3 NBA FanDuel Studs to Target on Wednesday 5/5/21
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.
Russell Westbrook, PG, Washington Wizards
FanDuel Salary: $11,200
To be fully transparent, the options in the upper-tier tonight are so loaded that choosing just a handful has proven to be a daunting, if not impossible, task -- but alas, we'll give it a shot anyway.
As we'll get to in a bit, power forward has a few other studs well worth their salaries, so the need to dish out the slate's higher salary for the two-time MVP is lessened, despite the ridiculous upside Giannis brings to the table. One reason for that is we have that same kind of upside from Westbrook at a shallower position.
To say that Russ has been on fire might not do him justice. The veteran has dropped more than 70 FanDuel points in consecutive games, and he has managed at least 52.3 in 22 of his last 29 efforts. In fact, Westbrook has been limited to fewer than 49.2 fantasy points just three times during that long stretch of games. That's remarkable consistency. As for his upside, well, he's eclipsed 60 in 14 of those 29 outings.
This matchup between the Washington Wizards and Milwaukee Bucks has the potential to be a fantasy goldmine, as indicated by a slate-high 241.5 over/under and a palatable 3.5-point spread, per numberFire's Matchup Heatmap. These two squads play at blazing speeds, as they rank first and third in the league in pace, respectively, according to NBA.com.
The Deer do have an elite defensive point guard in Jrue Holiday, but Holiday was present when Westbrook pegged the Bucks for 55.5 and 72 FanDuel points in March.
Our algorithm has Westbrook eking out Giannis as the slate's top scorer by less than one point, and that will come at a $200 discount.
Jayson Tatum, PF, Boston Celtics
FanDuel Salary: $10,100
Having Giannis on the slate could depress the rostership of other viable plays at the power forward position, with one of those being Jayson Tatum.
Without Brown on the court this season, Tatum utilizes 36% of his team's possessions while averaging a rock-solid 1.37 FanDuel points per minute, per RotoGrinders. In five of the seven games without his co-star at his side in 2020-21, Tatum has exceeded 50 fantasy points five times, including performances of 57.3 and 64.5 in two of his last four.
Tatum went from being a steady performer with somewhat limited upside early in the side to a nauseating rollercoaster ride for DFS players in recent weeks. Over his last 12 games, the 23-year-old has amassed 40.6 or fewer FanDuel points or fewer five times, but that's come along with outputs of 53.3, 56.6, 64.5, 69, and 80.1.
Brown's absence paves the way for Tatum to have one of those ceiling games, especially against an Orlando Magic team that isn't all too keen on defending anymore. Over their last 15 games, Orlando sports the league's third-worst defensive rating while also surrendered the fourth-most fantasy points to power forwards during that stretch, according to FantasyPros. That'll play.
Domantas Sabonis, PF, Indiana Pacers
FanDuel Salary: $10,300
Double-dipping at one position in this column is not something I love doing, but the lack of value plays at power forward tonight makes a two-stud build an easy call.
Domantas Sabonis has returned from a six-game absence looking like the fantasy MVP, as he's erupted for 67.8 and 71.3 FanDuel points in those two contests. Sabonis' monster usage during those two outings can be attributed to the shorthandedness of the Indiana Pacers, which doesn't look like it's about to change tonight. For Indiana, Myles Turner and JaKarr Sampson are out, while Malcolm Brogdon, Jeremy Lamb, Goga Bitadze, and Edmond Sumner are all questionable.
Of course, there's also the matchup. Sabonis and the Pacers will be squaring off against a Sacramento Kings team that ranks dead last in the Association in defensive efficiency -- oh, and they're also banged-up.
On the season, the Kings are bottom-seven in points, rebounds, assists, and fantasy points ceded to opposing centers, which is where Sabonis will spend most of his time with Turner out.
I'm betting on another explosion from the All-Star.