FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Wednesday 3/16/22

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
Philadelphia Cleveland 219 111.25 107.75 28 27
Denver Washington 228 117.25 110.75 20 23
Atlanta Charlotte 238.5 118.75 119.75 20 3
Dallas Brooklyn 221 111.25 109.75 30 10
Portland New York 222 105.25 116.75 15 26
Phoenix Houston 235.5 123.5 112 8 2
LA Lakers Minnesota 241 115.75 125.25 6 1
Oklahoma City San Antonio 232 109.25 122.75 13 5
Chicago Utah 224.5 109.5 115 14 19
Milwaukee Sacramento 240 124.5 115.5 8 7
Boston Golden State 220 108.75 111.25 24 12
Toronto LA Clippers 217 109.25 107.75 24 17

Today's official NBA injury report hints at a game we'll likely have to play for the remainder of the regular season.

LeBron James (knee) is questionable for the Lakers. The news has consistently dropped after lock, but an early start in Minnesota could provide some pre-lock clarity this go-round.

In a great fantasy matchup on paper, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is questionable for Oklahoma City with an ankle issue. He's a huge injury to monitor Wednesday.

Fred VanVleet (knee) is once again questionable for Toronto, and OG Anunoby is doubtful to return from his broken finger.

A finger issue will also keep John Collins out of the Hawks' lineup for a third straight game.

Phoenix ruled out Cameron Johnson (quad) early on Tuesday, so he's likely to miss Wednesday as well.

Andrew Wiggins (illness) is questionable for Golden State as they host Boston.

The Nets likely won't get back Seth Curry for their back-to-back finale against Dallas. Kyrie Irving won't play at home, and Cameron Thomas (back) is questionable but likely starts if he plays.

A calf injury led to a surprise scratch for Bojan Bogdanovic on Monday, and the Jazz forward is already ruled out Wednesday.

Patrick Beverley (ear) should be able to go for the T-Wolves after a full role on Monday. Jarred Vanderbilt (quad) is questionable to return for Minny, and they need him with Jaden McDaniels now out for a while with his ankle issue.

The Blazers could potentially get Justise Winslow (Achilles) back into the fold.

Finally, Aaron Gordon (illness) will be a game-time call for the Denver Nuggets.


Luka Doncic ($10,600): Though the 221.0-point total in Brooklyn doesn't stand out, the two salaries on the key players in this tight game do. Doncic has a pretty high floor; he's surpassed 50 FanDuel points in five of his last six contests. He's carried an incredibly strong usage rate into March (36.2%) and has posted 1.53 FanDuel points per minute this month. Given the top star of the day is on the other side, Luka is incredibly easy to stack in this space.

Russell Westbrook ($7,200): Westbrook is far from a "safe" option, but I plan on including him in a decent fashion as an injury hedge with upside. The 241.5-point total in Minnesota is the highest on Wednesday's slate, but LeBron may not even suit up. Russ has posted 1.24 FanDuel points per minute with James off the court this season, and numberFire's model is projecting him well as of this morning -- even with our model accounting for LeBron playing. This stellar game environment is a great reason why.

Brandon Williams ($5,200): Basketball's most frustrating team at present is Portland. They're wildly fluctuating between uncompetitive blowout losses and close efforts where each of their starters produces well past their salary. Provided Josh Hart cools off from three (10 for his last 16 from deep), Williams should be the best way to access the Blazers' backcourt. He's held a team-high 27.3% usage rate since Anfernee Simons went down and, importantly, plays in blowouts.

Others to Consider:
Dejounte Murray ($10,700): I would love both him and Gilgeous-Alexander in this spot but need confirmation SGA suits up.
Jalen Brunson ($5,500): Brunson and Spencer Dinwiddie are in full-time roles with upside, and their matching salaries don't indicate that.
Goran Dragic ($4,600): Jumped to 38 minutes on Sunday without Kyrie. Should see heavy court time again Wednesday.
Donte DiVincenzo ($4,400): Revenge game and a full-time workload on Monday. But beware -- the Kings are very inconsistent with rotations outside of key starters.


