3 NBA FanDuel Studs to Target on Tuesday 12/6/22
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 up for someone. Even with strong value plays in your lineup, paying up and getting a dud is likely going to leave your lineup drawing pretty close to dead.
Which top players should be the focal points of your lineups today?
Luka Doncic, PG/SG, Mavericks ($11,800)
There's truly no one like Luka Doncic in fantasy basketball at present.
Many stars can have a consistent floor of points given their full workload, but most fail in a lopsided blowout in one direction or another. That's not Doncic, who has posted at least 55 FanDuel points in all three games this year where he didn't log 30-plus minutes. That's an absurd safety net.
Part of that is Luka's rotation schedule, which sees him play the entirety of the first and third quarters. Part of that is also the fact Doncic has an absurd 38.1% usage rate and is pretty solid at basketball.
He averaged 2.01 FanDuel points per minute in last night's battering of Phoenix, and the 223.0-point total in Denver tonight is actually a smidge higher despite the back-to-back situation for the Mavericks.
With a supreme role that the lone path to failure appears to be a frigid shooting night, Doncic is terrifying to fade on a small three-game slate. I won't be doing so.
Nikola Jokic, C, Nuggets ($11,300)
It's been a while since Nikola Jokic was on a slate and not its top option at center, but that's the case today.
Anthony Davis' monstrous recent stretch has seen him usurp the two-time MVP on FanDuel, but if we can roster "The Joker" as the lower-salaried, contrarian option, that's not a bad place to be.
Jokic's slow start to the season should have been expected with both Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. back in Denver's lineup, but Porter Jr.'s recent heel injury has revived the fantasy prowess of Jokic.
He's seen a 1.0-percentage-point increase in usage rate with MPJ off the floor this season, and in totality, he's posted 59.3 FanDuel points per minute this year during that floor situation.
Considering Jokic also pairs well with Doncic, the lone case against him would be fading the red-hot Davis, but both appear ready and able to stuff their box scores to the brim.
LeBron James, SF/PF, Lakers ($10,900)
Another key reason I prefer Jokic to Davis is wanting to get to LeBron James at small forward.
It's not really like I have an option. Considering it's more than plausible Jimmy Butler, fighting a knee issue, sits on the second leg of Miami's back-to-back against Detroit, James might be the only small forward above $7,700 on FanDuel's main slate.
At least he's a good option. James, the consistent stat-stuffer since 2003, has carried his rock-solid floor into this season. He's posted at least 40 FanDuel points -- which isn't the standard for this salary, I know -- in 15 of his 17 games this year. One exception was his rusty tune-up off injury.
On a three-game slate, James won't kill you. Plus, he's now shown a ceiling in this new role as the facilitator to Anthony Davis' scoring binge. "Facilitator" might even be too generous; he did still take 27 shots on Friday against Milwaukee while dishing 11 assists.
The Lakers-Cavaliers game has the highest total on Tuesday's slate (225.5), so we could see another gaudy performance from Davis, James, and this resurgent L.A. squad. Oh, and if you love narratives, didn't LeBron have a key moment or two in Cleveland?