FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Friday 2/4/22
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
There aren't a lot of questions at the top end of Friday's injury report, but there are some absences notably finalized in stone.
The largest one to be determined is Dejounte Murray of the Spurs. Murray missed Thursday's game with wrist soreness, and that leaves him in doubt for Friday. Jakob Poeltl (concussion) is also highly unlikely to play.
In Charlotte, Gordon Hayward might be able to make a return as he exits the reconditioning program following COVID-19 protocols. Darius Garland will sit for the visiting Cavaliers with a back injury.
Things went from bad to worse for the Pacers' frontcourt. While missing Myles Turner, Domantas Sabonis, and Goga Bitadze, Isaiah Jackson rolled his ankle less than a minute into Wednesday's game. Jackson is out Friday, but Bitazde (foot) might get cleared to play. Zach LaVine (back spasms) is questionable for the road team from Chicago.
Cade Cunningham is unlikely to play through a hip pointer for the Pistons on Friday as they host Boston.
As Trae Young returned for the Hawks from a shoulder injury on Thursday, John Collins picked one up in Atlanta's win. Collins is questionable for Friday.
The Pelicans have Josh Hart listed as questionable for their trip to Denver.
When Brooklyn visits the Jazz, Utah will get back Donovan Mitchell for the first time in eight games. They'll await word if Hassan Whiteside (back) and Jordan Clarkson (knee) can join him in the lineup.
If you are so daring to venture deep into the Thunder rotation, both Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (foot) and Aaron Wiggins (ankle) will be missing from OKC's normal starting five. On the other side, Larry Nance Jr. is questionable to return from his knee injury for Portland.
Finally, Kristaps Porzingis has already been ruled out for Dallas as they host Philadelphia. The Sixers will be without Furkan Korkmaz (knee), and Seth Curry is questionable with a back injury.
Trae Young ($8,800): Young bludgeoned a quality Phoenix defense for 43 points on Thursday, but with no boards and just 5 assists, it wasn't exactly slate-breaking. Still, that scoring upside is largely unmatched at this salary. Trae returned to a gigantic 40.0% usage rate in that one, and while he's unlikely to drop 40 points again, there's a decent chance he fills out the rest of the stat columns better in a full night's work -- given just a 2.5-point spread in Toronto.
Josh Giddey ($6,000): Luguentz Dort saw an enormous salary increase, but Giddey stayed at his same mark despite averaging 1.10 FanDuel points per minute in two full-time games without Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. It makes him an easy choice. OKC is an eight-point dog to Portland, but I'd be willing to wager the Thunder can keep pace given the Blazers' 113.9 defensive rating (third-worst in the NBA). His numberFire projection is appropriately tops of the day amongst guards.
Brandon Goodwin ($4,500): The Cavs may finally have their point guard. Goodwin has posted 29.5 minutes per game after starting Cleveland's last two contests, and largely, he's been effective. While the 21 points in one game or 8 assists in the other are likely closer to ceiling outcomes, he still will have ample opportunities to exceed the low benchmark of this salary against Charlotte's fifth-worst defensive rating in the NBA (112.4).
Others to Consider:
Fred VanVleet ($8,400): 36.7% shooting in February so far has his salary in a free fall. The bounce back is coming.
Derrick White ($6,600): You know a value play is solid when they're well-projected before the key injury is announced.
Devin Vassell ($4,900): Same as Derrick White but an even less restrictive salary. Both are superb if Murray sits.
Jalen Green ($4,600): Some of his double-digit shot attempts are going in the basket. Buy low on an improving rookie?
Brandon Ingram ($7,800): Ingram checked off any health concerns with 26 real-life points in 32 minutes against Detroit on Wednesday. Now that he's returned, this reduced salary is just too low for his role. Ingram's 29.6% usage rate in that game nearly mirrors his season-long 29.8% mark, and that lead role with the upside to score 30 points is a decent way to spend salary at a poor day for the stars at the small forward position.
Caris LeVert ($7,600): The inefficiency is truly jaw-dropping at this point for a player of his caliber, but CLV might have the best role on the slate for his salary. He hoisted 24 shots in 35 minutes Wednesday against the Magic, but he didn't make very many of them (41.7%). The line on this game has me intrigued by the Indiana side; the Bulls are just 2.5-point road favorites against a Pacers squad with no big men. LeVert will need a monster game for it to stay close.
Saddiq Bey ($6,000): Amongst Pistons starters, Bey sees the largest increase in usage rate (1.8 percentage points) when Cade Cunningham is off the floor. Bey could be primed for another massive workload with the rookie unlikely to play Friday. He nearly turned that role into a triple-double Thursday, and honestly, he didn't even play very well. He shot just 8-for-21 from the field. A hot night from the floor could produce a can't-miss outcome from Detroit's top option.
Others to Consider:
Jaylen Brown ($8,200): In a soft matchup with Detroit, I'm still taking swipes at the upside. Both he and Jayson Tatum are over-salaried.
Cedi Osman ($4,400): Goodwin's presence diminishes his upside, but 35-plus minutes is hard to pass up at this salary.
Dorian Finney-Smith ($4,200): Even more than 35-plus minutes here. We know his production comes and goes. Still solid value.
Kenrich Williams ($3,500): A bucket off the OKC bench. Played 29 minutes and crunch time in OT. Solid package for $3,500.
Nikola Jokic ($11,200): It feels insane to pass up the combination of floor and ceiling of Jokic and Joel Embiid on this slate. In tournaments, I'll probably just play it 50-50 and use one in each lineup. With a game total that's 10 points higher than Embiid's, Jokic gets the slight nod for Friday. Fresh off a game of rest, we saw Jokic drop 59.6 FanDuel points in this same matchup on the road last week. Feel incredibly comfortable putting salary here with value elsewhere.
Jarrett Allen ($7,100): Allen is just $200 north of Kevin Love. It feels like the sky is falling. Love is a low-minute, high-usage fantasy basketball siphon, but the long-term bet is Allen returns closer to his 1.08 FanDuel points per minute mark in a full role for Cleveland. The Hornets matchup should help. Charlotte has the eighth-lowest defensive rebounding percentage (71.1%) in the NBA, and they allow the most second-chance points per game (15.3). Hello, putbacks.
Thaddeus Young ($3,500): I am so curious to arrive at lock time to see Thad's draft percentage. He started for Jakob Poeltl and was overwhelming chalk on Thursday. The FanDuel-point-per-minute monster (1.09 this season) tied Keldon Johnson in minutes, so he was poised for a full-time role, but he completely disappointed in the blowout loss. He's numberFire's top projected overall option today, and if he starts for Poeltl, I'll probably be close to full capacity myself.
Others to Consider:
Joel Embiid ($11,000): Lower total, but I'd argue a higher floor. Just a 1.5-point spread and Dallas is without K.P.
Jerami Grant ($6,300): Bey assumed the role I expected for him. Still, 32 minutes on Thursday. Could definitely shatter this salary's value.
Scottie Barnes ($6,200): Realistically, not a big, but my center spot is occupied. Still sees tons of minutes with stat-stuffing ability.
Darius Bazley ($4,700): 36 minutes after Wiggins was injured. He might be forcefully freed in a great matchup with Portland.