3 NBA FanDuel Studs to Target on 8/26/20
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 today.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF, Milwaukee Bucks ($11,300)
No individual player has been consistently more dominant in the playoffs than reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. Through four games, in which his Milwaukee Bucks have a 3-1 series lead, Giannis is averaging 60.1 FanDuel points per game thus far, smashing through value each time. Worth remembering, the Bucks have largely blown out the Orlando Magic in this series as well, with the smallest margin of victory for either team being 12 points. Even with the threat of blowouts to his fantasy stature, Giannis has blown past his expected marks.
That is largely due to his 34.7% usage in the playoffs, which only ranks behind Luka Doncic and Donovan Mitchell. Both of those guards rebound nowhere close to Antetokounmpo, who is averaging a blistering 15.75 rebounds per game in the playoffs. Those boards lend to the stability in his fantasy production, and make him virtually blowout-proof. I prefer him once again to James Harden, who is both more expensive and at a shooting guard position with much better alternatives.
Jusuf Nurkic, C, Portland Trail Blazers ($7,500)
It is rare in the postseason to get rotation-shattering usage shifts, but the Portland Trail Blazers certainly have one on their hands. Bubble MVP Damian Lillard is out for Game 5 against the Los Angeles Lakers with a knee injury, and therefore, the Blazers will have to try and rely on the rest of their squad to keep their season alive.
The highest FanDuel points per minute mark on the team actually does not belong to Lillard. Jusuf Nurkic takes that prize with a 1.35 FanDuel points per minute average, and Nurkic has been a great addition inside the Orlando bubble. Lineup shifts, including the insertion of a second center with Hassan Whiteside, have hurt Nurkic's production in this particular series, but the absence of Lillard opens a hole for the Bosnian big man to score. Nurkic had 20 points and 13 boards in just 27 minutes on Monday, quite of bit coming after Lillard exited with the injury. Expect Portland to lean on their big man again, and he is the clear top option at a muddy center position.
CJ McCollum, SG, Portland Trail Blazers ($7,200)
Nurkic does not hold the second-highest usage behind Lillard on the Portland Trail Blazers, however. That title in the regular season went to his backcourt mate C.J. McCollum with a 26.2% usage rate. McCollum has been asked to score for Portland in an elimination game before and will need to do so again to keep their season alive.
McCollum has struggled a little to get going offensively in this series, averaging 20.0 points per game, which is down from his 22.2 points per game average from the regular season. A lot of that is likely due to Nurkic's arrival in Orlando, but there is plenty of room for both now with Lillard and his 30.1% usage off the floor. McCollum has already seen upwards of 40 minutes twice in this series, and should see heavy minutes as one of Portland's few scoring threats remaining.
Austin Swaim is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Austin Swaim also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username ASwaim3. 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.