FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Picks and Helper: Friday 11/17/23

Austan Kas
Austan Kas@AustanKas

Since NBA DFS is easier to predict than baseball or football, it would likely get plenty of votes as the best sport to play on FanDuel. Basketball players usually stick to the same minutes and produce at roughly the same rate. Sounds easy, right? Trust me -- it's not!

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. numberFire's projections update up until tip-off to reflect current news. numberFire also has player news updates, and the FanDuel Scout app will send push notifications for pressing updates regarding your players.

In addition to daily projections, numberFire also offers a matchup heat map and a lineup optimizer to help give you an edge.

Here at FanDuel Research, we'll also come at you each day with this NBA DFS primer, which breaks down a few of the day's top plays at each position.

Let's dive into today's main slate on FanDuel.



Top Plays

Trae Young ($9,200) -- We have four games on this slate that carry a total of at least 236.0 points. Only one of those games has a spread under 5.0 points, and it's the Atlanta Hawks hosting the Philadelphia 76ers, a game with a 236.0-point total and 1.0-point spread. The Sixers have been very giving to point guards this year, permitting the fifth-most FanDuel points per game to the position (50.5). The matchup and game environment give Trae Young top-shelf upside.

Jalen Brunson ($8,000) -- Jalen Brunson is one of my favorite plays tonight. He gets a dreamy matchup versus the Washington Wizards, a team playing at the league's fastest pace while also sitting 27th in defensive rating. The Wiz are tied with the Sixers in terms of point-guard D, surrendering 50.5 FanDuel points per game (fifth-most) to floor generals. Even if RJ Barrett returns, Brunson is a superb play, but if Barrett sits again, Brunson becomes even more appealing.

De'Anthony Melton ($5,600) -- A low-salary way to get access to one of the night's premier DFS games, De'Anthony Melton is worth a look. Atlanta is giving up the seventh-most FanDuel points per game to two-guards (44.6). Melton has played 34 and 35 minutes in his last two games while averaging 23.0 real-world points in that span. numberFire projects him to put up 28.6 FanDuel points (5.1 per $1,000).

Others to Consider

LaMelo Ball ($9,500) -- I don't think I've been right on LaMelo Ball once this year, but he could have a big night against the Milwaukee Bucks. This game has a slate-best 238.0-point total and 7.0-point spread. There's some risk that the Charlotte Hornets get blown out, but if this game stays competitive, Ball will likely be a big reason why. This is a fun game to stack, and Ball is my preferred way to get a piece of the Hornets.

Keyonte George ($4,900) -- Keyonte George just keeps projecting well, and the Utah Jazz continue to be in fantasy-friendly games. Tonight, Utah hosts the Phoenix Suns in a game with a 236.5-point total and 5.5-point spread. George is a low-salary way to get in on the fun, and he's been hot, tallying 31.3 and 28.1 FanDuel points over his last two.


Top Plays

Giannis Antetokounmpo ($10,800) -- If Giannis Antetokounmpo returns today, he can go nuts in a date with Charlotte. The Hornets are giving up the seventh-most FanDuel points per game to power forwards (46.7), and Giannis has topped 60 FanDuel points in three of his past five outings. If Giannis sits again, the Bucks become a go-to value spot, with Damian Lillard ($8,800) turning into an elite option.

Kevin Durant ($9,900) -- In the Suns' most recent game, Kevin Durant went for 48.2 FanDuel points thanks to an 11-for-15 shooting night. He's now scored at least 48.2 FanDuel points in six straight, and he's got a delightful matchup tonight versus Utah. Small forwards are producing 49.5 FanDuel points per night -- second-most -- against the Jazz, who are 26th in defensive rating and play at the 7th-fastest pace. Bradley Beal is likely out again, too.

Malaki Branham ($4,400) -- The San Antonio Spurs are expected to be sans Tre Jones and Devin Vassell, which could result in Malaki Branham moving into a starting gig. That should be enough to make Branham a quality value play in a clash with the Sacramento Kings. If Julian Champagnie ($4,400) starts, he'd be a sweet value, too.

Others to Consider

Lauri Markkanen ($8,400) -- As of early Friday, it looks like the wing positions will be loaded. Lauri Markkanen catches my eye in what profiles as a fun DFS game against Phoenix (remember: 236.5-point total and 5.5-point spread). With Walker Kessler -- who is out again today -- off the floor, Markkanen is posting 1.29 FanDuel points per minute this season, according to RotoGrinders' CourtIQ. I think Lauri may go a tad overlooked tonight.

Robert Covington ($4,800) -- After playing between 14 and 16 minutes in four consecutive games, Robert Covington saw 37 minutes last time out and finished with 29.2 FanDuel points. We can't count on another 37-minute outing, but he's now started two games in a row, and is a low-salary way to get exposure to the Sixers-Hawks affair.


Top Plays

Domantas Sabonis ($10,300) -- On Wednesday, Domantas Sabonis erupted for 66.7 FanDuel points. It was his fourth straight game of at least 51.8 FanDuel points. He can keep rolling today against the San Antonio Spurs. San Antonio ranks fifth in pace and next to last in defensive rating. This game has a 237.0-point total, and while there's some blowout risk (7.0-point spread), if Sabonis gets his full minutes, he can break the slate.

Victor Wembanyama ($8,800) -- If the aforementioned Spurs-Kings game isn't a blowout, Victor Wembanyama can pop off, too, making him a fun stacking partner alongside Sabonis. With Vassell and Jones off the court, Wemby owns a gaudy 32.8% usage rate. He's amassed at least four combined blocks/steals in four games this year. numberFire projects him for 43.0 FanDuel points (5.0 per $1,000).

John Collins ($5,300) -- The absence of Kessler has been a boon for John Collins. Collins has averaged 31.6 FanDuel points per night in the three games since Kessler hit the shelf. For the year, he's averaging 1.06 FanDuel points per minute with Kessler off the floor. In what should be a high-scoring matchup versus a Suns squad that's allowed the third-most FanDuel points per game to power forwards (50.5), Collins can crush. He's a projections darling tonight, with numberFire pegging him to generate 31.2 FanDuel points -- a whopping 5.88 per $1,000.

Others to Consider

Joel Embiid ($12,200) and Nikola Jokic ($12,800) -- These two are good options each and every night, and that's no different on Friday -- even with both sitting way up there in salary. Joel Embiid is in what should be a shootout against the Hawks. Nikola Jokic will see a New Orleans Pelicans team that is giving up the sixth-most FanDuel points per night to centers (57.9). numberFire has Jokic going for a laughable 66.2 FanDuel points (5.22 per $1,000). He's insane.

Evan Mobley ($7,900) -- There's a chance the Cleveland Cavaliers could be without one or both of Donovan Mitchell and/or Darius Garland. If either of those two sit, Evan Mobley becomes a top-notch pick. Heck, with numberFire's model accounting for that pair to suit up, Mobley is still a nice play at a projection of 37.9 FanDuel points (4.8 per $1,000). Mobley had 50.9 FanDuel points last time out and can do a lot of damage against a Detroit Pistons squad that is 23rd in defensive rating.

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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author’s advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.