4 NBA FanDuel Studs to Target on Thursday 5/13/21
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.
Trae Young, PG, Atlanta Hawks
FanDuel Salary: $8,600
Trae Young has made an appearance in this column in each of his last two games, and he's rewarded our efforts by dropping 50.7 and 51.1 FanDuel points, respectively. We'll turn to him again tonight for an excellent combination of floor and upside.
According to numberFire's DvP tool, the Orlando Magic are ceding 48.7 fantasy points to opposing point guards per 48 minutes this season, which is good for sixth-most in the league. They'll have their hands full tonight trying to fend off Young and the Atlanta Hawks. If we take a peek at numberFire's Matchup Heatmap, we see that Atlanta has an implied total of 120 tonight, which is second-highest on the slate.
Young has racked up 48.8 or more fantasy points in 6 of his last 10 outings, only producing fewer than 38.4 once during that stretch. If you widen that sample to his last 21 games, the 22-year-old has topped 43 FanDuel points 13 times. That'll play.
numberFire's algorithm has Young projected for a solid 43.9 tonight.
Devin Booker, SG, Phoenix Suns
FanDuel Salary: $7,500
Devin Booker's game log over the last couple of weeks might look a bit scary -- he's had a number of subpar performances -- but in reality, when he's not facing a lockdown defense or a team that plays at a snail's pace, he's actually been quite consistent. Take his last six games as an example -- if you exclude matchups with the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers, he's averaged 44.7 FanDuel points in the other four.
Tonight, Booker will draw a squad that he's tended to feast on -- the Portland Trail Blazers. In five meetings with the Blazers over the last two seasons, Booker has dropped 43.8, 45.7, 47.0, 48.0, and 48.7 fantasy points.
Portland enters this game ranking 29th in defensive efficiency, per NBA.com. In 15 outings versus teams that are bottom-six in defensive rating this campaign, Booker has averaged 42.3 FanDuel points.
The game environment here should be conducive for Booker to return excellent value. The 234 over/under is currently third-highest on the slate, and Phoenix's 119.25 implied total ranks fourth.
On a slate where it's tough to fall in love with any of the other top-tier shooting guards, Booker stands out above the pack.
Michael Porter Jr., SF, Denver Nuggets
FanDuel Salary: $7,400
(Update: Porter Jr. has been declared out due to rest.)
Like Booker, if you remove a couple of tough matchups from Michael Porter Jr.'s game log (the same matchups, to be exact), he starts to look like a steal at his salary.
Over his last 11 contests, MPJ has failed to total at least 38.9 FanDuel points just twice -- against the Lakers and Knicks, two of the league's top-four defenses. His average across the other nine games is a salivating 43.5.
Tonight, Porter Jr. gets the king of all matchups in the Minnesota Timberwolves. Over their last 30 games, the Wolves have surrendered an average of 2.12 more fantasy points per game to small forwards than any other team in the league, as per FantasyPros' metrics. During that stretch, Minnesota is 30th in points, 29th in rebounds, 28th in assists, 29th in made three-pointers, and 24th in blocks allowed to the position. Wowza.
The 22-year-old's outlook is further aided by an excellent game environment. The projected total of 235 is currently second on the slate, while the Denver Nuggets' implied total of 119.75 ranks third among the 18 teams in action tonight. Sign me up.
Domantas Sabonis, PF, Indiana Pacers
FanDuel Salary: $10,500
In the seven games since he's returned from an injury, Sabonis has averaged 62.1 FanDuel points, including at least 52.1 in six of them, and 67.8-plus four times. That's the kind of floor and ceiling we've grown accustomed to seeing from Giannis, though the Greek Freak has been far more volatile over the last couple of months.
Tonight's bout between the Indiana Pacers and Milwaukee Bucks sports an over/under of 242.0, which is a good seven points higher than any other game. Even so much as blinking could be risky if you're watching this one, as both of these teams rank inside the top-five in pace of play this season.
Unlike the previous few games, we won't have to sweat whether or not Sabonis will have some competition for usage from players returning from injury. Malcolm Brogdon, Jeremy Lamb, Edmond Sumner, and Myles Turner have all been declared out already.
Unless you plan on rostering both Antekounmpo and Sabonis (which is not as crazy as it might seem), I'd save the $400 and roll with Indiana's star big man.