FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Thursday 1/20/22

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
Phoenix Dallas 216.5 109.75 106.75 8 29
New Orleans New York 209.5 102.75 106.75 20 30
Indiana Golden State 216.5 102.5 114 27 12

This is the first slate since November where not a single fantasy-relevant NBA player is in COVID-19 protocols. Oh, happy day!

There are still injuries, and the headliner amongst them is Domantas Sabonis. The Pacers' forward injured his ankle last night as is expected to miss significant time. While he's not officially out yet, that would lead him closer to doubtful for Thursday. They're already missing Myles Turner from the weekend due to his foot injury.

An ankle also will have Deandre Ayton on the shelf for Phoenix on this slate.

A third note is a third ankle injury. It lies with the Pelicans; Devonte' Graham is questionable with just a sprain. On the other side of their battle with New York, the Knicks will be without Nerlens Noel. Noel just cleared COVID-19 protocols, but now he's out due to a knee injury.

Golden State will also be resting Otto Porter on Thursday.


Luka Doncic ($10,900): Doncic's wild 2021-22 season means he's probably bound for impending regression after 60-plus FanDuel points in two straight games, but he's far less over-salaried than Stephen Curry and Devin Booker as a way to spend at guard. Doncic has notably done this with Kristaps Porzingis back, and he still averages 1.34 FanDuel points per minute in situations with K.P. on the floor. His well-roundedness gives him a solid floor in a game that is projected tight (3.0-point spread).

Malcolm Brogdon ($6,600): Brogdon's status on a back-to-back will be worth watching given his Achilles issues all season, but if he plays, he's under-salaried in an offense that will need him with both Turner and Sabonis on the shelf. In a limited sample (30.8 minutes) without both on the floor this season, Brogdon has averaged 0.97 FanDuel points per minute. Unfortunately, Indiana's lineup will likely come after lock, but we know that Brogdon and Caris LeVert are the only two definitive locks inside of it.

Others to Consider:
Chris Paul ($7,800): It's getting really easy to handle him and Booker -- use the lower-salaried one. Booker is $9,000.
Kemba Walker ($5,500): Returned to 29 minutes. He'll have better FanDuel outings on nights Evan Fournier isn't dropping 30 real-life points.


Brandon Ingram ($8,200): Ingram is the most reliable stud on the slate, personally. Even with Graham potentially active, Ingram's 29.8% usage rate and 1.08 FanDuel points per minute are essentially unmatched in his salary tier, and both of those numbers balloon during floor situations without Graham. The lowest implied total of the day for his Pels isn't inspiring, but Ingram has posted at least 38 FanDuel points in five of his last six games in some truly bizarre game environments already.

Mikal Bridges ($4,700): Rather than play the guessing game of which of three backup Phoenix centers sees decent minutes, I typically just turn to Bridges when Ayton is out. Bridges actually sees declines in usage and production with Ayton off the floor, but his minutes become guaranteed. At this value salary, he dropped in 25 FanDuel points in 34 minutes on Monday. While his ceiling is a touch limited, his floor is rock-solid on a three-game slate without consistent value.

Others to Consider:
Josh Hart ($6,500):
The low total isn't inspiring for all Pels' ceilings, but high floors and a potential bump without Graham are interesting on a short slate.
Dorian Finney-Smith ($4,500): Pounding minutes for this salary. 32-plus in four of his last five games. Scored over 20 FanDuel points in three of them.


Julius Randle ($8,400): Entering Tuesday, Randle's recent performances were poor, but I deep dove his matchups during this recent Knicks stretch to find it was a daunting one for big men. It paid off using him in a friendly one with Minnesota. He dropped in 60.3 FanDuel points. His matchup is much tougher on Thursday; the Pels are 10th in paint points allowed and 3rd in defensive rebounding percentage. Still, on this short slate, his monstrous double-double upside can't be ignored.

Jonas Valanciunas ($7,300): At 1.20 FanDuel points per minute, Valanciunus carries the fifth-highest production mark on this slate at the eighth-highest salary. With Randle and Porzingis both eligible as forwards, I'd have a difficult time fading J.V. in a single-entry lineup. Like his teammate, Ingram, it's really hard to pass up the floor he carries at the pivot with double-digit boards in six of his past seven games to go along with a 24.5% general usage rate.

Others to Consider:
Kristaps Porzingis ($8,500): Scored 20-plus points in four straight games before hitting COVID-19 protocols. Hasn't since, but he returned to 33 minutes last game. It's coming.
Goga Bitadze ($5,000): No interest in the Suns' guys, but his high points-per-minute rate is interesting in tournaments if he starts. Flexibility to pivot to Kevon Looney if he doesn't.