FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Friday 2/3/23

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
Sacramento Indiana 235.5 119.0 116.5 9 3
Charlotte Detroit 241.5 120.3 121.3 8 11
Portland Washington 236.5 116.3 120.3 23 18
Phoenix Boston 222 106.3 115.8 21 19
Orlando Minnesota 229 112.3 116.8 17 5
Toronto Houston 225 116.5 108.5 25 15
Philadelphia San Antonio 233.5 121.8 111.8 23 7
Atlanta Utah 240.5 119.8 120.8 10 12

De'Aaron Fox was snubbed as an All-Star and, per the official injury report, is out tonight in Indiana. He's expecting the birth of his first child, so the double narrative game when he returns should be sick.

We'll also see if the Pacers rest anyone -- namely Tyrese Haliburton, who just returned from injury -- on the back-to-back.

From there, our "forever questionables" are back, but there's a bit more drama than usual. Joel Embiid (foot) could realistically sit for Philadelphia tonight given they're taking on the lowly Spurs, and Rudy Gobert (groin) actually did miss Wednesday's game versus Golden State.

Opposite Embiid, San Antonio is still dealing with some of the injuries that torched Wednesday's slate. Jeremy Sochan (back) left early and didn't return; he's already ruled out tonight. Tre Jones (foot) is doubtful for this one after leaving early himself. Romeo Langford (hip) is out, too.

The Blazers will be without big man Jusuf Nurkic (calf) in the middle tonight. Jerami Grant (concussion) is also at risk of being unable to suit up.

Jabari Smith left Wednesday's game with a hip issue, but he's not even listed tonight. The Rockets will be hosting Toronto, and they're still down both Kevin Porter Jr. (foot) and Jalen Green (calf).

Charlotte is at relatively full strength but could rest guys on the back-to-back. They're in Detroit to battle a Pistons squad without Cory Joseph (back).


Guard sets up with an effortless stars-and-scrubs approach today.

Damian Lillard ($10,200) is an obvious starting point, seeing upticks in both usage rate (6.7 percentage points) and production (+6.57 FanDuel points per 36 minutes) with Grant and Nurkic off the floor. Anfernee Simons ($6,400) sees similar bumps.

Behind them is a quartet around the $9,000 mark who all could explode. James Harden ($9,300) might be down Embiid taking on San Antonio's league-worst defensive rating (120.1), and LaMelo Ball ($9,100), Tyrese Haliburton ($9,100), and Fred VanVleet ($8,800) all face bottom-10 defensive ratings with usage rates currently north of 30.0%, too.

The other aspect of that approach is the value, and it's solid today. In the only full game without Fox this year, Sacramento started Davion Mitchell ($3,800), and Mitchell logged 33 minutes. He's the obvious choice, but Kevin Huerter ($5,500) and Malik Monk ($5,300) should also benefit.

Then, with Portland, Gary Payton II ($3,700) should see a full role if Nurkic and Grant both sit. He logged 29 minutes with the pair leaving early last time out, and his defensive upside (2.29 blocks plus steals per 36) is monstrous.

Alec Burks ($5,000) and Daishen Nix ($4,300) also logged 30-plus minutes their last time out and are grading out well in our projections, joined by D'Angelo Russell ($7,200) and Jordan Clarkson ($6,600) in the mid-range.


The best basketball game of the day is Phoenix-Boston, but with no injury news and a slate-low 222.0-point total, it'll be hard to talk about here.

Jayson Tatum has an uncomfortably high salary for that environment, but I don't mind Jaylen Brown ($8,500) at his lower mark for a nearly identical offensive role. It'll really start below him, though.

We're down to just four consistent Raptors starters, and Scottie Barnes ($8,200) and Gary Trent Jr. ($6,300) are two of them. You can do a lot worse in their salary ranges than nearly 40 minutes versus the porous Houston D.

There's some sticker shock with Keldon Johnson ($7,500), but he's absolutely worth it if Jones and Sochan sit. With those two (and Devin Vassell) off the floor, he averages 44.7 FanDuel points per 36 minutes on a massive 32.5% usage rate.

Josh Richardson ($5,500) and Malaki Branham ($4,400) got the additional run without Jones and Sochan on Wednesday, but that could easily be Stanley Johnson ($4,300) and Doug McDermott ($4,000) today. Outside of Branham clearly at point guard, the juice might not be worth the squeeze with other values on the slate.

With Fox out, Harrison Barnes ($5,700) and Keegan Murray ($5,400) are crowding the top of our projections in a great environment versus the Pacers. Others around them include Tobias Harris ($6,300), Josh Hart ($5,800), and Jalen McDaniels ($5,000).


If Joel Embiid ($11,500) plays, I can get there quickly. The Spurs allow the fifth-most FanDuel points to opposing centers, and he's the lone marquee can't-miss star on the slate.

There are also really only two other competing priorities at center on the slate. Jakob Poeltl ($6,400), opposite Embiid, is one of them. Out of necessity, Poeltl logged 29 minutes on Wednesday, and that's been the issue for him -- not his production (43.1 FanDuel points per 36).

The other is Alperen Sengun ($8,400), but we saw Sengun dud with Jabari Smith alongside him on Wednesday, and the Raptors are a brutal matchup, allowing the third-fewest FanDuel points per game to opposing centers. I'd rather turn to Pascal Siakam ($9,200) on the other side.

Of course, I've buried the lede talking center first. Domantas Sabonis ($9,900), in a revenge spot versus his former club, should detonate this slate. He's seen a 1.6-percentage-point increase in usage rate with Fox off the floor this year.

Drew Eubanks ($4,600) and Trendon Watford ($3,600) saw additional work for Portland with their frontcourt injuries on Wednesday. The former should be popular and start, but his extremely low usage rate (10.9%) doesn't make him a lock-button option.

Of the normal value options, John Collins ($5,600) has seen his salary slide through an odd stretch of blowouts. I love his chances for a splash game in Utah. Al Horford ($5,300) and Keita Bates-Diop ($5,200) are also projecting well, but one of the top options is actually Jerami Grant ($6,700) if he can indeed find a way to play tonight.