3 NBA FanDuel Studs to Target on Friday 5/7/21
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.
DeMar DeRozan, SG, San Antonio Spurs
FanDuel Salary: $8,600
Players coming off complete stinkers can often make for the best contrarian plays in tournaments, and that's what we have tonight with DeMar DeRozan.
On Wednesday, the veteran played a mere 17.7 minutes and eked out just 14.7 FanDuel points against the Utah Jazz. Yuck. But with the masses likely down on DeRozan, we can use that to our advantage.
Tonight, DeRozan and the San Antonio Spurs will be taking on the always-generous Sacramento Kings. On the season, the Kings rank dead last in the league in defensive efficiency, per NBA.com, and they're also ceding the third-most fantasy points per 48 minutes to opposing shooting guards, according to numberFire's DvP tool.
Among the 20 teams in action tonight, San Antonio's 115.3 implied total ranks fourth, according to numberFire's Matchup Heatmap. Having exposure to those points is far from the worst strategy.
In four of his five outings prior to Wednesday's clunker, DeMar had amassed 44.1, 50.4, 52.4, and 61.0 FanDuel points. I expect him to be in that range once again tonight.
Jimmy Butler, SF, Miami Heat
FanDuel Salary: $9,400
Jimmy Butler is currently questionable with flu-like symptoms, but if he does suit up, he's in an excellent spot tonight.
The Minnesota Timberwolves have been bleeding fantasy points to opposing small forwards. In fact, according to FantasyPros, the Wolves have allowed the second-most real-life points, the most rebounds, fifth-most assists, fourth-most blocks, and most fantasy points to the position this season. Yeah...that'll do just fine.
Though he hasn't been as consistent as he was to start the season, Butler has recorded at least 42.9 FanDuel points in 11 of his last 15 outings, including fewer than 38.1 just once. During that stretch, Jimmy Buckets had an outing against the Timberwolves in which he peppered them for 65.0 fantasy points.
With the Miami Heat in a pace-up spot here -- only four teams play at a faster pace than Minny -- their implied total sits at 115.5, which is good for third-highest. I'm rostering Butler if he plays.
Zion Williamson, PF, New Orleans Pelicans
FanDuel Salary: $9,600
First off, the New Orleans Pelicans are slated to be without Brandon Ingram for this matchup, while Steven Adams is listed as doubtful. In 2020-21, with those two players off the court, Zion sports a 33.5% usage rate while averaging a salivating 1.4 FanDuel points per minute, according to RotoGrinders.
Second, as Zion himself can attest to, this matchup is not as rough as it may seem. When he went up against the Sixers in early April, Williamson racked up 37 points, 15 rebounds, and 8 assists en route to a 65-FanDuel-point performance. That's been a trend for the 76ers lately, as they rank 26th versus power forwards over their last 15 games.
Williamson, who has eclipsed 48 fantasy points in three of his last four games, should be able to do so again tonight.