3 NBA FanDuel Studs to Target on 2/20/20

The NBA returns from the All-Star break on Thursday night. Who should you pay up for on the six-game slate?

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.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF, Milwaukee Bucks ($11,200)

Giannis Antetokounmpo leads the NBA with 57.6 FanDuel points per game as we come out of the All-Star break, and while James Harden is breathing down his neck (57.4), there's a sizable gap in their recent numbers. Since January 1, Harden's production has fallen to 53.2 FanDuel points per game while Giannis has been steady at 57.1.

Both the Houston Rockets and Milwaukee Bucks are favored by double-digit points tonight, so there's also some blowout risk for the two top fantasy plays. That gives Giannis a big edge.

The Bucks have absolutely dominated their competition, winning 31 of their 54 games by at least 10 points. Giannis' dominant fantasy production has come despite the fact that these blowouts have limited him to just 30.1 minutes per game. His 1.87 FanDuel points per minute are the most in the NBA (minimum 500 minutes played), while nobody else has averaged more than 1.61.

Russell Westbrook, PG, Houston Rockets ($10,600)

Russell Westbrook isn't immune to the blowout risk in Houston, but the savings you get compared to Harden make that easier to stomach.

Russ has also been outproducing Harden as of late, averaging 55.9 FanDuel points per game (second in the NBA) since January 1. Ranking second in the league in fantasy production over a 15-game sample, you'd usually expect Russ to be priced up in the $11k range.

This matchup is also a dreamy one, which helps insulate against some of the blowout risk while also providing massive upside if it does stay close. The Golden State Warriors rank 24th in defensive rating and have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points per minute to opposing point guards.

Joel Embiid, C, Philadelphia 76ers ($9,600)

This slate is one on which it's worth finding a way to free up cap space to pay way up for your studs. Joel Embiid gets an even easier matchup than Westbrook, as the Brooklyn Nets have allowed the second-most FanDuel points per minute to opposing centers.

The Nets do check in above average in both defensive rating and rebound rate, but they get cooked on the inside. Looking at shots that come from inside the paint but outside the restricted area, the 7.4 made field goals per game they allow are the most in the NBA. They also allow the second-most per game (6.0) from the mid-range. A combined 35.2% of Embiid's field goal attempts have come from those areas this season.

It's no surprise that Embiid has cooked the Nets for 60-plus fantasy points in each of their last two meetings, including 73.6 in the most recent 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.