FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Monday 3/6/23
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
We've got a handful of injury report concerns on Monday's short slate.
Most notably, Donovan Mitchell (finger) might be forced to sit tonight's game out for the Cavaliers. They drew Boston tonight after the Celtics' double-overtime thriller last night, and we already know the C's are down Robert Williams (hamstring). Malcolm Brogdon (ankle) could sit as he did on Sunday.
De'Aaron Fox (hamstring) is questionable for Sacramento in tonight's nightcap where they'll host the Pelicans. New Orleans has Jonas Valanciunas (calf) listed as questionable to return to a lineup still missing Zion Williamson (hamstring), Larry Nance Jr. (ankle), Jose Alvarado (leg), and Josh Richardson (personal).
Anfernee Simons (ankle) and Jusuf Nurkic (calf) are likely closer to doubtful for Portland after missing another game on Sunday. They're in Detroit versus a Pistons squad missing Bojan Bogdanovic (Achilles), Jalen Duren (ankle), and Isaiah Stewart (hip). Killian Hayes (hand), Rodney McGruder (ankle), and James Wiseman (knee) are questionable. The tank is on.
Finally, the 76ers have Tobias Harris (calf) and P.J. Tucker (back) listed as questionable for Monday, and Indiana's Aaron Nesmith (hip) likely will have the same designation after missing Sunday's game.
**Editor's Note: Jayson Tatum of the Celtics was ruled out for Monday's game after this article was published. As always, stay updated with numberFire's projections throughout the afternoon for the best, most accurate slate advice.**
Damian Lillard ($10,800) just keeps filling it up with Simons and Nurkic off the floor.
He posted 41 points on Sunday, giving him at least 40 in three of the last five games for Portland. Detroit's bottom-three defensive rating (117.4) isn't the best candidate to slow him down, either.
The 234.0-point total in Indiana is the second-highest of the day, and we know James Harden ($10,300) and Tyrese Haliburton ($9,200) could have hands in that as alternatives to Lillard. Of course, Darius Garland ($8,900) is an option if Mitchell sits, but he's facing the Celtics' elite defense, and it sounds like Mitchell is preparing to go.
In the value range, Jaden Ivey ($6,100) and Alec Burks ($5,000) make sense opposite Lillard with the Blazers allowing the 11th-most FanDuel points per game to point guards. De'Anthony Melton ($4,600) could also be in line for a boost if either Tobi Harris or P.J. Tucker needs the night off.
Others gleaming through our projections include Dejounte Murray ($8,400), Fred VanVleet ($8,200), Derrick White ($5,700), and Gabe Vincent ($4,600), so we've got plenty of options at all salary ranges despite the short slate.
Things are falling into place well for Jimmy Butler ($8,800) tonight.
As the postseason nears, Butler has eclipsed 32 minutes in four of his last five, and this could be a great spot for his full role. He's posted 49.3 FanDuel points per 36 minutes with Kyle Lowry off the floor this year, and the Hawks are allowing the 10th-most FanDuel points to opposing small forwards.
Even though Jayson Tatum exploded against the Cavs last week, he and Jaylen Brown are still in a tough spot tonight. The 218.5-point total is woefully low, and Cleveland cedes the third-fewest FanDuel points per game to small forwards. Plus, Boston just played 58 minutes last night. That one sets up as an odd affair to handicap for DFS.
Perhaps the environment in Sactown will bring the "Dr.Jekyll" out of Brandon Ingram ($8,500) rather than his "Mr. Hyde". Ingram dropped at least 35 real-life points in Portland and Toronto last week but failed to eclipse 37 FanDuel points in the three games around them. His usage rate without Zion (32.8%) remains pretty spectacular for the salary.
Ingram's teammates, Herbert Jones ($5,400) and Trey Murphy III ($5,200), are two of the better value plays on the slate with their rotation thin at present. With full roles for Portland, Jerami Grant ($7,500) and Cam Reddish ($5,500) also fit that description against the Pistons' porous D.
As it seems it always goes on these short slates, we either get both Nikola Jokic ($12,000) and Joel Embiid ($11,800), or we get neither. One can't just shine alone.
Though popularity will mirror this, it's easy to prefer Embiid today. Jokic faces a Raptors squad ceding the third-fewest FanDuel points per game to centers, and the usual blowout concerns at home are real. Denver's a 6.5-point favorite, which might not be enough given an absurd +11.8 net rating at home in altitude.
Embiid draws a Pacers squad allowing the sixth-most FanDuel points per game to centers, and the mirrored 6.5-point spread at least comes on the road for Philadelphia.
Behind them, Domantas Sabonis ($9,700) can always work in the forward spot with a game total as high as it is (237.0), and the stat-stuffer has stabilized his floor with at least 48 FanDuel points in three straight. The Kings are an all-offense track meet every time they play, and he benefits if Fox sits. The same could be said for Harrison Barnes ($6,000) and Keegan Murray ($5,900).
If Jonas Valanciunas ($6,200) returns, he'd likely be on a restriction, so I see the pivot as a huge expense today whether it be Jokic, Embiid, Sabonis, or Bam Adebayo ($8,700) in a favorable matchup.
We can grab value at forward, though. Marvin Bagley III ($6,200) could be in for a start and as many minutes as possible if Wiseman sits, and John Collins ($5,000) has a shot at a decent role if he still starts for Atlanta. Collins' playing time is trending in the wrong direction, but he's also played poorly. A hot start could earn him 30-plus minutes once again.
Miami's Kevin Love ($4,900) is the only other forward or center projected above a 5.00 value score on this slate.