FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Tuesday 1/17/23
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 come 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
We'll see if Giannis Antetokounmpo returns today.
Antetokounmpo was ruled out before Monday's game due to his ongoing knee issue, but Milwaukee's official injury report hasn't come through yet given the back-to-back scenario. Khris Middleton (knee) and Joe Ingles (knee) are in that same category.
Paul George (hamstring) was able to practice Monday for the Clippers, so there is some optimism around his status tonight. L.A. will still be without John Wall (abdomen) and Luke Kennard (calf) for this battle with Philadelphia.
We haven't seen the apex of Kyrie Irving ($9,300) in Durant's stead at this stage, but we might on Tuesday.
Irving has scuffled through 16-for-44 (36.3%) shooting since K.D. went down, but the Spurs could be a plum spot for him. They hold the league's worst defensive rating (119.5) by a decent margin and allow the fourth-most FanDuel points per game to opposing point guards.
There's no doubt Fred VanVleet ($7,100) will be popular following a massive salary discount at the worst time. He dropped 62.0 FanDuel points in 44 minutes yesterday in New York. The slate would be a bit more complex if he were to sit with the back issue, but if he plays, he produces 37.1 FanDuel points per 36 minutes. He's under-salaried.
If Giannis sits, we should turn back to Jrue Holiday ($7,900), who has surged past 47 FanDuel points in two of the past three without him.
Guard is fine dipping into the mid-range, too. Tre Jones ($6,800) continues to benefit without Vassell, eclipsing 35 FanDuel points in two of his past three. Tyrese Maxey ($6,600) hasn't had stellar production since returning from injury, but the 38 minutes he logged last game identify a potential upside coming soon.
Only VanVleet, Irving, and Jones surpass a value score of 5.00 in our projections at guard, so value is tough to come by. Seth Curry ($4,900) is still seeing elevated minutes in place of Durant, and he poured in 23 real-life points last game against Oklahoma City.
Without Giannis, the top of wing is frighteningly poor. Kawhi Leonard's elevated salary would be nearly impossible to justify with Paul George ($8,700) back, so George, averaging a team-best 45.2 FanDuel points in a healthy floor condition, might be the high-risk, high-reward play up here.
Toronto is the bulk of the discussion from there. Scottie Barnes ($8,000) has a growing sample above 46 FanDuel points (four of his past five), so many might flock there. I think I'll turn in larger quantities to both OG Anunoby ($7,000) and Gary Trent Jr. ($6,700) given all three saw 40-plus minutes yesterday and usage is fairly even for the Raps.
Ben Simmons ($6,900) and Keldon Johnson ($6,600) are one of my favorite mini-stacks of the day. Simmons sat during Brooklyn's last game, so his salary stayed put despite 37.3 FanDuel points in the Nets' first contest without K.D. Keldon's the lowest-salaried guy on the board with a usage rate above 30.0% in his current floor condition (30.7% without Vassell).
Value is undoubtedly better here, too. Most notably, the model is optimistic about T.J. Warren ($4,800) seeing more minutes than in his prior two contests. If Giannis sits, we'd be remiss to not also include Pat Connaughton ($4,900) and Grayson Allen ($4,500) once more.
It's also projecting Tobias Harris ($6,300), Josh Hart ($6,000), and Jeremy Sochan ($5,100) well at their respective salaries. I'd add Norman Powell ($6,000) to that list if George is a surprise inactive.
Given a four-digit salary on Pascal Siakam ($9,500), you can play all Toronto starters as they continue to eclipse 40 minutes in light of the team's awful bench. It's really hard to knock that playoff-level workload when all of them have reasonably appropriate salaries.
I'm not supremely keyed in on either Joel Embiid ($11,600) or Nikola Jokic ($11,500) given both of their teams are at full strength, but give the nod to Jokic tonight due to matchup. The Blazers allow the sixth-most FanDuel points to opposing centers and have a bottom-10 defensive rating (113.8). Embiid's opponent is a stiffer test; the Clips are rated top-10 in both categories.
Both are harder to justify given Nicolas Claxton ($7,200) has a solid floor. Claxton's been over 33 FanDuel points in seven of his past eight and is locked into full-time minutes at the moment.
Of course, Bobby Portis ($6,800) and Brook Lopez ($6,400) deserve consideration if Giannis sits once more, and Ivica Zubac ($5,700) has tumbled in both minutes and salary, but perhaps he'll see more work with Embiid lurking in the paint. His production rate (33.5 FanDuel points per 36) is stellar if he sees the court time.
In lieu of Jokic clogging the pivot, Aaron Gordon ($6,500) is at his lowest salary in a month in the same frontcourt matchup. I'm inclined to pair him with Jerami Grant ($6,800), who fits the same description.
No big men below $5,000 are rated with a value score above 4.15 today (as of now), so Zubac appears to be as low as you can reasonably go at the position unless we get surprising news this afternoon.