FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Monday 3/21/22

With Brandon Ingram set to miss another contest, C.J. McCollum should have plenty of elbow room in Charlotte. Which other plays are must-haves on Monday's main slate?

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
Portland Detroit 223 107.5 115.5 17 13
Miami Philadelphia 215.5 108.5 107 25 30
New Orleans Charlotte 235 114.5 120.5 22 2
LA Lakers Cleveland 227 110.5 116.5 4 24
Utah Brooklyn 232 116.75 115.25 19 8
Boston Oklahoma City 216 115.5 100.5 26 15
Washington Houston 233.5 119 114.5 20 3
Toronto Chicago 222.5 109.5 113 27 12
Minnesota Dallas 229.5 113 116.5 1 29

Stars who are not certainties to play Monday headline the nine-game official injury report.

Surprisingly, LeBron James (knee) is not really among them. The Lakers star has played seven straight through a questionable tag, so one would presume he'll be okay in a return to Cleveland.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is a question mark for Oklahoma City, though. He missed last night's affair with Orlando due to his ongoing ankle issue.

A forearm issue has Karl-Anthony Towns in doubt for the red-hot Timberwolves.

The Pelicans don't have Brandon Ingram finalized yet, but one should presume he's still out with his long-term hamstring issue. Devonte' Graham (hip) is also an unknown after two straight absences.

Miami's Jimmy Butler is questionable for his return to Philadelphia with his ongoing ankle and toe issues.

Kyle Kuzma (knee) is questionable for Washington entering a dreamy matchup with the Houston Rockets.

Detroit will be missing Jerami Grant (knee) for the third time in four games.

The Blazers are in the window to get Anfernee Simons back from his quad/knee issue, but they're also out of the window in terms of trying to win games. I'm bearish he plays. Justise Winslow (Achilles) is also questionable for Portland.

Bojan Bogdanovic (calf) is questionable at best to return from a five-game leave for the Jazz. Mike Conley (knee) should be back after resting Sunday, though.


Luka Doncic ($10,600): Though he's been unkind to daily fantasy players in the past two outings, there's nothing really wrong with Luka. He suffered through a known defensive outlier in Philadelphia, and he posted 37 points in a blowout loss to Charlotte but failed to see his minutes to reach overall value. This matchup with Minnesota is stellar. Dallas (29th in pace) is seeing a lift in possessions by as large as it gets in the NBA to the top-paced T-Wolves.

C.J. McCollum ($8,400): McCollum's 42.8 FanDuel points on Sunday just don't tell the story of how incredible his role is for this salary. He posted that through wretched 9-for-26 shooting, and the 26 attempts were the most of a Pelican by 10 shots. Assuming Ingram is indeed ruled out throughout the day, McCollum will be a priority in the highest-totaled game of the day (235.0). He has a 32.7% usage rate without Ingram that has translated to 1.40 FanDuel points per minute.

D'Angelo Russell ($6,400): Many of my entries have suffered trying to diagnose DeMar DeRozan's return to Earth, and a similar situation could be the case here with Russell. numberFire's model is projecting D'Lo closer to his 1.13 FanDuel points per minute mark this season, and I agree, but lately, he's taken a downturn. He's failed to eclipse 40 FanDuel points in six straight games. This matchup with Dallas is tough, but with such a small sample, I'm still willing to buy a return to form at this stage.

Others to Consider:
Donovan Mitchell ($8,500): Two huge pluses -- no Bojan and the matchup in Brooklyn. Solid pivot off C.J.
Fred VanVleet ($7,300): Salary is still too low and fresh off a maintenance day on Sunday.
Kyle Lowry ($5,700): Tremendous at this salary if Butler sits. Still justifiable and well-projected if he doesn't.
Jalen Brunson ($5,400): In this pace-up spot, just about any Mavs player works. Brunson is under-salaried in any spot.


Kevin Durant ($10,800): We begin this week where last week left off. Durant will play a home game sans Kyrie Irving once more, and we know his role is nothing short of spectacular in that event. In March alone, Durant has had a 36.2% usage rate with Irving off the floor, parlaying that into a healthy 1.44 FanDuel points per minute. His 38-point outing Friday was spoiled on FanDuel by eight turnovers, but he only averages 3.15 turnovers per 36 minutes without Irving for the whole season.

Jaylen Brown ($7,200): Does anyone want a piece of the Boston Celtics at present? Brown, himself, has posted 36 FanDuel points in four of his last five contests, and that makes this salary a curious one entering a friendly matchup with the Thunder. Boston is a 15.0-point road favorite, but for once, it might be a good thing they're on a back-to-back and a bit more sluggish than usual. Every Boston starter besides Marcus Smart has a terrifyingly-low salary if this one stays close due to recent blowouts.

Tobias Harris ($5,500): I made a joke that Harris had turned into Maurice Harkless last Monday since the James Harden acquisition, but Harris responded with a better, more aggressive week on offense. Believe it not, Harris has fought foul trouble in back-to-back contests, but one would still assume he's in a full-time role if he keeps his hands to himself. Even his lackluster 0.78 FanDuel points per minute can pay off a full role at this salary, and his talent creates obvious upside.

Others to Consider:
Jayson Tatum ($9,200): Like Brown, Tatum has hit value in eight of his last nine. Weird, weird salaries.
Lauri Markkanen ($5,900): The production graph looks like a roller coaster, but a full role and 40-plus FanDuel points upside we saw last week.
Dorian Finney-Smith ($4,400): Another low-salaried, full-time Maverick. I much prefer him and Brunson to the chaotic big man situation.
Royce O'Neale ($4,100): Popped in our projections this morning, and they're right. This salary is too low for 36 minutes a night for anyone.


Karl-Anthony Towns ($9,900): Though I finally get Joel Embiid on a slate without Nikola Jokic, it's into a brutal outlier matchup with Bam Adebayo. The universe can be cruel. I'll settle for KAT in a solid matchup that correlates well with Luka. The Mavs' defense is stingy, but in March, the one area they've leaked is the aforementioned situation at center. They own the seventh-worst defensive rebounding percentage (70.1%) this month. If KAT ends up sitting, Naz Reid can slot right into his spot.

Evan Mobley ($7,900): Outside of -- at most -- 19 regulation minutes from Dwight Howard, the fledgling Lakers still are operating without a center. That's good news for Mobley just as his salary has declined. Since Jarrett Allen went down, Mobley has averaged 1.13 FanDuel points per minute as the primary five. His 50-FanDuel-point upside has always been present; it was just much tougher to vouch for at a salary above $8,000. He's in a good salary range now.

Nikola Vucevic ($7,100): The Bulls are reeling. They have the fifth-worst offensive rating (109.7) in the league in March. When looking at season-long usage rates and production levels, both DeRozan and Vucevic stand out as green-light value plays, but both DeMar (1.08 FanDuel points per minute) and Vuc (1.16 FanDuel points per minute) have tanked this month. You can bank on a bounce-back in tournaments, and numberFire's model is optimistic for Vuc, but there is a definite risk here.

Others to Consider:
Pascal Siakam ($9,100): Chicago also has the seventh-worst defensive rating this month. Siakam has a path to a monster outing.
Bam Adebayo ($8,700): Much more workable matchup for Bam against Embiid than vice versa. Huge bump if Butler sits, too.
Robert Williams ($6,000): Both Williams and Al Horford are numberFire's top-two overall value plays. Can easily justify them in a pace-up spot with OKC.
Marvin Bagley III ($5,600): Saw just 18 minutes last game without Grant, but 31 minutes the game before. Still can work in tournaments.