3 NBA FanDuel Studs to Target on Tuesday 2/7/23
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?
Nikola Jokic, C, Nuggets ($11,600)
Nikola Jokic is a bit like Apple stock in the mid-2000s. Not much can justify betting against him.
Jokic has quelled some early-season concerns about his floor (at this lofty salary, that is) with a rock-solid run of production for the Nuggets. He's posted at least 55 FanDuel points in six of his past nine games, and that feat only is made more incredible by the fact Denver hasn't played a competitive, four-quarter game in the last three.
You'd think with Rudy Gobert manning the middle that the Timberwolves would be a tough matchup for bigs, but they're not. They've got the 4th-worst defensive rebounding rate (68.9%) in the NBA, and they've also ceded the 11th-most second-chance points per game (14.2).
Jokic is a master of both, and the lone true concern about him is the nine-point spread entering this one. He might not get four quarters to work tonight, either. Other than that, he's a pretty safe place -- at his usual low popularity -- to store salary.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, SG/PG, Thunder ($10,600)
The fantasy environment of the day could also be a place history is made.
LeBron James has a chance to break the all-time NBA scoring record in Los Angeles tonight, and the environment only adds to that chance. There's a 239.0-point total on deck as the Lakers host the Oklahoma City Thunder, and these are two top-eight squads in pace.
We'll get to James, but he's not actually the highest-salaried player in this one on FanDuel. Both Anthony Davis and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander -- on torrid runs of production -- have him beat in that department.
SGA fought through 37.5% shooting in last night's blowout loss to Golden State, but the early shower will only help him tonight in L.A. Among several Lakers' team deficiencies, the most notable here is that they cede the third-most FanDuel points per game to point guards.
Behind his gaudy usage rate (32.5%), Gilgeous-Alexander will do his best to steal the headlines from LeBron on Tuesday.
LeBron James, SF/PF, Lakers ($10,300)
The NBA has to be upset that such a historic record might be broken in such a wonky fashion.
As mentioned, LeBron James needs 36 points to break Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's all-time points record, and that's a mark he's topped nine times this year. It's conceivable it happens in such a positive scoring environment tonight except for one small detail.
LeBron is actually questionable to play tonight, fighting the ankle issue that's plagued him for much of the season. Of course, we'd shift gears to Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook in DFS if he played, but I'm not so sure the fans in attendance would shift gears as quickly if LeBron sat. LeBron's also played 12 of the past 13 games through the issue.
It's a shame that he's not more certain to play because he's an excellent candidate tonight. James averages 51.5 FanDuel points per 36 minutes as is, and this matchup will only help him. OKC allows the 10th-most FanDuel points per game to small forwards, and their top wing defender, Lu Dort, might be on the shelf tonight.
I'll want LeBron in some lineups in case he suits up tonight, but if we're lucky enough to get confirmation early in the afternoon he's playing, that "some" will turn into "most". We've got history to make.