4 NBA FanDuel Studs to Target on Friday 4/23/21

Paul George faces the Rockets tonight without Kawhi Leonard in the lineup. Is he a must-start? Which other high-salaried plays should we build our lineups around?

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.

All injury updates are via the NBA's official injury report or numberFire's player news.

Kyrie Irving, PG, Brooklyn Nets

FanDuel Salary: $9,700

On a slate that features Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry, and Damian Lillard, among others, Kyrie Irving appeals to me the most.

The first thing to note is that Kyrie and the Brooklyn Nets will be squaring off against his former team, the Boston Celtics. In two matchups versus Boston this season, Irving has dropped 57.1 and 58.2 FanDuel points.

Boston's hasn't exactly been locking down opposing floor generals recently. Over their last 30 games, the Celtics have surrendered the third-most real-life points to the position, per FantasyPros.

Irving enters this contest with rock-solid form. He's managed at least 51.9 fantasy points in 8 of his last 14 games, and he only put up fewer than 44.4 in three of the other six.

At 117.5 points, the Nets have the second-highest implied total on tonight's slate, according to numberFire's Matchup Heatmap. I'm chasing those points by rostering Irving, especially if Kevin Durant can't go.

Paul George, SG, Los Angeles Clippers

FanDuel Salary: $9,400

We had Paul George listed in this column on Wednesday, and he ended up sitting out that contest -- but we'll go right back there tonight.

With Kawhi Leonard facing a multi-game absence, George is in a great position to be one of the slate's top producers. With Leonard off the court, George utilizes an additional 7.3% of his team's possessions while seeing a bump of 0.14 FanDuel points per minute (1.36 in total), according to RotoGrinders. In fact, in his last four games with his running-mate out of the lineup, PG13 has totaled 50.1, 53.7, 57.4, and 58.8 FanDuel points. Not too shabby.

Tonight's matchup for George and the Los Angeles Clippers is just mouth-watering. On the season, the Houston Rockets are ceding the fourth-most fantasy points per 48 minutes to shooting guards, according to numberFire's DvP tool.

The Clippers' implied total of 116.5 is third on the slate, which certainly helps the All-Star's outlook tonight.

Bogdan Bogdanovic, SF, Atlanta Hawks

FanDuel Salary: $7,500

The Atlanta Hawks are banged up. For tonight's bout with the Miami Heat, the Hawks have Trae Young, De'Andre Hunter, and Cam Reddish listed as out, while Danilo Gallinari, Clint Capela, and Tony Snell are questionable. Enter Bogdan Bogdanovic.

In the last three games he's appeared in with Young inactive, Bogdanovic has averaged 43.7 FanDuel points.

As far as the matchup is concerned, the Heat are far from pushovers -- they rank 11th against small forwards this season. That said, Miami has allowed the second-most made three-pointers to the position this season, which means they could have trouble containing the sharp-shooting Serbian.

Jayson Tatum, PF, Boston Celtics

FanDuel Salary: $9,500

I featured Jayson Tatum as a player to target in last night's studs column and...big yikes. The 23-year-old was only able to muster up 35.2 fantasy points against the elite defense of the Phoenix Suns.

The Brooklyn Nets are not the Phoenix Suns. While Phoenix ranks second versus power forwards over their last 30 games, Brooklyn is 29th. The matchups are essentially polar opposites.

Tatum has more than just the matchup going for him. Jaylen Brown missed last night's game, and he's questionable to take the court tonight. Additionally, Kemba Walker hasn't played on both ends of a back-to-back all season, and there's no reason to think that'll change now.

With Brown, Walker, Robert Williams, and Evan Fournier off the court, Tatum sees his usage rate climb by 4.4 percentage points, and he averages an additional 0.20 FanDuel points per minute.

Tonight, we could very well see the version of Tatum that has eclipsed 64 fantasy points twice in his last seven outings.