3 NBA FanDuel Studs to Target on 3/29/21
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.
James Harden, SG, Brooklyn Nets
FanDuel Salary: $11,300
James Harden's been putting up FanDuel points in bunches in recent games, specifically with 60.9 and 72.8 over his past two games, both of which were played without both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.
Irving is slated to return, so Harden will scale back his workload a little bit. He has a 25.7% usage rate with a per-minute average of 1.31 FanDuel points when sharing the court with Irving without Durant, according to RotoGrinders' CourtIQ tool.
The Brooklyn Nets' opponent, the Minnesota Timberwolves, rank just 23rd against opposing shooting guards (and 30th against opposing point guards) in terms of player-level-adjusted FanDuel points per minute allowed.
Harden's got good splits against weak opponents and averages 1.46 FanDuel points per minute against bottom-10 adjusted guard defenses. The only real risk for Harden is blowout potential as an 11.0-point favorite.
Luka Doncic, PG, Dallas Mavericks
FanDuel Salary: $10,800
One drawback on the surface is that the Dallas Mavericks and Oklahoma City Thunder have an over/under of just 221.0 points, which is the fourth-lowest mark on the entire 11.0-game slate. However, it's not really a huge deviation from a typical Mavericks game, which has an over/under of 225.4 points this season, so we shouldn't penalize Doncic too much, especially at a reasonable salary and with so much value available on a very full slate.
The Thunder do sit 12th in adjusted defensive rating, but Doncic still averages 1.43 FanDuel points per minute against top-half adjusted defenses on the full season.
numberFire projects Doncic for a 28.5-point, 8.4-rebound, 9.2-assist near-triple-double in this spot over 35.3 minutes, just shy of 5.00 FanDuel points per $1,000 in salary.
Kawhi Leonard, SF, Los Angeles Clippers
FanDuel Salary: $9,600
There is a lot of value to be had at small forward, which initially makes Kawhi Leonard easy to overlook, and there's definitely merit to doing so against the Milwaukee Bucks if you worry about the defensive matchup. But building around Leonard should help differentiate tonight if everyone is eyeing up the value at small forward instead.
The Los Angeles Clippers and Bucks rank third in terms of over/under tonight at 232.0 points, and the spread of 2.5 points makes it the tightest game of the top three. It's definitely one we can stack overall.
Yes, Milwaukee is a good defense (ninth when adjusted for opponent), but the Clippers are wont to outperform their opponent's defensive level on a game-by-game basis. They have fared better than their defense's typical efficiency allowed in 72.3% of their games, which is third-highest in the NBA on the season. Simply put: they generally perform against all defenses.
Leonard averages 1.29 FanDuel points per minute even against top-12 adjusted defenses, which is just 0.04 points per minute lower than his full-season rate. The Clippers are one of the least sensitive teams in the league to opposing defenses, which could be all it takes for Leonard to dominate in a marquee matchup all while being a little bit of an afterthought with how the slate breaks down.