FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Wednesday 3/8/23
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
For a Wednesday slate, tonight is light on games with just seven, and the injury report is pretty light, too.
The marquee injury news is with Oklahoma City, who ruled out Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to rest tonight in Phoenix before last night's game. Jalen Williams (wrist) is also out tonight as he was on Tuesday.
Jusuf Nurkic (calf) must be nearing a return for Portland given his questionable designation, but Anfernee Simons (ankle) is still out. The Blazers are in Boston, and the C's have just Payton Pritchard (heel) in doubt for tonight's game.
The Wizards got back Kyle Kuzma (knee) last night, so he could rest on the back-to-back, but as of now, only Monte Morris (back) -- who missed last night's contest -- is a definite question mark as they host Atlanta.
Reggie Bullock (quad) left Tuesday's game in Dallas and didn't return, so I'd peg him closer to doubtful for the Mavs tonight. JaVale McGee (ankle) also missed last night's game. The opposing Pelicans are just down their long-term absences of Zion Williamson, Larry Nance Jr., and Jose Alvarado.
With Simons still out, Damian Lillard ($11,200) is still viable on this slate as his salary inches upward.
Hopefully, the Celtics' defensive reputation keeps his popularity in check. Lillard's usage rate (39.0%) and rate of FanDuel points per 36 minutes (56.9) with Simons off the floor still work well at this mark. While Boston's been a good defense overall, they've actually allowed the sixth-most FanDuel points per game to opposing point guards over their last 15 contests.
Dejounte Murray ($8,500) is our projections' favorite stud at guard, and he's got the type of upside you'd hope for on this slate without value, eclipsing 45 FanDuel points in three of his past seven.
I'm out on the studs in Thunder-Suns with Phoenix just bludgeoning teams since the Kevin Durant deal, and OKC is down their two best scorers. Josh Giddey will likely be popular by default, but he just averages 40.4 FanDuel points per 36 with SGA and J-Dub off the floor. I'm not even really scared to fade him.
Josh Okogie ($4,700) and Isaiah Joe ($4,400) could still work as value plays from that one to either pay off in three quarters or get run in a blowout. Patrick Beverley ($5,100) is another appealing value piece; he's settled into a 30-minute role for the Bulls, and the Nuggets are allowing the fourth-most FanDuel points to floor generals over their last 15.
Fred VanVleet ($8,200), Derrick White ($5,700), and Josh Green ($4,300) are also performing pretty well in our projections.
Surprisingly, wing might be a better place to spend than guard, bucking the season-long trend in the other direction.
Jayson Tatum ($11,100) makes a lot more sense today with the hefty salary on Jaylen Brown from Brown's work in his stead. Returning from rest, Tatum will get to attack Portland's 117.0 defensive rating (fourth-worst in the NBA) as a primary scorer. He's dropped 40 points in two of his past three facing much stiffer defenses.
While I would love to target Kawhi Leonard against his former Raptors club, he took just 20 shots on Sunday compared to 23 for Paul George. Plus, Russell Westbrook is in the mix, too. All three of these guys are above their median salaries for the entire year, and the marks just don't properly encapsulate the wide range of outcomes in the Clippers' scoring hierarchy at present.
I'll sooner drop to the mid-range where Brandon Ingram ($8,300) could be the latest wing to torch Dallas' poor perimeter defense. The Mavs have allowed the eighth-most FanDuel points per game to small forwards in their last seven games.
Kyle Kuzma ($7,500) also returned to a full role if he gets to play back-to-back, and Zach LaVine ($8,100) has a ball-centric role at a modest mark. LaVine (29.7%) has really separated in usage rate from DeMar DeRozan (25.6%) since the start of February.
Value plays are a bit tough to come by today, but Jimmy Butler ($8,900), Cam Reddish ($5,600), Herbert Jones ($5,500), and Tim Hardaway Jr. ($5,200) are other full roles to consider here.
This is another tough slate to target Nikola Jokic. On top of the 8.5-point spread, the Bulls are allowing the eighth-fewest FanDuel points per game to centers over their last 15. Jokic's tough run of matchups and blowouts has held him under 60 FanDuel points in seven of his last nine, so while he's waiting to erupt, it might not be today.
Injuries aren't the only things that change roles. As Miami needs to win more, Bam Adebayo ($8,700) is playing more minutes. He's eclipsed 35 minutes in three straight, which is a positive trend for a guy averaging 42.7 FanDuel points per 36 in a vacuum. Cleveland, despite their reputation, is just an average defense for bigs over their last 15 games.
I could see tonight's game in L.A. as the turnaround spot for Pascal Siakam ($8,800). The Clippers have allowed the eighth-most paint points per game since February 1st, and the 230-point total on deck appears to be another up-and-down affair for them since acquiring Westbrook.
With no Zion or Nance, Jonas Valanciunas ($6,400) shines above all pivots in our projections. He returned to 40.9 FanDuel points in 31 minutes against Sacramento, but there is more risk of getting matched off the floor against a smaller Dallas squad. He'll either chew the Mavs' tiny interior up, or he'll not play.
Our projections fancy Al Horford ($5,700), Kevin Love ($4,700), Dario Saric ($4,000), and Ousmane Dieng ($3,900) as value plays in this area today. The latter two are interesting propositions from OKC with a blowout angle in Phoenix. As for Love, he's the type of point-per-minute upside we crave on a slate without core value, and he's in a revenge spot against the Cavs.