3 NBA FanDuel Studs to Target on Friday 3/31/23
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 ($11,300)
Between injuries and projected blowouts, there just aren't many sound ways to spend over $10,000 in salary on one player despite 13 games to choose from.
Anthony Davis is the one that makes even a realistic amount of sense. Davis' Lakers are in a near pick 'em tilt with the Timberwolves in a game where both teams have maximum motivation to win. How refreshing in this era of the NBA!
He's also a modest play on paper. After eclipsing 58 FanDuel points in two of his last three, it's easy to see he's got upside at this salary, and this particular matchup isn't too imposing.
Davis dropped 38 real-life points on the Wolves earlier this month, and there's reason to believe he can surpass the five boards he totaled. Beyond Davis' inconsistent effort plausibly heightened in this pseudo-playoff scenario, Minnesota has the fifth-worst defensive rebounding rate (70.1%) in the league.
A mini-stack of Davis with Karl-Anthony Towns or Mike Conley might be the safest way to spend salary just because they've got something to play for, and many teams on this slate don't.
Kristaps Porzingis, PF/C, Wizards ($9,600)
The Wizards are one of those teams with not much to play for.
They're just counting down the days to elimination with Bradley Beal and Kyle Kuzma sidelined again on Friday due to injury -- and presumably for the rest of the season. There's not a real reason to play Kristaps Porzingis, either, but K.P. appears to be working on a new deal and might want to show the Wizards' brass what he's worth.
In that event, Porzingis should continue to get whatever shot he wants with this motley crew of remaining players. He posted 62.6 FanDuel points against a stingy Boston interior D on Wednesday, and he's averaged 55.0 FanDuel points per 36 minutes on a gaudy 32.9% usage rate with those two high-level starters off the floor this season.
Orlando isn't a pushover in terms of FanDuel points allowed to centers, but they're still a more forgiving matchup than the C's. It's not a real concern when Porzingis' role is so good at present.
The big-man spots are -- by far -- the best place to spend salary, and we've got value elsewhere. Davis, Towns, and K.P. are just a few of the viable names.
Jalen Brunson, PG, Knicks ($8,500)
There isn't a ton of fresh injury news, but the largest bit has to do with the New York Knicks.
In a crushing blow to their playoff hopes, Julius Randle is likely done for the remainder of the regular season with an ankle injury, but from a daily fantasy perspective, that'll force a boatload of work into the hands of his remaining teammates.
Randle hasn't missed a game all year, so we have no sample of how New York's offense will operate without him for long stretches, but Jalen Brunson is the obvious choice for the lead role.
In floor situations without Julius this year, Brunson leads the team in usage rate (30.0%) and FanDuel points per 36 minutes (42.0). Both of those should climb as this role becomes more familiar.
Brunson has the highest floor in the upper-mid-range at guard, but Dejounte Murray, Darius Garland, and Josh Giddey are other high-upside alternatives due to the injuries on their squads.