FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Friday 3/18/22

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
Dallas Philadelphia 219 108 111 30 28
Portland Brooklyn 228 106.75 121.25 16 11
LA Lakers Toronto 225 108.25 116.75 6 25
Memphis Atlanta 237.5 121.25 116.25 3 20
Washington New York 226 110.25 115.75 23 26
Denver Cleveland 222.5 112.5 110 20 27
Oklahoma City Miami 219 101.75 117.25 12 28
Indiana Houston 239 121 118 17 2
New Orleans San Antonio 237 117 120 22 5
LA Clippers Utah 216 105.25 110.75 18 19
Boston Sacramento 224.5 117.25 107.25 24 7
Chicago Phoenix 230 112.25 117.75 14 9

On a 12-game slate, there can feel like too many options. Friday's injury report curbs plenty of that.

Joel Embiid induced a mini panic attack on Wednesday as a late addition with a back issue, but he played. He's listed questionable with it for Friday as well.

Memphis and Atlanta will duel, but both point guards have a chance to be on the shelf. Ja Morant (back) sat on Tuesday and is questionable Friday. Trae Young (quad) is also a question mark on the other side. Atlanta also lost John Collins (finger) to a long-term injury, and his backup Danilo Gallinari (bicep) will be a game-time decision.

LeBron James (knee) listed as questionable is just a given at this point for the Lakers.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (ankle) was able to suit up Wednesday, but he's retained his questionable tag.

The Kings are listing De'Aaron Fox questionable with a hand issue.

Donovan Mitchell is already ruled out for the Jazz with a calf injury. Bojan Bogdanovic is also out with the same issue.

Jimmy Butler (ankle/toe) is a question mark for Miami through his nagging injuries. P.J. Tucker (knee) and Caleb Martin (knee) are also questionable.

Phoenix will be without Cameron Johnson again on Friday as they host the Bulls. Jae Crowder (groin) is also questionable for the Suns.

Devonte' Graham has stepped into a decent role for the Pelicans, but he's popped onto the report with a hip issue. His backup Jose Alvarado (finger) may join him.

Indiana has already ruled out Isaiah Jackson (concussion), and both Goga Bitadze (foot) and Chris Duarte (toe) resume their normal questionable statuses for the team.

Finally, Seth Curry (ankle) is questionable to miss a third straight for Brooklyn. We also know they'll be without Kyrie Irving at home.


Dejounte Murray ($10,800): Murray has eclipsed 53 FanDuel points in seven straight contests, so my apologies to the Spurs faithful for slotting him in my helper and inevitably ending it. Of course, Murray's already been here plenty in that stretch. The 237.0-point one here against the Pels is sweet, and New Orleans has allowed the third-most fastbreak points per game in the NBA (17.4) for the month of March. Murray's patented swipe-and-score is on the menu Friday.

Fred VanVleet ($7,200): Seemingly with his "questionable" tag due to a knee injury behind him, perhaps VanVleet can return to producing closer to the 1.09 FanDuel points per minute he holds for this entire season. A large part of that has been a shooting slump that could definitely be knee-related. He's shot just 35.1% from the field (and 27.0% from deep) in March. This salary and the Lakers' porous defense are two huge reasons to bet on a potential turnaround in this one.

Kyle Lowry ($5,400): Though not an option in cash games, this salary stuck out like a sore thumb. Lowry has had five games with at least 30 FanDuel points since the start of February, and he missed most of last month with personal issues. The Heat are 15.5-point home favorites over Oklahoma City, so there is a chance Jimmy Butler just takes the night off. Both Lowry and Tyler Herro see a pretty sizable bump if that happens -- though the blowout risk would still loom.

Others to Consider:
C.J. McCollum ($8,700): Averaging 19.7 shots and 8.3 assists per game in March. Has a path to a monster game opposite Murray.
Marcus Smart ($6,100): This salary is just too low. An easier matchup with the Kings than he's seen recently, too.
Jordan Clarkson ($5,000): Mike Conley's salary isn't even really a value, so I'll attack the matchup from here.
Goran Dragic ($4,800): Once again on the radar for 30-plus minutes with usage if Seth Curry sits against Portland (and he likely will).


