FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Saturday 1/8/22

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. Our projections update up until tip-off to reflect current news, and we also have player news updates. The projected numbers referenced below may change throughout the day.

We'll be coming at you with this primer every day, breaking down a few of the day's top plays at each position.


LaMelo Ball, PG, (FanDuel Salary: $8,600) - You're going to want pieces of the Charlotte Hornets-Milwaukee Bucks game. It carries a slate-best -- by 13.0 points -- total of 235.5 with a 2.0-point spread. We can't ask for much more than that. Ball put up 41.6 FanDuel points last time out, halting a two-game skid, and (as of early Saturday afternoon) we project him for 43.1 in this one, which comes out to 5.01 per $1,000. Ball gets a boost with the Bucks missing Jrue Holiday's defense.

Cade Cunningham, PG/SG, $6,700 - The Detroit Pistons are expected to be sans Jerami Grant, Kelly Olynyk and Frank Jackson. With those three off the floor this year, Cunningham sports a 26.1% usage rate and produces 1.09 FanDuel points per minute, per RotoGrinders' CourtIQ. Cunningham has logged 37, 26 and 31 minutes over his past three, and he's taking on an Orlando Magic team that sits sixth-worst in defensive efficiency. Our model is really into Cunningham, projecting the rookie for 38.8 FanDuel points (5.79 per $1,000). He rates out as the best point-per-dollar guard play.

Others to Consider: Donovan Mitchell ($8,200), Tyler Herro ($6,300), Immanuel Quickley ($4,700)


Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF/PF, $11,700 - Antetokounmpo projects as the slate's clear top overall play, with our model forecasting him to post 53.4 FanDuel points -- 7.7 more than anyone else. He's part of the dreamy Bucks-Hornets clash. Matchups don't get better than Charlotte as the Hornets play at the league's fastest pace while checking in third-worst in defensive efficiency. Giannis owns a 37.3% usage rate and scores 1.76 FanDuel points per minute with Holiday off the court. Just lock him in and build from there. It would be nice if some value opens up throughout the day.

Khris Middleton, SG/SF, $8,100 - I'm fully on board with stacking Giannis and Middleton. In the split without Holiday, Middleton's usage rate is 31.4% -- a rise of 4.9 percentage points -- and he generates 1.14 FanDuel points per minute. As mentioned a minute ago, Charlotte presents a mouth-watering matchup, and with the Bucks boasting a 116.75-point implied total, there's room for both Middleton and Giannis to get theirs.

Others to Consider: Jimmy Butler ($9,200), Gordon Hayward ($7,000), RJ Barrett ($5,800), Jordan Nwora ($5,800)


Hassan Whiteside, C, $6,100 - We need a lot of news on the Utah Jazz. They were missing a small country last night, and we'll have to see who ends up being able to play for them today. It seems like Rudy Gobert is most likely out. But with our model accounting for several other key Jazz players returning, Whiteside still projects as the best center-only play as we have him finishing with 38.9 FanDuel points -- good for 6.38 per $1,000. Stay locked in on Utah's situation, because if they're extremely short-handed like last night, it'll open up plenty of value.

Bobby Portis, PF/C, $5,500 - One more Milwaukee player. With Holiday off the floor, Portis' usage rate jumps to 25.6% -- an increase of 3.0 percentage points -- and he puts up 1.12 FanDuel points per minute. He had 44.4 FanDuel points last night, and our algorithm pegs him to score 34.8 tonight. That's 6.33 per $1,000. Portis will be a very chalky play, but he's a tough fade in the DFS game of the night.

Others to Consider: Domantas Sabonis ($10,200), Wendell Carter Jr. ($7,100), Mitchell Robinson ($4,900)