NBA

FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Picks and Helper: Thursday 3/7/24

Aidan Cotter
Aidan CotterAidanCotterFD

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. Our projections -- which are powered by numberFire -- update throughout the day to reflect current news. You can also turn to numberFire for player news updates as well as 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 some of the day's top plays at each position.

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

Betting lines via the NBA odds at FanDuel Sportsbook. Projections and betting odds may change after this article is published.

NBA DFS Picks

Thursday's main slate on FanDuel features seven games but some dramatically different game environments.

For a full breakdown, see numberFire's matchup heat map.

Top matchups:

Other games:

Guards

Top Plays

Jamal Murray ($8,400) -- There are a few healthy point guards with higher salaries than Jamal Murray tonight, but with Murray coming off a pair of 48-FanDuel point (FP) games, it wouldn't surprise anyone to see him finish atop the pack. Murray's become known for his strong performances against top-flight competition, and tonight's matchup with Boston is as big as it gets. The Celtics have a tough defense, but Murray torched them for 35 real-world points en route to 51.1 FanDuel points back in January.

Ausar Thompson ($6,300) -- A slate-low 216 total may turn some people away from Ausar Thompson, but he's the kind of mid-range guard we should be targeting on larger slates. Thompson has solidified his role in Detroit's rotation, notching 33 minutes in six of seven games since the All-Star break. He's gone over 40 FPs twice over that span, and his across-the-board contributions give him several different ways to be fantasy relevant. Thompson's points + rebounds prop is set at 18.5 on FanDuel Sportsbook.

Tre Jones ($5,500) -- While Tre Jones has been held under 16 FPs in each of the last two games, he's playing in the game with the slate's highest total (238.5), and the San Antonio Spurs will be without Victor Wembanyama. Jones has played six games without Wemby. In the split, he's averaged 27.4 FPPG with a 20% usage rate, per RotoGrinders' Court IQ. With Sacramento in the second leg of a back-to-back, numberFire projects Jones for 30.2 FPs. As of Thursday afternoon, that makes him the top point-per-dollar value on the slate (5.48 FPs per $1,000).

Others to Consider

Luka Doncic ($12,600) -- With several high-salary players to choose from tonight, Luka Doncic could see a lower-than-usual roster rate. He's facing Miami -- eighth in defensive rating and the fourth-toughest fantasy defense for PGs -- so I understand the logic. Still, a player of Luka's caliber can break the slate against anyone, so he's worth some exposure. He faced the Heat twice last season, scoring 58.9 and 69 FPs. His 60.2-FP numberFire projection tops the slate.

De'Aaron Fox ($9,500) -- De'Aaron Fox exploded for 44 actual and 57.8 FanDuel points last night, and he's set up for another big night thanks to a matchup against San Antonio. Per FantasyPros, the Spurs have given up the third-most FPPG to opposing PGs, and they're third in pace. My only concern here is blowout risk (Kings -11.0). Fox has played 16 games where the Kings won by double-digits this season. He's averaged 45.6 FPPG in such outings and been held under 50 FPs in half of them.

Lonnie Walker ($4,800) -- Lonnie Walker has played well the last two games, notching 24.7 and 27.3 FPs. He's in line for a usage bump with Cameron Johnson, Ben Simmons, and Cameron Thomas all out, and the matchup is great. Despite the low over/under (216), Detroit is among the best fantasy matchups in the game. They're 29th in defensive rating on the year and have given up the sixth-most FPPG to opposing SGs. Walker's 24.6-FP numberFire projection makes him the second-best point-per-dollar value among SGs (5.12 FPs per $1,000).

Wings

Top Plays

Anthony Edwards ($9,300) -- Anthony Edwards should see a spike in usage with Karl-Anthony Towns (knee) sidelined. KAT's missed just two games this season, but in those, Ant saw a staggering 41% usage rate and averaged 57.3 FPPG. The matchup is there for a ceiling game -- Indiana is 27th in defensive rating, second in pace, and an above-average fantasy matchup for SGs and SFs. Ant's points prop is set at 31.5 on FanDuel Sportsbook.

Mikal Bridges ($7,800) -- With several high-usage Nets out tonight, Mikal Bridges is in line for more opportunities. Though he's coming off a pair of quiet outings, he flashed a tantalizing ceiling three games back with 54 FPs and continues to flirt with 40 minutes a night. That workload should come in handy today against Detroit. In addition to their poor defensive rating, the Pistons have allowed the ninth-most FPPG to SFs this season.

