FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Picks and Helper: Wednesday 4/17/24

Aidan Cotter
Aidan CotterAidanCotterFD
FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Picks and Helper: Wednesday 4/17/24

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.


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

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


Top Plays

Tyrese Maxey ($9,100) -- There are only a few high-salary guards to choose from tonight, but Tyrese Maxey takes the cake for me. Maxey proved to be a matchup nightmare for Miami this season, averaging 57.2 FanDuel points per game (FPPG) over their final three meetings. The most recent of which, a 69.3-FP performance, came with Joel Embiid back. He totaled 37, 40, and 48 combined points and assists in those three -- notable considering his points + assists prop is down at 30.5 on FanDuel Sportsbook.

Dejounte Murray ($8,200) -- Even with Trae Young back, I'm struggling to understand Dejounte Murray's salary. Sure, Murray averaged "only" 37.0 FPPG with Young active this season, per RotoGrinders CourtIQ, but we saw him put up 40.1 FPs in the season finale, and we're talking about someone who carried a $10.5K salary when Atlanta faced Chicago at the beginning of April. According to FantasyPros, the Bulls ranked in the bottom 10 in FPs allowed to both PGs and SGs over their final 15 games, so both guards should have room to thrive tonight.

Alex Caruso ($6,400) -- Early roster rate numbers from around the industry project Alex Caruso to be one of the most popular players tonight, but I'm fine going with the crowd here. He's flashed real upside with a pair of 40-FP outings over the final six games and could be in for a bigger role if Ayo Dosunmu (questionable) sits. It's only a three-game sample, but Caruso's averaged 37.3 FPPG with Ayo and Zach LaVine both sidelined. He's one of just two guards with 5x projected value tonight, with our projection pegging him for 33.0 FPs (5.15 FPs per $1,000).

Others to Consider

Trae Young ($9,300) -- Trae Young's minutes crept up in each of Atlanta's final three games, peaking at 31 in the season finale. He failed to exceed 20 real-world points in any of those but did crack double-digit assists twice. I'd rather save a bit of salary and play Maxey, but Young isn't expected to be heavily rostered. He's a solid contrarian play against a Bulls team that's slipped to 27th in defensive rating since the All-Star break.

Kyle Lowry ($5,200) -- I think you can do worse than Kyle Lowry at $5K, especially if you want to get to some of the high-salary wings. Lowry's obviously not the same player he once was, but he did pop for a pair of 30-FPs nights over his final seven games in the regular season. He averaged 23.2 FPPG across 23 playoff games with Miami last year.


Top Plays

Jimmy Butler ($9,000) -- Wing is the easiest spot to save salary tonight, but don't forget about Jimmy Butler. Though Butler only averaged 37.7 FPPG in the regular season, we're well aware playoff Jimmy is a different beast. He averaged 48.8 FPPG in last year's postseason, and that's the caliber of player we're expecting at $9K. It's not hard to get behind him in a revenge spot with Philly, especially since they allowed the 10th-most FPPG to SFs over the final 15 games.

Bogdan Bogdanovic ($6,700) -- Fear not: the return of Trae Young hasn't totaled eliminated Bogdan Bogdanovic, though it did cause his salary to drop. Bogdanovic put up 33.2, 21.4, and 30.3 FPs in the final three games with Young back. In 14 games with Trae Young active and Jalen Johnson out, Bogdanovic averaged 32.3 FPPG with a 23.7% usage rate. Considering how drastically the Bulls' defense fell off over the second half, Bogdanovic is a capable mid-range play.

De'Andre Hunter ($5,300) -- There's a degree of risk involved in De'Andre Hunter, but that's life with low-salary wings in the playoffs. Hunter was held under 20 FPs five times in his final 10 games of the year, but he also went over 35 FPs twice over that span. Still, his playing time is safe, and there aren't many guys with his upside at this salary range. We project him for 27.3 FPs, making him the fourth-best point-per-dollar value on the slate (5.15 FPs per $1,000).

Others to Consider

DeMar DeRozan ($9,200) -- DeMar DeRozan is more than a defensible pivot off Butler. He's playing in a far superior game environment, against a worse defense, and has been playing better of late. DeMar's exceeded 40 FPs in 10 of his last 11 games and closed out the year with 62.3- and 56.5-FP outings. In three regular season matchups with Atlanta, DeRozan netted 25, 29, and 31 real-world points. His points prop is set at 28.5 on FanDuel Sportsbook.

Kelly Oubre ($6,500) -- Kelly Oubre doesn't project well -- we have him going for only 23.6 FPs (3.63 FPs per $1,000) -- but he's proven capable of monster performances and shouldn't be very popular tonight. On top of that, Oubre exceeded 33 FPs in four of five games upon Joel Embiid's return.


Top Plays

Nikola Vucevic ($8,500) -- If I'm playing only one lineup, Nikola Vucevic is my center, no question about it. Though Vuc had some down nights over the second half, he ended the year with 55.2- and 44.7-FP outings and exceeded 40 FPs in seven of his final 15 games. The matchup is ripe for the taking as Atlanta gave up the 10th-most FPPG to Cs on the year. With a 45.7-FP projection, Vucevic is the top point-per-dollar value on the slate (5.37 FPs per $1,000). That projection includes 13.1 rebounds, making his 11.5-rebound line on FanDuel Sportsbook one of Wednesday's top player props.

Javonte Green ($5,600) -- Javonte Green broke out down the stretch, averaging 29.8 minutes and 34.1 FPPG over the final six games of the year. He put up 29.4 FPPG in the four games with Dosunmu sidelined but previously went for 50.1 and 37.1 FPs with Ayo active. He's a strong salary saver regardless of Chicago's injury report.

Nikola Jovic ($4,100) -- I wouldn't even trust Nicolas Cage's National Treasure character to decipher Miami's playoff rotation, but Nikola Jovic doesn't provide much risk at $4.1K. He averaged 23.6 minutes and 21.5 FPPG over the final 14 games of the season, notably popping for 33 FPs in two of their final four games. Kevin Love ($4,800) is also an option here, but he comes via a heftier salary, and we project Jovic for 24.4 minutes compared to Love's 10.3.

Others to Consider

Joel Embiid ($11,900) -- It's difficult to get to Joel Embiid tonight, but he's easily the top player on the slate. He went for 72.2 and 57.1 FPs in the final two games of the regular season, and our projections put him at 54.9 tonight (4.61 FPs per $1,000). Still, the matchup is brutal. Miami gave up the fewest FPPG to Cs on the year, and Embiid hasn't exceeded 50 FPs against Bam Adebayo since 2019. I'd save him for larger tournaments, but nobody has his ceiling.

Caleb Martin ($5,100) -- It would be silly to expect Caleb Martin to replicate last year's playoff performance, but it's still hard to forget the 32.9 FPPG he put up in the Eastern Conference Finals. He played at least 30 minutes in both of their second-half matchups with Philly this season, so we should at least be able to count on him for a nice dose of playing time.

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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.