3 NBA FanDuel Studs to Target on 10/22/2019
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-priced 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.
Let's get right into it and look at which top players should be the focal points of your lineups tonight.
Kawhi Leonard, SF, Los Angeles Clippers ($9,900)
Leonard will not have a restriction on his minutes tonight, and with George sidelined to start the year following shoulder surgery, Kawhi's Los Angeles Clippers debut should be a big one.
Kawhi won't have much competition for offensive touches with the starting unit, as only one other starter for tonight (center Ivica Zubac) posted a usage rate of even 20% in the 2018-19 season. Leonard, on the other (and much larger) hand, posted a 30.3% usage rate in his lone season with the Toronto Raptors, as well as marks above 30% in each of his last two seasons with the San Antonio Spurs.
In addition to that high offensive volume, he remains a threat to rack up big peripheral numbers, averaging 7.7 rebounds, 1.9 steals and 0.4 blocks per 36 minutes last season. It remains to be seen how tough a matchup with the Los Angeles Lakers will be for fantasy purposes this season, but on a short two-game slate, that's not much of a concern while we get Leonard at such a cheap price tag.
Pascal Siakam, SF, Toronto Raptors ($8,000)
Don't expect to get this kind of a discount on Pascal Siakam for long.
Spicy P averaged 37.4 FanDuel points in a fairly modest 32.6 minutes per game in 21 contests played with Kawhi last season. That's already a solid 4.7 fantasy points per $1,000 on this price tag, but it wouldn't be surprising him to beat that mark with increased minutes tonight.
Siakam also saw his minutes pick up down the stretch last year, averaging 35.0 per game after the All-Star break. If he plays minutes into the mid- to high-30s tonight, he should have little trouble returning huge value on this price tag, especially against a New Orleans Pelicans team that finished last season ranking 23rd in defensive rating and has since lost their best interior presence in Anthony Davis.
Anthony Davis, PF, Los Angeles Lakers ($12,100)
Davis doesn't carry nearly the safety or point-per-dollar value that Siakam and Kawhi do, and with value being hard to come by on a short slate, he's far from a cash game lock.
Tournaments are a different story though. Davis has true slate-breaking upside, and with only four teams in action, that should keep him firmly on your radar in GPPs.
Last season there were only 13 players to notch at least 80 FanDuel points in a regular season game. Only James Harden (nine) did it more often than Davis (five) while nobody else in the NBA did it more than twice, and nobody else active tonight did it even once.
Of course, the Brow won't be as much of a focal point while playing alongside LeBron James, but as an elite passer, that will take away some defensive pressure, and the King could allow Davis' efficiency to reach new heights.
Davis is the biggest gamble on this list, but if we're talking pure upside, then he is fully deserving of the highest salary on our opening night slate.
Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.