FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Friday 12/30/22
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 more or less revolves around how we're handling Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,900) against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Antetokounmpo's projection is just in its own tier relative to everyone -- not just forwards -- because Khris Middleton is out and Jrue Holiday is doubtful. Without them on the floor, Giannis has a 40.6% usage rate and averages 1.70 FanDuel points per minute.
Overall, my simulation model has Giannis as 56.1% likely to lead all forwards (i.e. those with small forward eligibility of some sort -- otherwise you're a guard or big for my sorting purposes) in FanDuel points. The total for that matchup is middling at 228.0, but the Timberwolves rank around the NBA average in defensive rating. Against teams not in the top 10 in defense, Antetokounmpo averages 56.1 FanDuel points per game and 1.69 per minute.
Pivoting to LeBron James ($10,600) against the Atlanta Hawks is very viable. He's 18.8% likely to lead forwards in fantasy points tonight, and if it's not Giannis, it'll probably be LeBron in a game with a sky-high total.
In the more moderate salary section, we have Zach LaVine ($7,500) in a great matchup with the Detroit Pistons, who rank 29th in defensive rating. LaVine has carved up bottom-10 defenses for 1.02 FanDuel points per minute. This does happen to be the first matchup between these two Central division foes.
The Orlando Magic, though, are going to be key in unlocking the studs on the slate. They have just eight active players due to injuries and suspensions, so the minutes will be up for all of them who can actually suit up. Paolo Banchero ($8,500), Franz Wagner ($6,600), and Terrence Ross ($3,700) all rate out well respective to their salaries in a matchup with the Washington Wizards.
Wagner is probably the best of both worlds (i.e. salary and production). Washington sits 20th in defensive rating, and against teams 11th or worse in defensive rating, Wagner has managed 31.1 FanDuel points per game with Banchero at 36.4. Ross, early in the day, is the second-best projected value among small forward-eligible players.
Let's stick with the Magic. Markelle Fultz ($6,800) is rating out as an elite adjusted value play among guards. Fultz has played pretty consistent minutes once settling into the rotation and has averaged 28.3 over his past 12 games. He's projected for 37.0 tonight, so...yeah. Fultz is an efficient fantasy scorer (1.00 per minute) overall and is really hard to overlook tonight.
Back up the salary list, we have Damian Lillard ($9,100) and Jordan Poole ($7,500) squaring off in a game with a 231.5-point total. It's not quite Lillard/Curry, but it'll be fun nonetheless. Lillard has a nice 1.28-FanDuel-point-per-minute average against defenses not in the top 10. Poole, without Curry and Andrew Wiggins, has a 36.2% usage rate.
We can also throw in Anfernee Simons ($6,200) into that game stack discussion. Simons has logged at least 38.6 minutes in consecutive games and has one of the best value projections of any player tonight, via numberFire's model.
Jevon Carter ($3,700) is a way to get access to his teammate, Giannis. Carter has a respectable 18.6% usage rate without Middleton and Holiday on the floor, and he puts up 0.87 FanDuel points per minute in that split.
Frankly, there are a lot of viable bigs, though none of them stand out drastically from the rest.
Bol Bol ($6,500) is going to be projected with a top-tier value rating for tonight's slate. He is expected to play 36.0 minutes tonight, and in 11 games in which he has played at least 30 minutes, he's averaged 36.9 FanDuel points per game and 1.10 per minute. This one is as simple as productivity matching up with opportunity.
Thomas Bryant ($5,700) remains relevant with Anthony Davis out. Bryant holds a per-minute output of 1.07 FanDuel points with AD off the floor, and his usage rate is 18.7%. Those aren't actually huge boosts to his splits with Davis, but it's the minutes that we can cling to. Bryant averages 27.0 minutes in games without Davis and is projected for 28.4 tonight against the Hawks, who are without Clint Capela. Speaking of the absence of Capela, Onyeka Okongwu ($6,200) continues to project well.
Another name in the mid-range we can roster is Draymond Green ($6,200), whose peripherals are mostly unchanged without Curry and Wiggins on the floor. It's more that we tend to see minutes floating up toward 32.0 for Green while the Golden State Warriors are thin.
There's a strong game theory case to be made by pivoting to Domantas Sabonis ($10,400), who doesn't pair well with Giannis, but that's only when trying to differentiate in tournaments.