3 NBA FanDuel Studs to Target on 3/4/21
Basketball is the most consistent sport for daily fantasy purposes.
A top slugger in baseball will have his fair share of 0-for-4 days, and an elite fantasy football player is at risk of having games where his team's offense as a whole is shut down. A high-salaried NBA stud is generally going to get his, though. With so many possessions in a game providing opportunities to produce, top fantasy basketball options will be posting high scores just about every night.
While this consistency puts us in a good position to identify top plays, it also means you can't afford to miss when you're paying a heavy salary to roster someone. Even with strong value plays in your lineup, getting a dud from a stud is likely going to leave your lineup lacking.
Let's get right into it and look at which top players should be the focal points of your lineups today.
De'Aaron Fox, PG, Sacramento Kings
FanDuel Salary: $8,300
The matchup between the Sacramento Kings and Portland Trail Blazers has an over/under of 238.0, so we're going to want to be all over that as much as we can. We can choose to roster Damian Lillard ($10,100) over De'Aaron Fox here (or both), but given how popular Lillard is likely to be, in addition to the $1,800 difference in salary, I'd prefer to go in the direction of Fox.
The 23-year-old has eclipsed 40 FanDuel points in 19 of his 34 games this season, and that includes 10 performances of 46.2 or more.
On the season, Portland ranks 24th against point guards, according to numberFire's DvP tool. Over the last month alone, they've ceded outputs of 50.0 FanDuel points to Jamal Murray, 52.7 to Russell Westbrook, 54.7 to Ben Simmons, 55.9 to Stephen Curry, 60.9 to Luka Doncic, and 61.2 to LaMelo Ball -- each of those studs produced more than their season average.
You might start to sense a theme as you consume this piece -- I'll be targeting players from teams with high implied totals. The Kings have an implied total of 116.8, which is good for fourth-highest on the slate, according to Brandon Gdula's matchup sheet.
Paul George, SG, Los Angeles Clippers
FanDuel Salary: $7,900
The Los Angeles Clippers have an implied total of 120.3 tonight, which is tied for the second-highest on the slate. They'll be going up against the defensive-deficient Washington Wizards, who rank 26th in opponent-adjusted defensive efficiency, per Gdula.
Over their last 15 games, the Wizards have surrendered the fifth-most fantasy points to shooting guards and the most to small forwards. In other words, a wing player like George should be able to walk all over them.
PG13 has totaled at least 42.7 FanDuel points in 14 of his 27 outings this season, and he's managed 39.1-plus in 18 of 27 -- that includes outputs of 42.7, 45.0, and 54.7 in three of his last six games.
numberFire's models project George to drop 46.8 fantasy points tonight, resulting in an impressive value figure (i.e., the number of fantasy points for every $1,000 in salary) of 5.93. That'll do.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, PF, Milwaukee Bucks
FanDuel Salary: $11,300
There are five players averaging 50 or more FanDuel points per game this season -- the only two that are on the slate are Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nikola Jokic, and the Serbian's salary is a slate-high $11,600, making him tough to get to at a position where you can only roster one player. That leaves Giannis as the highest ceiling player on this slate.
The two-time MVP has a matchup against a Memphis Grizzlies team that ranks seventh in the league in defensive efficiency, which is far from ideal. That said, Giannis has had 10 bouts with top-12 defensive teams this season, and he's averaged 55.6 FanDuel points in those contests -- that's just a hair below his season average (56.0). More importantly, Antetokounmpo amassed at least 64.5 fantasy points in five of those efforts, so it's not as if his ceiling is any lower against the league's elite defenses.
Given that the Milwaukee Bucks have an implied total of 120.3 (tied with the Clips for second-highest tonight), we should not be afraid to go back to the Greek Freak after he posted just 47.1 fantasy points on Tuesday. In his 10 games following a performance with fewer than 51 fantasy points, Giannis has posted an average of 59.6 FanDuel points.