FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Sunday 1/9/22

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. The main slate starts at 6 p.m. EST.


Luka Doncic, PG/SG, (FanDuel Salary: $10,000) - We have a lot of injury news to track. Doncic is one such example. He sat last time out and is listed as questionable today. If he goes, he'll be without Kristaps Porzingis. In that split this season, Doncic owns a 37.7% usage rate and produces 1.42 FanDuel points per minute, according to RotoGrinders' CourtIQ. The matchup with the Chicago Bulls is a tough one, but Chicago (9th in pace) represents a big pace-up spot for the Mavs (27th). If Doncic is out, Jalen Brunson ($5,300) -- who we already project for 36.5 FanDuel points (6.89 per $1,000) with Doncic -- would become an even better play.

Russell Westbrook, PG, $8,400 - There are plenty of appealing fantasy games on this slate. The one I'm most into is the Los Angeles Lakers hosting the Memphis Grizzlies. The total is 224.0 points, and the spread is 3.0. Yes, please. Russ hasn't popped in DFS since a 50.6-point outburst four games ago, but I think he can go off in this spot. On a slate that's pretty stout at guard, Westbrook tops the position in our projections (as of early Sunday). We peg him for 46.6 FanDuel points -- 5.55 per $1,000.

Desmond Bane, SG, $7,200 - If Ja Morant ($9,900) sits like he did last night, Bane becomes super enticing in the aforementioned Grizzlies-Lakers bout. Bane pumped out 43.9 FanDuel points sans Ja on Saturday, and Dillon Brooks exited early in that one with an ankle injury. With Morant and Brooks off the court this year, Bane boasts a 26.8% usage rate and scored 1.10 FanDuel points per minute. The Lakers are permitting the third-most FanDuel points per game to shooting guards (42.7). If Morant plays, I'll stay away from Bane.

Others to Consider: De'Aaron Fox ($8,100), Jalen Brunson ($5,300), Gary Trent Jr. ($4,200), Davion Mitchell ($3,700)


LeBron James, SF/PF, $11,500 - With the run LeBron is on, it's tough to fade him right now. He's scored at least 61.8 FanDuel points in six of his last eight games, with four games of at least 69.0 in that span. In a good fantasy environment against Memphis, James should keep rolling. I think you can stack him and Russ together, but I'm also tempted to take the salary savings with Westbrook and fade LeBron so it's easier to get to Nikola Jokic. Our model projects James for 55.9 FanDuel points, the second-most on the slate.

Christian Wood, PF/C, $7,500 - In addition to Lakers-Grizz, the other elite DFS game on the slate pits the Houston Rockets and Minnesota Timberwolves. Both teams are in the top five in pace. The total is 229.5, and the spread is 6.0 points. Wood projects well -- 38.0 FanDuel points (5.07 per $1,000), according to our algorithm -- and comes at a modest salary. I prefer plugging him in at power forward so I can roster the aforementioned Jokic.

Nickeil Alexander-Walker, SG/SF, $4,200 - Josh Hart is out, and going by the numbers, that has more of an impact on the New Orleans Pelicans than I would've guessed. NAW is a big beneficiary. With Hart off the court this year, Alexander-Walker sports a 26.2% usage rate, though he posts only 0.88 FanDuel points per minute. We project him for 27.2 FanDuel points. That amounts to 6.46 per $1,000 and makes Alexander-Walker one of the slate's best point-per-dollar options.

Others to Consider: Brandon Ingram ($8,000), Kyle Anderson ($4,400), Marvin Bagley III ($4,400), Garrett Temple ($4,000)


Nikola Jokic, C, $11,300 - I love this spot for Jokic. He's facing the Oklahoma City Thunder. It's a pace-up game for Denver as OKC is 11th in pace while the Nugs are 24th. The Thunder allow the 10th-most FanDuel points per game to centers (55.0). Jokic has put up 68.7 and 65.5 FanDuel points over his last two games. He should smash as long as the Thunder -- who are 7.0-point 'dogs -- can keep things competitive. His projection of 57.4 FanDuel points (5.04 per $1,000) spearheads the slate.

Jonas Valanciunas, C, $7,600 - JV is a pivot off the likely Jokic chalk. In the split without Hart, Valanciunas generates 1.24 FanDuel points per minute. He's been in and out of the lineup in recent weeks, but over his last three games, he's got a 24.5% usage rate. Our model really loves him, projecting JV for 43.0 FanDuel points (5.66 per $1,000).

Others to Consider: Karl-Anthony Towns ($9,700), Wendell Carter Jr. ($7,900), Jaren Jackson Jr. ($6,200)