FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Wednesday 12/8/21

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
Chicago Cleveland 210 103.5 106.5 12 22
New York Indiana 209.5 102.25 107.25 29 18
Philadelphia Charlotte 215.5 110.75 104.75 26 2
Washington Detroit 209.5 107.5 102 23 14
Oklahoma City Toronto 209.5 101.25 108.25 12 24
Milwaukee Miami 217 111.5 105.5 6 25
Brooklyn Houston 225.5 115.75 109.75 21 1
Dallas Memphis 214.5 105.5 109 30 9
Denver New Orleans 214.5 108.5 106 26 19
Utah Minnesota 220.5 114.5 106 16 7
Portland Golden State 217.5 101.75 115.75 15 5
Orlando Sacramento 225 108.5 116.5 7 3
Boston LA Clippers 213 104.5 108.5 28 10

The Miami Heat are down two stars once again. Jimmy Butler felt discomfort in his tailbone again on Monday, so he left that game early and didn't return. He's already been ruled out for Wednesday.

Shortly before lock on Monday, DeMar DeRozan was ruled out due to COVID-19 protocols. We'll now be able to prepare for his absence this time.

Not only are the Blazers without Damian Lillard, but C.J. McCollum joined him on Monday with a diagnosed collapsed lung and will be out for a while, as well. Portland is hoping to get Anfernee Simons (ankle) back to help smooth over those losses.

On Monday, Karl-Anthony Towns (tailbone) played and D'Angelo Russell (ankle) sat. Both are questionable for Wednesday's contest hosting Utah.

As expected, Jaylen Brown didn't play Tuesday against the Lakers. He'll have another chance listed as questionable against the Clippers. On the other side, the Clips may get back Nicolas Batum (conditioning) since he is listed as questionable.

Tyrese Maxey sat Monday with a non-COVID illness, but Tobias Harris returned. Maxey is questionable to suit up for the 76ers tonight as a result.


Luka Doncic ($9,900): A four-digit salary on the Slovenian triple-double threat? I'll definitely take it. Doncic showed no ill effects of the ankle injury he was listed with before Tuesday, so it'd be surprising to see him sit the second half of the back-to-back. The Mavericks (30th) see a massive pace-up spot to the Grizzlies (9th), and Doncic's league-best 36.8% usage rate this season is the primary beneficiary above all.

Kyle Lowry ($6,500): With Jimmy Butler out again, I do prefer Lowry on this condition -- he's been the top-tier guy on nights Miami has been competitive. There's a significant chance Miami gets blown out by the Bucks given that they trailed by 29 entering the third quarter on Saturday to Milwaukee without Giannis Antetokounmpo, but the six-point spread on this game provides a reason for optimism. Lowry has eclipsed 35 FanDuel points in four of the last five contests -- most without Butler at all.

Josh Giddey ($5,500): It's almost like Giddey and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander can't be fairly salaried at the same time. SGA sees a huge salary bump to $8,700, but one rough game puts Giddey back to this salary that's just too low. The Aussie is averaging 0.99 FanDuel points per minute in a full-time role, and while most nights Oklahoma City is on significant blowout watch, they're only seven-point underdogs on the road in Toronto. Giddey is projected well by numberFire because his role is just too solid.

Others to Consider:
Cade Cunningham ($7,000): Slowly rounding into top-pick form. 40 FanDuel points in two of three. Awesome salary for his potential upside.
Marcus Smart ($5,800): Dennis Schroder saw a massive salary bump, so attack a potential Jaylen Brown injury here. Schroder is too one-dimensional at $6,300.
Cody Martin ($5,000): Saw 37 minutes amidst the Hornets' COVID mess and his salary didn't budge. Always buy that type of role.
Shake Milton ($4,900): If Maxey sits, Milton is plug-and-play value again. Prefer him to Dennis Smith assuming no Simons.


Miles Bridges ($8,400): Bridges came in around 8% rostered as the single sharpest way to attack the Hornets on Monday. Unfortunately for those who did, the highest-rostered Hornet (Kelly Oubre) scored a career-high 35 points. Oubre is fine again on Wednesday, but Bridges still should have the best role in this offense normally. Bridges just shot 37.5% from the field on Monday, but he's a hyper-efficient 46.5% from the floor this season. With more shots going in, he'll take more, as well.

Dillon Brooks ($5,900): This salary not moving is pretty insane. Brooks' role without Ja Morant is that of easily a $7,000 player. He has a team-best 31.7% usage rate in that floor condition, and he's posted 1.08 FanDuel points per minute -- and it's been this way for a while. He's not a "new" value play, so he might be overlooked just as he was Monday. Opposite Luka, he's a tremendous, affordable plug in game stacks, as well.

Norman Powell ($5,200): Any Portland player you roster requires this question -- can they get it done in three quarters? The injury-ridden Blazers are 14-point dogs in Golden State's building, and as a result, Powell will be the only one I likely get to this evening. Powell had a 31.3% usage rate, Jusuf Nurkic had a 41.9% usage rate with his volatile role, and no other Blazer eclipsed 21.0%. He's the clear top guy in the backcourt, and I'm just averse to Nurkic due to alternatives at the position.

Others to Consider:
Paul George ($8,900): His upside has really tanked, but his floor is great for this salary. The top end of wing has plenty of concerns outside of him.
Tyler Herro ($6,800): Likely will be heavy chalk with Butler out, but Herro has been a total dud in blowout situations. Tough to allocate that salary to.
Caris LeVert ($5,100): 33-plus FanDuel points in back-to-back games and...the salary doesn't move? The top overall projection on numberFire.
Saddiq Bey ($4,800): Realistic ceiling likely isn't the 32.4 FanDuel points from Monday, but it's higher than this salary.


Joel Embiid ($10,400): On Monday, Nikola Jokic got the feature and Embiid got the "other" spot. That's okay to flip here based on matchup. The injured, COVID-plagued Hornets don't have a size matchup for Embiid, and he absolutely demolished them for 43 points, 15 boards, and 7 assists. In the repeat matchup tonight, it's hard to not see a close enough performance to smash value here. He's averaging 1.59 FanDuel points since returning from injury on a 34.9% usage rate -- both higher than Jokic in that span.

Richaun Holmes ($6,800): Realistically, I'll slot Embiid or Jokic into every center spot with studs lacking at other positions. Therefore, forward eligibility on the rest is a must. Holmes has that, and this salary is pretty crazy considering he's averaging 1.09 FanDuel points per minute in what can still be assumed to be a full-time role. He's not a cash-game play with the role uncertainty for the Kings, but in tournaments, he's eclipsed 40 FanDuel points five times already.

Precious Achiuwa ($4,900): Achuiwa might make regular daily fantasy players grumble at this point, but he has finally delivered on his full-time role with 25-plus FanDuel points in back-to-back games. His salary is more than fair to offset the stud big men considering his matchup. Oklahoma City is bottom-five in FanDuel points per game allowed to both power forwards (51.76) and centers (56.49). He's projected well as a result.

Others to Consider:
Nikola Jokic ($11,000): Not anything wrong with him, but his matchup with New Orleans is just a bit stiffer. I'll be here plenty, as well.
Jaren Jackson Jr. ($6,300): 1.32 FanDuel points per minute without Morant, but those minutes are growing more inconsistent again. Still a high-upside play.
Isaiah Stewart ($5,300): The man whose salary never moves. He's posted over 29 minutes and 27 FanDuel points in three straight games. Going back to the well is acceptable.
Lauri Markkanen ($5,300): Revenge game with Chicago aside, Markkanen is the high-upside play between him and Stewart. Wing is loaded, but he slots into power forward well.