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
Friday's injury report did add an unexpected name yesterday.
Jayson Tatum (hip) was included on the Celtics' injury report before their trip to Portland tonight. For the Blazers, Jerami Grant (quad) is questionable and could miss a second straight contest.
It'll be status quo with the Dallas Mavericks on Friday. Luka Doncic (thigh) won't play, and Kyrie Irving (foot) is at-risk of a third straight missed game, too. Tim Hardaway Jr. (calf) is officially questionable, but he did fully practice on Thursday.
Minnesota's roulette wheel of centers will also stay the same as Wednesday. Rudy Gobert (ankle) and Naz Reid (calf) both have questionable designations entering their meeting with the Bulls. Chicago listed Alex Caruso (illness) as questionable.
In a total shocker, Draymond Green (suspension) has piled up too many techs and will miss Friday's game in Atlanta, but at least Stephen Curry (thumb) is expected to play through his questionable listing.
The Cavaliers will remain without Jarrett Allen (eye) as they host Washington.
It'll be Devonte' Graham (quad) and Romeo Langford (thigh) getting the night off for the Spurs, and Keita Bates-Diop (Achilles) is questionable. Memphis enters this one still missing just Ja Morant and Steven Adams.
Finally, Charlotte's Mark Williams (thumb) is likely out Friday and apparently "murky" for the rest of the season. His former teammate, Jalen McDaniels, is questionable for Philadelphia on the other side with a hip issue.
The 247.5-point total in Atlanta is a whopper, so we don't really have to look far for star guards from it.
In that type of environment, Stephen Curry ($10,000) is wholly dangerous. We saw that on Wednesday as he dropped 50 points against the Clippers. The question is which Hawks guard to use on the other side, and I think I want to buy low on the cold shooting of Dejounte Murray ($8,600).
Murray has shot 39.3% in his last five to Trae Young's 54.9%. Those marks should both move the other way soon.
The sliding salary of Tyus Jones ($6,700) is intriguing with Memphis-San Antonio having the second-highest total (234.5) on the board. On the other side, Devin Vassell ($5,900) has exceeded 30 minutes in three straight but isn't salaried like it due to 33.3% shooting in that time.
Derrick White ($6,100), Malcolm Brogdon ($5,800), and Marcus Smart ($5,600) could all be value pieces if Tatum sits, but Smart's the safest option in his starting, full-time role now. The matchup is great, too. Portland cedes the ninth-most FanDuel points per game to point guards.
Others projecting well in numberFire's model at present include C.J. McCollum ($8,400), Tyrese Maxey ($6,300), Mike Conley ($5,800), and Malik Beasley ($4,900).
Obviously, the headliner here is Jaylen Brown ($9,200).
He's already projecting well on the basis of eclipsing 45 FanDuel points in three straight, but if Tatum sits, his role would be enormous. He's averaged 46.7 FanDuel points per 36 minutes in that floor condition behind a 35.0% usage rate.
Leading the entire projections in per-dollar value score, Brandon Ingram ($8,200) is a worthy second option. The Rockets' defense is awful in many places but cedes the second-most FanDuel points per game to small forwards in particular.
In that same range, Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan are projecting modestly, but Minnesota is a bottom-12 matchup for wings behind the stellar perimeter defense of Anthony Edwards and Jaden McDaniels. It's hard to say "prioritize them" with Brown, Ingram, and options from Dubs-Hawks.
Those options would be Jonathan Kuminga ($5,400), who dropped 31.6 FanDuel points in his last start for Draymond, and De'Andre Hunter ($5,200), who has reclaimed 34-plus minutes in three straight for the Hawks. Donte DiVincenzo ($5,700) might also see a bump on the glass without Dray.
On the other side of Ingram, Kenyon Martin Jr. ($5,600) has held onto a full role for a Houston rotation in flux. He's right there with the Golden State and Atlanta options in our projections.
Philadelphia and Charlotte have the total in the 220s that I'm most likely to target, and it's because of Joel Embiid ($12,000).
The new MVP favorite has lobbied that he wants to win the award, and eclipsing 62 FanDuel points in four straight, he's playing like it. He draws a Charlotte interior defense that's been crunched all season, allowing the fourth-most points and most rebounds per game to opposing centers.
The only other center-only option I'd consider ahead of him is Kevon Looney ($5,900), who has quietly been a monster with Draymond off the floor this season. Looney has tallied 36.5 FanDuel points per 36 without his power forward close by. John Collins ($5,000) has a low enough salary to roll the dice on the other side. He posted 49.1 FanDuel points earlier this year against the Dubs.
I haven't talked much Lakers-Mavs despite its 227.0-point total, but salaries are large across the board with injured players returning. If Kyrie sits, Christian Wood ($6,900) is still an excellent target. He dropped 47.1 FanDuel points in just 28 minutes on Wednesday battling foul trouble. He doesn't need the larger role at this salary; they just play him more without their normal shot creators.
Jaren Jackson Jr. ($8,500) did rebound in a tough matchup with Miami on Wednesday. He posted 25 points in just 28 minutes, totaling 45.3 FanDuel points. He and Xavier Tillman ($5,400) are the bigs to target our secondary game stack from the Memphis side, and Zach Collins ($7,000) should also have a sublime role for the Spurs, who lost Charles Bassey to a fractured kneecap earlier this week.
Opposite Embiid, PJ Washington ($6,500) is another forward filler that I'm eyeing. The Sixers' elite defense has one crack, yielding the sixth-most points to scoring fours like PJ.
Per our projections, Kristaps Porzingis ($9,000) and Evan Mobley ($8,000) are two other names to consider in their head-to-head matchup.