FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Picks and Helper: Thursday 4/11/24

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.


Thursday's main slate on FanDuel features five games. For a full breakdown, see numberFire's matchup heat map.

Top matchups:

Other games:

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


Top Plays

Jalen Brunson ($10,000) -- Welcome to the five-figure salary club, Jalen Brunson! Averaging 60.9 FanDuel points per game (FPPG) over his last four, Brunson won't come at a salary discount but is the clear top dog at guard tonight. A date with Boston isn't great on paper, but their defense has slipped with the 1 seed secured. Over their last 15 games, the Celtics have dipped to 10th in defensive rating (DRtg) and surrendered the seventh-most real-world points to PGs, per FantasyPros.

Amen Thompson ($7,700) -- I don't love the floor for most mid-range guards tonight, but, boy, is Amen Thompson's ceiling intriguing. The fourth overall pick has flashed 50-FP upside down the stretch -- a mark he narrowly missed the last time he faced Utah. He wrecked the Jazz for 18 points, 14 rebounds, and 5 assists in that one, and their lackluster D sets him up for another ceiling game tonight. Over their last 15 games, Utah is dead-last in defensive rating and has given up the second most FPPG to SGs.

Dalano Banton ($6,800) -- Duds are part of the equation with Dalano Banton, but you won't find much more upside at $6.8K. Over his last eight games, Banton has exceeded 40 FPs five times but was held under 23 FPs thrice. The Warriors are a league-average fantasy matchup for guards, and Banton should benefit from playing at home for just the second time in the last eight games. He's an upside play who is eligible at either guard spot.

Others to Consider

CJ McCollum ($8,500) -- C.J. McCollum's salary has understandably risen over this 10-game sample without Brandon Ingram, but I'm still interested tonight. McCollum's averaged 26.7 actual and 42.9 FanDuel points across this stretch, exceeding 40 FPs seven times. Sacramento hasn't been a great matchup for guards, but CJ notably went for 39.9 and 47.4 FPs in two prior matchups with them.

Talen Horton-Tucker ($5,600) -- Talen Horton-Tucker has flashed potential in the past and is coming off his best game since December. With Collin Sexton, Jordan Clarkson, and Kris Dunn all sidelined, THT popped for 32.6 FPs across 32 minutes. He put up 27.1 FPs in 26 minutes two games prior and stands to handle another sizable workload with those three out again tonight. As of Thursday afternoon, THT's 32.6-FP projection makes him the second-best point-per-dollar value at guard (5.83 FPs per $1,000).


Top Plays

DeMar DeRozan ($8,600) -- You're going to see DeMar DeRozan in a ton of lineups tonight -- and for good reason. The 34-year-old continues to boast one of the most stable floors in DFS, exceeding 40 FPs in eight of his last nine games. There's a nice ceiling tonight against Detroit, too. Although they've kept him to 39.2 FPPG across three prior matchups, the Pistons are just 21st in DRtg since the All-Star break and have let up the fourth-most FPPG to SFs on the year.

OG Anunoby ($6,100) -- OG Anunoby's salary still hasn't bounced back from a pair of lengthy absences -- take advantage while you can. He's played 37 and 35 minutes the last two games, notching 27.6 and 30.1 FPs in the process. New York still has plenty to play for, and we know Tom Thibodeau won't be shy about playing OG heavy minutes.

Javonte Green ($5,000) -- Javonte Green benefits from the same soft matchup DeRozan gets but comes at a fraction of the salary. He's carved out a solid role for Chicago the last three games, playing 33, 21, and 30 minutes. That resulted in 50.1, 37.1, and 23.4 FPs, so we should absolutely consider him at $5K. Our projections peg him for 26.0 FPs -- good for the second-best point-per-dollar value at SF (5.2 FPs per $1,000).

Others to Consider

Jayson Tatum ($9,900) -- Jayson Tatum is the only SF north of $9K, and he obviously has the upside to live up to the salary. He's averaged 48.5 FPPG across four meetings with the Knicks this season, though they did hold him under 43 FPs in the two most recent matchups. I have a hard time buying into the Celtics for DFS this late into the year, but early roster rate numbers from across the industry have Tatum going mostly overlooked. He's a contrarian building block.

Cam Whitmore ($5,000) -- The lower tier of SFs is an absolute wasteland tonight, but I'm into Cam Whitmore at $5K. The rook got ejected after five minutes in his most recent game but had exceeded 20 FPs in three of his previous five games, averaging close to 20 minutes per game. We could see him get a bit more run if the Rockets blow out Utah, and he benefits from Houston's slate-leading 119.25 implied total.


Top Plays

Domantas Sabonis ($10,600) -- Domantas Sabonis has the highest salary on FanDuel tonight, but $10.6K isn't anything too crazy. Though Sabonis' record-breaking double-double streak ended in his most recent game, there's an obvious path to a bounce-back tonight. New Orleans has defended him well this season, but he did pop for 64.6 FPs in a December meeting, and they'll notably be without Larry Nance Jr. tonight. His 50.5-FP projection leads all players.

Jabari Smith ($7,200) -- Easily my favorite play of the slate -- and where I stray most from our projections -- is Jabari Smith. The rare PF-only player, Smith is fresh off a 42.9-FP outing against Orlando and now gets a cupcake matchup with Utah. Smith netted just 30.5 FPs when these two sides faced off at the end of March, but the Jazz remain a matchup worth targeting. For the season, Utah has surrendered the second-most real-world points, most threes, and most FPs to PFs.

Jonas Valanciunas ($5,900) -- With Larry Nance out, I'm bullish we're treated to a vintage Jonas Valanciunas performance. He's largely fallen off the DFS radar since the beginning of March, averaging just 18.2 minutes over his last 15 games. But his per-minute production has remained solid with 1.10 FPs per minute over that span. That's enough to look at him as a value on a sparse slate.

Others to Consider

Nikola Vucevic ($8,000) -- Ol' reliable Nikola Vucevic is set up well against Detroit tonight. He went for 49.4 and 42 FPs the last two times these teams squared off, contributing to Detroit allowing the third most FPPG to Cs on the year. Since the All-Star break, the Pistons are down at 25th in rebound rate and have surrendered the sixth most points in the paint per game. Vuc's 44.7-FP projection makes him the second-best point-per-dollar value at C.

Trayce Jackson-Davis ($6,300) -- Golden State has the second-highest implied total (118.25) by a pretty significant margin, so I do want some exposure here. That leads me to Trayce Jackson-Davis. The rookie second-round pick has taken off over the last 15 games, averaging 25.7 minutes and 30.3 FPPG. He should stay busy against Portland's Deandre Ayton and befits from the Blazers giving up the third most FPPG to Cs 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.