FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Wednesday 5/19/21
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 two-game "postseason" slate, which locks at 7:30 PM Eastern.
Stephen Curry ($10,400) - Who else were we going to start this piece with? Anyone but Curry here would be a disservice. Over his last nine games, the Chef has eclipsed 55 FanDuel points five times and has totaled fewer than 49.3 just twice during that stretch. If we extend that sample to his last 24 outings, Curry has equaled at least 47 fantasy points on 19 different occasions, and that includes surpassing 52 (what he needs for a value figure of 5.0) a total of 11 times. If, for some reason, you're concerned about the matchup, fret not -- the Los Angeles Lakers have ceded the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing point guards over their last 15 games, per FantasyPros.
Dennis Schroder ($5,500) - Schroder recently returned from a seven-game absence, but he should be at full health in time for the Lakers to show off their new toy that they didn't have during last season's championship run. Schroder's been a relatively stable fantasy option this year, exceeded 25 FanDuel points in 47 of his 65 games. The 27-year-old would need 27 fantasy points to accrue five-times value (or 5.0 fantasy points for every $1,000 in salary), and he failed to trump that total just 23 times in 2020-21. After starting out as one of the stringiest defenses versus opposing floor generals, the Golden State Warriors have wavered a bit against the position lately. Golden State ranks just 15th against the point in their last 30 contests.
Dillon Brooks ($6,800) - Shooting guard is a position where you can start to differentiate your lineups a bit, and while the masses will likely flock to DeMar DeRozan ($7,500) -- who is certainly a more-than-viable option -- Brooks could go overlooked. The Memphis Grizzlies' second-leading scorer has racked off outputs of 35.8, 40.4, and 49.7 FanDuel points in three of his last four games, and he should have a similar ceiling against a San Antonio Spurs that just bleed production to opposing two-guards. Throughout their last 15 games, San Antonio has surrendered an average of 45.4 fantasy points to the position, which ranks dead last in the Association.
Lonnie Walker ($3,900) - If you want exposure to a Spurs guard while still avoiding the DeRozan chalk, Walker could be the way to go. In order to return our baseline value, Walker would need at least 19.5 FanDuel points, and he's eclipsed that in 8 of his last 12 efforts. Exploiting the Grizzlies with shooting guards has been a workable strategy this season, as they rank just 21st against the position per 48 minutes, according to numberFire's DvP tool.
LeBron James ($10,000) - The Lakers have limited LeBron's minutes in his first two games back from injury, though he has posted 40.4 and 42.2 FanDuel points in 28.5 and 27.5 minutes of action, respectively. That said, any "easing" should be put to a quick end tonight. Anyone who's watched the NBA over the last decade and a half is quite familiar with the playoff animal that is LeBron James, and we should expect nothing less tonight. The fact that LeBron hasn't exceeded 42.2 fantasy points in more than two months is just an added bonus, as it means he should avoid being too chalky. If you need an extra nudge, the Warriors are the 10th-most generous team to small forwards over their last 30 games.
Keldon Johnson ($4,500) - Were it not for his volatility, Johnson would be one of the highest-rostered players on this slate, but it's that inconsistency that should keep him from being extremely chalky. If you look back at his last 13 games, you can see exactly what the 21-year-old brings to the table. During that stretch, Johnson has racked up 24-plus FanDuel points seven times, including performances of 26.8, 27.1, 28.4, 30.6, 33.4, and 40.7, but he has also had four games where he's failed to even reach 12 fantasy points. His outlook tonight is improved by the fact that Memphis is 20th against small forwards this season and 23rd over their last 15 contests.
Jaren Jackson Jr. ($6,600) - Jackson is one chalky play I won't be avoiding tonight. The 21-year-old returned to NBA action in April and has played in just 11 games this season, but his minutes and usage have certainly been trending in the right direction. In a crucial game for Memphis on Sunday, the youngster totaled season-highs in both minutes (31.5) and fantasy points (38.4). That said, it was the fourth time in his last five games that he'd managed at least 33.9 FanDuel points. The Spurs are 12th-most-generous to opposing power forwards in their last 12 games, so this matchup is definitely not one to fear.
Rudy Gay ($4,600) - Sure, there's been a few duds along the way, but Gay has quietly been a viable fantasy option this season. The veteran transcended 19 FanDuel points in 45 of his 63 contests, and he has amassed 22-plus in 34 of those outings. His value has been on display recently, and he has put up outputs of 27.8, 28.5, 31.0, 35.0, and 35.9 FanDuel points in five of his last eight games.
Jakob Poeltl ($6,300) - If you can get to it, paying up for Jonas Valanciunas ($8,700) is a strategy I'd highly recommend. The big man has surpassed 45 FanDuel points in six straight games, including performances of 51.2, 51.7, and 57.7 in three of his last four. However, if you can't get to the slate's most expensive center, then Poeltl might just be the next-best option. The 25-year-old's game log makes him ideally suited for tournaments. His last 48 games have seen him go beyond 32 fantasy points 26 times, including 19 outings with more than 36, but he has also failed to reach 23 on 15 different occasions during that stretch. Tonight's matchup is a mouth-watering one for the Spurs' center, as Memphis has surrendered the second-most fantasy points in the league to the position over their last 30 outings.