3 NBA FanDuel Studs to Target on 12/19/19

Despite a tougher matchup against the Clippers, James Harden is a fantastic play as usual. Who else should you pay up for on Thursday?

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 ($11,400)

James Harden's salary has fallen $1,000 from where it was in his last game, leaving him hugely underpriced tonight.

Some decline makes sense against the Los Angeles Clippers and their strong defense, but they haven't been any sort of a must-fade fantasy matchup for guards, allowing the 9th-fewest fantasy points per minute to point guards and the 14th-fewest the shooting guards. Above-average marks, sure, but not "$1,000 discount" marks.

Harden has more games with at least 70.0 FanDuel points (seven) than he does with fewer than 50.0 (five) on the year, and he's averaging a league-leading 60.2 per game. That's already better than 5.0 points per $1,000 of salary, and this discount makes him incredibly valuable on Thursday.

Donovan Mitchell, SG, Utah Jazz ($8,600)

Donovan Mitchell should be in for a nice uptick in volume with Mike Conley back on the shelf.

He saw his usage rate climb from 31.3% in games with Conley to 33.7% in the five contests Conley sat earlier this year. That trend holds up when looking at all of his minutes with Conley on (30.6% usage) and off (32.0% usage) the floor this year, too.

An expanded workload is especially valuable tonight against the Atlanta Hawks, who are among the NBA's worst defenses. They check in at 28th in defensive rating while giving up the league's fourth-highest effective field goal percentage to opponents and the fifth-most fantasy points per minute to opposing shooting guards.

Rudy Gobert, C, Utah Jazz ($7,800)

Not just a great matchup in the backcourt, the Hawks also have the fourth-worst total rebound rate in the NBA.

Factoring in their high pace, they've conceded the 3rd-most point and 10th-most rebounds per game to opponents, while there's also no team having more of their shots blocked on a per-game basis.

Even with his block numbers down this year, Rudy Gobert is averaging 1.7 per game, giving him some nice upside in that category while his 14.6 points and 13.9 rebounds per game are both more than solid enough to indicate he should have no troubles with Atlanta.

Gobert is also just too cheap for even a neutral matchup tonight. He's averaging 42.7 FanDuel points per game since November 10, which is good for 5.5-times values on this salary.

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.