3 NBA FanDuel Studs to Target on Monday 12/13/21

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 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?

Giannis Antetokounmpo, PF/SF, Milwaukee Bucks ($11,500)

If Giannis Antetokounmpo is on the slate, it's pretty automatic you'll find him here.

Antetokounmpo's floor is passable to fade certain nights at his lofty salary. However, for tournament players, it's hard to find his can't-miss upside elsewhere so long as there's value to squeeze him in. Monday's slate is not short on value, so "The Greek Freak" is on the menu.

Giannis earned his first triple-double of the year on Sunday, but hilariously, it was just a so-so fantasy outing since he only posted 20 points inside of it. Still, he's posted 60 or more FanDuel points in 10 of his 22 contests this season, and some of those 22 were limited by injury or blowout.

Boston is a sturdy matchup all things considered, but the one below-average defensive category they have is rebounding. The Celtics allow the 11th-most rebounds per game (45.9) despite a pretty slow pace, and Giannis (11.7 rebounds per game; 6th in the NBA) is as well-equipped as any star to take advantage on the glass.

Nikola Jokic, C, Denver Nuggets ($11,400)

Last year's MVP is quieting doubters once again.

Down Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr., Nikola Jokic has put an incredibly limited Denver roster on his back. During floor conditions without his second and third star this season, Jokic is still averaging 1.81 FanDuel points per minute. That sample is 472 minutes long at this point, so Jokic is trending toward a $12,000 salary soon -- now free of his injury concerns.

His usage rate in that condition is 34.1%, and his next highest starting teammate is the inconsistent Will Barton (23.0%). When the Nuggets are in plus spots, it's incredibly hard to justify spending salary anywhere besides their big man.

To quote the late Dennis Green, the Washington Wizards are who we thought they were on the defensive end. Despite the hot start, Washington has cooled to a 117.1 defensive rating in their past 10 games -- third-worst in the NBA in that span. That downturn has Denver positioned as a solid, yet benign, 5.0-point favorite at home on Monday.

It's fairly simple to fit both Jokic and Giannis into a lineup, and I highly recommend doing so for those who play cash games.

Trae Young, PG, Atlanta Hawks ($9,900)

A contrarian way to spend salary tonight will be at guard, and Trae Young is the lone viable option.

The floors of Stephen Curry and Chris Paul closely resemble the glass panels from Squid Game at this point, but Young has a tremendous floor despite the higher-than-normal salary.

Young has a 34.1% usage rate overall this season, but it's definitely kicked into overdrive (37.4% the past two weeks) while Bogdan Bogdanovic remains out. Young has caught fire with Bogdan on the pine; he's posted 1.44 FanDuel points per minute the past two weeks, as well.

The 224.0-point total between the Rockets and Hawks is the highest on today's slate, and Young should be in a great position to take advantage of it. Houston is allowing the fifth-most three-point attempts per game (38.7) in the NBA, and Young averages 7.1 three-point attempts per game in totality.

While the big men with rebounding upside are great targets, Young has a non-scoring floor, as well. He's posted double-digit assists in seven of his last eight games. I don't want to forget that when building lineups for tonight.