FanDuel Single-Game Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Mavericks at Pistons (12/1/22)

In a traditional FanDuel NBA lineup, you have a $60,000 salary cap to roster nine players. The salary cap is the same in the single-game setup, but the lineup requirements are different.

You select five players of any position. One of your players will be your MVP, whose FanDuel points are multiplied by two. You also choose a STAR player (whose production is multiplied by 1.5) and a PRO (multiplied by 1.2). Two UTIL players round out the roster, and they don't receive a multiplier for their production.

This makes the five players you select essential in more than one way; you need to focus on slotting in the best plays in the multiplier slots rather than just nailing the best overall plays of the game.

Read this piece by Brandon Gdula for some excellent in-depth analysis on how to attack a single-game slate in NBA DFS.

Mavericks-Pistons Overview

Away Home GameTotal AwayTotal HomeTotal AwayPace HomePace
Dallas Detroit 221.5 114.8 106.8 30 16

On today's episode of NBA scheduling oddities -- a single game on Thursday between the Dallas Mavericks and Detroit Pistons. Enjoy your day off, everyone else.

Thankfully, this slate is pretty clean on the injury report. Detroit brought back plenty of reinforcements on Tuesday, so they're just waiting on the status of Jaden Ivey, who is listed as questionable with a knee injury. Remember, Cade Cunningham (shin) is also still out for them. Dallas is ostensibly at full strength.

Dallas is a top-10 team in terms of defensive rating (110.8), and they played at the league's slowest pace. Detroit plays at a middle-of-the-road pace with the league's second-worst defensive rating (117.8). On a full slate, this one would be all about the Mavs, but keep that in mind for game theory purposes.

Player Breakdowns

At The Top

It would be the call of a lifetime if leaving Luka Doncic ($17,000) out of your lineup were to pan out. Playing around with multipliers could work, but you're almost certain banking on an injury to not roster him entirely.

Doncic's 38.0% usage rate and 58.2 FanDuel points per 36 minutes dwarf -- and I mean dwarf -- anyone else potentially active. The other high-water marks would be 28.3% and 38.1 from part-time players. Luka's a $12,000-ish player on a full slate, and no one else active would be above $8,000. Play him.

Detroit's muddy rotation increases the appeal of Jaden Ivey ($14,500) if he plays. Ivey's 29.0% usage rate without Cunningham on the floor leads the Pistons, but you can see how quickly this slate drops off considering Ivey has only broken 35 FanDuel points twice.

Averaging 39.2 FanDuel points per 36, Christian Wood ($12,500) is the second-most productive FanDuel producer on this slate given the current floor conditions. His bench role -- with an eight-point spread -- gives him an obvious path to failure. Dallas is willing to stray away from him in close games, too; he's been held under 30 minutes in six of his past nine games.

I just have zero interest in Killian Hayes ($13,000), who has lunged into this salary with eight steals in his past three games. His role (26 minutes last game) isn't stable, and he is reliant on those steals with a putrid 20.2% usage rate without Cade for this salary.

In The Middle

Here's where you really have to decide on a script to build for your lineup.

If this is a Dallas blowout, load up on Doncic, Wood, and Spencer Dinwiddie ($11,500). Dinwiddie was ejected from the last game but played at least 28 minutes in the four games prior. Averaging 33.5 FanDuel points per 36 minutes, Dinwiddie's a productive guy in a full-time role. That's a rarity on this slate.

In that script, Isaiah Stewart ($11,000) is probably your best mid-range Detroit option. He got 26 minutes (and over 6 in the fourth quarter) in Tuesday's blowout loss to New York, and he's returning from a toe injury. They'll likely get him in that 25-28 minutes range for cardio purposes no matter what.

However, if your line of thinking is this game stays tight and Ivey sits, I would be willing to thrust Bojan Bogdanovic ($10,500) into a STAR spot. His 29.0% usage rate without Ivey and Cunnigham on the floor leads Detroit's starters. He scored at least 19 points in all three games without that pair before exiting the lineup due to injury himself.

If there was a world where I knew Alec Burks ($10,000) would start and play 30-plus minutes, I'd jam him into every lineup. He actually leads Detroit in FanDuel points per 36 minutes without Cunningham and Ivey (40.9), and that's multiplier-spot-level production. However, he comes off the bench, and he also doesn't play blowouts. You're exclusively banking on a tight script where he gets hot enough to relegate Hayes to the bench.

At The Bottom

With at least 30 minutes played in four of his past six games, Saddiq Bey ($9,500) is a full-time player with a decent projected usage rate (27.2% with no Cade or Ivey) for under $10,000. That's risky to fade on a single-game slate.

Usually, you see full-time players with low production levels like Dorian Finney-Smith ($9,500). DFS will be on the floor (33.4 minutes per game), but don't expect a ton of production (21.1 FanDuel points per 36 minutes).

Finney-Smith's more dynamic teammate is Tim Hardaway Jr. ($9,000), who has always been able to score if given the opportunity. He started and logged 31 minutes in his last game, and Reggie Bullock ($6,500) was benched to just 13 empty minutes as his cold streak continued. He's already burst over 20 real-life points three times this year with mostly a limited bench role.

If sticking closer to a blowout script, you'll want blowout-specific Pistons in this range with key contributors from Dallas. Luckily, Detroit just got blown out, so we know their plan if it happens.

Jalen Duren ($7,500) got 27 minutes, and the athletic rebounder can make hay on FanDuel quickly. Hamidou Diallo ($8,000) played the entire fourth quarter, and Kevin Knox ($7,000) and Isaiah Livers ($6,500) also saw extended run.