FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Friday 10/22/21

If you're new to daily fantasy basketball -- maybe you started your DFS journey during the MLB or NFL seasons, or maybe basketball is your sport and this will be your first year giving it a shot -- you're in for a treat. 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 a player's opportunity, so you'll need to make sure that you're up-to-date with key injuries. Our projections update up until tip-off to reflect current news, we have player news updates, and the FanDuel Scout app will send push notifications for pressing updates regarding your players.

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.

Let's break down today's main slate on FanDuel.

The Slate

Away Home Game
Charlotte Cleveland 225 113.75 111.25 18 25
New York Orlando 212.5 110.25 102.25 30 17
Indiana Washington 226.5 112.75 113.75 4 1
Toronto Boston 218 106 112 14 20
Brooklyn Philadelphia 228.5 115.75 112.75 11 12
OKC Houston 221.5 109.5 112 7 6
New Orleans Chicago 221 107.5 113.5 10 13
San Antonio Denver 220.5 106.5 114 15 27
Utah Sacramento 227 116.5 110.5 16 9
Phoenix LA Lakers 220.5 109.75 110.75 24 21

Injury news is quietly brewing that could send us into a tailspin by 7 p.m. EST tonight.

A knee injury has Joel Embiid is listed as questionable for the 76ers' game of the day (at least in terms of drama) against Brooklyn. Embiid is the first major star at risk on the young season, but Bradley Beal is right there with him. Beal has a hip contusion that has him listed as questionable. Either star being out would take a sledgehammer to the current value options on the slate, so note the numberFire projections page all the way through lock so you don't miss potentially slate-busting news.

Moderate injuries likely start with Terry Rozier, whose ankle injury propelled LaMelo Ball to a monstrous opening-night performance. Ball and Kelly Oubre will probably pick up the most work if Rozier is still unable to go for Charlotte.

Darius Garland is questionable with an ankle injury for Cleveland, and his absence would funnel usage to Collin Sexton and provide a starting spot for Ricky Rubio.


Fred VanVleet ($8,300): I understand if you don't have the stomach for it as he was a major disappointment in a top-tier matchup against Washington. VanVleet's 24.7% usage was there against the Wizards, but an agonizing night from the field (5-for-20) held his FanDuel-point total to just 27.6. At a reduced salary, he still makes plenty of sense. Expect him to take a larger slice of the Raptors' pie soon, as well; OG Anunoby is unlikely to maintain a 24.7% usage rate for much longer.

Malcolm Brogdon ($7,700): Brogdon balled out in the game to stack Wednesday. He dropped 51.3 FanDuel points, but even more surprisingly, he played 40 minutes in an opener for which he was originally questionable for with a shoulder injury. That should green light rostering Brogdon, who posted a healthy 25.3% usage rate in said opener. That was second on the Pacers, and it should stay relatively high until Caris LeVert is ready to return.

Jalen Green ($5,500): A terrible plus-minus rating headlined Green's rookie debut, but there were still positives in the contest. He played 32 minutes in a game that was separated by 28 points heading to the fourth quarter. That blowout burn can help Green's floor the entire season for a terrible Rockets squad, but this matchup with Oklahoma City will be one to target each time these tanking teams face off. Both were top-six teams in pace a year ago, and they are playing plenty of young players. I'm still willing to buy Green's talent despite a concerning 17.5% usage rate in his first game because Houston -- as a whole -- just fell totally flat.

Others to Consider:
James Harden ($10,300): Friendly salary off a flat debut. Last year indicates he should be the go-to for Brooklyn without Kyrie.
LaMelo Ball ($8,200): Not as interested personally, but he will be massive chalk off the debut. Usage will be there if Rozier sits, but still paths to failure at this salary.
Josh Giddey ($5,300): I'm still buying low on Luka-lite. The triple-double potential was evident (10 boards for a guard) in his debut. Much better game environment Friday.
Franz Wagner ($4,000): numberFire's top value play (as of early Friday). Started and played very well last time out. Deserved and appropriate chalk.


