3 NBA FanDuel Studs to Target on Friday 10/22/21

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 up for someone. Even with strong value plays in your lineup, paying up and getting a dud is likely going to leave your lineup drawing pretty close to dead.

Which top players should be the focal points of your lineups today?

James Harden, G, Brooklyn Nets ($10,300)

James Harden was not nearly as bad as his team was in their opener Tuesday against Milwaukee.

Brooklyn got blown off the floor by the champs, but they should be more competitive as three-point favorites traveling to face the dysfunctional 76ers. With a full game to work, Harden should post a monstrous night if he equals his performance from Tuesday.

Harden averaged 1.55 FanDuel points per minute in the game, which is actually still the 23rd-best mark in the NBA in a "down" game. He would have smashed beyond value for his salary with his normal minutes. He largely continues to benefit from Kyrie Irving's absence; he posted a 31.6% usage rate without Irving in the opener.

True, five-digit salary studs are non-existent elsewhere at guard, but we can take solace in Harden's consistency and buy low on a blowout in his debut.

Domantas Sabonis, C, Indiana Pacers ($9,700)

Wednesday's top fantasy stack was the Hornets and Pacers duel, and Domantas Sabonis had a large hand in that.

Sabonis posted 48 FanDuel points, but his overall production was better if not for 6 turnovers in a messy game. His 28.1% usage rate paced (no pun intended) his team, and that creates significant appeal to roster a player that also tied that offensive role to 11.94 rebounds per 36 minutes a year ago.

His matchup with Washington should still be a healthy one despite the fact the Wizards stifled the lowly Raptors in their debut. Washington was the fastest squad in terms of pace in the NBA last season, and they combined that with the fifth-worst defensive rating.

Bradley Beal is questionable with a hip injury for this game for Washington, and if he misses, Sabonis likely can't be used due to blowout concerns. In that case, turn to Anthony Davis ($10,200) instead.

Brandon Ingram, F, New Orleans Pelicans ($8,300)

Brandon Ingram's salary does not quite indicate "stud" to this point, but it will soon with his current workload.

Poor shooting masked the fact that Ingram took 26 shots in 37 minutes as the clear alpha for the Pelicans. Most interesting, though, was Ingram's team-high 34.9% usage rate. That would be -- by far -- the highest of his career, and he tallied six assists with the ball in his hands more.

Nickeil Alexander-Walker stole the show with a hot shooting night in his debut, but Ingram is still the clear target on this team until Zion Williamson returns.

Matchups are difficult to predict this early into the season, but Ingram should find success against a Bulls team that let Jerami Grant post a successful debut at a similar wing position for Detroit.