If you're new to daily fantasy basketball -- maybe you started your DFS journey during the MLB or NFL seasons, or maybe basketball is your sport and this will be your first year giving it a shot -- you're in for a treat. The NBA scene changes on a week-to-week, day-to-day, and -- depending on injury news -- even a minute-to-minute basis, making every slate a unique one that requires an ever-changing approach.
With so much changing so quickly, we're here with plenty of tools to help you out. We have daily projections, a matchup heat map, a lineup optimizer, and a bunch of other great resources to help give you an edge.
Daily fantasy basketball is very reliant on a player's opportunity, so you'll need to make sure 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.
We'll also be coming at you with this primer every day, breaking down a few of the day's top plays at each position.
Let's break down today's main slate on FanDuel.
Team Opp Implied Total Over/Under Spread Pace Opp Pace Golden State POR 116.25 225.5 -7.0 100 98 Los Angeles SAC 115 222.5 -7.5 101.9 99.8 Memphis ATL 113.5 226.5 -0.5 98.8 97.5 Utah NO 113 214.5 -11.5 98.1 97.6 Atlanta @MEM 113 226.5 +0.5 97.5 98.8 Charlotte MIN 112.75 222.5 -3.0 101.1 99.1 Chicago @ORL 110.75 213.5 -8.0 98.4 98.9 Milwaukee @DEN 110.5 216.5 -4.5 99.7 95.9 Minnesota @CHA 109.75 222.5 +3.0 99.1 101.1 Phoenix @NY 109.75 216.5 -3.0 101 97.3 Portland @GS 109.25 225.5 +7.0 98 100 Boston @SA 109 214.5 -3.5 96.8 101 Washington @OKC 108 208.5 -7.5 97.2 98.5 Indiana TOR 107.75 211.5 -4.0 97.9 96.1 Sacramento @LAL 107.5 222.5 +7.5 99.8 101.9 New York PHX 106.75 216.5 +3.0 97.3 101 Denver MIL 106 216.5 +4.5 95.9 99.7 San Antonio BOS 105.5 214.5 +3.5 101 96.8 Toronto @IND 103.75 211.5 +4.0 96.1 97.9 Orlando CHI 102.75 213.5 +8.0 98.9 98.4 New Orleans @UTAH 101.5 214.5 +11.5 97.6 98.1 Oklahoma City WSH 100.5 208.5 +7.5 98.5 97.2
Stephen Curry (FanDuel Salary: $10,500) - With so many games on this slate, we're bound to have enough value to get to Curry if we want. numberFire projects him for 1.39 FanDuel points per minute (actually down a tick from his season-long rate of 1.42) in a game with a strong 225.5-point over/under against the Portland Trail Blazers, whose offensive rating of 110.8 is far from imposing.
Outright, numberFire projects Curry for 48.2 FanDuel points, and his ceiling, based on my range-of-outcomes model is 61.9 FanDuel points, a full 4.9 points higher than any other guard's ceiling tonight. The sheer-end upside makes Curry a core play tonight.
Josh Giddey ($6,200) - The main downside for Giddey is that he's only shooting guard eligible, but we can make that work for the salary flexibility he offers to us at just $6,200. The rookie has averaged 37.4 FanDuel points per game (1.15 per minute) over the past two while Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has been out.
Giddey has done that on the strength of good shot volume (14.0 attempts per game) and peripherals: 7.0 rebounds, 8.0 assists, 0.5 steals, and 1.0 blocks. In total, Giddey is rating out as the best salary-adjusted value among all guards in my model, and his floor value is also best at the position. He looks like a safe play at this salary against the Washington Wizards.
De'Aaron Fox ($7,300) - Let's bump back up a tinge to a solid range that features Fox and a few others. For me, Fox gets the nod over someone such as Malcolm Brogdon because Fox's game has a great combination of over/under (224.5) and matchup (the Los Angeles Lakers' defensive rating is just 108.8). In games where the Sacramento Kings have been at least 6.5-point underdogs (the spread is +7.5 for them tonight), Fox has still played an average of 35.3 minutes per game with 34.3 FanDuel points per game.
Anthony Edwards ($7,900) and Malik Beasley ($4,200) - The wing positions do feature some big names -- Giannis Antetokounmpo, LeBron James, Jayson Tatum to name a few -- but the studs don't rate out as the best values overall. While I'm not going to knock them too much or forego them purposefully, I am going to feature some value at the position instead. That starts with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Yes, I'm considering Edwards a bit of a value at a barely-sub-$8,000 salary, but it's all semantics anyway. He should be able to outperform his salary, and that makes him a value. Patrick Beverley is listed as out due to his groin injury.
Last game with Beverley limited, Edwards played 43.2 minutes and went off for 65.8 FanDuel points. He had 27 shot attempts (33 points), 14 rebounds, and 6 assists in that game. His usage rate without Beverley on the floor this season is 28.9%, according to RotoGrinders' CourtIQ tool. That's up 0.5 percentage points. His FanDuel-point-per-minute rate ticks up to 1.11, up from 1.07, as well. That means that he's virtually the same player, yes, but the role should increase, making those rate stats lead to more production.
As for Beasley, he saw his minutes spike to 37.5 last time out, and in that game, he returned 38.6 FanDuel points on the strength of 19 shot attempts and 29 points (including going 5 of 13 from deep). Beasley, by far, rates out as the best forward value in my model early on Friday.
Will Barton ($6,000) - Barton's salary is down from the $6,400 to $6,500 range in recent games, and that's despite modest production over his past four: 39.8, 33.3, 21.0, and 27.1 FanDuel points. Barton is averaging a steady 0.95 FanDuel points per minute on the season, but that rate goes up to 1.04 with Nikola Jokic (questionable) off the floor.
Over 34.0 projected minutes and 1.04 FanDuel points per minute, Barton would net 35.4 FanDuel points, making him appear to be roughly $1,000 under-salaried.
Karl-Anthony Towns ($8,800) - Towns has a 24.5% usage rate without Beverley on the court, and he still maintains a FanDuel-point-per-minute average of 1.30. By contrast, that's an uptick of 1.20 points on his usage rate and of 0.08 fantasy points per minute. That'll work, especially against the Charlotte Hornets in a game with a nice 222.5-point over/under and a tight 3.0-point spread. Charlotte's defensive rating (110.0) makes for one of the better overall defensive matchups of the night.
Only Nikola Jokic (again, who is questionable) bests Towns' ceiling projections in my model among bigs tonight.
Jonas Valanciunas ($7,200) - We can also save some salary without punting by going with Valanciunas in a tough on-paper matchup with the Utah Jazz. We'll have to overlook the New Orleans Pelicans' low 101.0-point implied team total and a tough defensive matchup (Utah's defensive rating is 105.5).
But without Zion Williamson still, the Pels will need Valanciunas to eat up minutes tonight. numberFire projects him for 34.2 minutes and for 43.8 FanDuel points. That's 1.28 per minute (in line with his full-season rate of 1.25). Simply put: there should be a floor with Valanciunas due to the role and minutes. My model actually loves his potential for a ceiling game, as well, rating him with a top-four ceiling value among all bigs.