for-28 (17.9%) shooting in the two games he fell below 45 FanDuel points in this series. His on-ball role is excellent, leading the Sixers in touches per game (85.6) this postseason.

Jamal Murray ($8,800) should draw increasing popularity as his salary declines, but two key factors are working against him. His eFG% has dropped 8.7 percentage points on the road this postseason, and he tweaked his ankle in Game 5 despite no listing, which could hurt his effectiveness.

While Tyrese Maxey dropped 30 in Game 5, it seems like an anomaly. He's only posted 19.2 points per 36 minutes with Embiid on the floor in the playoffs. I'd rather take swipes at De'Anthony Melton ($4,500), who has been kept quiet since Game 3 despite at least 23 minutes on the floor in each contest.

Boston's guys are the value core on this slate, though. The starters, Marcus Smart ($6,000) and Derrick White ($5,000), each logged 34 minutes, and Malcolm Brogdon ($5,700) also tallied 26 off the bench. The problem? None of them topped 22 FanDuel points on a combined 7-for-22 (31.9%) shooting effort. Someone should emerge with that court time, right?

Cameron Payne ($4,800), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ($4,700), and Landry Shamet ($4,300) are others who eclipsed 20 minutes on the floor in Game 5.


I really am not sure what's up with the Phoenix guys in DFS these days.

Devin Booker ($9,900) has a lower salary with a higher usage rate this postseason (28.9%), yet Kevin Durant ($11,000) could be more popular again tonight. If Ayton sits, Durant could also encounter foul issues if tasked to help defend Nikola Jokic ($12,200).

Unfortunately, my strategy to fade Jayson Tatum ($10,800) for Jaylen Brown ($8,000) when the salaries were closer backfired on Tuesday. Tatum dropped 36 points as the slate's second-highest scorer, and Brown only took 16 shots to Tatum's 27. J.B.'s salary has now dropped to a point where he'll be the overwhelming chalk, but fading Tatum off a red-hot shooting night still seems like a decent plan.

Though Michael Porter Jr. ($6,700) filled it up on Tuesday, Denver scaled back his minutes. He only logged 27 with Bruce Brown Jr. ($5,200) bumped to 26. With MPJ projected to be popular, that's a trend that could doom several lineups if his shot isn't falling as consistently.

Tobias Harris ($6,000) is really the last name to consider here -- and a good one. Terrence Ross needed two stocks (steals plus blocks) just to reach 20.1 FanDuel points in a playoff-high 20 minutes.


Nikola Jokic's salary dropped despite topping 67 FanDuel points for a fourth straight game -- in a blowout. It's solely because the value options left many Jokic lineups in the dust on Tuesday, but we've got decent options again today.

I'll get to Jokic above Joel Embiid ($11,400) today. Embiid was the beneficiary of four blocks and foul trouble for Harden and Harris in Game 4, so there's a more straightforward path to failure.

Deandre Ayton ($6,200) put forth his best effort of the series with 14 points and 9 rebounds in 31 minutes on Tuesday. I still think he ultimately plays, but Jock Landale ($4,200) has played comfortably ahead of Bismack Biyombo if he doesn't. Oddly, with Ayton off the floor, Phoenix's at-rim field-goal rate allowed dropped 5.8 percentage points this season. That could hurt Jokic.

It's really hard for a full-time player to go ignored on a two-game slate, but Al Horford ($7,000) did Tuesday. How did he repay the sharp players who targeted him in tournaments? An 0-for-7 effort from the field. He'll likely be significantly overlooked again without much real competition.

Once again, Aaron Gordon ($6,500) and P.J. Tucker ($3,800) are the decent roles remaining behind them, but Gordon's rebounding activity is in the toilet, as Jokic has posted 13.8 boards per game in the series. I wouldn't pair the two together often.