3 NBA FanDuel Studs to Target on 2/25/20

Giannis Antetokounmpo should see an uptick in minutes in what is expected to be a tight game against Toronto. Who else should you pay up for on Tuesday?

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 ($11,600)

The Toronto Raptors make for a tough matchup for Giannis Antetokounmpo, but the potential for a close game could go a long way to helping him overcome that.

Much has been made of Giannis' low minutes-per-game average, and a huge part of that comes from how often the Milwaukee Bucks are playing in blowouts. The Greek Freak has averaged 34.0 minutes per game in 20 contests decided by 10 or fewer points, compared to a lowly 28.9 per game in his other 31.

At his average, league-leading pace of 1.88 FanDuel points per minute, that accounts for a difference of almost 10 fantasy points a game (9.6).

Of course, he's likely to produce fewer fantasy points per minute against the Raps than against a team he's blowing out, but considering even the position the Raps hurt the most in fantasy (centers) still score over 90% as much as the league average, quick back-of-the-napkin math would still project the potential increase in minutes to have a bigger impact than the matchup.

In short, with this game's one-point spread, the tough matchup might actually make Giannis a better play than he is against an opponent that would traditionally be considered a good fantasy matchup.

C.J. McCollum, SG, Portland Trail Blazers ($8,500)

It's not often we want to pay up to go after the Boston Celtics' defense, but C.J. McCollum is nice and cheap considering the Portland Trail Blazers will be without Damian Lillard again tonight.

McCollum has averaged a modest 33.2 FanDuel points per game in 50 games when playing alongside Lillard this year. With Dame on the shelf (an admittedly small four-game sample), that average skyrockets to 55.9. He also dropped 55 in his only game without Lillard last season, and extending all the way back to 2017 (19 games), he averages 45.1 per Lillard-less game.

This increase doesn't come as much of a surprise, as we have seen a similar jump in all of his minutes played with Lillard on and off the court this year, jumping from 0.90 FanDuel points per minute on 23.0% usage to 1.23 on 31.5% usage.

Chris Paul, PG, Oklahoma City Thunder ($7,400)

Chris Paul has been producing like a different player lately, and his salary tonight doesn't capture that. He's dropped at least 37.0 FanDuel points (5.0 per $1,000 of salary tonight) in 5 of his last 6 games, as well as 10 of his last 15.

Looking month-by-month, his average FanDuel points per minute jumped from 1.13 in November to 1.16 in December, 1.21 in January, and 1.20 so far in February. This uptick in production is backed up by increased volume, with his usage rate rising from 21.4% to 22.3%, 24.7%, and 24.5%.

The Chicago Bulls are surrendering the NBA's seventh-most assists per game, and 64.3% of their made field goals allowed have been assisted — the second-highest rate in the NBA. That bodes especially well for a strong facilitator like Paul, who is averaging 6.9 assists per game since January 1.

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.