FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Monday 1/9/23
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 be coming 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
We'll see later today on the injury report if Ja Morant (thigh) is back for Memphis or not.
Steven Adams (illness) and Brandon Clarke (hip) also sat for the Grizzlies yesterday. Tonight, they're hosting a San Antonio squad with news themselves. Devin Vassell (knee) will be out for a while, but the team also has Keldon Johnson (hamstring) listed as questionable.
RJ Barrett (finger) is doubtful for the Knicks on Monday but seems nearing a return. Milwaukee is the visitor at MSG tonight and is still missing Khris Middleton (knee).
The Pelicans will likely get back Larry Nance Jr. (shoulder) given his probable listing, but the team is still without Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram. The host Wizards are still down Bradley Beal (hamstring) to start this week.
Marcus Smart (knee) likely sits with a doubtful tag for Boston tonight as they host Chicago. The Bulls have question marks on both Alex Caruso (ankle) and Javonte Green (knee) in their backcourt.
Though still down Lonnie Walker and Austin Reaves, the Lakers have a shot to get Troy Brown Jr. (quad) back into the lineup against a healthy Denver squad.
And finally, the Kings host the Magic in the nightcap, and while the teams have gone through injury struggles recently, they're both pretty strong entering this one. Bol Bol (COVID-19 protocols) is the lone expected absence from Orlando's current rotation.
I'm writing this helper with the assumption Ja Morant ($10,200) is back. Morant's thigh injury never caused an absence or listing up until Sunday, so a maintenance day seems like the likely explanation there.
If not, Tyus Jones ($5,200) would be an automatic play. Jones has been regularly delivering from a bench role at that salary; I'll be totally fading his 20-minute role if Ja plays, though.
Morant -- in a fine matchup with San Antonio -- would be okay. With no Vassell or Keldon for the Spurs, I'd be significantly concerned about a blowout. Of course, if both end up sitting, Tyus' brother on the Spurs, Tre Jones ($6,200), would be an excellent play, seeing a team-best usage-rate bump (4.9 percentage points) with those two off the floor.
Back at the top, C.J. McCollum ($8,700) has proven to actually see a bump this season with Zion and Ingram out. That wasn't the case last year, but his 42.7 FanDuel points per 36 minutes without them on the court this season speaks for itself.
Jrue Holiday ($7,900) has returned to an ugly bench role, but this drop in salary has me interested if he gets back in the starting lineup following the Bucks' extended off-weekend. Jalen Brunson ($8,000) remains a high-floor pivot in the same contest.
Given the Smart injury, it's no shock to see Malcolm Brogdon ($5,800) leading our projections in point-per-dollar value at guard, but Immanuel Quickley ($6,400), Dennis Schroder ($5,800), and Derrick White ($5,400) are others hovering around the top. I'd add De'Aaron Fox ($8,900) and Coby White ($4,400) to that list as guards with upside in full-time roles.
Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,800) played one of the worst games I've seen from him Friday since his breakout years ago. He posted just 9 points in 21 minutes during a blowout loss to Charlotte of all squads. Woof.
That's reduced Antetokoumpo's salary to this more-than-fair mark entering a battle with New York. With Milwaukee still missing Middleton, the former MVP -- and his stretch of four straight games of more than 61 FanDuel points before that -- won't be forgotten. His floor is still sensational; heck, he probably still eclipses 50 FanDuel points in that Hornets clunker if he gets full minutes.
In terms of season median salary, the buy-low spots in Boston are Jayson Tatum ($10,700) and DeMar DeRozan ($8,700), who are closer to their normal marks than either Jaylen Brown or Zach LaVine on those same squads. There's a surprisingly high 238.0-point total there as Boston's defense continues to leak in January.
In terms of recent production, Naji Marshall ($6,000) is still a salary-based value after exceeding 38 minutes and 40 FanDuel points in back-to-back starts for Zion. However, our model -- and I -- looks more favorably on Trey Murphy III ($4,500) at his salary. Murphy's been held back by 41.2% shooting in this recent stretch, but we have him as the slate's overall top point-per-dollar play as of early Monday afternoon.
In that same game, Kyle Kuzma ($7,500) has dipped to a spot I can feel comfortable targeting him given his 29.6% usage rate with Beal off the floor. Murphy and Kuzma head our wing projections today, followed by Dillon Brooks ($5,700), Harrison Barnes ($5,600), and Michael Porter Jr. ($5,500).
Emphatically add Desmond Bane ($6,700) and John Konchar ($4,800) to that list if Morant sits again.
This is a Nikola Jokic ($11,400) spot for sure, and we've got enough value to squeeze him in alongside Giannis.
Jokic attacks a Lakers interior defense that's ceded the third-most FanDuel points to centers. As long as LeBron James plays, L.A. should be competitive enough to keep pace. Jokic has exceeded 50 FanDuel points in 13 of his last 15 games, so this is an incredibly safe place to put your salary on this smaller slate.
This slate is not short on high-floor bigs, though. Domantas Sabonis ($10,400) has exceeded 46 FanDuel points in 9 of his last 10 games, and Julius Randle ($10,100) has topped 46 FanDuel points in 9 straight. Overwhelmingly, it's much more comfortable to put salary here than boom-or-bust options like Morant or Tatum.
Jaren Jackson Jr. ($7,600) is the lone Memphis target who is not reliant on Ja's injury. He more so needs Steven Adams to sit -- JJJ is averaging 50.9 FanDuel points per 36 minutes overall and needs only the path to playing time. Adams and Clarke both sitting would make Jackson an excellent pick.
Kristaps Porzingis ($9,200) has a higher value score in our projections (5.02) than all of these guys outside of Jokic. Jakob Poeltl ($6,400), Wendell Carter Jr. ($6,300), Daniel Gafford ($5,600), and Al Horford ($5,000) are the others with a value score better than five -- though I'll personally pass again on Horford's sporadic minutes trend.