3 NBA FanDuel Studs to Target on 1/16/20

With Paul George still out, Kawhi Leonard is a great play on Thursday. Who else should you pay up for?

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, PF, Los Angeles Clippers ($10,100)

No Paul George means that Kawhi Leonard is a prime DFS target again tonight.

This salary would be too high for Kawhi with PG in the lineup, as he's averaged just 43.2 FanDuel points per game in that split. With George out it's too low, though, as he's averaged 52.9 FanDuel points per game in those 13 contests.

That increase in production comes from both improved volume (from a 31.7% usage rate in 31.4 minutes per game to 37.1% usage in 33.0) and efficiency (from 1.37 to 1.57 FanDuel points per minute).

On a slate that doesn't have a lot to offer in top-tier studs (only two players priced above $10k), Kawhi's upside is tough to ignore here, even with the blowout risk that comes with being an 11-point favorite.

Devin Booker, SG, Phoenix Suns ($8,800)

Another player whose value jumps thanks to an injured teammate, Devin Booker will be playing without Kelly Oubre (concussion) for the first time this season.

To start with, Booker should already probably be priced higher than this, having eclipsed 48.0 FanDuel points (5.5 per $1,000 of salary today) in six of his last nine games (46.4 per game in that stretch).

In minutes with Oubre on the floor this year, Booker has a 28.9% usage rate and averages 1.09 fantasy points per minute. In 313 minutes sans Oubre that jumps to 1.19 on 31.8% usage.

Add in a matchup with the New York Knicks and their 27th-ranked defensive rating, and there's a lot to like about Booker here.

Donovan Mitchell, SG, Utah Jazz ($6,600)

A $6,600 price tag is certainly starting to push the boundary of the "stud" designation. But Donovan Mitchell is not really a $6.6k player, and that's why he's such a great option tonight. Prior to tonight, his lowest salary this season was $7,200, and he's spent more time over $8k than under.

This drop in price comes in one of the better matchups he could ask for, as the New Orleans Pelicans check in at 25th in defensive rating while playing at the NBA's sixth-fastest pace, surrendering the 3rd-most points, 10th-most assists and 13th-most rebounds per game.

Mitchell's production has slumped a bit in recent games, following below 35.0 FanDuel points in each of his last three, but he's still averaging 37.6 per game (5.7 per $1,000) on the year, and this matchup positions him well for a bounce-back game.

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.