FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Wednesday 1/18/23

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

Away Home Game
Washington New York 222.5 108.0 114.5 17 21
Atlanta Dallas 234 116.0 118.0 8 29
Charlotte Houston 237 119.5 117.5 9 14
Indiana Oklahoma City 239.5 117.8 121.8 4 5
Cleveland Memphis 228.5 110.3 118.3 30 2
Miami New Orleans 219.5 111.3 108.3 24 12
LA Clippers Utah 227.5 111.0 116.5 25 10
Minnesota Denver 236.5 114.3 122.3 7 23
Sacramento LA Lakers 244.5 124.3 120.3 6 3

We've seen LeBron James (ankle) sit from a probable status, so his listing as questionable on Wednesday's injury report stands out in a large way.

From there, Donovan Mitchell leaps out next. He's doubtful with a groin injury as the Cavaliers travel to Memphis.

The Timberwolves are banged up as they head to Denver, too. Anthony Edwards (hip), Rudy Gobert (groin), and Taurean Prince (ankle) are questionable, but I'd peg Gobert as realistically doubtful considering he left after just five minutes on Monday. We'll also see if the Nuggets rest anyone on the back-to-back.

Lauri Markkanen (hip) is questionable to miss a third straight contest for Utah. They're hosting the Clippers, who will rest Paul George (hamstring) on the second leg of their back-to-back.

Washington has upgraded Bradley Beal (hamstring) entering Wednesday's tilt in New York.

We'll see if the Rockets get back Kevin Porter Jr. (foot) entering their defense-optional contest with Charlotte. The Hornets have Gordon Hayward (hamstring) and Cody Martin (knee) listed as doubtful for this one.

Traveling to New Orleans, Kyle Lowry (knee) is once again a question mark for the Heat. The Pels will likely be down Herbert Jones (back), who is listed as doubtful.

Finally, the Mavericks have already ruled out Tim Hardaway Jr. (ankle), but they're expected to get back Dorian Finney-Smith (hip) and Josh Green (elbow) against Atlanta.

**Editor's Note: Kawhi Leonard of the Clippers was ruled out Wednesday for rest after this article was published. Check numberFire's projections for continued best advice for the active players on the slate.**


Once again, Luka Doncic ($12,400) is a high-floor safety valve at the top.

That's especially the case with Finney-Smith replacing Hardaway in the lineup. Doncic's gaudy usage rate gets 2.6 percentage points larger with THJ off the floor. His salary remains totally justifiable to fade in tournaments, though.

Behind him, I think I'll buy low on C.J. McCollum ($8,900) next. McCollum has struggled through 41.0% shooting in his past two games but still carries a sizable 31.9% usage rate with Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson off the floor. The Heat cede the eighth-most three-point attempts per game in the league, too.

Above both in terms of priority has to be Darius Garland ($8,000), who averages 42.3 FanDuel points per 36 minutes with Donovan Mitchell off the court. That's on a team-best 30.0% usage rate. I'd also give a shout to De'Aaron Fox ($8,300) given a salary discount entering this Lakers matchup that he's torched this year.

On the other side of Fox is the key priority value of the day -- at least to me. Dennis Schroder ($5,100) sees a team-best bump of 6.7 percentage points in usage rate with both LeBron and Anthony Davis off the floor. He might be sneaky if optimizers don't know LeBron is out before lock. I don't think James plays given he hasn't from probable statuses recently.

Schroder and teammate Patrick Beverley ($4,200) are standing firm at the top of numberFire's projections at the moment, but Terry Rozier ($7,400), D'Angelo Russell ($6,500), Andrew Nembhard ($5,600), and Dyson Daniels ($4,000) lurk in close proximity.


One key reason to spend at guard is that wing stinks at the top today.

As I've said, I don't believe LeBron plays. That would leave Kawhi Leonard ($9,400) as the primary option, and he is more viable today without George. The Klaw's growing sample without him (47.5 FanDuel points per 36 minutes this season) is encouraging enough in a plum spot against the Jazz.

From there, it's a ton of wait-and-see. Anthony Edwards ($8,600) works at his salary but might not play. Kyle Kuzma ($8,000) is attractive at his salary if Beal doesn't return, but he's all but unjustifiable if Washington's leading scorer is back.

My next guaranteed stop down will be RJ Barrett ($7,000), who logged an absurd 44 regulation minutes on Monday. Hello, Thibs.

The game total in Indiana certainly also puts Buddy Hield ($6,700) and Bennedict Mathurin ($5,500) on the radar. I hope most chase T.J. McConnell's 63.9% shooting since Tyrese Haliburton went down; I'll take the slumping scorers at lower salaries instead.

Caris LeVert ($5,200) should be enormously popular in Mitchell's stead, and the salary is a bit of a free square given 32.4 FanDuel points per 36 when Donnie is off the floor. In George's place, Norman Powell ($6,000) and Terance Mann ($5,700) are the Clips that could see key work behind Kawhi. The punt-level L.A. players are dice rolls in Ty Lue's odd rotation.

Naji Marshall ($5,800), Jalen McDaniels ($5,700), and Chris Duarte ($3,900) are other budget wings that can help, too.


We've got more than enough bigs to make up for wing's lack of top guys.

Nikola Jokic ($11,500) is back on the slate after missing just one shot in a monstrous triple-double last night. On a full slate, he's a bit harder to justify with so many excellent value centers, and Denver is 100% healthy. However, the T-Wolves' defensive rating spikes from 110.2 with Rudy Gobert to 117.6 without him. Yikes.

I'd rather turn to Domantas Sabonis ($10,200) at salary. Like his teammate Fox, he's torched the Lakers this year. We've also got Julius Randle ($9,900) at his lowest salary in two weeks matched up against Kristaps Porzingis ($8,700). Zinger feels like a must if Beal sits, averaging 46.2 FanDuel points per 36 minutes without him on the floor.

Bam Adebayo ($8,800) will also look to continue his hot streak against a Pels squad allowing the 10th-most FanDuel points per game to opposing centers. In that same tier of matchup, Myles Turner ($8,100) battles an OKC squad that has allowed the sixth-most.

As we drop down for a bit of value, Evan Mobley ($6,900) sees a surprise uptick (4.19 FanDuel points per 36) with Mitchell off the floor. We've also got reduced salaries for PJ Washington ($6,100), John Collins ($6,000), and Ivica Zubac ($5,700) entering stellar matchups for all three.

However, this slate will get turned on its head if Gobert is officially ruled out -- and he likely will be. Naz Reid ($5,200) will enter the pivot spot in a massive number of lineups; he's posted 44.7 FanDuel points per 36 with Gobert off the floor. Fade at your own risk should it play out that way.