Kyle Anderson ($5,500) -- Like Anthony Edwards, Kyle Anderson is expected to take on a larger role with Karl-Anthony Towns out. KAT's missed 48 games over the last two seasons, during which Anderson averaged 29.7 FPPG sans Towns. Slo Mo's projected for 29.8 FPs tonight, making him the best point-per-dollar value among wings (5.43 FPs per $1,000). Jaden McDaniels ($5,200) fits a similar profile, averaging 32 FPPG in KAT's two absences this season. Either makes sense against a Pacers defense that's given up the fifth-most FPPG to SFs and the second-most to PFs.

Others to Consider

Kevin Durant ($10,200) -- With Devin Booker out, Kevin Durant deserves a look in an advantageous matchup. In 12 games without Booker, Durant's averaged 50.9 FPPG while registering a 35% usage rate. That usage should lead to a strong output against Toronto. Over the last 15 games, the Raptors are 27th in defensive rating and ninth in pace. They've given up the most FPPG to SFs and the fifth-most to PFs over that span.

Keldon Johnson ($5,700) -- Wemby is out tonight, and the Spurs are 0-6 without him. I'm largely fading San Antonio, but Keldon Johnson has some value in an increased role. In six previous games sans Wemby, Keldon averaged 30 minutes, 34.9 FPPG, and a 26% usage rate. Johnson has matched up well with Sacramento in the past, averaging 35.6 FPPG in the six games in which he's exceeded 30 minutes against them.

Andrew Wiggins ($4,800) -- Andrew Wiggins played just 13 minutes in his return to action last night. That makes him difficult to trust until his minutes rev back up, but it's hard not to like the value here. Before missing four games with a personal matter, Wiggins had averaged 29.1 FPPG over his previous nine outings.

Bigs

Top Plays

Nikola Jokic ($12,000) -- Nikola Jokic went for 34 points, 12 rebounds, and 9 assists the last time he faced Boston, so he's certainly worth a look in tonight's home rematch. Though Jokic has been held under 60 FPs in four straight games, he's still averaging 62.2 FPPG since the All-Star break. A 220.5 over/under isn't ideal, but a 1.0-point spread hints and a back-and-forth affair. Jokic's points + rebounds + assists prop is way up at 47.5 on FanDuel Sportsbook. Jokic has +185 odds to record a triple-double.

Rudy Gobert ($8,600) -- If you can't fit Jokic's salary into your build, consider Rudy Gobert. Gobert has been rolling of late, exceeding 42 FPs in five of six games since the All-Star break. He's in line for an expanded role with Towns out and has put up 48.4 FPPG this year in two games sans KAT. A date with the fast-paced Pacers is an ideal matchup, too. Indiana is a middle-of-the-pack defense against Cs, but they've dipped to 25th in rebound rate over the last 15 games.

Royce O'Neale ($5,600) -- Phoenix has the slate's second-highest implied total (122), giving Royce O'Neale intriguing upside with Devin Booker out. O'Neale has averaged 35 minutes and 34.2 FPPG over the last five games, and he's flashed 40-FP upside since joining the Suns. The Raptors have struggled to contain opposing forwards, so O'Neale projects as a quality value play tonight.

Others to Consider

Jayson Tatum ($10,000) -- With Jaylen Brown questionable, PF-eligible Jayson Tatum has some appeal in a matchup between the two teams with the shortest odds to win the NBA Finals. Tatum managed just 42.1 FPs when Boston faced Denver in January, but he'd be in line for a substantial bump if Brown sat. In five previous games sans Brown, Tatum has averaged 52.6 FPPG with a 34% usage rate.

Kelly Olynyk ($6,500) -- Kelly Olynyk has taken off in an expanded role the last three games, averaging 28 minutes and 36 FPPG. He figures to flirt with 30 minutes as long as Jakob Poeltl is out, and he recently inked a two-year extension with his hometown team. Facing the Suns hasn't been a great for opposing bigs, but Olynyk's held his own against Phoenix center Jusuf Nurkic. In 11 career head-to-head matchups, Olynyk's averaged 1.08 FanDuel points per minute. A 34.5-FP numberFire projection makes Olynyk the top point-per-dollar value among centers (5.31 FPs per $1,000).

Isaiah Stewert ($5,300) -- In four games since returning from injury, Isaiah Stewart has averaged 33 minutes and 27 FPPG. His minutes are a lovely sight to see from a $5.3K player, and he benefits from dual PF/C eligibility. While Brooklyn hasn't been a great matchup for bigs this season, the Nets banged up and down to 22nd in rebound rate over the last 15 games.


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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.