FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Wednesday 11/17/21

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.

The Slate and Key Injuries

Away Home Game
Total Away
Implied
Total Home
Implied
Total Away
Pace Home
Pace Indiana Detroit 209 107.75 101.25 15 11 Washington Charlotte 217 108 109 21 2 Boston Atlanta 215.5 105.5 110 24 13 New Orleans Miami 215.5 103.75 111.75 15 20 LA Lakers Milwaukee 217 103.75 113.25 3 8 Cleveland Brooklyn 208.5 99.5 109 24 27 Orlando New York 210 99.75 110.25 10 22 Houston Oklahoma City 211.5 104 107.5 1 9 Sacramento Minnesota 225 111.25 113.75 5 6 Chicago Portland 219.5 109 110.5 12 14 Dallas Phoenix 216 103.75 112.25 22 4


The slate-changing injury is that of Luka Doncic. The Mavericks guard sprained his ankle late in Monday's win over Denver, and as expected, he is already ruled out for this contest. Salaries were raised for several Dallas players, but there are still value spots to attack.

Another key spot to monitor will be with Miami's pair of stars. Both Jimmy Butler (ankle) and Bam Adebayo (knee) missed Monday's win over Oklahoma City, but it may have been intentional to slide past the lowly Thunder with a day off. However, New Orleans isn't exactly a Finals preview for the Heat, either, which likely puts the status of the pair in some doubt once again.

Cleveland's frontcourt is a mess, too. Evan Mobley injured his elbow on Monday, and he will miss several weeks for the Cavs. Jarrett Allen (non-COVID illness) and Lauri Markkanen (COVID illness) will both miss Wednesday's game, as well. That leaves plenty of playing time for less-quality options. Finding the right ones will be key.

Damian Lillard is once again questionable with the same abdominal injury he played through on Monday. He seemed fine, but it is still worth watching his status. The stiff matchup with Chicago likely does boost the chances he suits up. Norman Powell (ankle) is a question for Portland, as well.

You know things are dire when the injury replacement gets injured. Atlanta replaced De'Andre Hunter with Kevin Huerter in their starting lineup Monday, but Huerter tweaked his hamstring in the first half and didn't return. That opened up the most time for Danilo Gallinari all season.

The Celtics might be missing Robert Williams on Wednesday. He's listed as questionable after leaving Monday's game and not returning with knee soreness.

The same can be said for the Rockets' Kevin Porter Jr. Porter is questionable with a thigh issue he did not return from on Monday.

Guards

Russell Westbrook ($9,700): A shocking blowout loss was the only thing that kept Westbrook from one of his best nights of the year Monday. LeBron James reportedly will return Friday, so there is one last chance to use Westbrook with a realistic triple-double ceiling. He's the team's leader in usage with LeBron off the floor (31.5%) and has turned that into 1.27 FanDuel points per minute. His floor isn't great at this salary, but he's in a great environment with both Los Angeles and Milwaukee top-10 teams in terms of pace.

Jalen Brunson ($6,500): Brunson is likely the primary ballhandler for Dallas on Wednesday, and he should see all the minutes he can handle without Doncic. His role (27.6% usage rate) is the second-best amongst Mavs starters in floor situations without Doncic, but he also has a much lower salary than Kristaps Porzingis. Brunson has quietly been ripping it up before Luka's injury; he enters having exceeded 31 FanDuel points in four of his last seven games.

Josh Giddey ($5,300): Just because injury mines are hidden under the surface doesn't mean ignoring a good, old-fashioned salary mistake. The Australian stat-stuffing rookie has exceeded 30 FanDuel points in 6 of his 13 contests -- including posting over 40 twice. OKC and Houston are generally under-salaried entering their Wednesday matchup because they get blown out so often that starters miss the fourth quarter frequently. A 3.5-point spread in their matchup of terrible squads inspires confidence that won't be the case tonight.

Others to Consider:
Trae Young ($9,600): The other guard with a reasonable ceiling in the high-salary area, but the 215.5 total in his contest is not as appealing as Lakers/Bucks.
Lonzo Ball ($6,000): Floor takes a slight hit with the salary increase, but still the most reasonable way to access Chicago. Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan won't shoot like this forever.
Jalen Green ($5,000): Team-high 28 minutes in Monday's blowout loss. Could be the start of something beautiful at point guard if KPJ sits.
Patrick Mills ($4,000): Was underwhelming on Tuesday's slate to the point where he goes overlooked on Wednesday. Still in a great spot with a 20-plus-point scoring ceiling.

