FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Wednesday 12/15/21

If you're new to daily fantasy basketball -- maybe you started your DFS journey during the MLB or NFL seasons, or maybe basketball is your sport and this will be your first year giving it a shot -- you're in for a treat. The NBA scene changes on a week-to-week, day-to-day, and -- depending on injury news -- even a minute-to-minute basis, making every slate a unique one that requires an ever-changing approach.

With so much changing so quickly, we're here with plenty of tools to help you out. We have daily projections, a matchup heat map, a lineup optimizer, and a bunch of other great resources to help give you an edge.

Daily fantasy basketball is very reliant on a player's opportunity, so you'll need to make sure 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.

We'll also be coming at you with this primer every day, 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

Away Home Game
Atlanta Orlando 223 115.5 107.5 18 9
Miami Philadelphia 205.5 100 105.5 27 29
Houston Cleveland 215.5 103.25 112.25 1 19
LA Lakers Dallas 214 106.5 107.5 2 30
New Orleans Oklahoma City 211.5 107.25 104.25 19 15
Indiana Milwaukee 217 108.25 108.75 22 8
Charlotte San Antonio 227.5 112.25 115.25 4 6
Minnesota Denver 220 108 112 5 28
Washington Sacramento 225 113 112 25 3
LA Clippers Utah 216.5 103.75 112.75 12 16
Memphis Portland 219.5 110.5 109 11 26

It is such a terrible feeling knowing that this helper is so fluid compared to when we reach the finish line at 7 p.m. Eastern.

The league is dramatically impacted by COVID-19 at the moment, but thankfully, there is just one team drastically affected playing Wednesday -- the Milwaukee Bucks. Both Giannis Antetokounmpo and Donte DiVincenzo are out Wednesday inside the COVID-19 protocols, and Milwaukee will likely be missing Khris Middleton (hyperextended knee), as well.

Elsewhere in pre-lock buffoonery, Joel Embiid was ruled out well after lock and seconds before Philadelphia's game Monday with a rib injury. He's questionable Wednesday. On the other side of that game, Tyler Herro is questionable with a quad injury for Miami.

Anthony Davis is questionable with a knee injury for the Lakers. He did miss Sunday's game against Orlando, so his status is truly uncertain. They've already ruled out Malik Monk, Talen Horton-Tucker, and Dwight Howard (COVID-19 protocols).

The Clippers are playing well, so the personal inclination is they will sit Paul George for a fourth straight game. He's officially listed as questionable with his elbow injury.

Christian Wood is listed as questionable for the Rockets with a knee injury. They've already ruled out Eric Gordon with a groin injury, as well.

Speaking of bad teams getting worse, Oklahoma City's Luguentz Dort hurt his ankle on Sunday against Dallas, and he's already listed out for tonight.


Dejounte Murray ($9,300): Even with Derrick White heating up, the salary reduction to Murray is worth taking the best overall role on the Spurs. Even in just the past two weeks, Murray leads San Antonio in both usage rate (25.6%) and FanDuel points per minute (1.26). They run into a Charlotte defense that currently, amidst COVID issues, is one of the worst I've ever seen in the NBA. Their 122.5 defensive rating in their last 10 games -- dead last by a mile -- certainly supports that statement.

Jalen Brunson ($6,200): A three-quarter blowout of that pathetic Charlotte defense has the Mavericks' salaries largely unadjusted despite the continued absence of Luka Doncic. Brunson's role -- now starting -- is just too solid when Doncic sits. He's averaging 1.03 FanDuel points per minute this season in those floor situations, and that should only increase with Tim Hardaway Jr. largely now running the second unit instead of sharing the court with Brunson.

Grayson Allen ($4,000): Allen is one of numberFire's top values of the day, and amidst the COVID concerns and Middleton's injury, he has a path to court time. While many likely place Allen in "lock button" territory, he is less productive (-0.11 FanDuel points per minute) in floor situations where Giannis is not playing. Still, he'll have an easy path to 35 minutes, and, shooting 41.4% from three-point territory this year, he could find the perfect lineup on Wednesday if he gets hot from deep.

Others to Consider:
Bradley Beal ($8,200): As Spencer Dinwiddie loses court time, I expect Beal to return closer to a version of himself from last year. I'll buy low here.
Jrue Holiday ($8,000): Certainly a core play amidst the Bucks' issues. Hit 40 FanDuel points with no rebounds on Monday.
Josh Giddey ($5,800): With Dort out, Giddey took 14 shots on Sunday. A more aggressive offensive role can help him stuff the stat sheet.
D.J. Augustin ($4,400): This may be David Nwaba instead of Augustin, but watch the Houston starting lineup for value from whoever replaces Eric Gordon.


