FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Thursday 3/30/23
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
Just because there are only two games doesn't mean we're free from checking the official injury report.
The Celtics already have Robert Williams (knee) and Grant Williams (illness) listed as questionable for tonight's game, and the Bucks -- on a back-to-back -- don't have an official report, but we'll just want to ensure Khris Middleton and Joe Ingles return from maintenance days. This showdown could end up for the East's top seed, so don't expect any resting tonight.
We could see some resting in Denver. It's a little less suspicious Nikola Jokic (calf) ended up on the report randomly when the Nuggets are 3.5 games ahead of Memphis with 7 left to play. Vlatko Cancar (ankle) is also questionable. The Pelicans, fighting for their playoff lives, are just missing their long-term absences, Zion Williamson and Jose Alvarado.
We're devoid of any guards with a five-digit salary, but thankfully, the ones we do have are really solid.
C.J. McCollum ($8,300) might go overlooked on this slate (somehow), but he's got a path to points. He's eclipsed 40 FanDuel points eight times this month, and the Nuggets have allowed the fifth-most points and second-most assists per game to point guards this year. He's my favorite play over $8,000 on the whole slate because of the lower expected roster rate.
That's because, with or without Jokic, Jamal Murray ($7,900) should be the chalk here. Eclipsing 34 FanDuel points in six straight, he's just got a really sturdy floor for the mark on a two-gamer. Of course, a better ceiling is exemplified by Jrue Holiday ($7,400), who scored 51 real-life points last night sans Middleton.
In full-time roles, Marcus Smart ($6,000) and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ($5,000) are two of the more reliable value plays on the slate. Other than those two, you're banking on Malcolm Brogdon ($5,700) getting hot off the bench here. Derrick White is mostly unplayable with his elevated salary due to all of Boston's recent injuries.
I don't see the value options to realistically plug Giannis Antetokounmpo in with Milwaukee at full strength facing one of the league's best defenses. He's not even the top $12,000 stud if Jokic plays.
That's especially true when Brandon Ingram ($9,200) is the best per-dollar projection at small forward, and it's easy to see why. Ingram's heightened playmaking role (8.5 assists per game in his last four) has turned him into a triple-double threat, but this salary doesn't imply that.
Michael Porter Jr. ($6,500) could be vital if Jokic ends up sitting. He's only at 33.9 FanDuel points per 36 minutes with Joker off the floor, though, so he could command a ton of popularity for an average result. Bruce Brown Jr. ($5,400) would likely be thrust into a full role if Jokic sits, and the stat-stuffer would be my preferred path.
With a return to full minutes, Herbert Jones ($5,500) eclipsed 30 FanDuel points on Tuesday in Golden State. He'll be largely guaranteed that role again if New Orleans plays more small ball in a response to Jokic sitting.
I prefer Jayson Tatum ($11,000) to Jaylen Brown at their respective salaries, but neither is projecting well with the top-four defensive ratings on both sides of this one. Outside of Giannis, you're looking at low-salary darts at Grayson Allen ($4,800) or Joe Ingles ($4,300) on the Bucks' side.
Nikola Jokic ($12,000) is truly the straw that stirs the drink on this slate.
If he's in, I'm in. Gunning for a third straight MVP despite his word, he's posted over 60 FanDuel points in six of his last nine, and the Pels allow the sixth-most FanDuel points to centers as is. I'll go as far as to say that if he's active, he could the tournament-deciding factor.
That's also because the rest of the big-man spots stink. Al Horford ($6,200) is a set-in-stone option with Robert Williams ($5,800) and Grant Williams ($4,600) listed as questionable. The Williamses (not related) have such sizable roles at fair salaries that we'll need to know their statuses to properly approach the slate.
Aaron Gordon ($6,300) is a boom-or-bust option if Jokic plays, but if he sits, he launches to the top of the priority list. A.G. averages 40.9 FanDuel points per 36 with Jokic off the court, and Denver doesn't have a reliable backup center they'll play significant minutes.
Jonas Valanciunas, Brook Lopez, and Bobby Portis have pretty insane salaries that would require a ceiling game to hit. Larry Nance Jr. ($5,100) returned to 24 minutes last game for New Orleans, so he's probably the best option from the club, but that's not saying much.