FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Tuesday 2/7/23
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 come 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
|Oklahoma City||LA Lakers||239||116.3||122.8||8||3|
Fans have paid thousands of dollars to watch LeBron James suit up and potentially break the all-time NBA scoring record tonight versus Oklahoma City. Per today's injury report, he might not even play. James is questionable with his lingering ankle issue. However, the Lakers are expected to get back Austin Reaves (hamstring). The Thunder will likely be down Luguentz Dort (hamstring), who missed last night's game.
The Suns will get Devin Booker back tonight from a hamstring issue that he's had since Christmas. They're in Brooklyn to battle a squad that's unsure to have any of Ben Simmons (knee), Dorian Finney-Smith (trade), or Spencer Dinwiddie (trade) available tonight.
Minnesota isn't sure they'll have Rudy Gobert (groin) or Kyle Anderson (back) available tonight in Denver. Four Nuggets starters are listed as probable, and they're a 9.0-point favorite, so don't rule out general NBA DFS shenanigans there.
Jonas Valanciunas (quad) is expected to return for the Pelicans tonight as they host Atlanta.
The Bulls are also on a back-to-back, so we'll see later today if any of their starters are in question. Alex Caruso (foot) missed yesterday's contest.
Finally, RJ Barrett (illness) is questionable for the Knicks tonight in Orlando.
Fresh off a dud against Golden State, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ($10,600) could be in for a monster bounce-back night.
OKC's game against the Lakers has the highest total of the day (239.0), and L.A. allows the third-most FanDuel points to opposing point guards. He's a great option to mini-stack LeBron if you so choose (and LeBron plays).
Behind SGA, I'm interested in Trae Young ($9,400) now that the salary gap between him and Dejounte Murray has closed. Young should return from an illness, and the Pels are a solid matchup for what he does best as they allow the sixth-most three-point attempts per game (36.2).
Jalen Brunson ($7,900) and C.J. McCollum ($7,600) are also projecting well with usage rates above 29.5% in their current floor conditions.
Dinwiddie and Finney-Smith might make Brooklyn debuts on Tuesday, but if they don't, Edmond Sumner ($5,300) appears in line to log another game of heavy minutes for the Nets.
In terms of reliable value, Markelle Fultz ($6,200) appears to be the first stop. While his FanDuel production has dwindled, the main storyline -- as always with the Magic -- is his minutes, and they're still good. He's played more than 29 minutes in five straight.
It's tough sledding for value guards, though. Only Brunson, McCollum, Fultz, and Ayo Dosunmu ($4,400) currently hold a value score above 4.90 in our projections. We'll need news here or be forced to spend.
Beyond the absence ramifications, LeBron James ($10,300) is a huge story on this slate. He'd be a tremendous play if he suits up versus an OKC defense allowing the 10th-most FanDuel points per game to small forwards. Plus, James is averaging 51.5 FanDuel points per 36 with the Lakers at full strength.
He's objectively the top stud on the slate if I got a guarantee he plays. There's still plenty to choose from here if LeBron sits, including DeMar DeRozan ($8,500) and Zach LaVine ($7,700) from the Bulls. The two combined for just 39 points last night against the lowly Spurs; they likely won't stay quiet for long.
I do want to list out others in great spots, per our projections, before I take a deep dive into my NBA DFS process. They are Franz Wagner ($6,000), Kyle Anderson ($5,700), Dillon Brooks ($5,100), and Taurean Prince ($4,000). Prince is a no-doubter if Anderson sits with his back issue.
The deep dive into my process is about Cam Thomas ($6,500) because -- regardless of tonight, which might not involve him at all if Dinwiddie and Finney-Smith play -- he's a great case study to evaluate when playing NBA daily fantasy.
Because of what's sure to be immense popularity tonight, Cam -- in my opinion -- is a poor play in daily fantasy. In this viral two-game stretch, Thomas has shot 73.8% from the field and 68.8% from three. His season-long marks -- including those scorching-hot games -- are 47.0% and 43.9%, respectively, and 68.1% of Thomas' FanDuel output comes from scoring for the year. As a result, he's an incredibly volatile FanDuel producer who has white-hot production at the moment.
Here's the confusing part where people get lost -- for his salary, the role (29 shots last night) and minutes (39 last night) are excellent. It's crucial to understand probabilities and ranges of outcomes because the path to failure for Thomas -- a cold shooting night -- is clear and obvious. Thomas is a good play. He'll be rostered as a no-doubt, can't-miss play if the Nets are still short-handed. It's vital to distinguish those two things in tournaments.
Thomas and Royce O'Neale ($5,800) -- especially in cash games -- will be tremendously viable if the Nets are still without their trade pieces, but Thomas is not the type of guy you want to chase in NBA DFS all too often.
Shifting back toward the main objective for today, we can look toward one of the most consistent players in fantasy basketball -- Nikola Jokic ($11,600).
Jokic should return after resting on Sunday, but the issue might be his Nuggets positioned as a nine-point favorite here. Each of Denver's last three have been decided by at least 15 points, so the blowout risk is the real concern with Jokic, who has quietly put to bed some of the early-season DFS floor issues with 55-plus FanDuel points in six of his past nine despite the lopsided results.
Now with a huge salary bump following a dominant weekend, Anthony Davis ($10,800) will only come into play behind Jokic if LeBron sits. Julius Randle ($9,100) absolutely will be in my player pool no matter what. Randle -- amazingly -- has eclipsed 43 FanDuel points in his last eight games in which he's seen his full complement of minutes. His salary is too low.
Quietly, Jaren Jackson Jr. ($7,800) is shaking the minutes concerns that have plagued him his entire career. He's seen at least 30 minutes in three straight. The Grizzlies are at full strength, but Jackson averages 49.1 FanDuel points per 36 this year. He's always viable if he gets reasonable minutes.
At the pivot, the guy starting opposite "The Joker" is who I'll likely mix in with him. Rudy Gobert ($7,200) is projecting well in a game with a 235.5-point total, assuming he plays, but obviously, Naz Reid ($5,100) will be plug-and-play value should Gobert sit.
Beyond potentially Reid, it's not the best day for a value option at the big-man spots, but Wendell Carter Jr. ($6,700), John Collins ($5,600), and Isaiah Hartenstein ($5,000) are projecting well now. Add Willy Hernangomez ($4,500) to the top of that list if Valanciunas -- for whatever reason -- sees a setback and doesn't play tonight.