Brandon Ingram ($8,300): While many will flock to Nickeil Alexander-Walker (justifiably) for their Pelicans exposure, Ingram's tremendous role may go overlooked. Ingram took 26 shots in 37 minutes as the clear top option in the opener, and we really have not seen his season-opening usage (34.3%) for an extended period of his career to this point. Ingram added six assists on Wednesday, and that mark as an average would make for his fifth straight season of boosting his assist total. If the increased usage and playmaking duties stick, Ingram will be a $9,000-or-above player most of the season.

Gordon Hayward ($7,100): Hayward is one of the sharpest tournament plays of the young season. LaMelo Ball will be tremendously popular off the stellar start, but Hayward's role was really in lockstep with him. Ball's 32.5% usage rate paced the Hornets, but Hayward's 30.5% rate was nothing to sneeze at. Hayward made just 26.3% of his shot attempts, and his FanDuel output suffered. With a significant salary discount at a less competitive positional group, the Butler alum is my favorite way to get exposure to Charlotte..

Kyle Kuzma ($5,600): As it stands, Kuzma is a solid value play with the potential to be a plug-and-play no-brainer. Kuzma started for Rui Hachimura, who is out with personal issues, on Wednesday and filled it up with a 34.5 FanDuel points. That was largely on the basis of his 15 boards, but he may be tasked with primary scoring duties, as well, if Bradley Beal misses Friday's contest.

Others to Consider:
Kevin Porter Jr. ($6,100): Team-high usage (31.3%) in a clunky debut. Burned plenty of DFS players, so he may come at suppressed popularity.
Darius Bazley ($5,700): Incredibly consistent performer who plays in all situations for OKC. Affordable access to the game with the highest total.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker ($5,700): His usage (21.8%) didn't match his production, but he was hot from the field in his debut (50% from three). Likely more popular than this salary deserves.
Kent Bazemore ($4,100): Great minutes for the Lakers. Should have better production than Tuesday; he was at 0.84 FanDuel points per minute last year. Projects well.


Anthony Davis ($10,200): As long as he remains healthy, there is reason to believe Davis' production sticks beyond just Tuesday. He was bad from three-point land (20%) but still posted 58.3 FanDuel points on 33 points and 11 rebounds. Davis's 29.6% usage rate was even higher than his mark last season, but part of that could be due to a bad game from Russell Westbrook. Until the backcourt situation is resolved with Westbrook and LeBron James, Davis is the safest way to access the Lakers' big three.

Robert Williams ($7,000): Williams is a bizarre DFS case study. We know he can produce (team-high 1.36 FanDuel points per minute last year and 1.26 per minute on Wednesday), but his minutes are the toughest thing to project. Al Horford's status may contribute some to that, and Horford is questionable for Friday as he exits COVID-19 protocols. Still, Grant Williams started for Horford -- not Robert -- and that leaves "Timelord" with a clear and obvious path to 30-plus minutes again. If the minutes are a given, Williams should have a much higher salary than this.

Mohamed Bamba ($6,300): The dual-center lineup in Orlando was actually decently successful. They lost (and will lose a lot in 2021-22), but Bamba had a great game as the "power forward." He had 40.8 FanDuel points, and while that was helped considerably by 4 blocks, the swats aren't that much of an outlier (2.9 per game last season). His minutes are iffier than desired for this salary, but he very much has 40-FanDuel-point upside again considering he hauled in just 4 rebounds on Wednesday.

Others to Consider:
Domantas Sabonis ($9,700): Team-high usage (28.1%) with double-digit boards. A phenomenal matchup with Washington. Likely too heavy a blowout risk if Beal misses, though.
Nikola Vucevic ($8,700): Generally off the Bulls' crowded market, but he will shoot far better from the field than Wednesday (33%) showed. Interesting buy-low spot.
Jonas Valanciunas ($6,500): One of the best plays on the slate. Saw 29 minutes in a total blowout Wednesday. A chance to buy cold shooting (3-for-19) after he burned many folks on Wednesday.
Evan Mobley ($6,100): Still concerned about the Cavs' crowded frontcourt, but he shined (42.8 FanDuel points) in the opener. Production could be sticky because of talent, and the Cavs have a lot of incentive to give their top pick big minutes.