FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Picks and Helper: Thursday 5/2/24

Aidan Cotter
Aidan CotterAidanCotterFD
FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Picks and Helper: Thursday 5/2/24

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.


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

Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Thursday afternoon that both Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,100) and Damian Lillard ($8,900) are trying to play tonight. Giannis hasn't suited up since April 9th while Dame's been held out the last two games.

It's unclear if either will be able to go, but I'd be much more interested in Antetokounmpo than Lillard given how shallow PF is tonight. He was sitting at a $12K salary prior to injury and averaged 70.3 FanDuel points per game against Indiana during the regular season. We project him for 49.7 FPs in 35 minutes if he goes.


Top Plays

Jalen Brunson ($10,500) -- Jalen Brunson's salary continues to climb, but it's hard to argue with the results. Brunson's caught fire the last three games, averaging 42.0 actual and 61.1 FanDuel points per game (FPPG). He's chipped in 9.7 assists across a staggering 46.7 minutes over that stretch. With 30+ shot attempts in back-to-back games, it's hard to think of anyone with a higher floor than Brunson right now.

OG Anunoby ($6,200) -- OG Anunoby has played 39, 46, and 50 minutes over the last three games, notching at least 16 points in all three outings. He wedged a 40.8-FP outburst in between two 29-FP games, but we can still live with those at this mid-range salary. Tonight, we project him for 31.1 FPs, making him the top point-per-dollar value at SG (5.01 FPs per $1,000). We project him for 14.7 real-world points, and his points prop is 14.5 on FanDuel Sportsbook.

Andrew Nembhard ($5,700) -- Andrew Nembhard's production has finally caught up with his workload. Over the last four games, the combo guard is averaging 35.5 minutes and 27.9 FPPG. He's been racking up the periphery stats over that span, chipping in 3.8 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game -- notable considering his rebounds + assists prop is set at just 7.5 on FanDuel Sportsbook. Fantasy-wise, Nembhard is a rock-solid mid-range play who should be able to take advantage of Indiana's slate-leading 111.25 implied total.

Others to Consider

Tyrese Maxey ($9,500) -- Tyrese Maxey had one of his best performances of the season in Game 5, scoring 46 actual and 62.5 FanDuel points while dishing out 9 assists. He continues to shoulder a sizable scoring load for the Sixers and has yet to play fewer than 41 minutes this series. The only downside with Maxey is that you probably don't want to play him with Joel Embiid -- our highest-projected player on the slate.

Patrick Beverley ($5,900) -- If Dame sits, Patrick Beverley is a priority play for me. But if he's active, I'm not interested even at $5.9K. Pat Bev exploded for 42.8 FPs in Game 5, recording a 13-point, 12-assist double-double. That was only his second game over 25 FPs this series despite exceeding 30 minutes in four of five outings. Stay glued to Lillard's status, but if he sits then Beverley is a quality value option.


Top Plays

Khris Middleton ($9,200) -- I'd have a lot less interest in Khris Middleton at $9.2K if Dame or Giannis were active, but he's clearly the top wing tonight assuming both remain out. Middleton's exploded for 58.5, 43.5, and 48.9 FPs over the last three outings, playing at least 39 minutes in each game. He's notably recorded a double-double (with rebounds) in four of five games this series. His rebounds prop is set at 7.5 and he has +145 odds to record a double-double on FanDuel Sportsbook,

Josh Hart ($7,800) -- Speaking of rebounding wings, Josh Hart continues to absolutely feast on the glass. He ranks third among all players with 12.0 rebounds per game this postseason, and that's helped him average 41.2 FPPG this series. He's averaging a ludicrous 46.4 minutes thus far, and it's hard to envision that changing in tonight's critical Game 6. His floor is among the highest on the slate, and he's the definition of a core play for me.

Malik Beasley ($5,200) -- I want absolutely nothing to do with Malik Beasley if Giannis and Dame play, but there's proven upside here if those two sit. Beasley has gone for 20 and 18 real-world points in the last two games, notching 26.6 and 31.8 FPs in the process. However, he'd played only 10 and 6 minutes with Lillard active the two games prior, so Beasley's fantasy value is negligible if Milwaukee's stars return.

Others to Consider

Tobias Harris ($6,300) -- I don't feel great about it, but Tobias Harris's salary is down to $6.3K and he's quietly coming off his best game of the series. Even with his struggles, we're still talking about a guy who averaged 32.5 FPPG during the regular season. I can get behind Kelly Oubre ($6,000) in the same matchup, though both wings figure to be heavily rostered on such a small slate. We project Harris for 29.4 FPs and Oubre for 28.5 FPs.

Nicolas Batum ($4,000) -- I'd try not to pair Tobias Harris or Kelly Oubre with him, but Nicolas Batum has some intrigue as a value wing. He's coming off a 20.1-FP outing, his second time this series exceeding 20 FPs. The vet has averaged 28.4 minutes per game this series, so we at least know he'll get plenty of run.


Top Plays

Bobby Portis ($8,500) -- Assuming Milwaukee is again without Giannis, Bobby Portis is in a great spot to build off a 44.5-FP outing in Game 5. He went for 29 points and 10 rebounds in that one, flashing the kind of fantasy upside he displayed with Giannis out to close out the regular season. This is clearly the superior game environment on the slate, so expect a good deal of offense from both sides.

Myles Turner ($7,900) -- Myles Turner had his worst game of the series in Game 5, recording just 13 real-world points, 5 rebounds, and no defensive statistics. He was held to 22.5 FPs after dropping 48.4, 44.3, and 54.8 the three games prior, but I'm bullish he bounces back tonight. Turner's averaged 1.4 more points and 1.5 more rebounds per game at home this season, and his field goal percentage jumped from 50.1% to 54.7%.

Aaron Nesmith ($5,800) -- While Aaron Nesmith has more games with fewer than 25 FPs (3) than more (2) in this series, there aren't many mid-range options at PF tonight. He doesn't boast much upside but did reach 37.1 FPs in Game 3. At the very least, Nesmith should be able to take advantage of Indiana's 111.25 implied total, and our projections like him. With a 29.8-FP projection, he's the fourth-best point-per-dollar value on the slate (5.11 FPs per $1,000).

Others to Consider

Joel Embiid ($11,900) -- There's enough upside at center tonight that I'm not tied to Joel Embiid, but there's no questioning he's the top overall play on the slate. He boasts our highest projection (61.3 FPs), and while he's cracked 60 FPs just once in five games, he's exceeded 55 FPs four times. We saw him produce in DFS despite scoring just 19 real-world points in Game 5, so there's an established floor here, too.

Obi Toppin ($4,300) -- There's not a very high ceiling with Obi Toppin, but he's been a reliable contributor this series. Toppin's now exceeded 20 FPs in three of the last four games and is coming off his best fantasy performance (24.2 FPs) of the series. Though he likely won't see more than 20 minutes, Toppin's under-salaried relative to his performance of late.

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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.