FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Wednesday 12/21/22

Since it's much simpler to predict than baseball or football, daily fantasy basketball would get plenty of votes as the best sport to play on FanDuel. Players usually stick to the same minutes and produce at roughly the same rate. Sounds easy, right?

As a result, NBA daily fantasy is highly reliant on a player's opportunity, so you'll need to ensure 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.

With so much changing so quickly, we're here with plenty of tools to help you. We have daily projections, a matchup heat map, a lineup optimizer, and a bunch of other great resources to help give you an edge.

We'll also be coming at you with this primer daily, 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
Golden StateBrooklyn224105.8118.3618
TorontoNew York218108.0110.02219
PortlandOklahoma City235119.5115.5234
LA LakersSacramento240.5117.3123.325
CharlotteLA Clippers225.5108.5117.0921

Per today's injury report, LeBron James is once again probable tonight, but his game has far more important matters than wondering if he fails to play with that status for a second time.

The Lakers also have Russell Westbrook (foot) and Austin Reaves (ankle) listed as questionable and doubtful, respectively. They're in Sacramento, and the Kings are hurting, too. They're potentially down both Domantas Sabonis (hand) and Harrison Barnes (quad).

Another Los Angeles team is worth watching, as well. The Clippers have all of Paul George (knee), Reggie Jackson (Achilles), Norman Powell (groin), and Ivica Zubac (knee) listed as questionable. The visiting Hornets may be down Terry Rozier (hip).

Rudy Gobert (ankle) and Kyle Anderson (back) are questionable for the Timberwolves tonight as they host Dallas. The Mavs will be without Dorian Finney-Smith (hip), and Dwight Powell (thigh) might also sit.

The Thunder will be without Josh Giddey and Darius Bazley again due to the illness going around, and the visiting Trail Blazers have Jusuf Nurkic (calf) listed as questionable.

Klay Thompson (knee) will sit the second leg of tonight's back-to-back for Golden State, and we'll see if they get back Andrew Wiggins (groin) and Donte DiVincenzo (illness), who both missed last night.

Orlando has Franz Wagner (ankle) listed as questionable in addition to their other injuries.

Khris Middleton (knee) has a doubtful tag for the Bucks in Cleveland. The Cavs have Lamar Stevens (knee) listed as questionable, too.

Marcus Smart is under the weather for Boston and is questionable tonight as the C's host Indiana.

Finally, the Raptors have Gary Trent Jr. (quad) listed as questionable. He's missed three in a row entering this battle with the Knicks.


He was a surprise active on Monday, but Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ($10,400) won't take anyone by surprise today.

OKC remains without Josh Giddey tonight, and SGA's absurd 37.8% usage rate with him off the floor has resulted in 1.60 FanDuel points per minute. He's a value even at his lofty salary, and I wouldn't trust another Thunder player.

The upper-mid-range is the next-best stop to find value behind him. Donovan Mitchell ($8,800) has scored at least 25 real-life points in four of his last five, so he's a deflection or two from being tremendous value in a high-paced showdown with Milwaukee. We also saw Jalen Brunson ($7,800) make the best of his supreme floor with 35.1 FanDuel points in just 29 minutes last night. He's scored at least 20 in four straight.

Anfernee Simons ($6,600) has seen his salary drop, and he also dropped 32 real-life points two games ago. The ceiling is there for game stacks with SGA. It's also surprising John Wall ($5,800) doesn't have a higher salary given Reggie Jackson's injury for the Clips.

On the other side of Wall, I'm split from our model on LaMelo Ball. On top of the salary increase, the Clippers' 108.9 defensive rating (fourth-best in the NBA) and 21st-fastest pace aren't a great spot for fantasy.

In terms of raw value, Moses Moody ($3,700) might be a great start. He moved into the lineup for DiVincenzo yesterday, and he could be tasked to score more with Klay now also out. Others projecting well in our model include Kevin Porter Jr. ($7,400), D'Angelo Russell ($7,200), Ben Simmons ($6,700), and Jaden Ivey ($5,700). There isn't tremendous per-dollar value here as of now.


LeBron James ($11,100) is the supreme high-floor stud on the slate.

The Kings are bad defensively, and James is down Anthony Davis and likely Russell Westbrook in this one. During floor situations without them, he's posted a hearty 1.48 FanDuel points per minute on a 37.8% usage rate.

Of course, that would likely be at the expense of Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,500), who is also a solid choice with Middleton expected to sit again. The slow-footed Cavs (last in the NBA in pace) are the only concern there.

Behind them, I can't ignore Anthony Edwards ($9,000) as long as Gobert sits again. His infamous quote about the paint being clogged might have merit considering his massive increase of 5.85 FanDuel points per 36 minutes when Rudy is off the floor.

The mid-range is as deep as you'd expect on an 11-game slate. Zach LaVine ($6,900) has exceeded 35 FanDuel points in 8 of his last 11 at a small salary, and I do prefer Gordon Hayward ($6,600) to LaMelo at his smaller salary as a way to attack the Rozier injury.

Golden State should produce value here with Jonathan Kuminga ($4,200), who may even vault into the starting lineup for Klay. Kuminga is the top certain-to-be-active wing in our per-dollar projections at the moment, but Buddy Hield ($6,000), Josh Hart ($5,900), Marcus Morris ($5,100), Patrick Williams ($4,500), and Eric Gordon ($4,300) aren't far behind.


The Pistons cede the 12th-most FanDuel points per game to centers, so Joel Embiid ($11,900) has tremendous upside in the matchup. The obvious concern there is an 11.5-point spread with Detroit on the second leg of a back-to-back.

This positional group is still so poor that I'll get to Embiid quite frequently. Pascal Siakam and Julius Randle are the only two other bigs likely to be active above $8,000, and Siakam's Raptors just got back OG Anunoby, which reduces Spicy P's offensive role. Randle is fine, but he's failed to hit 45 FanDuel points in 6 of his last 10 games. He's not supreme value at $9,200.

Our projections are shining favorably on Nikola Vucevic ($7,900), and why not? The Hawks surrender the ninth-most FanDuel points to centers, and they're still without Clint Capela. Christian Wood ($7,900) shares this same salary, and his floor is raised considerably if he stays above 12 boards per game -- which he has in the past three contests.

The usual give-and-take in Cleveland's frontcourt is easy here. Evan Mobley ($7,100) now has a lower salary than Jarrett Allen. With nearly identical usage rates and per-minute FanDuel production, always play the lower salary there.

In terms of value, Draymond Green ($6,500) is showing well as he always does in numberFire's model. He would have likely been fine last night if the game stayed competitive, but that's a real concern again tonight versus red-hot Brooklyn. Thomas Bryant ($6,100), Onyeka Okongwu ($5,200), and Robert Williams ($5,000) are others showing per-dollar value at present.