FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Thursday 4/7/22

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
PortlandNew Orleans224103.5120.51421
San AntonioMinnesota241116.25124.7541
LA LakersGolden State222104.75117.25614

Today's slate could fly off the rails fairly quickly if the official injury report is any indication.

Notably, the Los Angeles Lakers are officially eliminated, and that's put all of LeBron James (ankle), Anthony Davis (foot), and Russell Westbrook (shoulder) onto the report and in severe doubt. They will battle Golden State, and Otto Porter (back) is questionable for the Dubs.

Dejounte Murray (illness) will miss another key game for San Antonio, but they keep winning. They're in Minnesota, and the Wolves have Patrick Beverley, Malik Beasley, and Jaden McDaniels all listed questionable with ankle injuries.

The Raptors are in wait-and-see mode to get back OG Anunoby (thigh). The visiting 76ers will be without the unvaccinated Matisse Thybulle in Toronto.

Memphis hasn't released the status of Ja Morant (knee), but it's doubtful he goes. They've got Dillon Brooks (hip) questionable, as well.

The Celtics are on a back-to-back without a ton to play for beyond arbitrary seeding, so watch their injury report. Grayson Allen (hip) is doubtful to go for the home team in Milwaukee.

Portland's Brandon Williams (quad) is a potential absence in addition to their mass shutdowns. The Pelicans could be without Jonas Valanciunas (ankle) once again on the other side.

Finally, the Magic are shutting it down a bit. Wendell Carter Jr. (wrist), Franz Wagner (ankle), and Cole Anthony (toe) will all sit on Thursday. Gordon Hayward is doubtful for Charlotte on the other side after re-aggravating his foot injury.


LaMelo Ball ($9,000): If the Magic's rotation wasn't terrible, Charlotte would be the fantasy basketball epicenter of the day. The Hornets are 13.0-point favorites, but that might be generous considering their 139.8 defensive rating in a small April sample. Regardless, Ball should have triple-double upside against a Magic squad phoning it in, so with Dejounte sitting once more, Ball is the clear (and only?) option worth spending on at guard.

Malik Monk ($5,700): Consider me skeptical -- at best -- any of the Lakers' star trio (or Carmelo Anthony) plays another minute this season. In a totally lost effort, L.A. is likely to go into the tank, but expect Monk to lead the offense in this stretch. Monk is a free agent heading into the offseason, and he could earn a massive payday by maintaining his rate of 1.04 FanDuel points per minute without the big three on the floor in a larger sample to close the season.

Devin Vassell ($5,500): While Tre Jones is lighting the basketball world on fire, I'm a little skeptical it holds long-term. Jones averaged just 0.88 FanDuel points per minute with Murray off the floor entering April, and his hyper-efficient stretch hasn't come with a bump in usage rate. It's still just 15.4%. Once his shot cools down, his production will. Vassell has posted 0.95 FanDuel points per minute this season in that floor condition with a much better usage rate (20.1%).

Others to Consider:
Klay Thompson ($6,800): The Lakers' lineup could be so weak that Klay rests. If he plays, he'll feast.
Terry Rozier ($6,700): Generally, he's under-salaried. The downside is that he and Ball don't correlate well.
Marcus Smart ($5,300): Pace-up spot for Boston, and Smart nearly eclipsed value at this salary in a blowout last night.


Jayson Tatum ($9,300): If Boston is full-go in Milwaukee, they're in a great spot. The 24th-paced Celtics will see an uptick in possessions versus the 7th-paced Bucks, and there's just a 6.0-point spread. Tatum's recent greatness isn't fairly represented by this falling salary; Boston has just had three straight games decided by at least 15 points. Tatum has averaged 1.37 FanDuel points per minute in April, so his output could be massive against a team that can keep pace.

**Editor's Note: Tatum was ruled out with a knee injury, but Jaylen Brown at $8,700 is a tremendous alternative with additional usage.**

Andrew Wiggins ($5,800): Wiggins is amongst numberFire's top-projected small forwards, and it's because he should perform well at this salary. He has a solid 25.0% usage rate without Stephen Curry on the floor this season, and he's turned that into a so-so 0.87 FanDuel points per minute. He really doesn't lag that far behind Jordan Poole (30.2%) or Klay Thompson (29.1%) in usage rate compared to how far his points production has. That should change over time.

Gary Trent Jr. ($5,100): The matchup against Philadelphia's top-five defensive rating is poor, but Matisse Thybulle's absence should help Toronto's wings. Trent's 0.70 FanDuel points per minute in April -- in a full-time role -- has been fine, but it's his inherent upside that has me interested in this space. He's exploded for at least 25 real-life points four times since March 1st. On a slate not flowing with value presently, he's an interesting plug.

Others to Consider:
Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,200): Giannis is always in play, but Boston's top defense is harrowing at this salary.
Desmond Bane ($7,000): For just $400 more than Tyus Jones, you get a role and talent level galaxies ahead with Bane. Odd.
Ignas Brazdeikis ($4,200): With Wagner officially out, there is no doubting his full role now. Crucial value option to stack Charlotte.


Joel Embiid ($11,500): Embiid dropped 45 points and 14 rebounds on tanking Indiana -- a team that lacks a true center. Toronto is another; they've been using Pascal Siakam there in key situations all season. Embiid may go under the radar in this spot. The total in Toronto is just 220.0, compared to a 233.0-point total in Denver for Nikola Jokic. The interior matchup difference, though, points me in the direction of JoJo.

Jaren Jackson Jr. ($6,700): As I've written several times this season, the Grizzlies' team leader in FanDuel points per minute when Ja is off the floor is actually Jackson (1.32). That production level in a full role would torch this salary, but a full role for Triple-J is rarely guaranteed. The 33 regulation minutes he got on Tuesday against Rudy Gobert boosts my personal confidence they'll lean on their best defensive big against Nikola Jokic.

Chuma Okeke ($4,100): Okeke is -- by far -- the best way to access the Magic and is the best value play on the slate overall. He has been decent this season (0.88 FanDuel points per minute), but he's largely been stuck behind Wendell Carter in an odd role. Now freed into a 30-minute starting spot, he dropped 11 points and 9 boards on Tuesday. Charlotte leads the league in second-chance points allowed per game (15.2), so watch for Chuma on the offensive glass.

Others to Consider:
Karl-Anthony Towns ($8,900): Towns dropped 60 points the last time he faced the Spurs. Prefer him to Jokic.
PJ Washington ($5,400): The answer to all of Charlotte's starters is "yes." Washington presents a value opportunity.
Willy Hernangomez ($4,600): If Valanciunas sits, he's averaging 1.16 FanDuel points per minute in a full-time role without JV. I speak from experience -- don't fade him.