FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Thursday 4/6/23
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
There's at least one team with no urgency in every game today, so it could be a wild slate given the injury report.
Denver's urgency evaporated with yesterday's Grizzlies loss, so I'm not expecting Nikola Jokic (calf) or Jamal Murray (thumb) to play tonight. It's worth noting that, if either is active, they didn't finish their last contest in Houston. Aaron Gordon (shoulder), Michael Porter Jr. (rest), and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (illness) are also questionable. The Suns' report is empty as they continue to chase the West's fourth seed.
The Cavaliers are now locked into the East's fourth seed, so they'll rest Donovan Mitchell, Evan Mobley, Darius Garland, Jarrett Allen, Caris LeVert, and Isaac Okoro on Thursday. The Magic are technically still alive for the play-in tournament with an empty report.
Utah is nearly eliminated, which has eliminated Lauri Markkanen (hand), Walker Kessler (concussion), and Collin Sexton (rest) from their game with Oklahoma City tonight. Lu Dort (shoulder) is an actual injury concern for the visiting Thunder.
We're not out of the woods with antics from the 76ers, who are locked into their seed. Tyrese Maxey (neck) and De'Anthony Melton (calf) are the listings as of now, but Joel Embiid and James Harden aren't strangers to the late scratch. Miami does need a win to stay alive for a non-play-in spot, but Bam Adebayo (quad) and Kyle Lowry (knee) are questionable to be able to help.
Finally, the tank-off between Portland and San Antonio should be a sight to behold. The Blazers have Shaedon Sharpe (knee), Trendon Watford (ankle), Kevin Knox (knee), Matisse Thybulle (knee), and Cam Reddish (back) listed as questionable in addition to a laundry list of season-ending injuries -- most recently including Nassir Little (ankle).
The hosting Spurs have Keldon Johnson (foot) and Romeo Langford (groin) listed as questionable with Devin Vassell (knee), Jeremy Sochan (knee), Doug McDermott (ankle), and Devonte' Graham (ankle) out for this one. I'd be shocked if Keldon or Zach Collins (finger), who is probable, end up playing the way this one is trending.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ($10,600) feels like a must-play on the slate.
There isn't a single team with more motivation than OKC, and Gilgeous-Alexander has still eclipsed 30 real-life points in all but one game since the break. He's a semblance of floor on a slate without one, and I'd add teammate Josh Giddey ($8,000) to that list even if he had a five-digit salary, too.
With zero motivation for Philly, James Harden ($9,600) could absolutely end up a late scratch or see reduced minutes. He could also play a full game sans Maxey and Melton -- a floor condition in which he averages 57.7 FanDuel points per 36 minutes. He's a tournament dice roll with a hefty reward.
There's so much value that you'll probably want to just check out Devin Booker ($9,400) -- if he plays -- and move on. A stars-and-scrubs build is unavoidable with so many players out.
Of the value plugs, Ricky Rubio ($4,500) and Raul Neto ($3,600) should be most involved compared to normal for the Cavs. The less-essential Neto probably draws the bulk of the minutes at a lower salary. Skylar Mays ($6,000) and Jeenathan Williams ($4,200) should also be tasked to carry the load in Portland's backcourt with Sharpe likely sitting.
It's not entirely realistic the Heat get to the sixth seed, but as of now, Jimmy Butler ($10,000) appears to be in line to play -- potentially without Bam Adebayo. He posted 59.6 FanDuel points on Saturday without him and averages 48.8 per 36 minutes with Bam off the floor. Like SGA, he's a safe spot to stash cash.
Kevin Durant ($9,500) and Booker face the same concern of a weakened Nuggets lineup and a pending back-to-back with the Lakers on deck tomorrow, but if either plays without the other, they'll leap to Butler's tier as a stud option.
Talen Horton-Tucker ($8,400) has eclipsed 44 FanDuel points in four straight as Utah's scoring hierarchy has thinned out, so oddly, he qualifies for the role, too. Jalen Williams ($7,800) is another member of the Thunder with motivation, too.
The Cavs' depleted rotation is a bit tough to project, but Cedi Osman ($4,200) has a great chance to lead the team in scoring. Dean Wade ($3,800) should see heavy minutes, too. Malaki Branham ($5,800), Julian Champagnie ($3,900), and Dominick Barlow ($3,800) should also be heavily involved once more for the Spurs in light of their injuries.
Though it is risky, I think Joel Embiid ($12,000) does play to further cement his MVP status. He does care, so why leave anything to chance?
As a result, he might take the court without Maxey and Melton, averaging an absurd 71.0 FanDuel points per 36 minutes in floor situations without them this season. He's yet another top-shelf stud to pair with this slate's fountain of value.
He'll likely be extremely popular with only Deandre Ayton ($7,700), Wendell Carter Jr. ($7,400), and Zach Collins ($7,200) as alternatives above $7,000. I'd look at Ayton if the Suns proactively rest any of their key guys. Collins would be a bit surprising to see take the floor in the tank-off, but he's -- by far -- San Antonio's best scoring option if he does.
Kelly Olynyk ($7,000) is an intriguing dart right at the aforementioned number, averaging 42.4 FanDuel points per 36 since the trade deadline with Markkanen, Kessler, and Jordan Clarkson off the floor.
As for value here, Olynyk's teammates Udoka Azubuike ($4,300) and Damian Jones ($3,800) should platoon the Jazz's pivot spot again. Lamar Stevens ($4,400), Robin Lopez ($3,900), and Mamadi Diakite ($3,500) figure to see key minutes for Cleveland.
DeAndre Jordan ($4,800) also produced 30.4 FanDuel points in 21 minutes the last time the Nuggets' starters sat en masse.