3 NBA FanDuel Studs to Target on 2/25/21

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.

Despite the fact that tonight's slate is just six games, each of the top-five leaders in FanDuel points per game are suiting up -- in other words, picking the right studs will be even more crucial than ever. At center, we have three stud options that each have delicious matchups, so there's no use in highlighting just one of them -- some exposure to each is recommended.

One of the major keys tonight will be to avoid studs in games with significant blowout potential, so let's get right into it and look at which top players should be the focal points of your lineups today.

(Note: When I reference blowouts, I'm referring to games that were not very competitive at any point in the fourth quarter.)

Luka Doncic, PG, Dallas Mavericks

FanDuel Salary: $11,000

As we see on numberFire's matchup heat map, this bout between the Dallas Mavericks and Philadelphia 76ers has a 5.0-point spread, which is the second-smallest on the slate. The Sixers have been down or ahead by more than 16 points entering the fourth quarter just once since mid-January, which is a span of 19 games -- in other words, their contests tend to remain competitive.

Before we get to the production of Luka Doncic, let's touch on the matchup a bit. On the season, Philly ranks 22nd against point guards, according to numberFire's DvP tool. It's been even worse recently -- in their last 15 games, Philadelphia has surrendered the third-most real-life points and the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing point guards.

Now, on to Luka. Doncic is averaging 54.0 FanDuel points per game this season, which is third-most in the league. In eight outings against teams that are among the nine-most-generous to the position, Doncic has averaged 66.4 FanDuel points per game, and he posted fewer than 59.0 in just one of those matchups.

numberFire's algorithm has the 21-year-old projected for a healthy 57.6 fantasy points tonight, 11.3 higher than the next-closest point guard.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, PF, Milwaukee Bucks

FanDuel Salary: $11,400

Giannis Antetokounmpo is the highest-salaried player on tonight's slate for a reason. In the last eight games Giannis has played without Jrue Holiday in the lineup, he has averaged an astronomical 66.7 FanDuel points per game. In fact, he's had fewer than 62.6 just once during that stretch.

While this matchup between the Milwaukee Bucks and New Orleans Pelicans is tied for the largest spread on the slate (9.0 points), it also has a projected total that's 4.5 points more than any other game's. Additionally, just 2 of the Pels' last 17 games have seen a team up by more than 14 entering the final quarter. Like the Sixers, New Orleans is good at keeping games competitive, which certainly helps Giannis' outlook.

When the Greek Freak last faced New Orleans in January, he pegged them for 38 real-life points and 66.7 FanDuel points, and that was with Holiday active. His ceiling is even higher with Jrue doubtful.

Khris Middleton, SF, Milwaukee Bucks

FanDuel Salary: $7,600

If we're going to spend $11,000 or more on Giannis and Luka and try to spend up at center, as well, we'll need to target a stud who has a salary under $8,000, even if that means stacking two stars from the same team -- Giannis and Khris Middleton.

Milwaukee's insane implied total of 125.75 is four points more than any other team's, so there's nothing wrong with targeting the Bucks' big two. And if you feel like there isn't enough pie for everyone, just remember that these two combined for 126.2 FanDuel points just four days ago. In fact, in the nine games without Holiday in the lineup, Giannis and Middleton have combined for at least 103 fantasy points six times.

Middleton's matchup is quite tasty -- New Orleans ranks 24th against small forwards this season. According to FantasyPros, the Pelicans sit in the bottom-six in real-life points (25th), made three-pointers (30th), steals (27th), and fantasy points (26th) in their last 15 games. That'll play.