LeBron James ($11,200): A.D. is a true question mark to play, and that would just boost LeBron's floor at this salary. He's also just been insane with or without Davis since returning from injury. In that period, James has a 30.4% usage rate and a more-than-serviceable 1.32 FanDuel points per minute. The salary has crept up to the concerning zone, but with Giannis and Paul George potentially both out, there's just nowhere more sensible to turn at the top of the "wing" player pool.

Jae'Sean Tate ($6,300): Last time the Rockets played a substantial period without Christian Wood, Tate dropped in 32 points, 10 boards, and 7 assists in 35 minutes. While the 70-burger on FanDuel isn't exactly likely, Tate is just a productive player that needs consistent minutes; he's averaging 0.95 FanDuel points per minute buried pretty deep in the pecking order. His salary has returned to a more normal level, so I'll definitely have him in my core if Wood sits on Wednesday.

Darius Bazley ($5,900): In the same vein as Tate, Bazley may just have a more regular path to playing time with Lu Dort sidelined. Bazley has already seen 30-plus minutes in two of his last three games, and he's dropped at least 27 FanDuel points four games in a row. The pace isn't phenomenal in their matchup with New Orleans, but two bottom-11 teams in defensive rating can definitely provide some open looks and big nights to some of the marquee players involved.

Others to Consider:
Anthony Edwards ($7,200): Very similar to Beal where his salary has dropped so low that he could eclipse value from just real-life points. Begrudgingly interested here.
Norman Powell ($5,700): The ceiling isn't great since he shot well and saw overtime Tuesday to just hit 33 FanDuel points. The floor with his heavy minutes is outstanding, though.
Kevin Huerter ($4,700): Huerter is lulling us to sleep with back-to-back duds. With five games over 29 FanDuel points, the pop game will return soon in a full-time role.
Rodney Hood ($3,900): He may be slept on, but a player who may find plenty of usage tonight with the Bucks' woes. Salary is low enough to risk the low point-per-minute potential.


Nikola Jokic ($11,500): I'm not sure even the pre-Jrue Holiday version of Giannis was as consistently productive as "The Joker" has been this season. Without Michael Porter Jr. -- a stretch approaching two months long now -- Jokic is still averaging 1.84 FanDuel points per minute. He's posted back-to-back 70-FanDuel-point games. Entering a beatable matchup with Minnesota, the floor is just rock solid with enough value to squeeze it in. The lone drawback is he does eat into the amazing value at center tonight.

Kristaps Porzingis ($8,700): It is fair to say Porzingis' 54.6 FanDuel points in three quarters was an ode to the horrible Charlotte defense. Still, he doesn't need anywhere close to that per-minute production to pay off this (relatively unchanged) salary. Without Luka this season, Porzingis is averaging team-best marks in both usage rate (29.5%) and FanDuel points per minute (1.38). His peripherals in this floor situation still provide major value at this salary -- even with what is sure to be boosted popularity from Monday's outing.

Jusuf Nurkic ($5,900): Jusuf Nurkic -- per minute -- is one of the best fantasy centers in basketball. He just rarely gets the minutes to prove it. With C.J. McCollum and Cody Zeller out for Portland, he finally has. Nurkic played 38 minutes last night against Phoenix and, amidst some shooting struggles, still dropped in 42.1 FanDuel points. He averages 1.26 FanDuel points per minute this season, so in a full-time role, he's the best single value on the slate. The only issue is that he shares the same position with Jokic.

Others to Consider:
Bobby Portis ($7,700): Only 27 minutes with Middleton leaving early on Monday is terrifying, but conceptually, he should fill into plenty of Giannis' role -- especially on the glass.
Evan Mobley ($7,300): Well-projected by numberFire in a pace-up spot with Houston, and that matters. We know the ceiling is there if the median expectation is solid.
Jaren Jackson Jr. ($6,400): May or may not play with a knee issue but still averaging 1.31 FanDuel points per minute without Ja Morant.
DeAndre Jordan ($4,000): Minutes floor is so low that I may just only use Nurkic/Jokic at the pivot, but he should see court time if Davis is ruled out again. Howard is already out.