FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Thursday 3/2/23
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
|LA Clippers||Golden State||232||117.8||114.3||20||1|
Presumably, Joel Embiid (foot) will return tonight on the second leg of Philadelphia's back-to-back in Dallas. Embiid was marked out on yesterday's official injury report, but given it's the left foot he's dealt with all season, it appears to be a maintenance day.
The injury drama on this slate is in San Antonio. The visiting Pacers have Tyrese Haliburton (calf) listed as questionable to play, and the Spurs have Keldon Johnson (foot), Tre Jones (foot), and Malaki Branham (hip) listed as questionable. Notably, they'll likely get back Devin Vassell (knee) for this one given his probable status.
Monte Morris (back) is now out for a third straight game in Washington tonight. He's also now closer to week-to-week. The Wizards host the fully healthy Raptors on this slate.
The Warriors are also still missing Stephen Curry (leg) and Andrew Wiggins (personal) for their data with the Clippers, whose report is blank.
We know Pacers-Spurs will be high-flying, defense-optional fun. However, that game is significantly lacking star power if Tyrese Haliburton ($9,200) can't go.
As a result, you have to guess the next-best spot for studs, and I'd wager on Dallas. The Mavs have been a shootout machine since acquiring Kyrie Irving ($9,600) with a 121.2 offensive rating and 117.7 defensive rating. That's good news with Irving, Luka Doncic ($12,000), and James Harden ($10,300) under that same roof.
Harden's floor is likely the best. He's posted 44-plus FanDuel points in nine straight with Embiid active. Doncic has eclipsed 60 FanDuel points just twice since acquiring Irving, so he's a bit of a tougher sell. There's upside from a Dallas guard here; it's just hard to make a definitive claim about who will realize it.
We'll turn to value beyond them. The shootout mentioned above spot will be a hub for it if Haliburton sits, vaulting T.J. McConnell ($4,700), Andrew Nembhard ($4,300), and Chris Duarte ($4,000) into consideration. McConnell's draft percentage would be astronomical given an average of 38.9 FanDuel points per 36 minutes with Tyrese off the floor.
I'd prefer Haliburton plays, which eliminates the obvious chalk and would leave the full-time roles of Delon Wright ($5,000) and De'Anthony Melton ($4,700) as our two reliable value plays. Melton logged 31 minutes in Philadelphia's last game with Embiid.
This is another place you could choose your core of stars.
The 232.0-point total in San Francisco is the next-best of the day outside of San Antonio, and Kawhi Leonard ($10,000), Paul George ($9,000), and Klay Thompson ($8,300) could be the foundation of stacking that game. I prefer Dallas because the usage rates of Leonard (26.4%), George (28.4%), and Thompson (28.8%) in their relevant, current floor conditions aren't exactly concentrated for the tags.
Even with Kristaps Porzingis ($9,100) returning, Kyle Kuzma ($7,700) is projecting well and could work for a one-off pop game on this small slate. He averages 36.8 FanDuel points per 36 with the Wizards' big three at full strength. The Raptors have been a total fantasy dud since acquiring Jakob Poeltl, but OG Anunoby ($6,600) is still below his median salary with a full role there.
Buddy Hield ($5,900) and Bennedict Mathurin ($5,200) are projecting well now, so they could be slam-dunk plays if Haliburton sits for Indiana. I'd also throw in Aaron Nesmith ($5,100) as another name who could benefit.
On the other side, the Spurs are a mess. Devin Vassell ($6,700) returning in a limited, bench role hurts just about all involved. Keldon Johnson ($7,300) playing with other key teammates sitting might be the lone spot to consider, but he's no bargain at that salary.
Back with the Warriors, Jonathan Kuminga ($4,500) and Anthony Lamb ($4,100) eclipsed 25 minutes with this same rotation on Tuesday, so they'd join Hield and Mathurin as an underwhelming value core at wing if Haliburton does end up playing.
It's pretty simple to lock in Joel Embiid ($11,800) on this slate and not look back.
In February, Dallas allowed the most paint points per game (59.5) in the NBA. They shipped off two of their better perimeter defenders for Irving, exacerbating their season-long struggle with interior size. If this game shoots out like I believe it can, Embiid's stat line could be monstrous.
The aforementioned Porzingis is also viable with Washington at full capacity. He averages 46.2 FanDuel points per 36 in that floor condition, but Toronto is allowing the third-fewest FanDuel points to centers. I'd heavily prefer a roster constructed around Embiid at the top.
With at least 32 minutes in Indiana's last three close games, Myles Turner ($8,600) has shed his lone concern. He averages 44.4 FanDuel points per 36 minutes; the minutes have just been the issue. He's got a great matchup with San Antonio (second-most FanDuel points per game to centers), and he'd be the lowest-drafted Pacers starter by a mile if Haliburton sits.
Draymond Green ($7,400), Zach Collins ($6,700), and Tobias Harris ($6,000) might be the last three pieces to consider here. This is a weak positional group that isn't significantly impacted by Haliburton, so it'll stay that way. That's another reason locking Embiid into one of the three spots is so appealing.
Despite per-minute production and projections, Jakob Poeltl and Ivica Zubac are tough cases to make in part-time roles without either having a salary below $6,000. If we're going to spend, it should be on a stud with upside.