FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Picks and Helper: Friday 5/3/24

Aidan Cotter
Aidan CotterAidanCotterFD
FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Picks and Helper: Friday 5/3/24

Since NBA DFS is easier to predict than baseball or football, it would likely get plenty of votes as the best sport to play on FanDuel. Basketball players usually stick to the same minutes and produce at roughly the same rate. Sounds easy, right? Trust me -- it's not!

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 -- which are powered by numberFire -- update throughout the day to reflect current news. You can also turn to numberFire for player news updates as well as a matchup heat map and lineup optimizer to help give you an edge.

On top of all that, here at FanDuel Research, we'll come at you each day with this NBA DFS primer, which breaks down some of the day's top plays at each position.

Let's dive into today's main slate on FanDuel.

Betting lines via the NBA odds at FanDuel Sportsbook. Projections and betting odds may change after this article is published.


Friday's main slate on FanDuel features two games. For a full breakdown, see numberFire's matchup heat map.


Top Plays

Kyrie Irving ($9,200) -- Kyrie Irving was quiet in the Mavs' Game 5 beatdown, scoring just 14 actual and 33.8 FanDuel points (FPs). Still, he'd averaged 44.7 FPPG in the first four games of the series and went for 40 actual on 14-of-25 shooting the last time they played in Dallas. His PG/SG eligibility is helpful on such a small slate -- as is his more-than-manageable $9.2K salary.

Darius Garland ($6,700) -- We finally got a decent Darius Garland game. Garland went for 23 real-world points in Game 5. While 17 of those came in the first quarter, the 16 shot attempts were easily his most of the series. With Donovan Mitchell shooting under 42% for the series, I'm bullish Garland parlays his strong Game 5 performance into another big night. It doesn't hurt that he played a series-high 39 minutes in Game 5.

Jalen Suggs ($5,800) -- Jalen Suggs hasn't been able to repeat his stellar Game 3 performance (24 actual and 41.3 FanDuel points), but he's coming off a 27-FP Game 5 that saw him play 39 minutes and put up 14 shots. With Orlando needing to win at home to stay alive, look for Suggs to shoulder a bigger offensive load tonight. Notably, the combo guard has shot 49.1% overall and 41.4% from three at home this season compared to 44.8% overall and 38.3% from three on the road.

Others to Consider

Luka Doncic ($12,000) -- Luka Doncic gutted out 59.4 FPs in Game 5 despite dealing with a knee injury and illness. He's easily the top option on the slate with our model projecting him for 57.6 FPs -- 14 more than the next-closest player. There are ways to make Luka's monstrous salary work, but I'm more inclined to deploy Kyrie on such a small slate.

Norman Powell ($4,500) -- We project Norman Powell for 24.5 FPs as of Friday afternoon, making him the top point-per-dollar value among SGs or SFs (5.45 FPs per $1,000). Though Powell's only exceeded 20 FPs once this series, he attempted a series-high 12 shots in Game 5 despite only playing 24 minutes. He's an easy bounce-back candidate at this salary and would get an even bigger bump if Terance Mann (questionable) sat.


Top Plays

Paolo Banchero ($8,700) -- Paolo Banchero feasted with Jarrett Allen sidelined for Game 5, notching 39 actual and 49.6 FanDuel points. He chipped in 8 rebounds and 4 assists for good measure and looks to be a top option for tonight's Game 6. He's a cut above the rest of the non-guards tonight, what with his 38.2-FP projection and a points prop set at 24.5 on FanDuel Sportsbook.

Max Strus ($5,400) -- It only took four stinkers, but Max Strus finally cracked double-digit points in the playoffs! The sharpshooter is coming off easily his best game of the postseason, notching 16 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists en route to 35.7 FPs. He played a series-high 39 minutes with Jarrett Allen out, and I'm certainly interested in him at $5.4K.

Derrick Jones ($4,800) -- Coming off 29.9 and 24.1-FP performances, Derrick Jones Jr. figures to be a popular salary-saver at SF. While the fantasy production has been great, his minute totals are what make me so confident deploying him again tonight. After playing just 17 minutes in Game 1, Jones has averaged 30.5 minutes per game over the last four outings. He's cracked double-digit points in all four and tonight has -145 odds to score 10+ points on FanDuel Sportsbook.

Others to Consider

Paul George ($8,600) -- I'd be hard-pressed to roster Paul George in a single-entry contest, but he's certainly worth a look in larger tournaments. PG-13 has had a brutal series, notably exceeding 35 FPs just once. But the one time he did -- in Game 4 -- was beautiful. George recorded 33 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists, and 4 steals in a 63.2-FP effort, demonstrating the kind of slate-winning upside he has on a nightly basis.

Marcus Morris ($3,900) -- If you're going to take a shot on someone with a sub-$4K salary, I'm interested in Marcus Morris Sr. as long as Jarrett Allen remains out. Allen's Game 5 absence allowed Morris to play 25 minutes and score 17.1 FPs, and he proved to be a difference-maker down the stretch. He'd likely return to the bench if Allen is back, but there's sneaky value here if Cleveland's big man sits again.


Top Plays

Evan Mobley ($8,000) -- Evan Mobley had his best fantasy performance of the postseason with Jarrett Allen out for Game 5, notching 46.6 FPs. He only scored 14 real-world points, but chipped in 13 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks, and 2 steals in a well-rounded effort. Mobley's ability to fill up a box score gives him a rock-solid floor, and he'd likely flirt with 40 minutes again if Allen misses another game.

Ivica Zubac ($6,200) -- Ivica Zubac has proven to be LA's most consistent fantasy performer this series, averaging 31.7 FPPG and scoring at least 24 FPs in all five games. He's only surpassed 30 FPs once since his 44.5-FP opener but continues to hover around 30 minutes and chip in his fair share of points and rebounds.

P.J. Washington ($5,900) -- PJ Washington has only exceeded 30 FPs once this series, but he's still regularly seeing mid-30s minutes and does enough on defense (2.8 combined steals and blocks per game) to warrant fantasy consideration. The playing time alone makes him worth a look at a sub-$6K salary, and he can't shoot much worse than the 1-for-7 showing he put on in Game 5.

Others to Consider

Franz Wagner ($7,700) -- I expected a bit more from Franz Wagner with Cleveland down a big man in Game 5, but he shot a measly 3-for-11 en route to 14 real-world points. He still notched 33 FPS, and we're just a game removed from his 58.6-FP blow-up the last time they played in Orlando. A 200.5 over/under makes it hard to justify both Franz and Paolo, but the former is a viable pivot away from the more popular Banchero.

Daniel Gafford ($4,400) -- None of the C-only options really blow me away tonight, so I'm happy to turn back to either Daniel Gafford or Dereck Lively ($4,300). Gafford's shown more upside via his 27.8-FP Game 3, but Lively's been more consistent, averaging 20 FPPG through five games. They both exceeded 20 FPs in Game 5 even though Lively saw 6 more minutes.

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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author’s advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.