FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Thursday 3/16/23
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
Per today's injury report, we're not sure yet if the Indiana Pacers are going to try or not on Thursday.
Tyrese Haliburton (knee) is the headliner listed as questionable tonight in Milwaukee, but Myles Turner (back), Buddy Hield (foot), and T.J. McConnell (back) are also questionable. Bennedict Mathurin (ankle) and Chris Duarte (ankle) have already been ruled out. The Bucks also have Brook Lopez (ankle) listed as questionable, and Grayson Allen (foot) is out.
The Pistons' injury circus rolls on, too. In addition to the long-term absences, Alec Burks (foot), Marvin Bagley III (ankle), and Isaiah Livers (hip) have already been ruled out for Thursday's game against Denver. Jaden Ivey (COVID-19 protocols) appears to have a chance to return.
Sacramento is the one team on the five-game slate on a back-to-back, so we're still waiting for their report, but they didn't have any major injury news yesterday. They're in Brooklyn tonight.
Finally, Gary Harris (hip) is questionable for Orlando's game in Phoenix.
As you'd expect on a short slate, choices are a bit limited, but the upper-mid-range isn't bad. Our projections love Chris Paul ($8,300), but I'd rather have Jamal Murray ($8,200) and Jrue Holiday ($8,100).
Murray's role is actually sublime right now as teams are trapping Nikola Jokic ($12,200). He has held a team-best 27.3% usage rate in March but has struggled with just 37.7% shooting in that time. He's a 44.6% shooter for the season, so it'll turn around soon, and Detroit -- allowing the second-most FanDuel points per game to point guards -- is a great candidate.
Holiday comes with a condition, which is that some of these Pacers injuries need to play, or Milwaukee likely blows Indiana off the floor as a 13.5-point favorite. Averaging 41.4 FanDuel points per 36 this year, he's just a standard, low-salaried plug.
Jaden Ivey ($6,900) would be a helpful bring-back to Murray if he can suit up. We don't really with Ivey and all of these other pieces missing, but his usage rate is 30.1% with just Burks, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Hamidou Diallo off the floor, so he'll get plenty of shots if he can go.
Value is thin everywhere with most of the Pacers and Pistons' key injuries accounted for by salary, but Cole Anthony ($5,700), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ($5,300), and Rodney McGruder ($5,100) have fine projections.
The blowout concern is just too prevalent to slot in Giannis Antetokounmpo today.
The best environments are also likely elsewhere and best encapsulated at the wing spots, including the Kings-Nets clash with a 238.0-point total. Mikal Bridges ($8,500) has an absurdly low salary for a guy who has scored 30-plus real-life points in five of his last seven games, and Cameron Johnson ($6,300) and Harrison Barnes ($5,300) are projecting well as value plugs there.
Michael Porter Jr. ($6,100) is another high-upside plug in a get-right spot for Denver -- especially considering he's eclipsed 23 real-life points in four of his last six. He just needs a little luck on the boards to pay off handsomely. Eugene Omoruyi ($5,000) continues to see healthy minutes on the other side for Detroit.
Phoenix is trying to tread water without Kevin Durant, and they're utilizing Josh Okogie ($5,100) to do so. His 35 minutes, for the salary, are pretty much unmatched on the slate as a value play.
Our projections also don't mind Luguentz Dort ($5,800), Dorian Finney-Smith ($5,800), Torrey Craig ($4,400), and Pat Connaughton ($4,200) as salary-savers.
I mentioned blowout concerns with Giannis, but I don't have them with the aforementioned Nikola Jokic.
Denver's -3.6 net rating on the road is a bottom-10 mark in the league, and they've dropped four straight. I think they play a close affair in Detroit, which would bring Jokic and Aaron Gordon ($6,700) into play, too. There really isn't a bad Denver starting option if this game stays tight considering the Pistons' 117.2 defensive rating (third-worst in the NBA).
Nothing on this slate seems safe, so Domantas Sabonis ($10,200) isn't a bad call. The stat-stuffer has amassed this superb floor with at least 48 FanDuel points in seven of his last eight as the Kings ramp up his minutes.
Pascal Siakam ($8,400) is also an intriguing look against a Thunder squad allowing the eighth-most points and most rebounds to opposing forwards. The salaries aren't forgiving in that really solid environment, but Siakam, Lu Dort, and Josh Giddey ($8,000) are manageable options to stack it.
The calm before the storm might have taken place last time out for Nic Claxton ($7,700). He bloomed to 38 minutes, but his day was hampered with just one total stock (steals plus blocks). Claxton averages 4.06 stocks per 36 minutes, so he can quickly turn the FanDuel scoring around with some regression.
Notably, this positional group is much lighter on value than the other two. There's only one center or power forward with a value score above 4.00 (5.00 is the goal) in our projections, and that's Sacramento's Trey Lyles ($5,100). I wouldn't target him personally, so we'll need coin here today.