Wings

Jayson Tatum ($9,300): Tatum's role is still pristine without Jaylen Brown on the floor (33.7% usage rate), and he took 20-plus shots for the fourth straight game without Brown. He's unfortunately shot under 40.0% from the field in all four contests, as well, but is still finding the vicinity of value at this salary. If more of those shots go in, Tatum will be a can't-miss option. As mentioned with Trae Young, the 215.5-point total here isn't great, but it's better than his 201.0 and 199.5 totals with Cleveland over the weekend.

Tim Hardaway Jr. ($5,200): The justified chalk of the evening should be THJ. No Dallas player sees a larger increase in usage rate (6.9 percentage points) and FanDuel points per minute (0.41) when Doncic is off the floor than Hardaway. It is visually noticeable, too, as Hardaway Jr. is relegated to a spot-up shooter (7.3 attempts per game) with Doncic on the floor, but he turns into more of a facilitator (6.68 assists per 36 minutes) when Luka is resting. The floor is pretty safe considering he's already been salaried here with Doncic.

Cedi Osman ($4,600): Osman was the unexpected beneficiary of Jarrett Allen sitting Monday. Even though Dean Wade started, Osman played 31 minutes and dropped in 28 points. While that scoring outburst is unlikely again, there's a good chance Osman starts for Cleveland tonight with Evan Mobley now joining Allen in street clothes. Osman's 0.89 FanDuel points per minute on the entire season are miles better than Wade, Isaac Okoro, and many of the other Cleveland value options tonight.

Others to Consider:
Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,400): The iron-clad floor is gone and Khris Middleton's slight return is concerning, but there will be plenty of value to fit him in as a raw point scorer.
Caris LeVert ($6,800): He's working his way back to a full workload. At 1.05 FanDuel points per minute this season, he's under-salaried when he's back to it.
Dean Wade ($3,600): Could start at the five for Cleveland tonight, but his 0.52 FanDuel points per minute make a tough sell as a "can't-miss" value option.
Isaac Okoro ($3,600): Okoro dropped in 30.5 FanDuel points last game as he continues to start for Collin Sexton, but his 0.62 per-minute mark would largely indicate that was a fluke.

Bigs

Karl-Anthony Towns ($9,800): Center and power forward is far and away the best place to spend salary tonight. That starts with Towns; the components of a big game are building for the Minnesota big man. Towns has averaged 1.23 FanDuel points per minute the past week since D'Angelo Russell returned, and his 23.5% usage rate has remained more than respectable given two blowouts in three of those games. His matchup is tremendous because Sacramento allows the third-most offensive rebounds per game (11.8) in the NBA -- a massive part of KAT's offensive repertoire.

Kristaps Porzingis ($8,800): Thanks to his forward eligibility, Towns and Porzingis can be used comfortably together. Now finally healthy, he is an obvious place to turn at this salary given his 1.43 FanDuel points per minute rate in floor situations without Luka Doncic this season. All the Mavericks' potential value should benefit even greater from a pace-up spot against Phoenix, as well. Dallas plays fairly slow on their own (22nd in pace) compared to the fleet-footed Suns (4th in pace).

Christian Wood ($7,300): As mentioned with Giddey, Houston and Oklahoma City makes for an underrated game stack between two bad defenses less likely to blow each other out. Wood's salary is far below what his 1.07 FanDuel points per minute rate deserves because it's just becoming more frequent that he doesn't get to see the final quarter. Houston has not played their starters into the fourth in three of the past five games due to lopsided outcomes, but the tight spread Wednesday with the equally-lowly Thunder should allow the talented big man 30-plus minutes.

Others to Consider:
Julius Randle ($8,600): His positional grouping hasn't changed enough to explain such a stark drop in production. His 28.2% usage rate is still strong. There's upside here.
Kevin Love ($5,300): This could be the sneakiest way to access Cleveland tonight if he doesn't start. 1.08 FanDuel points per minute this season is the highest rate amongst players that will be active tonight.
Isaiah Stewart ($5,100): Reduced minutes in a blowout kept this salary the same. Still well projected and a fair option despite the injury news.
Grant Williams ($3,700): Low production (0.66 FanDuel points per minute), but he will get minutes if the other Williams sits. Works for game stacks with Tatum and Young.