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FanDuel NBA DFS Strategy Advice: Saturday (5/15)

by Skyler Carlin | Featured Writer
May 15, 2021

Payton Pritchard is a top play of the day.

The time has come for my final NBA DFS article of the season, and while I didn’t write articles for the entire season, I want to thank everyone for reading the ones I did do. With the regular season all but completed, the salary that FanDuel provides you don’t matter as much with certain players resting or playing fewer minutes.

Some teams are still going to be playing starters in hopes of ensuring that their team is prepared for the postseason. Other teams will give some of their younger players more minutes to get one last look at them before the offseason begins. Despite NBA DFS being a minefield right now, I’ll be doing my best to dissect the best value plays of the day on Saturday.

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Most Value Per Dollar

Saturday’s schedule gives us a small five-game slate, and it’s an early start, which means that we should get news sooner than usual. There are plenty of questionable players, and certain players being ruled out could change the entire outlook of the slate. All but one of the five games on the main slate holds an expected total of 220+ points.

The two most popular games will likely be the ones between the Brooklyn Nets and the Chicago Bulls, along with the showdown between the Boston Celtics and the Minnesota Timberwolves. The matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Indiana Pacers could also be a game to target, but it will be worth monitoring the statuses of Anthony Davis and Domantas Sabonis.

If you’d like to see more information on how the betting landscape will be for this slate, check out BettingPros. Below is a list of the top-10 players of the day expected to generate the most value relative to their salary. These are ranked in order.

Payton Pritchard (BOS) $3,900 at MIN
The Boston Celtics are hobbling into the play-in tournament for the playoffs as they currently hold the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference. Heading into Saturday, the Celtics will be without Jaylen Brown (who is out for the rest of the season), Kemba Walker, and Marcus Smart. That leaves plenty of backcourt minutes for Payton Pritchard, who gets a pace-up game against the Timberwolves after supplying 30.9 FD points in 25 minutes of action earlier this week against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Lauri Markkanen (CHI) $3,800 at BKN
With the Washington Wizards taking care of business on Friday, the Bulls were eliminated from playoff contention. Seeing that Chicago doesn’t have much to play for besides pride, we could see some starters see fewer minutes. On the other hand, guys like Lauri Markkanen could see increased run as the team wants to see him in action more before the season concludes. The former first-round pick should see close to 30 minutes against the Nets following his previous performance in which he recorded 35.4 FD points versus the Toronto Raptors.

Kyle Kuzma (LAL) $5,800 at IND
In their final two games of the season, the Lakers are trying to do everything they possibly can to avoid the play-in tournament as they sit just a half-game behind the Portland Trail Blazers for the sixth seed in the Western Conference. LeBron James is questionable again for Los Angeles, but that shouldn’t affect Kyle Kuzma much, who is probable to play with a back ailment of his own. Kuzma and the Lakers square off against the Pacers on Saturday, allowing him to face a defense that has allowed the fourth-most (44.8) FD points to opposing small forwards in their past 30 games.

Drew Eubanks (SAS) $3,500 vs. PHO
The San Antonio Spurs are sitting some of their starters on Saturday, with DeMar DeRozan and Jakob Poeltl already ruled out due to rest. Dejounte Murray is also questionable, which could leave plenty of minutes for the rest of the roster. While Lonnie Walker and Keldon Johnson could be popular choices, Drew Eubanks should draw the start at center for the Spurs. Eubanks is averaging 1.06 FD points per minute in limited action this season.

Cameron Payne (PHO) $4,500 at SAS
As the Phoenix Suns prepare for the playoffs for the first time since the 2009-2010 season, they may have found a secret weapon in Cameron Payne. In recent games, Payne has operated as a key member of Phoenix’s bench, scoring 15+ points in three out of his last five games. Payne should continue to see a decent allotment of minutes on Saturday as he’s hit 5x value at his current price in each of his past four appearances.

Justin Holiday (IND) $5,300 vs. LAL
Similar to the Celtics, the Pacers are dealing with an assortment of injuries entering the playoffs. Besides the ongoing injury for Malcolm Brogdon that has sidelined him in recent weeks, Indiana could be without Sabonis and Caris LeVert on Saturday. Regardless of their statuses, Justin Holiday is going to need to continue to step up if the Pacers want to defeat the Lakers. Holiday received 38 minutes in Indiana’s last game against the Milwaukee Bucks, which resulted in him exploding for 41.5 FD points.

