FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Monday 1/31/22

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
LA ClippersIndiana221109.25111.751516
New OrleansCleveland210101.25108.751928
SacramentoNew York214.5104.25110.25229
PortlandOklahoma City218.5111.51072112
Golden StateHouston230120.5109.591

The Pelicans' health issues that defined two slates last week have leaked into this one, per today's official injury report. All three of Brandon Ingram (ankle), Josh Hart (knee), and Jonas Valanciunas (illness) are listed as questionable against Cleveland.

The Pels may be burying the lead, though. Although not an injury, Joel Embiid was ruled out for rest purposes on Monday around midday.

The Heat will still be without Kyle Lowry as he deals with some personal matters, but it was a surprise to see Jimmy Butler listed as questionable with an ankle injury he apparently suffered on Saturday.

An ankle issue also plagues De'Aaron Fox, and the Sacramento guard is at risk of a fifth straight missed contest on Monday.

Golden State has a cluster injury at power forward brewing entering their game with Houston. Draymond Green has been out, but Otto Porter will sit Monday with his foot injury entering a back-to-back, and Nemanja Bjelica is questionable as well. For the Rockets, they're unsure if they'll have Kevin Porter Jr. due to COVID-19 protocols.

Finally and worth noting if you only play NBA on the weekdays, the Thunder lost Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to an ankle injury over the weekend, and his long-term absence will affect both their rotation and competitiveness.


Trae Young ($9,000): From a long-term regression standpoint, the Ja Morant scoring bubble is likely to burst soon, so I'll turn to Young, who can certainly exceed salary-based expectations here. His usage rate is still 37.2% in the last four games with his teammates back. Young has at least five turnovers in four of his last six contests, but if he can take better care of the basketball, he can duplicate his 54-FanDuel-point effort from Sunday without having to drop 36 points and 12 assists.

Josh Giddey ($5,700): This slate is built around two cornerstones -- Giddey and Luguentz Dort. The rest of OKC's pieces are a bit of a question mark to mix and match in tournaments, but we know those two are already set in stone inside the Thunder rotation. Giddey's pass-first attitude will never garner massive usage, but a 4.0 percentage-point increase in usage rate Friday without Gilgeous-Alexander on the floor sets the stage for what is sure to be a lead role.

Jalen Green ($4,500): In what is the reverse of what would be expected, Green actually sees declines in usage and FanDuel points per minute when Kevin Porter is off the floor. However, his minutes are far more stable, and that trumps all concerns. He got 33 minutes on Friday without KPJ that he turned into 30.5 FanDuel points, and that type of workload is a bargain for tournaments despite Green's inefficient, frustrating style.

Others to Consider:
Stephen Curry ($9,300): This is likely where his salary should be with Klay Thompson back. League-worst Houston defense on deck.
C.J. McCollum ($7,800): Blowout concerns against OKC, but a 30.1% usage rate this weekend means his role is on the rise.
Tyrese Haliburton ($7,700): If Fox sits again, still at the same salary and a value. Wouldn't expect 38 real-life points again, though.
Tre Mann ($3,500): He started with SGA last game, so he likely sticks without him, too. Ty Jerome had a higher usage rate Friday, but the staff seems to prefer Mann.


Jaylen Brown ($8,400): The top-end of wing is a top-shelf disappointment. An injured Jimmy Butler is joined by Boston's underwhelming duo of Brown and Jayson Tatum. Brown is averaging 29.0 points and 8.3 boards in his last three games, but one game saw a massive rebounding dip, and he had seven turnovers in another contest. Brown (35.2%) still has a higher usage rate in that span than Tatum (33.3%), so the massive salary discount still comes with a better recent role.

Robert Covington ($5,300): With a 218.5-point total, I'm comfortable running back some corollary pieces from Portland with the OKC value that's flooding the slate. This is a weird salary with Covington in a full-time role as the Blazers are still missing Nassir Little, and RoCo has broken the 25-FanDuel-point barrier in 9 of his last 11 contests. There are far worse ways to plug forward despite Covington's perpetually-low usage rate (just 13.9% in January).

Luguentz Dort ($5,000): With a 26.4% usage rate on Friday (highest amongst starters), Dort appears primed to take the most shots for an OKC team without Gilgeous-Alexander on Monday. Normally, you could question the efficiency of OKC's offense without their best player, but this game has just a 4.5-point spread for a reason. Portland's 114.4 defensive rating (second-worst in the NBA) keeps just about any team in any situation competitive in the contest.

Others to Consider:
Caris LeVert ($7,200): One of the worst shooting slumps I've ever seen for a solid player. His usage is there for this salary if he ever can turn it around.
Scottie Barnes ($6,600): Most Raptors saw a salary increase from triple overtime. Barnes didn't. The best option to mini-stack Trae Young.
Darius Bazley ($4,700): Bazley's been productive all season (0.89 FanDuel points per minute), but his minutes have been all over. Does the SGA injury change that?
Kenrich Williams ($3,700): Great tournament play. Likely will lead the OKC bench and has scored in double figures 10 times this season in limited work.


Domantas Sabonis ($9,700): Sabonis returned from an ankle injury Friday, and he's been an outright monster carrying a shorthanded Pacers squad. He's posted 1.64 FanDuel points per minute, and as LeVert continues to struggle, more shots may also find his hand before too long. The Clippers are an outlier matchup for big men (74.2% estimated defensive rebounding percentage; dead last in the NBA), so Sabonis could pull down a monstrous double-double once more.

Willy Hernangomez ($5,100): This man ruined two separate slates last week. I almost never recommend a play because of what the field is doing, but you need a contingency plan for Billy if Jonas Valanciunas is sidelined once more. Hernangomez was on at least 45% of rosters and posted 43-plus FanDuel points on both occasions. From a career-long perspective, this salary is too high even in a full role. But, with what was his 99th percentile outcome in two straight games, he's going to be enormously popular again if J.V. sits. Don't leave yourself exposed to lose by leaving him out. Nikola Jokic turned the corner talent-wise incredibly quickly, and it's at least possible the same is now happening with Hernangomez.

Andre Drummond ($4,400): In a much less thoughtful process than Hernangomez, Drummond is the default plug at center tonight. With Joel Embiid resting, we've seen Drummond plop right into a 30-minute role this season, and although it hasn't happened recently, we know he's capable. Drummond is averaging 1.29 FanDuel points per minute without Embiid on the floor this season, which would be one of the top per-minute rates on this entire slate over the whole season.

Others to Consider:
Julius Randle ($8,300): Our projections really like Randle today. The opposite is usually the case. That piqued my interest when we know his upside is ever-present.
Jarrett Allen ($7,600): Evan Mobley has seen a huge salary increase, but Allen's has dropped. I'll likely just always roster the one trending in the other direction.
Richaun Holmes ($5,700): No Marvin Bagley III means he's slowly returning to a full-time role. This salary is too low for that event.
Kevon Looney ($4,900): Ol' Reliable. The upside isn't phenomenal, but he's a great backup plan to build Hernangomez and pivot towards if Valanciunas plays.