FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Friday 3/31/23
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
|San Antonio||Golden State||242||113.0||129.0||2||1|
If you're playing NBA daily fantasy today, you'll want to pack a lunch before examining the injury situations for the 26 (!) teams in action.
It starts at the top -- and the same place as yesterday. All three of Nikola Jokic (calf), Jamal Murray (knee), and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (illness) are uncertain for Denver's game in Phoenix tonight.
LeBron James (foot) has played two straight through a questionable tag, so I'm not too worried about him in Minnesota. The T-Wolves lost Naz Reid (wrist) to a significant injury on Wednesday; he's likely done for the year.
Oklahoma City's schedule has been fortunate enough to rest Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (ankle), and they will again Friday in Indiana. There's still no Tyrese Haliburton (ankle) for the Pacers, but Myles Turner (back) has a modest shot to play.
Kawhi Leonard (personal) was a surprise late scratch on Wednesday in Memphis, and he's questionable for tonight's rematch. Marcus Morris (COVID-19 protocols) is out again. The Grizz are back to full strength after back-to-back management on Wednesday.
A huge blow to the Knicks' title hopes was losing Julius Randle (ankle) on Wednesday. He's done for the regular season at the very least. Today, they're set to battle Cleveland, who will be without Jarrett Allen (groin) and Isaac Okoro (knee).
Lauri Markkanen (hand) and Jordan Clarkson (finger) will sit again for Utah on Friday in what's closer to a tanking maneuver at this stage. Kelly Olynyk (illness) is questionable. They're huge underdogs in Boston, so I wouldn't expect him to play.
It's the status quo on the Hornets' injury front. Terry Rozier (foot) is already out, and Kelly Oubre (shoulder), Gordon Hayward (thumb), and Dennis Smith Jr. (toe) all sat through their current statuses on Wednesday. We'll see if any deliver on a chance to play -- though Hayward is doubtful. They're in Chicago, and the Bulls are without Andre Drummond (personal) for the moment.
The Hawks need every win they can get, so it's not ideal De'Andre Hunter (knee) is a question mark for their tilt with Brooklyn tonight.
Washington is at their new relative full strength except for Daniel Gafford (foot). He's questionable as they host Orlando.
"Relative full strength" is largely how I'd describe Portland, too. Their key starters -- including Damian Lillard -- aren't coming back as the Blazers tank. Trendon Watford (ankle) and Cam Reddish (back) are questionable to play on Friday against Sacramento, though.
The Spurs are well-practiced with this by now, but Keldon Johnson (foot) and Devin Vassell (knee) are being given a shot to play when visiting Golden State. Jeremy Sochan (knee) and Zach Collins (foot) are already out.
Detroit and Houston have a pivotal contest today in this race toward the bottom, but genuine injuries are affecting this one. Killian Hayes (leg) was injured on Wednesday and is -- at best -- questionable tonight. Kenyon Martin Jr. (hip) also got nicked up in the Rockets' last contest.
Finally, Gary Trent Jr. (elbow) is at risk of a fifth straight missed contest for Toronto as they visit Philadelphia.
We've got depth at the top here today despite no one true standout.
Jalen Brunson ($8,500) likely draws the most popularity with Randle out, and it's justified. He holds a team-best 30.0% usage rate and posts 42.0 FanDuel points per 36 minutes during floor situations without him. We've never had a taste of this floor dynamic with Randle so durable, so it'll be interesting.
On the other side, Darius Garland ($8,100) is projecting well with Allen and Okoro out. He -- and all Cavs starters -- get a usage bump without one of their key guys. Dejounte Murray ($8,500) is also a staple to hold a solid projection at this mark with his stat-stuffing upside.
The salary of Josh Giddey ($8,000) dipped a bit to a point where I'd like to buy him over the always-popular Jalen Williams ($7,600) at his elevated mark.
The one-dimensional scoring of Klay Thompson ($7,000) typically doesn't flash well in our projections, but the Spurs' league-worst 119.5 defensive rating certainly does help. That said, I'll need Johnson or Vassell to play to imagine a world where that game stays tight in San Fran.
