FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Wednesday 3/9/22
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
This whale of a 12-game slate is going to shift plenty beyond today's official injury report, but there are situations worth watching.
Monday's bombshell was LeBron James (knee) finally resting against San Antonio. He's questionable to do the same, and the Lakers are visiting the 16-49 Rockets. It's a concern again.
Four Timberwolves normal starters are also in doubt for this slate: D'Angelo Russell (hamstring), Anthony Edwards (knee), Patrick Beverley (ankle), and Jarred Vanderbilt (quad). Yikes.
Isaiah Stewart (knee) is sidelined temporarily for Detroit -- including Wednesday. On the other side, Chicago's pivot, Nikola Vucevic (hamstring), is questionable.
Both Brandon Ingram (hamstring) and Jalen Suggs (ankle) were sidelined Tuesday, but we'll see if either are active for the second leg for two teams on a back-to-back as Orlando visits New Orleans.
Fred VanVleet (knee) is uncertain to return for the Raptors' trip to visit the Spurs. San Antonio could be without starting guard Devin Vassell (groin), as well.
Atlanta could be without Kevin Huerter (shoulder) again, and the same could be said for the Bucks and Grayson Allen (hip).
Worth noting, Devin Booker (COVID protocols) may leap back into action against Miami. He's uncertain for Wednesday, and so is Cameron Johnson (quad) for the Suns.
The Mavericks were missing Jalen Brunson (ankle) on Monday, and the Knicks lost Mitchell Robinson a minute into the game on Monday due to an illness. We'll see if either returns as New York makes its yearly stop in Big D.
Portland has been battered all season, but Justise Winslow (Achilles) is already ruled out from their current starting five, and Anfernee Simons (quad) is at-risk to join him.
Will Barton (ankle) and Nah'Shon Hyland (knee) are questionable Wednesday for the Nuggets.
Finally, in the nightcap, Raul Neto (ankle) is a question mark for the Wizards, and Robert Covington (personal) is still out for the second leg of the back-to-back for the Clippers.
Trae Young ($9,500): No one has likely had a greater roster share of Young's last two duds than yours truly, but it's hard to see the currently projected script by oddsmakers playing out without a huge outing from Trae. The 238.5-point total in Milwaukee is massive, and yet, the visiting Hawks are just five-point road underdogs. Young dropped 30 points and 11 assists against the Bucks on MLK Day, and just about any player in this game would be a fine roster addition, personally.
Fred VanVleet ($7,300): After a full practice on Tuesday, it appears VanVleet is set to return in the only role Nick Nurse has for his starters -- a massive one. His production (1.07 FanDuel points per minute) has been sorely missed by a reeling Raptors squad, and he's got a soft landing spot in his return. The Spurs allow the fifth-most FanDuel points per game (48.7) to opposing point guards.
Russell Westbrook ($6,800): Eye-rolling is appropriate with Westbrook on a 12-game slate, but Westbrook enters the next dimension of value if LeBron sits again. He posted a team-high 29.7% usage rate on Monday without LBJ that was cashed into 0.95 FanDuel points per minute. Given his strong morning projection on numberFire, I'm fully willing to get there even with LeBron against a Rockets squad that combines the NBA's fastest pace with its worst defensive rating.
Others to Consider:
De'Aaron Fox ($8,900): 240.0-point total on deck, and he's seen 40-plus minutes in two straight. Green flag.
C.J. McCollum ($8,500): Took 21 shots in three quarters last night in Memphis. He's a must if Ingram sits again.
Marcus Smart ($6,200): Any Celtics starter is fine against a plummeting Hornets defense. 25-plus FanDuel points in each of his last nine full games.
Aaron Wiggins ($3,900): Pick between Wiggins, Austin Rivers, and Reggie Bullock for your high-minute, low-production guard du jour.
Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,900): I was a fool yesterday for largely ignoring Giannis because of a massive spread. Even in just 27 minutes during the blowout, he still blasted Oklahoma City for 69.8 FanDuel points. Correlating very well with Trae Young on the other side, I'm not one to argue against Giannis on this slate. Antetokounmpo's absurd production stretch is elongated at this point; he's posted 1.87 FanDuel points per minute since February 1st.
Jaylen Brown ($7,700): Any and all Boston starters are on the menu, but their top ballhandler in the backcourt -- at a reduced salary -- seems like the best choice given Kyrie Irving just lit up the Hornets for a 50-piece. Charlotte isn't the league's worst defense, but they place so fast at the league's top pace that they're third in the NBA in March in points allowed. Boston (22nd in pace) should see a lift in possessions as a result, and Brown orchestrates a majority of them when he's on the floor.
Keldon Johnson ($5,500): As I jokingly tweeted, this spot may be too obvious for Keldon to actually succeed. Especially if Vassell sits again, Johnson's 30-plus minute role has been safe as his salary has continued to drop. The Raptors allow the sixth-most real-world points per game to small forwards (21.9), and the 230.0-point total in San Antonio is a top-five mark on this slate. Dejounte Murray is fine at his salary, but it's more volatile due to the reliance on recent blocks and steals.
Others to Consider:
Jayson Tatum ($9,800): Tatum is as good an option as Brown, but the higher salary is the tiebreaker. Hunting that ceiling game in tournaments.
Harrison Barnes ($6,200): Another decently-salaried option to access the massive total in Sacramento.
De'Andre Hunter ($4,400): Full-time role in the Milwaukee game. A tremendous addition to game stacks.
Jordan Nwora ($3,800): Four-man, full-time role stack of Young, Giannis, Hunter, and Nwora has an average salary of $7,400. In that environment? Incredible.
Nikola Jokic ($11,500): The most voluminous player in the NBA in the day's highest-totaled game. It's really that simple to justify Jokic, who continues to turn his absurd role into FanDuel points. Jokic has posted 1.72 FanDuel points per minute since February 1st, and -- not that he needs the help -- he's seen a 4.6 percentage-point increase in usage when Will Barton has been off the floor. If Barton is out, there are very few paths to failure for the Serbian in this one.
Marvin Bagley III ($5,700): Bagley was discarded by the Kings for a second-round pick, but the second-overall pick in 2018 may finally be putting it together. The injury to Isaiah Stewart opened the door to Bagley's best game as a Piston. He posted 40.5 FanDuel points in 36 minutes, and he'll likely now start on Wednesday against Chicago. This salary doesn't make for a brainless value plug, but I've bought Bagley's talent and per-minute production for a while. Now's the time to cash in.
Alperen Sengun ($4,700): Even on a 12-game slate, Sengun is worth having a plan to get exposure to. He started, saw 30 minutes in place of Christian Wood (non-COVID illness) on Monday, and posted a ho-hum 28.1 FanDuel points. At 1.14 FanDuel points per minute this season, he can do far more damage in that type of role against the Lakers. My current plan of attack might be to use Bojan Bogdanovic as a decent value plug at power forward and swap into Sengun if news breaks correctly.
Others to Consider:
Robert Williams ($7,800): Andre Drummond just posted 20 points and 14 boards against Charlotte. Similar skillset, but he's in a full-time role.
John Collins ($6,500): Returned to the lineup (and 30-plus minutes) on Monday. There's upside at this reduced salary with that the case.
Bobby Portis ($6,100): I wasn't kidding about any and all in Hawks-Bucks. Portis' role is safer with no Allen, and he gobbled 14 boards last night.
Herbert Jones ($4,600): Like Bogdanovic, this salary is just too low in a full-time role. Orlando allows the most FanDuel points to power forwards, too.