FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Tuesday 1/18/22
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
Though the COVID-19 table may have to return for larger slates, it feels good to not need it after a tumultuous last couple of months.
In terms of real injuries, Gary Payton II is the most notable one. He had been starting for Golden State before injuring his back last week, and he's questionable to miss a third straight contest against the Pistons.
Kemba Walker was a starter for the Knicks before this nine-game absence with knee soreness. If he plays today, he'd likely return to limited minutes against the Timberwolves, but his official listing is questionable.
D'Angelo Russell ($7,600): This slate is as straightforward as the spreads would imply. The 3.5-point spread in New York is much more desirable than the 15.0-point spread in San Francisco, and you can jam in all five studs from the tighter contest fairly easily. One of those is Russell. His roller-coaster season has plateaued recently with this stretch averaging 1.30 FanDuel points per minute over his last five games. His floor is solid if this one does indeed stay tight.
Cade Cunningham ($6,000): Cunningham is amongst the top-projected players of the day in terms of value, and with a 26.6% usage rate in January at this salary, it's not hard to see why. The Pistons continue to get blown out nightly, and at least last week against the Bulls, it's encouraging that Cunningham played 29 minutes in a game that was decided by halftime. There's really no expectation this one stays close, so you could justify avoiding Cunningham, who is likely to be one of the more popular plays on the slate.
Others to Consider:
Klay Thompson ($6,000): A world-class pivot off Cade. Should still have his minutes regardless of the score -- and potentially more as he is further removed from injury.
Cory Joseph ($4,400): Think both he and Saben Lee should be in the discussion for a punt at guard if a blowout is assumed.
Anthony Edwards ($8,100): Edwards is the second of the Minnesota trio who is a top-shelf priority, and he might also be the least popular after an outing of 17.2 FanDuel points in a blowout win over the Stephen Curry-less Dubs. The former top pick really just does need his minutes to pile up peripheral stats, because he had topped 18 real-life points in eight straight contests prior to Sunday. He's not a value in a vacuum but a must-have given the alternatives.
RJ Barrett ($7,200): Has RJ Barrett finally arrived? More was expected of Barrett -- a top-three pick -- than being a rotational wing piece, but the Knicks' forward now has five straight games of more than 33 FanDuel points and a team-best 28.7% usage rate since Kemba Walker went down with an injury. He's played at least 38 minutes four times in that five-game stretch, as well. As New York's de facto point guard, he's a top option in stacking the better game of the day.
Others to Consider:
Saddiq Bey ($6,100): Should see plenty of minutes if it stays close. Huge if.
Jonathan Kuminga ($5,100): Interesting play from the angle of a Warriors blowout. At 1.13 FanDuel points per minute in January. Must be a blowout, though.
Karl-Anthony Towns ($9,600): Truly, I don't know where you'd turn at center besides KAT on a slate this short. Ever since returning from COVID-19 protocols, Towns has posted a floor of 43.7 FanDuel points amidst blowouts and the fluctuating usage between him, Edwards, and Russell. Even in a tough matchup with New York (top-five in both estimated rebounding and paint points), he's a key piece of the main game stack of the evening.
Kevon Looney ($5,000): Looney has quietly replaced Draymond Green as the Dubs' defensive anchor, and his minutes have significantly improved. He's averaged 23.2 minutes per game in January against his previous high-water mark (20.2 in December) of the season. The two true risks of him were seen last week though; it was foul trouble against the Bucks, and it was a smaller opposing lineup against Memphis. He's a solid value in a lineup that assumes the nightcap stays competitive.
Others to Consider:
Julius Randle ($8,400): He's over-salaried with Barrett's emergence, but I also don't believe that to be permanent. Tournament-only play.
Nemanja Bjelica ($4,300): Another Golden State option assuming a bludgeoning. Got 23 minutes (and 32.7 FanDuel points) in a rout against Chicago on Friday.