FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Tuesday 5/25/21

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 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

Luka Doncic ($10,300) - In Game 1 against the Los Angeles Clippers, Luka rode a 31-point triple-double to 65.5 FanDuel points, which is a ceiling we had seen from him just once in his last 30 games -- but that's not to say that such a performance is an outlier. Doncic has now eclipsed 60 fantasy points in four of his seven postseason matchups with the Clippers over the last two seasons. He's certainly not afraid of the spotlight. Not that it matters much, but the Clippers were just a middle-of-the-pack defense against point guards this season, ranking 15th, according to numberFire's DvP tool. Our algorithm projects Luka to be the top scorer on tonight's slate.

Rajon Rondo ($5,000) - It Rondo all of 23.8 minutes of playing time on Saturday to accrue 26.8 FanDuel points, and he's now averaging 1.07 FanDuel points per minute over his last 11 outings. It seems pretty evident that Rondo will see minutes close to the mid-20's for Los Angeles, and if that's the case, he should be able to return adequate value. With limited viable low-salary options available tonight, plugging in Rondo might just be the way to go. It's worth noting that the Dallas Mavericks ranked 19th against floor generals over their final 30 contests, according to FantasyPros.

Shooting Guard

Devin Booker ($8,200) - Booker was the focal point of the Phoenix Suns offense in Game 1, dropping 51.4 FanDuel points while sitting all of 2.8 minutes -- and that should be the case once again tonight. While the Suns have already declared that Chris Paul will play tonight, he very clearly was not right after injuring his shoulder in the first game of the series. That means we shouldn't expect any dip in volume for Booker, who only needs 41 fantasy points to achieve five-times value (or 5.0 fantasy points for every $1,000 in salary).

Marcus Smart ($5,300) - Only eight players saw real minutes for the Boston Celtics in Game 1 against the Brooklyn Nets, and Smart finished second in that category with 39.7. While his performance wasn't anything to write home about, he did manage to amass 25.1 FanDuel points. Smart was shut out in the defensive categories on Saturday, which is something that only occurred twice during the regular season, and a bump in those could lead to him being one of the best values on the slate. numberFire's models project the 27-year-old to be the best point-per-dollar play among all players tonight.

Small Forward

Kawhi Leonard ($9,400) - In the first game of the series against Dallas, Kawhi dropped 57.5 FanDuel points, which was more than he had posted in any of his final 36 games in the regular season. However, as we've grown accustomed to, playoff Kawhi is an entirely different animal. Last season, Leonard averaged 54.6 FanDuel points in the postseason, including 58.8 in six games against Dallas. In other words, he has just as much upside as players like LeBron James ($10,500) or Kevin Durant ($10,400), albeit at a salary that's quite a bit lower.

Dorian Finney-Smith ($4,400) - Finney-Smith could go overlooked as one of the best value plays on the slate. At a salary of just $4,400, the 28-year-old would need just 22 points to accumulate a value figure of 5.0, and he exceeded that with ease in the first game (28 fantasy points). In fact, Finney-Smith has now trumped 22 fantasy points in 17 of his last 25 efforts, often by a considerable amount. The potential absence of Maxi Kleber certainly doesn't hurt his outlook.

Power Forward

Kristaps Porzingis ($6,900) - Porzingis is numberFire's top-projected value at power forward and fourth-best point-per-dollar play on the entire slate. The big man saw 35.8 minutes of action in Game 1, though he underwhelmed with only 22.3 fantasy points. That said, in the 30 games that he played at least 30 minutes in 2020-21, Kristaps averaged 39 FanDuel points. His floor is low, but at a nice salary of just $6,900, the potential reward outweighs the risk, especially in tournaments.

Marcus Morris ($4,400) - Behind Porzingis, Morris is our algorithm's second-best projected value at the four position tonight. The 31-year-old was limited to just 13.9 fantasy points in the series opener, but we should focus on the fact that he was on the court for a rock-solid 32.7 minutes. In the 14 games that he played 30 or more minutes this season, Morris averaged 27.3 fantasy points. Our model has him racking up 22.4 in 32.3 minutes tonight.


Robert Williams ($5,800) - An insane nine-block effort led to Williams pegging the Nets for 53.3 FanDuel points in Game 1, and the fact that he can still be rostered for a salary under $6,000 makes him a salivating play here tonight. Over the last 15 games of the season, Brooklyn ceded an average of 2.5 blocks per game to opposing centers, which was good for eighth-most in the league. The Nets also surrendered the fifth-most rebounds to the position during that stretch, which means this matchup is right up Williams' wheelhouse. In his lone other meeting with this squad in 2020-21, the youngster garnered 33.8 fantasy points in just 16.6 minutes of action. Our algorithm has Williams returning a value figure of 5.53 -- no other center is projected to even surpass 4.8.