FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Monday 2/27/23
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
Tonight's best game might be played a bit tighter than usual with the absence of a key star.
Per the official injury report, Jaylen Brown (personal) won't play for the Celtics tonight in New York. The Knicks are at full strength, so that should be a good one.
While Miami is still down Kyle Lowry (knee), they could also be without Tyler Herro (ribs) in the backcourt tonight in Philadelphia. The home team is at full strength in this contest, too.
The best fantasy environment of the day might also produce the most injury-related value. The Hornets will host a banged-up Pistons squad likely down PJ Washington (foot). He's doubtful. Detroit's laundry list of injuries has Jaden Ivey (personal) and Jalen Duren (ankle) already ruled out, and Bojan Bogdanovic (Achilles) and Isaiah Stewart (hip) are questionable.
Finally, in addition to the ongoing absence of Zion Williamson, the Pelicans will be down Larry Nance Jr. (ankle) tonight against Orlando. The Magic's lone listing is Jonathan Isaac (hamstring), who is out for this one.
The best guard plays will emerge from groups, but deciding amongst them is likely where tournaments will be won and lost.
The first group, against the Pistons' awful defense (117.6 rating) is the Charlotte scoring duo of LaMelo Ball ($10,300) and Terry Rozier ($7,500). With PJ Washington off the floor this season, Ball is averaging 47.0 FanDuel points per 36 minutes, and Rozier sits at 37.7. Factoring in salary, Rozier is the superior play, but we know Ball's triple-double upside.
The second group is Boston's backcourt, which involves all of Derrick White ($6,900), Marcus Smart ($6,400), and Malcolm Brogdon ($6,300). The tricky part is White's salary is inflated due to hot 50.0% shooting. When looking at the FanDuel-point-per-36-minute averages with Brown off the floor, Brogdon (40.2) has the edge over White (37.9) and Smart (35.3), but the marks are excellent across the board.
Finally, we'll likely look at Detroit, too. Killian Hayes ($5,400) is safely locked into a 30-minute role with Ivey out, but Bogdanovic's potential absence could free up minutes and shots for Hamidou Diallo ($5,100) and Alec Burks ($5,000), as well. The minutes can be sporadic for Detroit, so the more players out, the safer these guys become.
C.J. McCollum ($7,700) is the only other guard over a 4.70 value score in our projections, so a bulk of the best plays should emerge from these units.
As I've mentioned previously, Jayson Tatum ($11,000) is much more appealing from a floor perspective than a ceiling one when J.B. sits.
His 35.5% usage rate is gigantic, so he's taking plenty of shots, but his average of 48.6 FanDuel points per 36 minutes with Brown off the floor is indicative of the offense's overall ceiling, and the Knicks' 112.7 defensive rating in February has been pretty solid. He's not a must despite being the clear top stud.
Brandon Ingram ($8,200) has eclipsed 40 FanDuel points in five of his past eight, so I won't say no given the Magic allow the sixth-most FanDuel points per game to small forwards. On the other side, the 27.5% usage rate of Paolo Banchero ($7,400) squashes Franz Wagner's 23.9% rate at salaries creeping together.
Gordon Hayward ($6,200) and Kelly Oubre ($6,100) both see rebounding upticks with Washington off the floor, and both should comfortably be in Charlotte's closing five. Oubre's scoring explosiveness (0.61 points per minute) is intriguing if he enters the starting five, and it could squash others' scoring upside, too.
RJ Barrett ($6,400), Josh Richardson ($6,200), and Herbert Jones ($5,300) are your other full-time wings at a positional group that's really projected poorly by our model today.
As mentioned on today's Covering the Spread, I couldn't be further away from rostering Joel Embiid on this four-game slate.
Personally, it's the easiest way to get different. Miami's an outlier matchup for big men, ceding the second-fewest points, fewest rebounds, and second-fewest assists per game. At a $12,000 salary with a 217.0-point total, I imagine he'll be popular without many places to spend, but I'd still rather turn to others.
Julius Randle ($9,500) is one spot. Randle's struggle for his whole career has been efficiency, but he's been unstoppable with 61.3% true shooting (TS) this month. Personally, I'll stack studs from Celtics-Knicks with Tatum, Randle, and Jalen Brunson ($8,400) in lieu of Embiid.
The pivot is a three-horse race today. Jonas Valanciunas ($6,100) logged 32 minutes in Larry Nance's absence last time out, and averaging 41.7 FanDuel points per 36 minutes, those who faded were luckily rewarded against the Knicks (25.0 FanDuel points). He's the clear top option for me.
You could also turn to Detroit. James Wiseman ($4,800) is the center-only option with Marvin Bagley III ($4,900) and Isaiah Livers ($4,200) filling out forward spots. All will be top options if Duren and Stewart are both confirmed out, but Isaiah Stewart ($5,700) would usurp all if he ends up playing. Livers may get time on the wing, though.
Charlotte's JT Thor ($3,600) figures to have an increased role as the guy who usually subs in for Washington directly, but Mark Williams ($6,600) is the third aforementioned horse at center. He's far likelier to play 32-plus minutes tonight and close the game with Washington gone. Averaging 45.2 FanDuel points per 36 this season, fading Williams with that the case doesn't sound fun.