FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Friday 3/12/21

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 7-game slate, which locks at 8:00 PM Eastern.

All injury updates are via the NBA's official injury report or numberFire's player news.

Slate Overview

This table is via Brandon Gdula's matchup sheet -- it shows the over/under for each game, as well as each team's spread and implied total. The table also includes each squad's offensive rating, adjusted for opponent, as well as opponent-adjusted defensive rating for the opposing team, including the respective league-wide ranks for each of those ratings.

Teams are sorted by their implied total.

Team Opp Over/
Spread Implied
Rank Opp Adj.
PHI WSH 234.0 -5.0 119.50 114.7 14 116.1 26
NO CLE 229.0 -8.0 118.50 122.1 7 114.1 21
UTAH HOU 216.5 -16.5 116.50 125.0 4 110.7 12
DEN MEM 227.0 -3.5 115.25 124.5 5 107.4 7
WSH PHI 234.0 5.0 114.50 108.8 21 105.4 3
SA ORL 218.5 -6.5 112.50 111.2 20 114.8 25
MEM DEN 227.0 3.5 111.75 111.3 19 112.3 15
MIA CHI 219.5 -2.5 111.0 106.4 25 114.5 23
CLE NO 229.0 8.0 110.50 100.9 29 122.8 29
LAL IND 216.5 -4.5 110.50 113.4 17 110.1 11
CHI MIA 219.5 2.5 108.50 113.9 16 106.4 6
IND LAL 216.5 4.5 106.0 112.7 18 102.0 1
ORL SA 218.5 6.5 106.0 102.5 27 111.0 13
HOU UTAH 226.5 16.5 105.0 99.8 30 104.1 2

Point Guard


Russell Westbrook ($10,100) - I highlighted Russ as a high-salaried player to target in today's studs column for a number of reasons. Firstly, Bradley Beal is banged-up and might not suit up tonight. Westbrook's usage is bound to be through the roof if Beal sits. Second, Westbrook has been one of the most consistent fantasy performers. He's averaging 52.9 fantasy points per contest over his last nine games, and he hasn't racked up fewer than 44.2 in any of his last 11. The fact that the Philadelphia 76ers won't have Ben Simmons on hand to defend him doesn't hurt.

Other Studs to Consider:
Jamal Murray ($7,700) - Has eclipsed 41 fantasy points in 7 of his last 10. Denver has the fourth-highest implied total tonight.
Ja Morant ($8,300) - Is averaging 48.3 FanDuel points in his last three. Matchup is tough but upside is there.

Value Play

Dennis Schroder ($5,700) - In his last seven games without Anthony Davis in the lineup, Schroder has averaged 35.3 FanDuel points per game, and that includes just one outing with fewer than 29.6. The matchup with the Indiana Pacers might not be as intimidating as people think. In their last 15 games, Indiana has surrendered the 11th-most fantasy point to opposing point guards.

Other Mid-Range and Value Options:
Sterling Brown ($3,600) - Rockets will be without Danuel House Jr., Eric Gordon, P.J. Tucker, Christian Wood, and (possibly) both John Wall and Victor Oladipo. That's why Brown is our model's top-projected value on the entire slate.
Michael Carter-Williams ($4,900) - Has put up 29.3, 37.6, and 44.7 FanDuel points in his last three. Spurs are 28th against point guards this season.
T.J. McConnell ($5,200) - Has had 35-plus fantasy points in five of his last nine games. Lakers are a middling matchup for point guards.

Shooting Guards


Donovan Mitchell ($8,200) - This is the perfect storm of form meets matchup. Mitchell has managed at least 41.8 fantasy points in six of his last eight games, including three with more than 50. Tonight, Mitchell will be going up against a Houston Rockets team that ranks third-worst against centers this season, according to numberFire's DvP tool. There is a ton of blowout risk here considering the 16.5-point spread, but given Houston's weakness against the position, we can hope that Mitchell has a big hand in the blowout.

Other Studs to Consider:
Bradley Beal ($10,300) - Is worthy of consideration if he's active. Philly ranks third-worst against shooting guards over their last 15 games, per FantasyPros.
Collin Sexton ($7,800) - Has outputs of 43.5, 54.6, and 54.8 FanDuel points in his last three games. New Orleans has the worst defensive efficiency of any team playing tonight.

Value Play

Dwayne Bacon ($3,500) - The Orlando Magic could very well be without Evan Fournier, Terrence Ross, and James Ennis tonight, which should leave Bacon with a delicious role. With those three out last night, the 25-year-old posted 26.6 FanDuel points in 31.7 minutes of action -- that's fantastic value for a player at the minimum salary.