Alec Burks (NYK) $5,000 vs. CHA
Alec Burks returned to the lineup for the New York Knicks on Thursday following a three-game absence. While some wondered if he’d be limited in any capacity, he played 34 minutes as he notched 46 FD points off of the bench versus the Spurs. Even though the Knicks have clinched a playoff spot – and it’s tough to predict another 40+ FD points from Burks – they can still work their way to the fourth seed if a couple of things fall into place. With New York wanting to win their final two games, expect Burks to be a primary scorer for them again on Saturday.

Landry Shamet (BKN) $4,200 vs. CHI
Fans in Brooklyn are rejoicing as they’ll get just their eighth chance to watch all three of Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and James Harden play together on Saturday. In light of that, other members of the Nets could be overlooked in NBA DFS versus the Bulls. If Joe Harris is ruled out, then Landry Shamet could be in store for some extra minutes on the wing, allowing him to get some easy threes with Harden dishing the ball. The one thing that could make Shamet a bust on Saturday is the fact that he relies on his scoring, which could be hindered if Harris suits up. I like Walker and Aaron Nesmith in the same price range.

Luke Kornet (BOS) $3,500 at MIN
Besides being without the trio of Brown, Smart, and Walker, the Celtics are going to be shorthanded in the frontcourt as Tristan Thompson and Robert Williams have been ruled out. As a result, we could see Brad Stevens deploy more of Luke Kornet at the center spot on Saturday. If Kornet draws the start, or if he sees more playing time, he could easily return 5x value at $3,500 against a fast-paced Timberwolves squad.

Gorgui Dieng (SAS) $3,500 vs. PHO
With the regular season nearing a close, you might as well try to take risks as teams give minutes to players who usually don’t see the floor often. While I prefer Eubanks, Gorgui Dieng could be a nice way to get contrarian at the center position on FanDuel. As I previously mentioned, Greg Popovich is electing to rest some of his starters, and Dieng has been productive when he gets on the floor, recording 1.12 FD points per minute this season.

Check out our NBA Prop Bet Cheat Sheet for the top bets of the day >>

Studs Worth Their Salary

Anthony Davis (LAL) $10,700 at IND: Once again, the Lakers are attempting to do everything in their power to avoid the play-in tournament. Along with James, it will be worth monitoring the status of Davis for Los Angeles as he deals with an adductor injury that kept him sidelined in the team’s last contest. If Davis is active, he gets a chance to face a Pacers team that has done nothing to slow down opposing big men in recent weeks amid the absence of Myles Turner.

James Harden (BKN) $10,000 vs. CHI: Some people may lean toward playing Durant or Irving in Saturday’s contest versus the Bulls, but Harden is the cheapest of Brooklyn’s dynamic trio. Harden made his long-awaited return on Wednesday against the Spurs, dropping 50.9 FD points in just 25 minutes of action. The playmaking guard should see a slight uptick in minutes to prepare him for the playoffs, and you aren’t going to get many opportunities to play Harden at $10,000 on FanDuel.

Julius Randle (NYK) $9,000 vs. CHA: The Knicks are another team that could still improve their seeding for the playoffs in their final two games of the regular season. That being said, Julius Randle is a high-priced option that could go overlooked on a slate with plenty of star power. Randle has seen 43+ minutes in his last two games, and he was able to return 5x value in both games at his current price of $9,000 on FanDuel.

Notable Players To Fade

Kevin Durant (BKN) $10,500 vs. CHI: With the Nets having their Big Three of Harden, Durant, and Irving intact on Saturday, we’ll have to take a stand somewhere. For me, I’ll likely be underweight on Durant due to him being the most expensive option at a position that has plenty of value on Saturday. When we’ve seen Harden, Durant, and Irving play together – albeit a small sample size – Harden usually operates as the main facilitator, limiting playmaking opportunities for Durant and Irving.

Nikola Vucevic (CHI) $9,500 at BKN: On the other side of the court, the Bulls don’t have anything to play for after being eliminated from playoff contention. Some may think that Nikola Vucevic wants to finish the season strong for his new team. But for Chicago, they may elect to limit his minutes to avoid an unnecessary injury that could put a damper on his first full season with the team next year. I’d much rather spend down for Andre Drummond in a plus-matchup or insert one of the value options at the center position than play Vucevic.

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Beyond our daily fantasy basketball content, be sure to check out our Daily Fantasy Basketball Tools. From our Lineup Optimizer – which allows you to build winning DFS lineups in seconds for Cash and GPP contests – to our DFS Cheat Sheets – that helps you get a quick read on the day’s players – we’ve got you covered this fantasy basketball season.

Skyler Carlin is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Skyler, check out his archive and follow him @skyler_carlin.