FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Monday 1/2/23

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


There's a huge amount of FOMO when Luka Doncic ($12,400) is on the slate. Doncic has scored 105.2, 75.9, and 86.7 FanDuel points over his past three games and at least 55.8 in six straight (with another outing of 76.6 in there, too). He plays the Houston Rockets tonight, a team he has played twice in the past five games with FanDuel totals of 75.9 and 76.6. That's absurd. My simulations have him at 44.0% likely to lead all guards in FanDuel points tonight.

You can pivot down to some lower-salaried studs in the hopes that Doncic eventually cools down or when choosing to build around the bigs or forwards. Both LaMelo Ball ($9,700) and Kyrie Irving ($8,800) project well at their salaries.

As for Ball (and teammate Terry Rozier [$6,900]), they play the Los Angeles Lakers, who rank 20th in defensive rating. In 10 games against teams outside the top 10 in defense, Ball is averaging 43.3 FanDuel points for 1.26 per minute. Rozier (15 games) is at 29.4 per game and 0.86 per minute. It's the game of the night by over/under (242.5), and that lets us put a green light on these Charlotte Hornets guards while Kelly Oubre is out and Dennis Smith is questionable. LaMelo rates out with the best composite matchup of the night.

Irving's Brooklyn Nets are in a game with a high total, too, but there's blowout risk, as Brooklyn is a 12.5-point favorite against the San Antonio Spurs, the 30th-ranked defense in the NBA. Irving has averaged 43.1 fantasy points per game against soft defenses (i.e. bottom-10) thanks to an average of 1.15 FanDuel points per minute.

Overall, the better plays at guard are at the top of the pool or in the mid-range.

Others to Consider: Damian Lillard ($9,400), Jordan Poole ($8,100), Spencer Dinwiddie ($6,100), Anfernee Simons ($6,200), D'Angelo Russell ($7,100), Andrew Nembhard ($4,500), McKinley Wright IV ($3,500)


Forward is not nearly as strong as guard or big tonight, so I'm moving to the big discussion next. (To clarify, these are centers and power forwards who don't have some sort of small forward eligibility.)

Nikola Jokic ($11,600) and Joel Embiid ($11,400) have high ceilings tonight. My model has Jokic's realistic, non-outlier ceiling at 71.4 FanDuel points and Embiid's at 68.8 (with Doncic's at 76.5, for context). These two combine for a 61.6% probability to lead all bigs in fantasy points tonight (with Jokic at 32.1% and Embiid at 29.5%).

If not building around them (because you're prioritizing Doncic), then you're in luck.

Kevon Looney ($5,200), Thomas Bryant ($6,000), Draymond Green ($6,200), Jabari Smith ($5,000), and Mark Williams ($4,400) rate out well enough to be priority plays.

Looney and Draymond will continue to benefit from a thinned-out Golden State Warriors squad that lists -- among others -- Stephen Curry, Andrew Wiggins, Jonathan Kuminga, and James Wiseman as out. Looney (25.0) and Green (32.1) are projected for sizable minutes in a matchup with the Atlanta Hawks, who are without Clint Capela and thus more susceptible in the paint. We can pair them with Onyeka Okongwu ($6,500) for a game stack, given their multi-position eligibility (even with Okongwu as a center-only option).

Unfortunately, we can't stack Bryant and Williams, as they are both centers exclusively, but they make sense in Hornets/Lakers stacks for access to an elite game.

Others to Consider: Myles Turner ($7,400), Jerami Grant ($7,300), Nicolas Claxton ($7,000), Evan Mobley ($6,900), Isaiah Stewart ($5,500)


Only LeBron James ($10,800) and Kevin Durant ($10,400) have five-figure salaries among the forwards. We know by now that James has a great game environment and that Durant plays a bad defense as a huge favorite.

James retains an elite ceiling potential while Anthony Davis is out. James has a 35.0% usage rate and an average of 1.49 FanDuel points per minute without Davis on the floor, according to CourtIQ. That -- injected into an elite game -- is more than enough to focus on LeBron stacks when not forcing in Doncic, Jokic, or Embiid. Durant ranks as the better value compared to James, via numberFire's model, but neither of them is a true priority compared to the guards and bigs.

So then what?

Well, we take some salary savings.

Klay Thompson ($7,600), Donte DiVincenzo ($6,400), and Anthony Lamb ($4,000) are go-to options for the Warriors. Without Curry and Wiggins on the floor, Thompson has a 25.5% usage rate and averages 0.92 FanDuel points per minute. DiVincenzo is at 15.6% (but with 0.92 FanDuel points per minute), and Lamb is at a 13.6% usage rate (and 0.76 FanDuel points per minute).

Kyle Anderson ($5,300) should keep starting with Karl-Anthony Towns out. In his 12 starts, Anderson has averaged 30.2 minutes and 25.9 FanDuel points per game. The Minnesota Timberwolves are up against the Denver Nuggets, who are 25th in defense. Against bottom-10 defenses, Anderson has upped his production to 0.91 FanDuel points per minute compared to 0.81 in all other matchups.

Going back to the Nets, we could lean on T.J. Warren ($4,600) against the Spurs. Warren has one of the best value ratings of the night in numberFire's model and is projected to play 24.8 minutes and put up 22.7 FanDuel points.

Others to Consider: Josh Hart ($6,300), Mikal Bridges ($6,200), Gordon Hayward ($6,000), Tim Hardaway Jr. ($5,600), Herbert Jones ($5,100), Royce O'Neale ($4,900)