Other Mid-Range and Value Options:
Seth Curry ($5,000) - Is once again in play in Simmons' absence. Philly has the second-highest implied total tonight and Washington can't defend.
Ben McLemore ($3,500) - Accrued 23.1 fantasy points in 20.2 minutes for the shorthanded Rockets last night. Could have an even larger role tonight.

Small Forward


Jimmy Butler ($9,600) - The absence of Bam Adebayo only enhances the ceiling of Butler, who has one of the better floors in fantasy. Jimmy Buckets erupted for 63.1 FanDuel points last night, making it four straight games with more than 52. Butler has topped 47 fantasy points in 14 of his 21 fully healthy outings this season. Of the 14 teams playing tonight, the Chicago Bulls play at the third-fastest pace, which certainly helps Butler's outlook.

Other Stud to Consider:
LeBron James ($10,900) - Has posted 56.3, 59.0, and 70.7 FanDuel points in three of his last five games -- two of those came against teams that are among the eight-toughest against the position.

Value Play

Kenyon Martin Jr. ($3,500) - Martin is another minimum-salaried player offering tremendous value tonight. Last night, in his first NBA since January, Martin dropped 30.8 FanDuel points in 32.3 minutes. He's bound to see a ton of on-court time again tonight as the Rockets are extremely shorthanded. Martin is also blowout-proof as he would seemingly be one of the players on the court if Houston was getting blown out of the water. The rookie is our algorithm's second-best projected value on the slate.

Other Mid-Range and Value Options:
Kevin Porter Jr. ($4,900) - Exploded for 42 fantasy points last night. Could see an even bigger role tonight, especially if Wall can't go.
Matisse Thybulle ($3,500) - Had 33.3 FanDuel points last night on the back of five steals. Doesn't need much to pay off his minimum salary.

Power Forward


Zion Williamson ($9,000) Those who rostered Zion last night probably weren't very ecstatic with his production (only 30 FanDuel points), though that could lead to a smaller roster percentage than he usually would see on a slate like this. Williamson had surpassed 45 fantasy points in 9 of his 11 games before the break. The Cleveland Cavaliers have given up the eighth-most fantasy points to power forwards, so this is a great bounceback spot for the 20-year-old.

Other Studs to Consider:
Domantas Sabonis ($8,900) - Our model's top-projected scorer at power forward. Has 46-plus fantasy points in 5 of his last 10 outings.
Tobias Harris ($7,800) - Disappointed last night but has a pristine matchup tonight. Averages 1.18 FanDuel points per minute with Simmons out of the lineup.

Value Play

Markieff Morris ($4,100) - numberFire's models project Morris to be the second-best point-per-dollar at the power forward position tonight. Morris has recorded 21.5, 23.3, 26.2, and 28.6 FanDuel points in four of his last five games, and he would only need 20.5 for 5X value tonight (i.e., 5.0 fantasy points for every $1,000 in salary).

Other Mid-Range and Value Options:
Al-Farouq Aminu ($3,500) - Our algo's top-projected value at the position. Has a low floor but also a solid ceiling for a minimum salary.
Royce O'Neale ($4,500) - Houston is fourth-worst against power forwards over their last 15 games. O'Neale has had at least 24 fantasy points in 7 of his last 10 efforts.



Joel Embiid ($10,700) - Facing the Wizards, Embiid is our model's top-projected scorer on tonight's seven-game slate. The MVP frontrunner sports an absurd 41.6% usage rate while averaging an eye-popping 1.89 FanDuel points per minute with Ben Simmons off the court. He'll be taking on a Washington interior that's ceded the second-most fantasy points to opposing centers this season.

Other Studs to Consider:
Nikola Jokic ($11,700) - He's fantasy's leading-scorer and has ridiculous upside but paying $1,000 more than Embiid seems a bit much. Memphis is eighth-best against centers this season.
Jarrett Allen ($8,000) - Hasn't reached 31 FanDuel points in three straight, so shouldn't be highly-rostered. Pels are seventh-worst against centers in their last 15 games.

Value Play

Kelly Olynyk ($4,500) - With Bam out, Olynyk has the potential to be one of the best value plays on the entire slate. In his last two games sans Adebayo, Olynyk has pumped in 38.4 and 40.5 FanDuel points -- both of those totals would return value figures better than 8.5 at tonight's salary. The matchup tonight is as titillating as it gets. The Bulls have allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing centers this season.