FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Friday 12/23/22

Since it's much simpler to predict than baseball or football, basketball daily fantasy 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?

Well, as a result, NBA daily fantasy is extremely 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.

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.

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

Away Home Game


Any time we have Luka Doncic ($11,800) available on a slate, we need to take notice. Doncic possesses the highest fantasy ceiling of anyone on this massive 14-game set, and my simulations for the night put his odds at 30.1% to lead all guards in FanDuel points. He's also 65.4% likely to be a top-five guard, so that's hard to fade outright even at the salary. Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks are in a game with a lower total (220.5) against the Houston Rockets, who are 28th in defensive rating. In 11 games against bottom-10 opponents, Doncic has averaged 58.7 FanDuel points and 1.61 per minute.

Teammate Spencer Dinwiddie ($6,500) also projects well and is actually my top value among guards for the night. numberFire projects Dinwiddie for 35.2 minutes, 15.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 5.9 assists. In games against bottom-10 defenses, Dinwiddie is putting up 31.3 FanDuel points per game at a rate of 1.02 FanDuel points per minute.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ($10,400) is another way to get a high fantasy ceiling but without allocating quite so much salary as it takes to roster Doncic. Gilgeous-Alexander's Oklahoma City Thunder host the New Orleans Pelicans in a game with a 231.5-point total, one of the highest of the evening. SGA has a ceiling that is about on par with Doncic's from a value standpoint.

Chris Paul ($7,900) is putting up numbers without Devin Booker. Booker has missed four of the past six games for the Phoenix Suns, and in those matchups, Paul has averaged 34.7 minutes and 38.0 FanDuel points (1.10 per minute). The Suns host the Memphis Grizzlies tonight. Though they're a top-five defense overall, Memphis is a bottom-five unit against guards.

Others to Consider: LaMelo Ball ($8,900), Dejounte Murray ($8,600), Ben Simmons ($6,600), Coby White ($4,000), Ayo Dosunmu ($4,300), Malik Monk ($4,600)


Forward-eligible options (i.e. those who can be played at small forward -- otherwise they filter into guards or bigs for me) give us five names at five-digit salaries. Giannis Antetokounmpo ($12,000), Jayson Tatum ($11,200), LeBron James ($11,000), Kevin Durant ($10,600), and Jimmy Butler ($10,000).

Of them, it's LeBron who rates out best in numberFire's value ratings (5.03 FanDuel points per $1,000). James and the Los Angeles Lakers are in the game with the highest total of the night against the Charlotte Hornets, a team that ranks 27th in defensive rating. LeBron has made the most of his easy matchups this season. In 12 games against bottom-10 defenses, James is averaging a line of 35.2 minutes, 28.5 points, 8.4 rebounds, 6.8 assists, and 1.6 combined steals and blocks for 49.6 FanDuel points per game and 1.41 per minute. Factor in the usage rate bump without Anthony Davis, and James sets up extremely well tonight.

If not building around those stars, we do have options at forward.

Zach LaVine ($7,000) and Mikal Bridges ($7,100) are true mid-range plays with good projections, and numberFire's model specifically loves LaVine tonight.

On the lower end, we have plays, too.

Kenyon Martin Jr. ($4,200) projects well despite a low implied team total (110.5). He faces the Mavericks in a game we already discussed. Martin Jr. can stack with the Mavericks' side pretty well for salary relief. KJ gets a bump with Eric Gordon sidelined and should draw a start without Gordon. In six starts this season, Martin Jr. has played 30.5 minutes, on average, with a return of 24.9 FanDuel points. In total, he's our second-best projected value early in the day. Martin Jr.'s teammate, Tari Eason ($4,500), is also playable in Mavericks stacks.

Others to Consider: Jaylen Brown ($8,800), Patrick Williams ($4,500), Tim Hardaway Jr. ($5,500), Herbert Jones ($5,100)


There are some bigs who can break the slate tonight, starting with Nikola Jokic ($12,200) and Joel Embiid ($11,600), and we also have Pascal Siakam ($10,300) and Domantas Sabonis ($10,200) in the next tier. My simulation results have Jokic at 42.1% likely to lead all bigs in FanDuel points tonight with Embiid at 20.5%. Sabonis soaks up 11.6%, and Siakam is at 6.6%. Combined, there's an 80.8% chance that one of those four is the top scorer. That's not surprising or anything, yet it's a top-heavy night, and we should take note.

When choosing to build around Doncic or James instead of Jokic, Embiid, or Sabonis, we have plenty of mid-range bigs to go to.

Thomas Bryant ($6,100), Mitchell Robinson ($5,900), Clint Capela ($6,200), Al Horford ($5,300), and Evan Mobley ($6,700) all rate out well in my model. Of them, numberFire's model is the highest (in terms of projected value) on Horford.

Horford offers dual-position eligibility, which always helps. He's up against the Minnesota Timberwolves, who are just an average defense. Against mid-tier opponents, Horford generates 0.86 FanDuel points per minute. Tonight, he's projected to get 30.6 FanDuel points in 31.5 minutes of action.

We have a near-minimum salary for Andre Drummond ($3,800), too. Drummond is expected to play only 16.9 minutes but to get to 22.1 fantasy points. He's primarily an option to unlock huge upside elsewhere.

Others to Consider: Deandre Ayton ($8,000), Jonas Valanciunas ($6,600), Alperen Sengun ($6,400)