Since it’s much simpler to predict than baseball or football, basketball daily fantasy 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?
Well, as a result, NBA daily fantasy is extremely 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.
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.
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.
Overall, the name of this slate is balance. There are no players projected for more than 45.4 FanDuel points by numberFire’s model. That doesn’t mean nobody will have a huge game, but with a lot of slate-busters playing on Christmas Day yesterday, this slate is feeling the aftereffects.
Damian Lillard ($9,200) is projected at 45.4 FanDuel points in a matchup against the Charlotte Hornets, a game with the top over/under of the night at 237.5 points. The second-best projection of the night among all players belongs to LaMelo Ball ($8,900) on the other side; Ball is projected for 45.0 FanDuel points. That makes a Lillard/Ball stack quite fun. Among guard options (i.e. players who are guard eligible but not small forward eligible), Lillard (20.3%) and Ball (19.5%) have the top odds to lead the position in fantasy points tonight in my simulations.
We also have Tyrese Haliburton ($10,000; 17.1%) and Donovan Mitchell ($9,100; 10.1%) rating out well enough, but among them and the other higher-salaried guards, it’s Lillard and Ball who take precedence.
We can also look to Anfernee Simons ($6,200) in that Blazers/Hornets game. He edges out the Detroit Pistons‘ duo of Killian Hayes ($5,700) and Jaden Ivey ($5,900) as a mid-range preference for me, but the Detroit guys are interesting, given the injury to Cade Cunningham and the low salaries.
The top guard value is Ayo Dosunmu ($4,500) for the Chicago Bulls (much more on them later). numberFire’s model projects Dosunmu for 34.2 minutes and 25.8 FanDuel points against a generous Houston Rockets defense.
Others to Consider: C.J. McCollum ($8,800), Andrew Nembhard ($4,900), Dyson Daniels ($4,000), Jose Alvarado ($4,700)
The Chicago Bulls are popping among forward options. DeMar DeRozan ($8,500), Zach LaVine ($7,400), and Patrick Williams ($4,800) all rate out at the top of my model for the night among forward-eligible plays. As mentioned already for Dosunmu, Chicago is up against the Rockets. Notably here, I have DeRozan at 14.9% likely to lead forwards in FanDuel points tonight.
That helps him to edge out Jimmy Butler ($9,800), Anthony Edwards ($9,000), and Paul George ($9,500) among the top options at the position.
In the mid-range, we have Trey Murphy III ($5,200) and Naji Marshall ($5,000) as some of the best value plays of the night. numberFire’s model projects each for at least 28.0 minutes and 25.2 fantasy points. The New Orleans Pelicans and Indiana Pacers are in the game with the second-highest total of the night, and they combine to have the best composite matchup of the slate when you combine matchup, spread, and game total.
Josh Hart ($5,900) is another piece of that Blazers game we can go after, too.
Others to Consider: Jimmy Butler ($9,800 – in tournaments), Anthony Edwards ($9,000), Paul George ($9,500), Buddy Hield ($6,000), Marcus Morris ($5,100)
The love for the Bulls extends to the center position with Nikola Vucevic ($7,900). I have Vucevic at 18.8% likely to be the best big tonight with nobody else cracking a 14.0% chance. The moderate salary helps us build stacks around the Bulls, Blazers, and Hornets.
If not getting to Vucevic because of other priorities, you’re in luck because we have a lot of low-salaried options.
Orlando Robinson ($4,100) is the top projected value in numberFire’s model. Robinson is projected for 25.3 minutes and 26.4 FanDuel points, good for a value rating of 6.44 (FanDuel points per $1,000). Nobody else is above 6.00.
The next closest name is Andre Drummond ($3,800) — yet another Bull. His value rating is 5.92. Drummond’s minutes expectation is only 17.1, but he has managed to average 1.24 FanDuel points per minute this season.
Back up the list a bit, we have a slew of viable mid-range options. Walker Kessler ($6,000), Alperen Sengun ($6,400), Jusuf Nurkic ($6,800), Jonas Valanciunas ($6,500), and Ivica Zubac ($5,700) are all projected for at least 5.00 FanDuel points per $1,000. It’s a pretty low-upside position tonight, so we can prioritize the guards and forwards instead.
Others to Consider: Rudy Gobert ($8,000), Jerami Grant ($7,100), Jarred Vanderbilt ($5,700)