Dennis Smith Jr. ($6,500) was in such a marvelous spot before a late scratch on Tuesday that doomed many -- including myself. With the rest days since then, Smith is far more likely to play and a key value piece on the slate.
Others projecting well now include Jaden Ivey ($6,900), Marcus Smart ($6,000), and Mike Conley ($5,800). I'd add Russell Westbrook ($8,300), Cory Joseph ($5,200), Terance Mann ($4,900), Christian Braun ($4,100), and Ish Smith ($3,700) to that list if injury news breaks their way.
If Murray sits, it's worth noting Ish appears to be playing ahead of Reggie Jackson at the moment.
Blowouts are trouble at the top here. At home, Boston and Phoenix should clobber Utah and a weakened Denver squad, respectively.
That's why it would be awesome if we do get Kawhi Leonard ($10,100) back for another high-paced affair with the Grizzlies. Wednesday's affair saw 273 total points with several key guys and offensive contributors sitting.
If Leonard sits, a majority of my spending here would be around DeMar DeRozan ($8,800) and Zach LaVine ($8,000). Chicago's wing duo has a phenomenal draw against a Hornets squad allowing the ninth-most FanDuel points to wing players.
Luguentz Dort ($5,900) took just 15 shots with SGA sitting on Wednesday compared to 19 for Williams and Giddey, but that's still the best offensive role relative to salary. All three are viable in a sublime matchup, and Bennedict Mathurin ($6,000) and Jordan Nwora ($5,400) are full-time pieces on the other side of the projected shootout.
A 29.3% usage rate with Randle off the floor is pretty appealing for RJ Barrett ($6,300) at his mark, too. Josh Hart ($6,200) should also see increased run at the four spot. Cleveland's injuries provide full-time opportunities to Caris LeVert ($6,200) and Lamar Stevens ($4,400), too.
If Jokic and Murray indeed sit in tandem, you'll get productive, high-volume minutes out of Michael Porter Jr. ($6,200) and Bruce Brown Jr. ($5,800), but it's hard to envision more than three periods of them. Denver has an unsightly 101.9 offensive rating with their star duo off the floor this season.
Finally, Tari Eason ($5,900) could be a tremendous plug into the lineup with a full role if Martin Jr. ends up sitting for Houston.
We've been waiting for a chance to spend our salary, and this is it. I'm even leaving out Joel Embiid in a really brutal matchup with Toronto.
Anthony Davis ($11,300) wasn't going to stay at a sub-$11,000 mark long. He poured in 66.8 FanDuel points on Wednesday, and this is another solid matchup for him in a must-win for the Lakers. Despite having two bigs, Minnesota is fifth-worst in defensive rebounding rate (70.3%). Karl-Anthony Towns ($8,100) has a curiously low salary on the other side for a guy that's a real threat to score 30 points.
I and I alone jinxed Domantas Sabonis ($10,200) on Wednesday. He had played at least 31 minutes in every game since the break but was limited to 27 in an extreme blowout of Portland. The Blazers aren't fielding an NBA-caliber roster at present, so it'll always be a balance of how long top studs get to destroy them. It wasn't long enough in that one.
Washington continues to trot out Kristaps Porzingis ($9,600) with their other two stars sitting, and he'll get to shoot pretty much whenever he was so long as that's the case. He detonated Boston's strong frontcourt for 62.6 FanDuel points on Wednesday, so the Magic might be in trouble.
Evan Mobley ($9,000) logged 40 minutes and eclipsed 60 FanDuel points with Allen sitting on Wednesday. Given the Knicks' size is depleted, he's a scary fade tonight. With that said, Mitchell Robinson ($5,700) and Obi Toppin ($5,000) should get ample time in Randle's stead trying to slow him down. They're the value plays I'd covet most amongst these studs.
The Hornets have also allowed the most FanDuel points to centers this year, so add Nikola Vucevic ($8,400) to this lengthy list.
With so many top-shelf ways to spend, I can't justify some of these part-time value bigs that are projecting well, but Drew Eubanks ($5,600), Jalen Smith ($5,400), and Sandro Mamukelashvili ($5,300) fit that description if you need them.