3 NBA FanDuel Studs to Target on Thursday 2/2/23

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 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 post high scores just about every night.

While this consistency puts us in an excellent 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 will likely leave your lineup drawing pretty close to dead.

Which top players should be the focal points of your lineups today?

Anthony Davis, PF/C, Lakers ($9,700)

The highest total of the slate tonight is the 240.0-point whopper in Indiana, and I can't really believe this salary mark inside of it.

While Anthony Davis hasn't produced since returning from his foot injury, the concern about it has been squashed. He logged 36 minutes in Tuesday's win over the Knicks and re-entered the starting lineup. Given that, this salary doesn't make much sense.

This season, Davis is averaging 57.1 FanDuel points per 36 minutes overall. That's just a flat rate with the Lakers at full health. It's easy to forget A.D. eclipsed 54 FanDuel points in 13 of his last 14 full games before his injury.

The matchup with the Pacers is sublime, too. Indiana has ceded the fifth-most FanDuel points per game to centers, and they're allowing the second-most second-chance points per game in the NBA this year (15.8).

Given the massive total, I've got to start with Davis and LeBron James at the top today.

LaMelo Ball, PG, Hornets ($8,700)

FanDuel didn't quite patch this issue all at once.

LaMelo Ball's salary was pretty ridiculous on Tuesday. He was over 60% rostered in most tournaments at $8,000 in a high-totaled contest versus Milwaukee, and the 238.5-point total tonight in Chicago isn't all that different.

This higher mark shouldn't scare us away, either. Even at $8,700, you're expecting 43.5 FanDuel points to produce a value score of 5.00. Ball averages a sizable 45.3 FanDuel points per 36 minutes with his Charlotte Hornets at full strength on a team-best 29.9% usage rate.

Hopefully, the 34.2-FanDuel-point clunker he produced last week against the Bulls reduces his popularity. While that score was poor, it was due to dreadful 2-for-15 (13.3%) shooting. LaMelo's role is so solid that even with poor shooting efficiency versus the Bucks (38.5%), he cruised past the 60-FanDuel-point mark.

Luka Doncic is both viable and practical with plenty of value on Thursday's slate, but Ball stands out when factoring in salary.

DeMar DeRozan, SG/SF, Bulls ($8,500)

In that same game, we'll see if the Bulls can rebound from their atrocious effort against Charlotte last week.

As a team, Chicago shot 40.7% from the field and a horrid 4-for-25 (16.0%) from three. It was an off night that can't exactly be attributed to the Hornets' awful defense. Charlotte's 115.5 defensive rating is the fourth-worst in the NBA.

Some home cooking might change things in this one. Despite just 207 total points in their game last week, oddsmakers have posted this number -- as mentioned -- at 238.5. Charlotte and Chicago, 4th and 13th in the league in terms of pace, should score in bunches when they meet more often than not.

DeMar DeRozan should always be the top option when stacking a Bulls game. His team-best usage rate (29.4%) has resulted in a team-best production rate (41.6 FanDuel points per 36 minutes this season), but we've seen Nikola Vucevic and Zach LaVine chip in simultaneously during some of their high-paced matchups.

This is one of those. With one of the Lakers' studs, this game is a great choice to stack alongside the bevy of Golden State value options on the slate.