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

James Harden is a worthy target in his first matchup against Houston since his trade. Which other high-salaried plays should we focus on tonight?

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.

Kyle Lowry, PG, Toronto Raptors

FanDuel Salary: $8,200

Kyle Lowry has dropped 47.4 and 52.2 FanDuel points in his last two games, but that's not why he's listed here. For tonight's matchup with the Detroit Pistons, the Toronto Raptors will be without Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, Malachi Flynn, and Patrick McCaw due to COVID protocols -- yeah, you read that right.

According to RotoGrinders, with Siakam, FVV, and Anunoby off the court, Lowry sees an 8.2-percentage-point bump in usage rate. Given Lowry's recent form -- he's averaging 1.29 FanDuel points per minute over his last six games -- that usage will certainly come in handy.

Among the 40 (active) players with a salary of $6,600 or higher tonight, no one has a higher point-per dollar projection than Lowry, per numberFire's algorithm. Let's ride this affordable stud tonight.

James Harden, SG, Brooklyn Nets

FanDuel Salary: $11,200

James Harden spent a little more than eight seasons with the Houston Rockets, and tonight he will go up against them for the first time since he requested (and was granted) a trade a couple of months ago.

If you don't buy into revenge narratives, there are plenty more reasons to want to roster the three-time scoring champ. In his last 11 games, Harden has managed at least 59.6 FanDuel points 7 times, and that includes a season-high 75.3-point performance on Monday against the San Antonio Spurs.

If neither of those facts do it for you, this might -- over their last 15 games, only the Orlando Magic have ceded more fantasy points to opposing shooting guards (if that's even Harden's position) than the Rockets. Oh, and if you shrug at that as well, how about the fact that the Brooklyn Nets carry the second-highest implied total on tonight's slate, according to Brandon Gdula's matchup sheet.

numberFire's models project Harden to outscore the third-highest scoring shooting guard by 16.1 FanDuel points. Count me in.

Zion Williamson, PF, New Orleans Pelicans

FanDuel Salary: $8,900

I mentioned above that the Nets have the second-highest implied total on tonight's 10-gamer -- well, the only team that's implied for more points is the New Orleans Pelicans. New Orleans is implied for a whopping 121.5 tonight, to be exact. Enter Zion Williamson.

Since his last matchup with the Chicago Bulls in early February, Zion has ripped off a 10-game stretch in which he's topped 45 FanDuel points 8 times. During that stretch, the only instances where he's failed to reach 45 have been in matchups with the Phoenix Suns and Utah Jazz, the crème de la crème of NBA defenses.

Though Chicago has been average against power forwards this season, per numberFire's DvP tool, they're actually 10th-worst versus the position over their last seven games, according to FantasyPros.

With a projection of 45.4 FanDuel points, numberFire's models have the 20-year-old as the top scorer at power forward tonight.