Kevin Durant ($11,000): After dropping 57 points on the Knicks on Sunday, Durant's role is hard to get away from in a home game with no Kyrie Irving. K.D. has a whopping 39.4% usage rate that he's turned into 1.48 FanDuel points per minute without Irving on the floor in March, and a bulk of that came in a shake-the-rust-off game against Miami. He's now in better form. Dallas is a tough matchup, but if 37 shots on Sunday were any indication, he's on 60-piece watch just like Kyrie last night.

Jaylen Brown ($6,800): This explanation shouldn't have to be further than Brown's absurdly low salary when he's held a mark in the $8,000 range much of the year. Not only has his role not substantially changed (27.8% usage rate in March), but he's eclipsed 37 FanDuel points in three of his last six. Boston is just a 2.5-point underdog in San Francisco, and Brown and Robert Williams both have reduced salaries that are intriguing given this one stays competitive.

De'Andre Hunter ($4,700): Other than Lakers-Wolves, the matchup in Atlanta is the next-best environment of the day. The Hornets come to town, and this one holds a 238.5-point total. Not only are the Hornets a difficult salary puzzle at the moment, but the Hawks are welcoming Danilo Gallinari back into a rotation that still has plenty of moving parts. With at least 33 minutes in the Hawks' last five non-blowouts (and 22-plus FanDuel points in four of those), Hunter is someone I can trust at this salary.

Others to Consider:
LeBron James ($11,000): The matching salary on K.D. helps get to him if he can go. Just load up on Durant and then pivot some to James if he's confirmed good to go.
Harrison Barnes ($5,900): The third-best game is in Sac-town. Obviously, Milwaukee is a blowout candidate, but Barnes sees a ton of minutes no matter what.
Will Barton ($4,900): He's finally salaried appropriately. Has 23-plus FanDuel points in six of his last eight games. From unusable to a quality option.
Taurean Prince ($4,600): If Vanderbilt can't go, Prince will likely vault to the top value of the day. Plenty of minutes in the game du jour.


Karl-Anthony Towns ($10,200): Dropping 60 points is the new hot thing in the NBA, and Towns took his turn Monday. He also added 17 boards. It's a bit of a shame on two fronts -- his salary saw a huge increase and his popularity will undoubtedly be higher. This matchup on Wednesday is much better than the one he had Monday since the Lakers have been starting a hobbled LeBron at center. I'll rank Towns above both Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid on environment alone.

Julius Randle ($8,600): Part of the frustration of Portland is what they allow opponents to do. Their young lineup has ceded a 121.6 defensive rating in March, and that was exploited fully by Trae Young on Monday for 71.2 FanDuel points. They're also without a true center at the moment, which brings Randle into the fold for the Knicks. "Orange Julius" is having his most productive month of the season (1.31 FanDuel points per minute) entering this pristine home matchup.

Jakob Poeltl ($6,900): Center is definitely not short on options. The top-three ones are joined by Poeltl and Clint Capela as more-than-justifiable pivots. Poeltl gets an OKC squad starting rookie Olivier Sarr at his opposite, and this is already a defensive unit that's ceded the most rebounds per game (17.9) to opposing centers. Guard is loaded at the top with moving parts, so the Spurs' big is an interesting way to target this game, one that wholly depends on SGA's status.

Others to Consider:
Nikola Jokic ($11,300): The silver medal behind Towns. Two bottom-10 pace teams limit his upside on a massive slate.
Domantas Sabonis ($8,400): Might be forcing a role that's not there to go to him again, but he's projected well once more.
Clint Capela ($6,000): A much higher probability he sees a full-time role with no Collins, but foul trouble is always a concern.
PJ Washington ($5,400): Love this spot for the Hornets. Hate their salaries. Washington isn't great, but he's the best point-per-dollar option they have with LaMelo Ball seeing the bench more frequently.