FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Picks and Helper: Friday 12/8/23

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 lineup optimizer to help give you an edge.

On top of all that, here at FanDuel Research, we'll 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

Luka Doncic ($12,400) -- Luka Doncic has been on fire lately. He put up 67.5 FanDuel points last time out, and that came in just 31 minutes in a blowout. He posted 86.0 and 71.3 FanDuel points in the two games before that one. Blowout risk is a concern again today -- which could scare away the masses (like it did Wednesday) -- but oddsmakers are giving the Portland Trail Blazers a fighting chance to keep it close, installing the Dallas Mavericks as 8.0-point favorites. If Luka gets his full minutes, look out.

James Harden ($8,000) -- Since Russell Westbrook's move to the bench, James Harden has been really good in DFS, and he's averaging 43.5 FanDuel points across his last four games. Tonight, Harden and the Los Angeles Clippers draw a dope matchup with the Utah Jazz, a team that is 25th in defensive rating. The Clips are 7.5-point favorites, so the blowout risk isn't too crazy, and Utah has surrendered the sixth-most FanDuel points per night to point guards (51.3).

Dante Exum ($4,300) -- On Wednesday, Dante Exum got a start due to Grant Williams and Josh Green sitting. Those two are expected to be out again tonight, which puts Exum on the value radar. In Wednesday's start, Exum logged 25 minutes and generated 28.7 FanDuel points. It's hard to get a feel for what his true role could be given how lopsided that game was, but as of early Friday, Exum is a solid value piece.

Others to Consider

Devin Booker ($10,800) -- The Phoenix Suns are going to be without Kevin Durant, Grayson Allen and Bradley Beal tonight. They're also in a game that shapes up to be the best DFS environment of the night, as the Suns meet the Sacramento Kings in a clash with a 236.5-point total and 1.5-point spread. With that trio off the floor this year, Booker averages 54.4 FanDuel points per 36 minutes on a 34.8% usage rate, according to RotoGrinders' CourtIQ.

Spencer Dinwiddie ($7,000) -- At a high draft percentage Wednesday, Spencer Dinwiddie flopped, totaling just 25.4 FanDuel points. I hope that keeps people off him today because Dinwiddie can torch a Washington Wizards team that is 29th in defensive rating and playing at the 2nd-fastest pace while also conceding the 4th-most FanDuel points per game to point guards (52.2). There is blowout risk, though, with the Brooklyn Nets favored by 9.5 points.

Anfernee Simons ($6,600) -- Malcolm Brogdon exited early last game and is listed as questionable today. If Brogdon can't go, Anfernee Simons becomes super appealing, and Scoot Henderson ($4,900) would be worth a look, too. As for Simons, he can feast against a Dallas D that is 23rd in defensive rating and has allowed the seventh-most FanDuel points per game to two-guards (43.3). Simons is still a quality option even if Brogdon plays. Scoot needs Brogdon to be out to become a viable value pick.


Top Plays

DeMar DeRozan ($8,100) -- DeMar DeRozan continues to project well with Zach LaVine sidelined. numberFire has him pegged for 41.0 FanDuel points (5.06 per $1,000). He has upside for more in a dream matchup against the San Antonio Spurs. Not only are the Spurs (4th in pace) a huge pace-up spot for the Chicago Bulls (last), but San Antonio is 27th in defensive rating.

Franz Wagner ($7,700) -- The Orlando Magic-Detroit Pistons matchup is worrisome with Orlando a whopping 11.5-point favorite. Despite that, the Magic have a few pieces that intrigue me, particularly Franz Wagner. Detroit is 6th in pace and 24th in defensive rating. Wagner has recorded at least 37.9 FanDuel points in five straight, and I think he could pop for a spike game today.

Eric Gordon ($5,500) and Josh Okogie ($4,400) -- Eric Gordon and Josh Okogie should take on increased roles with Phoenix missing key players. With KD, Allen and Beal off the court this season, Okogie sees a usage-rate bump of 7.0 percentage points (up to 21.3%) while Gordon's usage rate sits at 24.0% in the split. The Kings are playing at the 9th-fastest pace and own the 10th-worst defensive rating.

Others to Consider

Kawhi Leonard ($8,600) and Paul George ($8,400) -- As I mentioned with Harden, this is a money spot for the Clippers. All three of Harden, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George look good via projections. If one of them is going overlooked, that's likely where I'll side. As of early Friday, Kawhi might be the one who is the least popular.

Cedi Osman ($4,200) -- Pop did Pop stuff on Wednesday and made Cedi Osman a starter. Will Osman start tonight? I have no idea, and with San Antonio playing at 8:30 p.m. ET, it's risky to bank on Osman being in the starting five. But if he is, he's a sweet low-salary play. He finished with 29.6 FanDuel points in 32 minutes in said start.


Top Plays

Joel Embiid ($12,500) and Nikola Jokic ($12,600) -- I write up these guys every slate. They're amazing. numberFire projects Embiid for 59.1 FanDuel points and Jokic for 58.1. Jokic is taking on the Houston Rockets while Embiid gets the Atlanta Hawks. With the over/under 21.0 points higher in Embiid's game, he gets the nod for me today, but Jokic is also a superb play, per usual.

Victor Wembanyama ($9,000) -- A Victor Wembanyama-DeRozan stack could hit tonight in a game with a 224.5-point total and 2.5-point spread. numberFire has Wemby projected for 43.6 FanDuel points (4.85 per $1,000). Prior to a dud last time out, the star rookie had gone for 54.4 and 65.2 FanDuel points in back-to-back games. The upside is massive.

Chet Holmgren ($8,300) -- I haven't talked about the Oklahoma City Thunder-Golden State Warriors game yet, and with a 235.5-point total and 3.5-point spread, it sets up well for DFS. The problem is that no one in this game projects all that well. That includes Chet Holmgren. But we know what kind of ceiling he has, and he showed it versus the Dubs earlier this year in a 63.5-FanDuel-point explosion.

Others to Consider

Clint Capela ($6,400) -- Clint Capela's defense should be needed tonight versus Embiid, and as long as Capela can stay out of foul trouble, he can have a good fantasy night. He went for 39.2 FanDuel points against Philly earlier this year, and he's racked up at least two combined blocks/steals in four of his last five contests.

Keita Bates-Diop ($4,000) -- Keita Bates-Diop is another viable value from the Suns. He's averaging a respectable 0.97 FanDuel points per minute with KD, Beal and Allen off the court this year. Assuming he starts -- which isn't a certainty -- Bates-Diop is easy to like at this salary.

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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.