Kevin Durant ($11,000): Let's try this again. Durant, undoubtedly, was a massive factor for Brooklyn on Wednesday. The stingy Dallas defense just double-teamed him at will, and Durant shot just 40% from the field. I'm not sure a young Portland defense will be able to limit K.D. in the same mold. This spread is 14.5 points, but Brooklyn is potentially down two of its key three scoring options. I will go back to Durant's 36.2% usage rate without Irving and James Harden on the floor in this one.

RJ Barrett ($7,000): This is part one of "inexplicable salary decreases" for today's helper. Barrett has posted at least 35 FanDuel points in seven of his nine games since returning from injury but dropped to this mark. His 29.0% usage rate in March is second to only Julius Randle on the Knicks in March. He's New York's primary ballhandler entering this pristine matchup with Washington -- a team that with the NBA's second-worst defensive rating in March.

Nickeil Alexander-Walker ($3,500): The NBA daily fantasy community has known how good Alexander-Walker is for years. He's been a FanDuel-point-per-minute icon of the Pelicans' bench for years. He's kept a sturdy level of production (
0.97 FanDuel points per minute) in an extremely limited role for Utah, but the injury to Donovan Mitchell might vault him into the starting lineup on Friday. He's a can't-miss value play if that's the case.

Others to Consider:
DeMar DeRozan ($8,800): This salary has dropped to provide immense upside, but as with all Bulls, the floor is incredibly low.
Buddy Hield ($6,900): The 239.0-point total in Houston is awesome. Hield and Tyrese Haliburton have the only salaries I can justify attacking it for Indy.
Dillon Brooks ($4,800): Might be a better play with less attention if Ja plays. Likely back to a full-time role one way or another.
De'Andre Hunter ($4,700): Hunter and Evan Fournier are both top-notch roles in this salary tier, but Fournier likely doesn't go nuts if Barrett does as well.


Nikola Jokic ($11,300): Especially with Embiid battling an injury, Jokic is a clear standout in a matchup that's not as tough as Evan Mobley's name value would imply. The Cavaliers are mid-pack in terms of FanDuel points allowed to centers this season, and they've actually got the ninth-worst defensive rating in the NBA this month. Jokic doesn't need a great matchup to pay off this salary that's too low considering his upside, but it just makes him that much more terrifying to fade.

Christian Wood ($8,200): Believe me, I was shocked to end up here as well. Wood has fought an illness this month, but he's still averaging 1.27 FanDuel points per minute overall in March. Wood and Kevin Porter Jr. are both acceptable salaries to attack a matchup you'll want to attack. Indiana has the fourth-worst defensive rating in the NBA in March, and for Wood, they've allowed the third-most paint points per game (55.7). The big man is a sneaky source of upside.

Robert Williams ($6,500): This is part two of "inexplicable salary decreases". Williams has posted at least 32 FanDuel points in seven of his last eight contests, but his salary dipped here despite smashing a tough Golden State matchup on Wednesday. Unfortunately, this won't be an under-the-radar spot like he was for that contest; Sacramento is notably bad against big men, allowing the second-most paint points per game this season (51.6).

Others to Consider:
Domantas Sabonis ($8,100): We've seen 50-FanDuel-point games out of Sabonis in this uniform, but hope is fleeting by the slate. Still an option in tournaments.
Rudy Gobert ($7,800): Conflicted in this spot. His minutes are getting better, but he doesn't see volume spikes when Mitchell sits. A fine play.
Jaren Jackson Jr. ($6,600): 45.1 FanDuel points in 21 minutes last time out. He'll get a real coach one day. I promise.
Maxi Kleber ($3,700): Both Kleber and Dwight Powell are in 30-minute roles for Dallas currently. Kleber will be less popular off a down game when the range of outcomes is similar.