3 NBA FanDuel Studs to Target on 12/9/19
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.
James Harden, SG, Houston Rockets ($12,200)
With both James Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo on this slate, we've got a tough decision to make at the top of the pricing spectrum. Unsurprisingly, our models have those two as the top-projected players on the slate.
Both carry some blowout risks, with their teams both favored by double-digit points, but the Houston Rockets' implied total is over four points higher than the Milwaukee Bucks', and a more fantasy-friendly matchup helps push Harden over the top.
The Sacramento Kings are trying to slow games down this season, playing at the slowest pace (97.9) in the NBA. The Orlando Magic (98.5) aren't far behind though, with the third-slowest, and thanks to a much worse defensive rating, the Kings are giving up a middling 108.7 points per game, while the Magic's 102.6 allowed per game are the second-fewest in the NBA
Harden and Giannis are neck-and-neck in fantasy production on the year, with Harden leading the NBA (59.6 fantasy points per game) and Giannis checking in at second (58.7), and the edge in matchup makes Harden the better play on Monday while the two sport nearly identical salaries.
Paul George, SF, Los Angeles Clippers ($8,700)
He's only played four games without Kawhi this season, but his fantasy efficiency has seen a huge boost in those games, averaging 1.49 FanDuel points per minute, compared to 1.20 when Kawhi plays.
That trend is consistent if we look at all of PG's minutes with and without Leonard so far this year, averaging 1.14 per minute on 27.9% usage with Kawhi on and 1.47 per minute on 35.1% usage with Kawhi off.
Not priced to reflect Leonard's absence, George is a steal at $8,700 tonight.
Andrew Wiggins, SF, Minnesota Timberwolves ($8,000)
Tonight's game between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Phoenix Suns should be a good one for fantasy purposes. They rank fourth (Minnesota) and seventh (Phoenix) on the slate in pace, and this matchup has the highest pace among Monday's games.
The Suns are cooling off following a strong start to the year, and they now sit below average (18th) in defensive rating while allowing opponents to shoot an above-average effective field goal percentage.
That's good news for Andrew Wiggins, who relies heavily on scoring output to generate his fantasy production. Wiggins is on pace for both career-high volume and efficiency on the offensive end this season, averaging a 20.3 field goal attempts per game and posting a .508 effective field goal percentage. Those (and his 24.6 points per game) are the best marks of his career. He's also racking up peripherals at a higher clip than we're used to seeing, with 5.2 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game and ranks 15th in the NBA with 34.4 minutes per game.
He's topped 40.0 fantasy points (5.0 per $1,000 of salary tonight) in six of his last 12 games, averaging 43.1 per game in that stretch, and he shouldn't have much trouble continuing that success against Phoenix.
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.