FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Picks and Helper: Thursday 5/9/24

Aidan Cotter
Aidan CotterAidanCotterFD
FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Picks and Helper: Thursday 5/9/24

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.


Top Plays

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ($10,400) -- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had his best game of the playoffs in Game 1, totaling 29 points, 9 rebounds, and 9 assists. He tacked on 3 stocks (steals plus blocks) en route to 60.3 FanDuel points (FPs). Even on an off shooting night (8-of-19), SGA kept his scoring afloat by getting to the free-throw line 13 times. Dallas didn't have much of an answer for him in the opener. If the shots fall more in Game 2, the sky's the limit.

Derrick White ($7,000) -- Derrick White had a better performance in real life than in fantasy the last time out. In Boston's Game 1 win, White totaled 25 actual and 33.7 FanDuel points. He dished out 5 assists but managed just 1 rebound and no stocks. Still, the scoring was nice to see, and we can expect the periphery stats to tick back up going forward. In the first round, White averaged 3.6 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.4 stocks per game.

Payton Pritchard ($4,000) -- Payton Pritchard's salary was puzzling in Game 1, yet it's hardly changed despite a 25-FP night in the opener. He played 24 minutes in that one and is now averaging 23.0 minutes this postseason. He scored a playoff-high 16 points last time out, buoyed by a 4-of-10 night from beyond the arc. I'm not sure Pritchard will jack up double-digit threes again, but he should again see a sizable workload, especially if Boston can cover the spread.

Others to Consider

Donovan Mitchell ($9,400) -- Guard is where I want to allocate the majority of my salary, so I'm certainly into Donovan Mitchell after a strong Game 1. Spida went for 33 actual and 47.7 FanDuel points in that one, attempting 25 shots for the third consecutive game. There's risk of a blowout here, but if the Cavs can keep things tight Mitchell could break the slate.

Kyrie Irving ($8,600) -- The Thunder really kept Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic ($11,800) in check last time out, holding Irving to 30.7 and Doncic to 40.7 FPs. Still, we know what the upside is with both guards. Irving's discounted salary in particular has some appeal after he averaged 44.5 FPPG and flirted with a five-figure tag in the first round. That being said, Doncic still boasts our highest projection (59.6 FPs).


Top Plays

Jayson Tatum ($9,600) -- Jayson Tatum is the clear top wing tonight -- a title he'll hold until he shares a slate with Anthony Edwards. JT cruised to 46.7 FPs in Game 1 despite a 7-for-19 shooting performance that resulted in just 18 real-world points. Still, he pounded the glass (11 rebounds), dished out 5 assists, and blocked 3 shots to salvage his fantasy night. Tatum's now averaging 10.5 rebounds per game this postseason, but his rebounds prop is still just 9.5 on FanDuel Sportsbook.

Luguentz Dort ($4,700) -- Luguentz Dort boasts the fourth-highest salary among SFs tonight. That's how thin the position is on this slate. Still, I'm happy to garner his services despite a measly 16.3-FP outing in the series opener. But Dort saw 25 minutes, and he's Oklahoma City's best option against Luka. That alone should keep him on the court, and an improvement on his 2-for-9 shooting could net a more favorable final number for DFS.

Derrick Jones ($4,300) -- I'm not out on Derrick Jones Jr. quite yet -- not when he's still flirting with 30 minutes a night. Though he was held under 20 FPs for the second straight game, I'm bullish we see more of the 29.9 and 24.1 FPs he flashed in Games 4 and 5 of the first round. We project him for 21.2 FPs, making him the top point-per-dollar value at SF (4.92 FPs per $1,000). With several high-salary guards on the slate, Jones is an appealing value at $4.3K.

Others to Consider

Jalen Williams ($7,900) -- Jalen Williams's final line in Game 1 (33.5 FanDuel points) didn't end up being too bad, though 10 of his 18 real-world points came in the fourth quarter. Despite an ugly 6-of-15 shooting performance, J-Dub kept his fantasy value afloat with 5 rebounds and 5 assists. I don't love pairing him with SGA, but he's worth considering if you go another direction at guard.

Aaron Wiggins ($4,200) -- Aaron Wiggins saw 24 minutes in the series opener, allowing him to score 16 actual and 29 FanDuel points. He matches up well with Dallas' perimeter-oriented attack, so I'm optimistic he will continue to play a sizable role off the bench. Wiggins would be especially appealing if the Thunder can cover the spread.


Top Plays

Evan Mobley ($8,000) -- Evan Mobley still hasn't had a true ceiling game this postseason, but he's finally found some consistency with 39.2 FPPG over the last five outings. Even with Mobley playing only 32 minutes in their 25-point Game 1 loss, he turned in 39.1 FPS thanks to 17 points and 13 rebounds. Boston is again a heavy favorite, but their interior doesn't scare me. Mobley has an established floor if the Cavs get blown out, but he has a greater ceiling if they can keep it close.

Al Horford ($5,700) -- Al Horford turned in 25.6 FPs in Game 1, right in line with tonight's 27.3-FP projection. He certainly won't win you the slate, but he's the top point-per-dollar value among bigs (4.79 FPs per $1,000) and serves as a reliable salary-saver with several high-salary guards available. There's not much of a ceiling with the 37-year-old Horford, but his 21.9 FPPG this postseason suggests a stable floor.

Daniel Gafford ($5,600) -- Daniel Gafford isn't as safe as Horford, but he clearly has more upside. Gafford's salary crept as high as $7.3K during the regular season, and his Game 1 performance against Oklahoma City was a reminder of why. The big man exploded for 44.7 FPs, finishing with 16 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 blocks. He saw a playoff-high 27 minutes, so there's plenty of reason to believe he continues to feast against a soft OKC interior.

Others to Consider

Chet Holmgren ($8,100) -- Chet Holmgren cruised to 42.9 FPs in just 31 minutes in the series opener, and he's a viable option again tonight. He notably struggled with Dallas in the regular season but didn't have much of an issue with their frontcourt in Game 1. Perhaps the only downside with Holmgren is his C-only eligibility on a slate with two intriguing value options at the position.

Luke Kornet ($3,900) -- In 21 regular season games with Kristaps Porzingis sidelined, Luke Kornet averaged 20 minutes and 21.3 FPPG, according to RotoGrinders CourtIQ. So, despite playing eight total minutes in the first four games of Round 1, it's not a huge surprise that he's played 18 and 21 minutes with Porzingis out the last two games. That's resulted in 15.4 and 24 FPs, so he's certainly worth a look in larger tournaments, especially if you're reaching for some of the high-salary guards.

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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.