FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Friday 5/7/21
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 10-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 league's trade deadline.
Teams are sorted by their implied total.
Delon Wright ($7,000) - Whether you consider Wright to be a "stud" or a "value play," the idea here is the same -- he should be rostered. With De'Aaron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton, and Harrison Barnes out for the Sacramento Kings in their last two games, Wright has erupted for 60 and 59.4 FanDuel points. Considering that the 29-year-old would need only 35 fantasy points to accrue five-times value (5.0 points per $1,000), he is worth pursuing. His matchup is solid -- the San Antonio Spurs ranks 20th against point guards, according to numberFire's DvP tool.
Elfrid Payton ($3,600) - The New York Knicks will have a thin backcourt for their bout with the Phoenix Suns, as both Immanuel Quickley and Alec Burks are doubtful. Enter Elfrid Payton. At his near-minimum salary, Payton would need just 18 fantasy points to return adequate value, and he has surpassed that number in 37 of his 57 outings this season. numberFire's algorithm has him as the second-best point-per-dollar play on the entire slate.
DeMar DeRozan ($8,600) - As I outlined in today's studs column, I'm going to try to gain some leverage in tournaments by rostering DeRozan. The entire San Antonio Spurs team crapped the bed on Wednesday, but DeRozan's stinker was particularly bad for fantasy managers, as he was able to muster up only 14.7 FanDuel points against the Utah Jazz. Let's hope the masses feel burned by the veteran, because he's in a great spot tonight. So far this season, the Kings rank 30th in the league in defensive efficiency, according to NBA.com, and they're also surrendering the third-most fantasy points per 48 minutes to opposing two-guards. DeRozan had averaged 49.2 FanDuel points in the five games before the clunker.
Armoni Brooks ($3,800) - For their battle with the Milwaukee Bucks, the Houston Rockets are likely to be without John Wall, Kevin Porter Jr., Avery Bradley, Sterling Brown, D.J. Wilson, and Danuel House Jr., while D.J. Augustin, Christian Wood, and Jae'Sean Tate are all questionable. Holy macaroni on a stick! That basically means that any Houston player who is active has the potential to be among the top value plays on the slate, and that starts with Brooks. In his three games this season in which he played 31 or more minutes, Brooks has put up 22.9, 24.9, and 25 FanDuel points.
Jimmy Butler ($9,400) - Butler is currently questionable with an illness, but if he plays, I'm including him in my lineups. According to FantasyPros, the Minnesota Timberwolves have ceded the second-most real-life points, the most rebounds, fifth-most assists, fourth-most blocks, and most fantasy points to small forwards in 2020-21. Butler faced this team less than three weeks ago and pegged them for 65.0 fantasy points. That kind of matchup is just impossible to beat. Our algorithm has Butler outscoring the next-closest small forward by 9.8 FanDuel points.
Other Stud to Consider: Michael Porter Jr. ($7,300)
Anthony Lamb ($3,500) - Yep, another player from Houston -- get used to it. With Houston using just a seven-man rotation on Wednesday, Lamb racked up 22 real-life points and 32 of the fantasy variety. That means that in the three games this season in which he's played more than 23 minutes, he has now totaled 20.7, 27.3, and the aforementioned 32.0 fantasy points. What more can you ask for at the minimum salary?
Zion Williamson ($9,600) - Not that we need to justify using Zion, but the absence of Brandon Ingram tonight only improves his already-rosy outlook. While the Philadelphia 76ers are one of the league's elite defensive teams, they have had their struggles with the power forward position lately. Over their last 15 games, Philly has given up the fifth-most fantasy points to the position. Zion has surpassed 48 FanDuel points in three of his last four games, and he erupted for 65 in the last meeting between these two squads.
Jarred Vanderbilt ($3,600) - With Jaden McDaniels out for the Wolves, it'll be Vanderbilt's time to shine against the Miami Heat. Even if McDaniels was going to be in the fold, Vanderbilt was a potentially elite value play. He had 23.0, 28.4, and 29.1 FanDuel points in three of his last four games, and his salary is only $100 above the minimum. The 22-year-old is numberFire's top projected value on the entire slate.
Kelly Olynyk ($8,000) - Olynyk has produced some monster fantasy numbers for the Rockets of late. The big man has topped 45 FanDuel points in six of his last seven games, including a whopping 63.2 on Wednesday versus a Sixers team that's second-stingiest to centers this season. Olynyk went up against these very same Milwaukee Bucks just over a week ago, and he rode a 24-point, 13-rebound double-double to 50.6 fantasy points. I'm certainly not opposed to a Houston stack tonight given the state of their roster, and Olynyk should be at the forefront of that.
Mo Bamba ($6,900) - With Wendell Carter Jr. inactive on Wednesday, Bamba filled the stat-sheet against the Boston Celtics to the tune of 56.5 FanDuel points. Well, Carter is out again tonight, which could set up Bomba to be one of the best value plays on the slate. In five of his last eight efforts, Bamba has accumulated 36.4, 37.4, 38.7, 44.0, and, of course, 56.5 FanDuel points. He would need only 34.5 tonight to return a 5.0 value figure.