FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Friday 1/20/23

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
New OrleansOrlando228114.5113.51115
Golden StateCleveland225108.8116.3630
New YorkAtlanta228112.8115.3208
LA ClippersSan Antonio232.5119.8112.8205
MemphisLA Lakers243.5125.3118.312
Oklahoma CitySacramento241.5119.3122.347

The NBA daily fantasy universe has a way of making me take Ls. LeBron James (ankle) playing through a questionable tag on Wednesday was definitely a shocking L. James has that tag again on Friday's injury report for the Lakers' battle with Memphis.

In another nightcap, Domantas Sabonis (illness) was a surprise inactive for Wednesday, and he's officially questionable for the Kings tonight against Oklahoma City. Backup Alex Len (illness) shares the same status.

Trae Young rolled his ankle and returned Wednesday, but he's questionable to play Friday with it. Atlanta also has Bogdan Bogdanovic (knee) listed as a question mark, and the visiting Knicks lost Mitchell Robinson to a thumb injury on Wednesday, too.

The Cavaliers have Donovan Mitchell (groin) listed as questionable for their bout with Golden State tonight. On the second leg of a back-to-back (with overtime last night), expect the Warriors to rest multiple players, too.

It was a bad day for thumbs on Wednesday. In addition to Robinson, the Mavericks lost Christian Wood to a thumb issue on the same night. They're hosting Miami tonight.

Orlando has Franz Wagner (ankle) listed as questionable to face New Orleans this evening. The Pels have Naji Marshall (toe) and Herbert Jones (back) in doubt on their side.

Overall, the injury report is decently quiet as of now -- especially if Sabonis plays. The Dubs will likely change that Friday afternoon.


With Christian Wood off the floor, Luka Doncic ($12,200) averages just 58.0 FanDuel points per 36 minutes. Also facing a Heat defense that's sixth in defensive rating, I just don't see him as a priority. He's viable as always, though.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ($10,100) is a priority in what should be a wild contest for fantasy in Sacramento. There's a 241.5-point total on deck, and OKC and Sactown are both top-seven squads in pace, so throw De'Aaron Fox ($8,300) into the mix, too. Fox sees a 1.6 percentage-point increase in usage with Sabonis off the floor (if he's ruled out), too.

We've also got Kyrie Irving ($9,200) back on this slate for the Kevin Durant-less Nets, and Ja Morant ($10,000) draws the Lakers' awful defense. Dejounte Murray ($8,600) and Darius Garland ($8,500) should also be on the backburner if injury news -- namely backcourt mates sitting -- breaks their way.

With no shortage of modest ways to spend at guard, it's quite alright that there isn't much value.

As was the case on Wednesday, Dennis Schroder ($4,900) and Patrick Beverley ($4,200) are topping our projections and would be must-haves if LeBron sits. However, the Lakers' rotation outside of LeBron is a "hot hand" scenario, and both were benched late last time out. They're much better if LBJ doesn't play.

Tre Jones ($6,500), Kyle Lowry ($5,800), and Mike Conley ($5,600) are three others showing well at present. Plus, I'd add Jordan Poole ($7,600) and Moses Moody ($3,700) to a watchlist if key Golden State veterans sit in Cleveland.


Not every position needs to be loaded with stars, and wing definitely isn't.

If LeBron James ($11,400) sits, the next stop down would likely be the elevated salary of Lauri Markkanen. Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler would need monstrous games above $9,000 with their teams back to full strength, and the Clippers and Heat both have insanely deep scoring hierarchies.

Paul George ($8,500) is the only wing above $8,000 projecting a value score of 4.40 or higher, and I can get there. George logged 28 minutes in his return, so he should be back over 30 with a day of rest since. The Spurs' defensive rating (118.8) is the worst in the NBA.

Keldon Johnson ($7,100) is a decent mini-stack opportunity with his sizable usage rate (30.8% without Devin Vassell) on the other side.

On paper, Buddy Hield ($6,600) sees an uptick of 1.24 FanDuel points per 36 with Tyrese Haliburton off the floor, but the team has moved off him in Haliburton's absence. He played just 19 minutes (and took just 4 shots) on Wednesday. I'd love him if he was guaranteed his full role again, but he's a dart throw -- at best -- to do so.

Buddy's teammate Bennedict Mathurin ($5,300) tops our projections at wing today, followed by Naji Marshall ($6,000), Luguentz Dort ($5,700), Trey Murphy III ($5,200), and Joe Harris ($4,100).

However, this is also the spot where the Warriors' rest plan would create the greatest impact. Donte DiVincenzo ($5,100) and Anthony Lamb ($4,700) would vault to the top of the projections with Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, or both sitting.


It feels like a plum spot for Nikola Jokic ($11,700) every time he's on the slate these days, and Friday is no exception. The Pacers do allow the fifth-most FanDuel points to opposing centers. The 11.0-point spread should be a grave concern, though, versus an Indiana squad missing Haliburton.

Jokic is moderately appealing at this stage. He's the only center projected for a value score above 5.00, so there's no "must" value option to avoid him. The rest of our options are forward-eligible, too.

That would start with Domantas Sabonis ($10,300) if he can play in the stellar environment. OKC is allowing the sixth-most FanDuel points to opposing centers themselves. If he can't, Richaun Holmes ($4,500) logged 30 minutes in his stead on Wednesday with modest effectiveness (28.7 FanDuel points).

Julius Randle ($9,900) has seen an uptick of 1.51 FanDuel points per 36 with Mitchell Robinson off the floor this year. He's the reliable way to target Mitch Rob's injury, but Isaiah Hartenstein ($4,000) should also see more work -- and potentially start.

Now without Christian Wood, the Dallas lineup is down to just Dwight Powell ($3,800) at center. Maybe JaVale McGee gets extended run for the Mavs, too. Either way, the Mavs have struggled to the league's second-worst defensive rating (122.6) in January, and those two won't help. This is all to say Bam Adebayo ($8,800) could feast.

As you can see, in quite a few spots we have mini-stacks with stars and value options. The mid-range is also pretty solid, too. Evan Mobley ($7,000) dropped 43.5 FanDuel points with Mitchell out on Wednesday, and Wendell Carter Jr. ($6,600) and John Collins ($6,000) are also projecting well.

Emphatically add Kevon Looney ($5,600) to that group if Draymond Green is rested by the Dubs on Friday.