FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Wednesday 2/8/23
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
Even though he's questionable on today's injury report, Joel Embiid (foot) has played 12 of the last 13 through his injury, and I don't expect that to change in a marquee matchup with Boston. Jaylen Brown (illness) and Robert Williams (knee) are probable for the C's.
Though he fought a "calf injury" at the end of his Brooklyn tenure, Kyrie Irving appears set to make his Mavericks debut tonight against the full-strength Clippers in L.A. Of course, Dallas is still down Luka Doncic (heel) for this one.
Cleveland's star guards were a surprise addition to the report on Wednesday morning. Donovan Mitchell (groin) and Darius Garland (thumb) have cast a cloud of doubt over the slate.
The Wizards are watching Kyle Kuzma (ankle) and Bradley Beal (foot) to see if either return tonight against Charlotte. They're officially questionable.
San Antonio's trio of questionables will remain that way as they head north of the border. Keldon Johnson (ankle), Tre Jones (foot), and Jeremy Sochan (back) are all uncertain for the Spurs in Toronto, but Johnson did play the last game. OG Anunoby (wrist) remains out for the Raps.
Kyle Anderson (back) missed last night's game for the Timberwolves and is questionable tonight in Utah. The Jazz also have Jarred Vanderbilt listed as questionable with a back issue.
The Heat will still be without Kyle Lowry (knee) and Victor Oladipo (ankle) on Wednesday when they host Indiana. Chris Duarte (ankle) is in doubt for the Pacers.
Outside of Cleveland, injury news is fairly quiet for a nine-game slate. Let's hope it stays that way. It is just Minnesota on a back-to-back
The margin for error for Damian Lillard ($10,000) is so small that a slow first quarter by him led to a blowout loss to Milwaukee on Monday. He still dropped 28 points in 31 minutes. The 2.5-point spread indicates the margin for error should be wider today against a Golden State squad missing Stephen Curry. He's the clear top guard on the slate.
The next stop down, I believe, is James Harden ($9,300) in a tough matchup with Boston. Harden and Indiana's Tyrese Haliburton ($8,800) stand out despite the matchups.
Harden (46.1 FanDuel points per 36 minutes) and Haliburton (47.2) have been playing below their season-long production rates lately, but both Philadelphia and Indiana have better matchups in the backcourt than they do in the frontcourt (in terms of limiting FanDuel points per game).
Value clearly starts with Gabe Vincent ($4,200) today. He logged 34 minutes in a tight affair with Lowry out against Milwaukee on Saturday. However, Josh Green ($5,000) exploded out of a full-time role last game for Dallas and should still have one with Kyrie in the fold. If Cleveland's backcourt sits, we've pretty much got to lock in Ricky Rubio ($4,700), too.
Vincent and Green spearhead our projections as of this morning, but Terry Rozier ($7,300), Jalen Green ($6,900), and Jordan Clarkson ($6,500) are others receiving votes. Given Devin Vassell remains out, Tre Jones ($5,600) would be an excellent value plug if he can suit up.
We'll see if the Timberwolves can manage to stay within 30 tonight.
I'm not complaining since last night's stinker dropped Anthony Edwards ($9,100) to a reasonable salary -- and rested him -- for a fantasy-friendly showdown in Utah. The 236.5-point total is the highest of the day, and Edwards has cleared 44 FanDuel points in 7 of his last 10 games as is.
We can also toss in Lauri Markkanen ($8,500) from that game, but Jimmy Butler ($8,800) is my preferred target over both. His 49.1 FanDuel points on Saturday came as no surprise when he's seen an uptick of 6.19 FanDuel points per 36 with Lowry off the floor this season. He also pairs well with Haliburton.
Alternatives in this upper-mid-range are our usuals. Until the salary gap changes, I'll always recommend Jaylen Brown ($8,600) and Paul George ($8,400) over Jayson Tatum and Kawhi Leonard when the relative usage rates of the star duos are always within a percentage point.
In a friendly matchup with the Spurs, Toronto's Scottie Barnes ($7,700) and Gary Trent Jr. ($6,000) are well below their January median salaries, and Keldon Johnson ($7,100) has declined a bit in salary if he suits up on the other side.
I don't think Anderson returns for the T-Wolves this quickly, so Taurean Prince ($4,200) would become the pristine value play if Anderson is out again. Our projections also shine favorably on the full-time roles of Andrew Wiggins ($6,300), Harrison Barnes ($5,800), Gordon Hayward ($5,200), and Miami's Caleb Martin ($4,800).
We've got to throw in Caris LeVert ($5,100), too, if either of Cleveland's star duo sits.
Without notable changes in usage, Domantas Sabonis ($9,500) and Pascal Siakam ($8,600) are similar tricky cases on this slate.
Sabonis has eclipsed 45 FanDuel points in only two of his past nine, and Siakam has slid from a five-digit salary to this mark after having not eclipsed 40 FanDuel points in six straight. Both are projecting nicely because they're well below their median salaries and had higher usage rates than their season-long marks in January, but they continue to fail in elite matchups.
To me, this slate starts with Kristaps Porzingis ($9,000) at the top as long as just one of his teammates sits. He averages at least 46.8 FanDuel points per game so long as one of Kuz or Beal is off the court. Porzingis also gets to face a Hornets squad allowing the most FanDuel points per game to centers.
Bam Adebayo ($8,700) posted eight assists with Lowry out on Saturday, and he'll carry those extra playmaking chances into a friendly matchup with the Pacers. Of course, Evan Mobley ($7,900) and Jarrett Allen ($7,400) would also see more looks if their backcourt sits in Cleveland against the lowly Pistons.
It's a great slate to spend at big, but we have value options, too. Al Horford ($4,900) has historically had success against Joel Embiid, which at least should lock him into a solid role at his tiny salary. Kelly Olynyk ($4,900) has a sizable role in that Minnesota-Utah game, and Drew Eubanks ($4,600) appears to have carved out a decent load of minutes in Jusuf Nurkic's stead.
Others projecting well include Jerami Grant ($6,600) and Jabari Smith ($5,500), but I'd also watch Rudy Gobert on the back-to-back. If he sits, Naz Reid ($5,500) immediately becomes the priority at the pivot today.