3 NBA FanDuel Studs to Target on Wednesday 4/28/21
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.
Nikola Jokic, C, Denver Nuggets
FanDuel Salary: $11,100
With center being deep and with us needing just one of them on FanDuel, it's really easy to see Nikola Jokic going under-appreciated tonight against the New Orleans Pelicans. Plus, we've got 10 games. He's not going to be prohibitively chalky. Whenever that's the case, it becomes appealing automatically.
Jokic has had at least 49.5 FanDuel points in 8 of his past 10 games. When he played the Pelicans on March 26th, he accrued 65.7 FanDuel points (from a line of 37 points [on 17 of 30 shooting], 6 rebounds, 9 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block).
While we shouldn't expect 30-plus shot attempts tonight, we should expect big things from the Denver big man.
Against teams inside the top half of the league but outside the top five (we're not dealing with an outlier defense at 11th overall), Jokic averages 1.50 FanDuel points per minute. That'd rank him third on the season (just behind his own full-season rate of 1.57 FanDuel points per minute) among relevant players.
The point is that Jokic should be expected to be Jokic, and he's -- by nature of the slate -- going to be a little less popular than he deserves to be.
Russell Westbrook, PG, Washington Wizards
FanDuel Salary: $11,100
A similar case can be made for Russell Westbrook. The point guard position is deep, and it's easy to take the savings in the mid-range ($6,000 to $8,500 or so). But there's just substantial opportunity cost involved in fading Westbrook.
numberFire's projections peg Russ for 10.8 more FanDuel points than any other point guard and 14.7 more than the third-highest projected point guard. Per-dollar value's great and all, but if Russ pops off for 65.7 (his ceiling, per our floor/ceiling tool), it'll be tough to match it unless Damian Lillard gets hot.
The matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers is tough overall (they're third in defensive rating over the past 15 games) but are just 20th against opposing point guards this year when adjusted for opponent faced.
Westbrook averages 1.47 per minute against teams 20th or worse against the position and dropped 60.3 FanDuel points against the Lakers on February 22nd.
Paul George, SG, Los Angeles Clippers
FanDuel Salary: $9,900
Paul George couldn't get a worse shooting guard draw than he has against the Phoenix Suns, who rank first against both guard slots this year. However, George has been quite good in tough matchups. Against top-five defenses, he has averaged 1.34 FanDuel points per minute.
Plus, Kawhi Leonard is doubtful. When that happens (and without Patrick Beverley and Serge Ibaka on the court), George maintains a 35.8% usage rate and averages 1.30 FanDuel points per minute this season, according to RotoGrinders' CourtIQ tool.
numberFire is projecting George for 48.1 FanDuel points over 37.2 minutes, both of those marks leading the shooting guard position on FanDuel. He's also projected for a robust line of 27.1 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 6.5 assists.
While the individual matchup isn't amazing, we've seen George succeed against tough defenses -- and thrive without Leonard.