FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Monday 1/17/22

Giannis Antetokounmpo and LeBron James stand out significantly at their position, so how does that affect roster construction on Monday's slate?

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

Team Opp Over/
Spread Implied
Pace Opp


On the six-game main slate, we have no shortage of big names at guard; however, we may not need the biggest salaries to roster the best plays.

Luka Doncic ($10,400) slots in as an 11.5-point favorite against the Oklahoma City Thunder, and while Dejounte Murray ($10,200), Trae Young ($9,600), and Fred VanVleet ($9,300) are all rating out well tonight, the better plays at their given salaries look to be Donovan Mitchell ($8,200), Russell Westbrook ($8,100), and Devin Booker ($8,100).

According to my slate simulations, Doncic is 22.1% likely to lead all guards in FanDuel points tonight, easily a position-best but not a can't-miss number. More telling, both Mitchell (26.1%) and Westbrook (25.7%) are quite likely to finish as top-five values (FanDuel points per $1,000) among guards even at salaries in the $8,000 range.

Mike Conley ($6,200) could rest on a back-to-back for Utah, and without him on the floor, Mitchell has a 34.3% usage rate and averages 1.22 FanDuel points per minute, via RotoGrinders' CourtIQ tool.

Westbrook, without Anthony Davis (out) and Carmelo Anthony (questionable), has a 26.9% usage rate and averages 0.99 FanDuel points per minute.

Besting only Mitchell and Westbrook in my slate simulations in terms of top-five value odds is Cameron Payne ($4,300).

Next up are Donte DiVincenzo ($3,800), Malik Monk ($5,600), Devin Booker, Delon Wright ($4,100), and Josh Giddey ($6,500).


Savings (on value picks and the $8,000 range, that is, at guard) will be important, given how good the forward position is at the top with Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,300) and LeBron James ($11,200) in play.

My model likes Giannis more and sees him as 42.0% likely to lead the position in FanDuel points with James at 37.3%. Either way, they combine for a 79.3% chance to lead forwards in fantasy scoring. Opportunity cost is key with those two relative to the rest of the position.

James has a 35.0% usage rate and averages 1.53 FanDuel points per minute without Davis and Anthony on the floor. Without Jrue Holiday and Brook Lopez, Antetokounmpo's rates are 36.8% and 1.74, respectively.

Plenty of value pops at the position, too, though.

Mikal Bridges ($4,500), Keldon Johnson ($4,900), Antetokounmpo, Joe Ingles ($3,700), and Scottie Barnes ($5,600) are the top five in my salary-adjusted value ratings for tonight's slate.

You can also take a longer look at Gary Trent Jr. ($5,000), Dorian Finney-Smith ($4,500), and Danilo Gallinari ($4,400).


The reason I focused so much on Giannis and LeBron was that they are very good relative to their position but also because we probably don't need to allocate too much salary to big men tonight.

The top two plays at PF/C and/or C tonight look to be Bobby Portis ($6,300) and Jakob Poeltl ($6,200).

Portis, in 455 minutes without Jrue Holiday and Brook Lopez, has a 24.1% usage rate and a FanDuel-point-per-minute rate of 1.07. That's great production for the salary.

Poeltl is projected for 31.0 minutes with 11.5 points and 9.4 rebounds, via numberFire's model. That puts him into double-double territory against a Phoenix Suns team that is without Deandre Ayton.

The top higher-salaried option in my model for tonight is Rudy Gobert ($8,600), who is 25.9% likely to lead bigs in FanDuel points and is 72.3% likely to finish inside the top five at the position.

Other good plays at their salaries include Onyeka Okongwu ($4,300), Jusuf Nurkic ($7,500), and Dwight Howard ($3,900).