FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Thursday 12/2/21

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 basketball 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 and Key Injuries

Away Home Game
ChicagoNew York213107.5105.5916
Oklahoma CityMemphis213.5102.5111205
San AntonioPortland217106.5110.5313

Luckily, we have a bulk of the major injury news already in.

It's known now that Damian Lillard will miss some time with the abdominal injury he's been fighting. The Blazers' salaries have largely been adjusted for that, but Portland may get back Norman Powell into that mix. Powell is listed as questionable with a quad injury.

In their marquee matchup with Golden State, Phoenix lost Devin Booker due to a hamstring injury. He also will be out for a significant period of time, and that boosted Cameron Johnson and Landry Shamet the greatest amount on Tuesday.

OG Anunoby will not play again Thursday with his lingering hip issue, but the Raptors might get Gary Trent Jr. (calf; questionable) back from injury for their date with Milwaukee. Khem Birch (knee) also remains out for Toronto.

The Knicks have a flu-type bug in the locker room, and it bit RJ Barrett the worst. He tried to start Tuesday's game and couldn't finish it with an illness. He's questionable for Thursday.

Finally, Josh Giddey was ruled out shortly before lock Wednesday with an illness, and Giddey won't play Thursday, either. Tre Mann started in his place, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander took 26 shots with the backcourt to himself.


Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ($7,900): Thanks to just 4 boards and 2 assists, Gilgeous-Alexander didn't even detonate the slate last night with 37 points. When Josh Giddey is off the floor, it's just the SGA show. He has a team-high 34.9% usage rate in that floor situation, and the next highest starter is just at 21.4% in those situations. There's definite concern Oklahoma City gets blown out as 8.5-point underdogs in Memphis, but SGA's role is far superior to this salary.

Anfernee Simons ($5,200): Portland is priced to account for Lillard's absence, but Simons is such a talented player that I'm still willing to buy in at the elevated salary. With Lillard off the floor, Simons has a 24.7% usage rate and scores 0.88 FanDuel points per minute. Simons has exceeded 27 FanDuel points in every single game he's seen at least 27 minutes. With 30-plus on the menu starting for Lillard again, I still want to fit him in at a salary that is no longer an obvious target.

Landry Shamet ($3,800): Phoenix has distinct roles for their players, so it's no surprise Shamet leaped Cameron Payne (a floor-general point guard) for playing time as the scoring-oriented backup to Booker. At a near-minimum salary, Shamet saw 24 minutes despite Booker playing nearly the entire first half. Therefore, while Shamet's upside isn't tremendous (0.72 FanDuel Points per minute), I still want to be here given his potential court time. However, if Payne enters the starting lineup, bail on Shamet entirely for him instead.

Others to Consider:
Fred VanVleet ($8,000): Trent Jr. returning would hurt the appeal, but I want to get here since LaMelo Ball made eight threes on a struggling Milwaukee defense last night.
Desmond Bane ($5,400): Likely locked into 30-plus minutes now without Ja Morant. 33 on Tuesday. Tremendous scorer with upside, too.
Tre Mann ($4,600): Still took 13 shots last night and should start again for Giddey. Prefer him to his salary cohort Tyus Jones by a country mile.
Immanuel Quickley ($4,100): Saw 37 minutes with RJ Barrett out sick. Definitely worth a look if Barrett is ruled out before lock.


Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,000): Last night was about Giannis and Nikola Jokic at the top, and at least the guy who should have won MVP last season produced in a plus matchup. Giannis was one assist shy of a 40-point triple-double, and likely for contextual purposes, his salary dropped $200 on the short slate. However, there's just as much value on this small slate as last night's large one. He is easy to fit into a build, and he's scored over 59 FanDuel points in five of the eight games with Khris Middleton back. His ceiling is still unmatched.

Dillon Brooks ($5,800): I didn't expect to write up Brooks today because I would have assumed -- five days removed from Ja Morant's injury -- he'd have his salary elevated. Nope! Brooks is the lead dog with Morant off the floor this season; he has a 34.9% usage rate in that condition that he's turned into 1.20 FanDuel points per minute. Largely, all the Memphis salaries remained untouched. There's blowout risk for sure, but the matchup with OKC should leave plenty of openings to score in three quarters.

Cameron Johnson ($3,900): Johnson is a great example of "good chalk". He's a plus defender so he won't get matched off the floor, he's already posted eight games this season with 18 or more FanDuel points, and he was eating into Jae Crowder's minutes even before Devin Booker got injured. Johnson is a 39.0% three-point shooter as well, so he has the upside to get hot from deep. I'll feel entirely better if he indeed is posted in the starting lineup, but the risk is minimal here at such a low salary.

Others to Consider:
Khris Middleton ($7,100): This salary is scary low for a guy that can easily post 30 real-life points on his own. I might take some swipes.
Gary Trent Jr. ($5,900): He's back at practice, so he could play Thursday. If he does, likely no limitations. Salary is too low; he's scored 30-plus FanDuel points in 12 games.
Luguentz Dort ($5,600): He doesn't necessarily get a boost for Giddey being out (-0.03 FanDuel points per minute in that floor condition), but just under-salaried anyway.
Norman Powell ($5,200): If Powell returns (it's just a bruise), he will be a top option in the offense and effectively ruin C.J. McCollum at his salary. A tremendous, sneaky option in that case.


Deandre Ayton ($7,700): Ayton's big night against the Warriors probably should have been easier to see coming. Golden State lacks size, and Ayton punished them with a monstrous double-double. No team struggles with size more than Detroit, so he's definitely back on the menu again. Booker being out frees up 18.7 shots a game, and Ayton could see plenty as a talented offensive player that just often defers for the good of his team. With no salary increase, he's the top stud at the pivot position.

Jaren Jackson Jr. ($6,900): Ja Morant's injury may force Brandon Jenkins to free Jaren Jackson. Jackson's been great all season to post 1.14 FanDuel points per minute in Morant's shadow, but Jackson inexplicably has been playing just 26.9 minutes a night. Now, they need his offense, and Jackson stepped up to the plate. He averages 1.39 FanDuel points per minute with Morant off the floor this season, and it parlayed into a 46.7-FanDuel-point explosion in Toronto. He's also subject to the blowout risk, but the upside is insane.

Precious Achiuwa ($4,600): On the other side of Jackson's reign of terror Tuesday was Achiuwa, and he fouled out in a miserable 29 minutes as a result. He's still projected well by numberFire tonight, and he should be. Achuiwa has seen at least those 29 minutes in the last three games without Khem Birch, and he averages 0.88 FanDuel points per minute this season. His salary has dropped so far because of the poor production, but the peripherals say Achuiwa is due for a massive return to form soon.

Others to Consider:
Julius Randle ($8,500): The 49.8 FanDuel points he posted Tuesday are always possible. Don't know how you ignore him in tournaments.
Jakob Poeltl ($6,000): Concerning that he was matched off the floor and only played 25 minutes on Monday. Still posted over 30 FanDuel points for the third straight game.
Isaiah Stewart ($5,000): Will likely be tasked with 30-plus minutes again to guard Ayton. Saw 32 minutes on Tuesday. Salary is too low for that workload, and numberFire agrees.