FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Wednesday 1/4/23

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
Oklahoma CityOrlando227.5112.8114.8916
San AntonioNew York227.5109.3118.3819
HoustonNew Orleans228.5110.8117.81410
MiamiLA Lakers229.5117.5112.0282
DetroitGolden State231112.3118.8121

A busy NBA schedule on Wednesday features 12 games and a loaded injury report.

The headliner at present is actually the same as last night. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (illness) was a late scratch on Tuesday, so we'll see about him in Orlando. Of course, the Magic are down Franz Wagner, Moritz Wagner, Admiral Schofield, and Kevon Harris to suspensions following a dust-up last week, and Bol Bol (COVID-19 protocols) and Jalen Suggs (ankle) are questionable.

Unfortunately, Zion Williamson (hamstring) is also back on the shelf for the Pelicans, joining Brandon Ingram (toe) and Larry Nance Jr. (neck).

We'll also watch and see if Cleveland gets back either Darius Garland (thumb) or Evan Mobley (ankle) to its starting lineup.

The Hornets are banged up again, too. Kelly Oubre (hand) and Gordon Hayward (hamstring) will likely sit for Charlotte on Wednesday. The visiting Grizzlies have Santi Aldama (ankle) listed as questionable. Brandon Clarke (hip) is out.

RJ Barrett (finger) will sit again for the Knicks. They're hosting the Spurs, who have Devin Vassell (knee) listed as questionable. Keita Bates-Diop (illness) is out.

Golden State will be down several pieces again, including Andrew Wiggins (illness), Jonathan Kuminga (foot), James Wiseman (ankle), and JaMychal Green (leg). They're hosting a Detroit squad that just lost Marvin Bagley III (hand) for an extended period.

Clint Capela (calf) will sit again for the Hawks in a fantasy-friendly affair with Sacramento.

The Lakers are surprisingly healthy entering this one, but Lonnie Walker (knee) is still a question mark. Miami's lengthy injury report -- per usual -- includes Duncan Robinson (hamstring) and Dewayne Dedmon (foot) as questionable. Nikola Jovic (back) is out for a while.

Finally, just in case Rudy Gobert falls out of the lineup in Minnesota somehow today, his stud backup, Naz Reid, is questionable with a back issue. Dominos could fall oddly there.


With a 245.5-point total in Sactown, both Trae Young ($9,800) and Dejounte Murray ($8,700) have to be on the table.

Young's 33.3% usage rate gives him a better ceiling in the shootout, but Murray's production (39.9 FanDuel points per 36 minutes) has been more appropriate for his current salary, enhancing his floor. Our projections love both, and I'll add Murray -- without the pop games scoring -- is usually less popular.

Of course, we won't want to forget Josh Giddey ($7,500) if SGA does sit again. The do-it-all guard posted 44.5 FanDuel points in a three-quarter blowout of Boston.

That likely means I'll forgo LaMelo Ball, but that's fine considering Terry Rozier ($6,700) is among the top-projected values at the position today in that environment. Rozier's 39.8% shooting in December wasn't ideal, so his salary has tumbled, but he already put up a 55.0% shooting performance on Monday. New year, new Terry.

The 233.5-point total in Minnesota is also pretty solid, so a returning D'Angelo Russell ($7,100) and Anfernee Simons ($6,300) are two others grading out well in the projections, followed by Kyrie Irving ($8,800), Jalen Brunson ($7,500), Jaden Ivey ($5,800), and Andrew Nembhard ($4,300).

For my own sanity, I'm making an executive decision above the projections that look favorably on Orlando's backcourt, which could be adding back Suggs as mentioned. All are above $6,000 and not supreme values anyway.


We'll still wait on official word if Giannis Antetokounmpo plays, but I'm good fading his three straight contests over 78 FanDuel points in a brutal matchup with Toronto. With the Raps' gaggle of long forwards, they allow the sixth-fewest FanDuel points per game to power forwards.

It'll take extreme per-dollar upside on a slate this big, and that's why I'm steering away from LeBron James, too. At his salary, James' last two over 65 FanDuel points were against Atlanta and Charlotte, but the stingy Miami defense is no joke. I'd rather turn to Jimmy Butler ($9,100), who posted two straight games over 47 FanDuel points -- including against the Lakers -- before a tough run-in with the vaunted Clippers D.

Rather than target their backcourt, I want to get weird with Paolo Banchero ($8,000) in Orlando. Banchero appears to have hit the rookie wall, failing to eclipse 30 FanDuel points in four straight. However, he averages 40.5 FanDuel points per 36 with Franz Wagner off the floor, and he's facing a poor OKC defense on a back-to-back.

Players who eclipse salary-based value with frigid shooting are just flatly undersalaried, and that's OG Anunoby ($7,000) entering this contest versus the Bucks. He shot 35.0% on Monday on 20 shots but posted 36.1 FanDuel points. He shares the same salary as his teammate Gary Trent Jr., who shot 61.1% on Monday. Sometimes pivots are gifted from the sky.

Given Zion's injury, the Pels are the best spot for wing value once again this year. All three of Herbert Jones ($5,100), Trey Murphy III ($4,900), and Naji Marshall ($4,900) can work, but I'd lean toward the latter two given Jones (16.1% usage rate) doesn't really benefit from offensive upticks. He's just locked into playing time.

Behind that excellent trio, Tobias Harris ($6,300), Kyle Anderson ($5,600), Anthony Lamb ($4,200), and Terrence Ross ($3,700) are all grading out well at -- by far -- the best position for value today.


This is a place to spend your salary, too.

Joel Embiid ($11,600) has an electric matchup with Indiana. The Pacers allow the fifth-most FanDuel points per game to centers, and Embiid, with a gaudy 39.0% usage rate over the past month, has posted at least 55 FanDuel points in four straight. A blowout is seemingly his lone path to failure.

I also want to ensure that I get to Domantas Sabonis ($10,100) in the game of the day. His long-term floor -- in harder matchups for the most part -- is stellar, posting at least 46 FanDuel points in six of his last seven. John Collins ($6,200) makes plenty of sense on the other side with Capela sitting. The Hawks are at full strength, so be wary of Onyeka Okongwu, who could come off the floor for a smaller player.

I expected to fade Bam Adebayo ($8,800) off his monstrous game against the Clips, but his salary didn't budge. He's great against a Lakers squad that's just one spot below Indiana in FanDuel points per game to pivots.

With Clarke already out and Santi Aldama questionable, Jaren Jackson Jr. ($7,300) has a somewhat-predictable path to playing time. Given an absurd rate of production (47.4 FanDuel points per 36 minutes), I can't fade him against the league's best matchup for a big, Charlotte. He's my favorite play of the day.

Our projections love plenty of bigs on this slate as value plays, but perhaps none more than Jabari Smith ($5,000). His salary is minuscule for the full-time role he's got in Houston. Others we can turn to for per-dollar relief include Jerami Grant ($7,200), Rudy Gobert ($7,200), Steven Adams ($6,800), Jonas Valanciunas ($6,600), and Kevon Looney ($5,400).