FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Friday 1/7/22

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
San Antonio Philadelphia 217 105 112 4 26
Milwaukee Brooklyn 229 112.25 116.75 8 6
Utah Toronto 220 104.5 115.5 9 21
Minnesota Oklahoma City 216 110.75 105.25 7 13
Dallas Houston 215.5 109.25 106.25 29 3
Washington Chicago 224 109 115 23 10
Sacramento Denver 225.5 108.75 116.75 5 24
Cleveland Portland 214.5 110 104.5 18 16
Atlanta LA Lakers 227 112 115 18 2

COVID-19 Protocol Update
Due to the advanced number of players in COVID-19 protocols, I want to provide just a manual list of those players moving forward and then discuss the other injury news separately. Only players that significantly impact the slate are listed:

Player Team Status
Kristaps PorzingisDallasUnknown
Jrue HolidayMilwaukeeOut
Rudy GobertUtahOut
John CollinsAtlantaQuestionable
Derrick WhiteSan AntonioOut
Tyrese MaxeyPhiladelphiaUnknown
Richaun HolmesSacramentoUnknown
Keldon JohnsonSan AntonioOut
Cedi OsmanClevelandQuestionable
Montrezl HarrellWashingtonQuestionable
Jeff GreenDenverUnknown
Devin VassellSan AntonioOut
Lonnie WalkerSan AntonioQuestionable
Doug McDermottSan AntonioOut
Joe InglesUtahOut

Since Rudy Gobert and Joe Ingles have tested positive for COVID-19 as mentioned above, many key Jazz pieces are out or questionable Friday in fear of them testing positive while in Canada. They would be at risk of being kept in the country until they test negative. Therefore, Donovan Mitchell, Mike Conley, and Bojan Bogdanovic have already been ruled out with lingering injuries they did have. Royce O'Neale, Hassan Whiteside, Rudy Gay, and Jordan Clarkson are traveling with the team, but they're also listed questionable with injuries. It's the situation to monitor of the day.

The biggest injury news is in Dallas. Luka Doncic is doubtful with an ankle injury, and that's especially punitive with Kristaps Porzingis in COVID-19 protocols, as well.

Trae Young missed the Hawks' late-night game on Wednesday with a strained back, and another looms against the Los Angeles Lakers tonight. It's a national television game, which doesn't hurt the odds that Young plays.

The Blazers will be without Larry Nance Jr. tonight after Nance injured his knee Wednesday.

Finally, Danny Green is questionable for Philadelphia with a calf injury.


Dejounte Murray ($10,400): There really have only been two things to stop Murray historically -- irregular minutes and the usage siphoning that comes from Derrick White. Neither will be an issue with White and several other Spurs in COVID-19 protocols entering Friday. Murray averages 1.34 FanDuel points this season with both White and Keldon Johnson off the floor, so the green light is flashing despite a less-than-desirable matchup against the slow-paced 76ers.

Jalen Brunson ($5,300): Not many of us saw Luka sitting after a solid performance in the Mavs' win over Golden State -- and neither did FanDuel. Brunson was left at his bench-role salary despite the common knowledge of how much better his production gets when Luka sits. He enjoys a 28.6% usage rate without Doncic and Porzingis on the floor this season that's turned into 1.03 FanDuel points per minute. That's more than enough in this space, and it's reliable above all else.

Jordan Clarkson ($5,200): Clarkson is often hidden behind Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley, but if he does indeed suit up through his injury, he should be the feature piece of the Jazz offense. Clarkson has an insane 35.7% usage rate with both guards off the floor this season, and he's turned that into 1.03 FanDuel points per minute. This is his normal salary, so in an expanded role, it's not outside his range of outcomes to drop 30 real-life points on Toronto.

Others to Consider:
James Harden ($10,400): Harden dropped in salary despite Kyrie not playing on Friday. I'll take it. Easy to build with Murray.
Russell Westbrook ($8,600): This salary is just absurdly low for his upside in tournaments. The floor is untouchable in cash games, though.
Tre Jones ($4,100): Jones has a lower ceiling than Bryn Forbes but also a lower salary. The starting lineup will be key.
Trent Forrest ($3,500): The best minimum salary plug of the day. Should see substantial minutes with the Jazz so shorthanded.


Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,700): Not that Giannis ever needs a boost if he's playing, but he does see a 2.2-percentage-point boost in usage when Jrue Holiday is off the floor this season. As 4.5-point road underdogs in Brooklyn, the usual blowout concern for the Bucks is not present, and there is going to be so much value from the Spurs and Jazz situations that it's hard not to plug "The Greek Freak" into one of the four forward spots and work from there.

Rudy Gay ($4,800): At 0.90 FanDuel points per minute this season, Gay has been a productive player already in his limited bench role. Friday might mark a throwback for him to his 14-year run of scoring at least 15.0 points per game in the NBA across multiple teams. That production has boosted to 1.11 FanDuel points per minute with Mitchell and Conley off the floor this season, and he doesn't share the same concerns of being matched off the court as center Hassan Whiteside.

Lonnie Walker ($4,500): Walker is questionable due to his conditioning on Friday, but he's been cleared from protocols long enough to believe he'll return to a decent role. Of non-centers on the team, his 0.85 FanDuel points per minute rate this season is actually the second-highest mark on the Spurs who will be active in Philly, and personally, it's really hard to not trust his talent and ability over several like Jones, Forbes, Joshua Primo and other pieces who haven't contributed all year.

Others to Consider:
LeBron James ($11,200): The rebounding and assists have dropped recently. He seems tired from his heavy usage role. Still 60-point upside at this salary.
Scottie Barnes ($6,300): Back to 38 minutes on Wednesday but below all his season-long marks in stat categories. He's more productive than this salary.
Keita Bates-Diop ($4,300): Has started and scored for San Antonio at times this season. Not a bad value plug, either.
Rodney Hood ($3,500): Jordan Nwora's salary is out of control for a quaternary role in the offense. Hood off the bench at minimum is a better value despite the uncertainty.


Nikola Jokic ($11,400): Today is where a second center spot would come in handy. Both Jokic and Joel Embiid are on the slate with two phenomenal budget centers, as well. I always get the Jokic-Embiid coin flip wrong, so feel free to slam Joel in a pace-up against the Spurs. Jokic's matchup is just pristine in this spot; the Kings are allowing the fifth-most FanDuel points per game to centers (56.31). Jokic has posted 19-plus rebounds in four of his last six games for an insane floor of production.

Jusuf Nurkic ($6,000): If he's not suspended, Nurkic is the lone value center who feels worth pivoting off the top pair. He saw 33 minutes in his last game with Larry Nance going down due to a knee injury, and we know at this point what a 30-minute role for Nurk can mean. He averages 1.27 FanDuel points per minute with both Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum off the floor this season. That's tremendous value despite the tougher matchup with Cleveland.

Bobby Portis ($5,700): Portis felt like a slam dunk with no Giannis on Wednesday, but "The Boogieman" came for his minutes. He played just 22 minutes with DeMarcus Cousins playing well off the bench, but Cousins was waived by Milwaukee late Thursday. That should return Portis to the 30-plus minute role he's had previously, and Antetokoumpo hasn't tanked his production this season (1.06 FanDuel points per minute sharing the court with Giannis) by any means. His forward eligibility is key.

Others to Consider:
Joel Embiid ($10,800): He had an off night on the glass against Orlando but should regress back. Watch a potential rest night with the Spurs so shorthanded.
Evan Mobley ($7,600): Forward-eligible is huge. His salary is much lower than Jarrett Allen's despite a very similar range of outcomes.
Jakob Poeltl ($6,100): Someone has to be left out, and I think it's Poeltl, personally. The floor is tremendous but doesn't have "burn me" upside on a slate this big.
Eric Paschall ($4,500): LOVE him under the radar. Utah's best matchup at center for Pascal Siakam. Great FanDuel point-per-minute upside that we know from his time with the Dubs.