FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Thursday 1/26/23

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 YorkBoston223.5107.5116.02519
San AntonioLA Clippers233110.3122.8526

If you've never had a groin injury, consider yourself lucky.

After tweaking his groin issue on Wednesday, Donovan Mitchell is the third former All-Star this year to reinjure an existing groin/adductor issue. He's questionable to play in Houston, per today's injury report. With Houston on a back-to-back, we'll see if any Rockets might join him on the report.

Devin Booker was one of those All-Stars, and he's still nursing his re-injury and is out of the lineup. The Suns will also be without Landry Shamet (foot) again on Thursday as they host the Mavericks. Interestingly, Dallas hasn't ruled out Christian Wood (thumb) yet.

Charlotte's third game in four days is a third chance this week to see if LaMelo Ball (ankle), Gordon Hayward (hamstring), or Cody Martin (knee) suit up. All missed Wednesday's contest.

There's nothing fresh in New York, but the Knicks will still be without Mitchell Robinson (thumb), and the Celtics are still sans Marcus Smart (ankle).

The Brooklyn Nets are one of three teams on a back-to-back on this slate, so their report will come this afternoon. They're hosting Detroit, who have Isaiah Stewart (shoulder) and Isaiah Livers (ankle) listed as questionable for this one.

The final team on a back-to-back is San Antonio, and Romeo Langford (adductor) was their one absence last night in L.A. The Spurs might rest starters to keep the tank alive, though. The hosting Clippers have Marcus Morris Sr. (ribs) and Luke Kennard (calf) listed as questionable.


The top of the guard position is pretty stellar today.

Phoenix's 112.2 defensive rating (11th in the NBA) isn't a cakewalk, but Luka Doncic ($12,000) is always viable by default. It's really hard to argue against a guy with a 38.9% usage rate in his current floor condition. However, the struggling Mavs D (115.1 rating; sixth-worst) might make Chris Paul ($8,000) the better target in a game with just a 221-point total anyway.

Kyrie Irving ($10,100) has dropped at least 30 real-life points in four straight, and the Pistons' horrendous defense likely won't stop him. There's just a 7.5-point spread in that one, so the answer to all Brooklyn key players -- including Seth Curry ($4,900) off the bench -- should be "yes".

Of course, we'll also get Darius Garland ($8,400) on the menu against a Rockets squad ceding the most FanDuel points per game to opposing point guards. He produces 43.2 FanDuel points per 36 minutes with Mitchell off the floor, but bump that up in this matchup.

The reliable Malcolm Brogdon ($5,800) returns from his two-game leave to a Boston lineup missing their point guard, so he's comfortably the top value option of the day. He'll slide right into the 30-plus minutes Payton Pritchard saw without him.

Behind Brogdon (and Curry), our model is also favorably projecting Tre Jones ($6,300), Immanuel Quickley ($5,100), and Josh Green ($4,300).


I've discussed ad nauseam about the minuscule gap between the offensive roles Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown ($8,300), so the $3,000 salary gap makes its own choice there. Tatum's scoring ceiling is always present, but there's no value behind it at $11,300.

It's a good thing we're spending at guard because our other options are in Los Angeles, and the 12.5-point spread could get worse if San Antonio rests Keldon Johnson ($7,200) as they have during prior back-to-backs this season. I'd like Paul George ($8,200) if Johnson plays, but I'd consider it unlikely. Kawhi Leonard's lofty salary is a hard ask -- even in a revenge spot.

Our first stop down is likely Chicago. Both DeMar DeRozan ($8,900) and Zach LaVine ($7,800) are on the table versus a Hornets squad allowing the 10th-most FanDuel points per game to small forwards. LaVine's salary provides more value, but he'll also likely be more popular in turn.

In a far easier matchup physically and mentally, Ben Simmons ($6,800) could be a solid buy-low opportunity off a predictably poor game in Philadelphia. Anyone could do the scoring in friendly matchups like this Detroit one, so the stat-stuffer has a higher floor than Royce O'Neale ($5,600) and Joe Harris -- both of whom would need to contribute behind the arc.

Thankfully, we'll get a bulk of our value here. Kenyon Martin Jr. ($5,500), Tim Hardaway Jr. ($5,300), Patrick Williams ($5,100), Dorian Finney-Smith ($4,700), and Quentin Grimes ($4,600) are all locked into full-time roles, so mix and match them as needed in game stacks.

Oh, and don't forget Caris LeVert ($5,500) should Mitchell sit in Houston.


The highest-salaried big man today is Julius Randle ($10,000), so we're not quite at the same level of opportunity cost at center as usual.

As noted on Tuesday, Randle should continue to benefit from Robinson's absence, but Boston, allowing the sixth-fewest FanDuel points to opposing centers, is a tough draw. I'll likely start spending with Nikola Vucevic ($8,400), who is the key priority on this slate for yours truly.

The Hornets have allowed the most FanDuel points per game to opposing centers, and Vucevic has tallied at least 40 FanDuel points in four straight. He's excellent.

Returning from a four-game leave, I can say the same about Deandre Ayton ($7,500) against the same weak Mavs defense as CP3. As usual, the pair stack well given their pick-and-roll connection. Dwight Powell ($4,300) remains a pretty solid option on the other side if Christian Wood sits again.

It's time to hop off Alperen Sengun's train. Sengun averages 47.2 FanDuel points per 36 with Jabari Smith ($5,700) off the floor, but the rookie returned to 29 minutes last night. His mark is still fine with Smith on the floor (43.2), but the problem is his minutes haven't been all that consistent when Smith is an option.

On the other side of that one, Evan Mobley ($7,000) would see a bump if Mitchell sits. Mobley sees an uptick of 3.66 FanDuel points per 36 with Spida off the floor.

There's not a ton of opportunity to reasonably save salary here beyond Powell. Of bigs below $6,000, only Robert Williams ($5,700) and Al Horford ($5,500) are projecting a value score north of 4.70 in our model at present, but you'll have to choose which of those two ends up getting the better opportunity to play.