3 NBA FanDuel Studs to Target on 2/22/21
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.
Luka Doncic, PG, Dallas Mavericks
FanDuel Salary: $11,200
When we saw him last, Luka had dropped at least 59 FanDuel points in five of his previous seven outings, including in three straight. Tonight, Doncic will square off against a Memphis Grizzlies team that ranks 24th against points guards, according to numberFire's DvP tool. In eight matchups against teams that are bottom-10 against point guards, Luka has posted an average of 61 FanDuel points.
In his last three games coming off multiple days rest, Doncic has produced 60.7, 78.3, and 77.1 FanDuel points. With the Mavs having an implied total of 118.5 (second-highest on the slate), the 21-year-old should certainly have that kind of upside.
LeBron James, SF, Los Angeles Lakers
FanDuel Salary: $10,400
There are a few factors that make LeBron James possibly the top stud to target on tonight's slate, so let's dig in.
First, LeBron and the Los Angeles Lakers are taking on a Washington Wizards that ranks 27th in defensive efficiency and 1st in adjusted pace, according to Brandon Gdula's matchup sheet. That not exactly a great combination when taking on a powerhouse like the Lakers.
Second, said Wizards have ceded the fifth-most fantasy points to small forwards over their last 15 games, per FantasyPros. According to FantasyPros' metrics, Washington is bottom-10 in real-life points, rebounds, assists, steals, and fantasy points allowed to the position.
Third, and most importantly, our model projects the difference between LeBron (57.8 FanDuel points) and the third-highest projected small forward (Gordon Hayward) to be a whopping 24.8 fantasy points. Wowza. That implies that the opportunity cost of passing on LeBron could be huge.
James is not only our model's top-projected scorer, but he's also numberFire's sixth-best point-per-dollar play on tonight's slate. Sign me up.
Bam Adebayo, PF, Miami Heat
FanDuel Salary: $8,900
Small forward isn't the only position where there's a huge dropoff in projections between the top-projected scorer and the third-highest. In this case, that difference is 12.2 FanDuel points. While that is not quite as substantial as its fellow forward position, a more optimistic projection for Bam Adebayo would certainly widen that gap -- and there is plenty of reason for optimism tonight.
The Miami Heat will be taking on the Oklahoma City Thunder tonight, and over their last 15 games, no team has surrendered more fantasy points to the opposition's power forwards than OKC, according to FantasyPros -- that includes bottom-seven marks in rebounds, assists, blocks, and steals given up to the position.
Bam has managed at least 40 FanDuel points in 10 of his last 13 games, including 43.5-plus in 8 of them. His floor should be rock-solid, and that is likely to be coupled with an salivating ceiling, especially in a matchup as delicious as this one.