3 NBA FanDuel Studs to Target on 1/11/21
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-salaried 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 a heavy salary to roster someone. Even with strong value plays in your lineup, getting a dud from a stud is likely going to leave your lineup lacking.
Let's get right into it and look at which top players should be the focal points of your lineups today.
Joel Embiid, C, Philadelphia 76ers
FanDuel Salary: $9,700
One of those in the second tier is Joel Embiid, whose Philadelphia 76ers are decimated due to COVID-19. Embiid, though, is listed as probable. Among players listed as out are Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris, and Seth Curry. So, it should be the Embiid show in a matchup with the Atlanta Hawks.
Embiid has two 60-FanDuel point games over his past six, so if we want a floor and ceiling, he certainly has it, given his minutes floor in this game. Since the start of last season, Embiid has a 38.4% usage rate and a per-minute average of 1.64 FanDuel points without Simmons and Harris on the court.
numberFire projects Embiid for 35.0 minutes, 17.3 shot attempts, 25.6 points, 12.1 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 3.1 combined steals and blocks. That's good for 5.35 FanDuel points per $1,000 in salary, an elite rate for a stud.
Trae Young, PG, Atlanta Hawks
FanDuel Salary: $8,800
Opposite of Embiid, we have Trae Young in that Hawks/Sixers game. The Hawks are 6.5-point favorites against the NBA's second-best estimated defense, but they're about as far from full capacity as could be.
Young has played at least 31.9 minutes in every game since the season debut in which he played 26 minutes. He has 16 or more shot attempts in five of his past six games, and numberFire projects him for 17.9 field goal attempts tonight with a 31.5% usage rate. Along with the shots and scoring, Young has double-digit assists in four of his past six games.
Though the absolute high-end outings haven't quite been there (no more than 51.1 FanDuel points in any game yet), the salary allows room to bust through with even a 60-point game, the floor has been sturdy, and the matchup against the 76ers' depleted defense should allow for a ceiling game.
Bradley Beal, SG, Washington Wizards
FanDuel Salary: $10,100
With tons of value options (mainly Tyrese Maxey) at shooting guard -- and with Devin Booker, Victor Oladipo, and C.J. McCollum below Bradley Beal -- we could see Beal as a bit of an afterthought against the Phoenix Suns. Beal is projected for 36.1 minutes and 44.0 FanDuel points, which admittedly isn't can't-miss territory.
But Russell Westbrook is out tonight, and Thomas Bryant is out for the season. With those two players off the court this season, Beal has played 39.9 minutes. He boasts a video-game-level 43.2% usage rate and 1.76 FanDuel points per minute. On a per-36-minute level, that'd be good for 63.5 FanDuel points, including 49.6 actual points.
Sure, he'll regress a bit in that department because 1.76 FanDuel points per minute is pretty much Antetokounmpo territory, but the usage should be wide open for Beal to hit a floor and ceiling at a reasonable salary.
This slate is going to be pretty fascinating. We have value to get to Doncic and Giannis. We have a more balanced approach available to us with guys such as Embiid, Young, Booker, Malcolm Brogdon, etc. And even with that, a few players will go overlooked. Assuming Beal is one of them, we should really take note.