NBA FanDuel Studs to Target on Tuesday 12/14/21

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, SG/PG, Brooklyn Nets ($10,400)

James Harden might have his hands full on Tuesday night.

The Brooklyn Nets were already announced Tuesday as short four role players due to COVID-19 protocols. Then, less than an hour later, Kevin Durant was listed as questionable with an ankle injury.

Even if Durant plays, Harden is the top-notch way to spend salary on the slate. Truly, no other star even matches his shaky floor of at least 46 FanDuel points in 9 of his last 11 games. If Durant sits, Harden has an absurd 34.7% usage rate in floor situations without K.D. this season. He's turned that into 1.37 FanDuel points per minute.

Stephen Curry will likely be popular as a near-lock to break the all-time three-point record tonight. People love narratives. Yet, Curry has failed to top 42 FanDuel points in five of his last seven games, and the 211.5-point total in his game on Tuesday is the lowest on the slate.

If the answer can be only one stud above $10,000, it has to be Harden.

Damian Lillard, PG, Portland Trail Blazers ($8,700)

Harden can easily fit into the same lineup with Damian Lillard.

Lillard returned for Portland on Sunday to a role of 36 minutes, and while his 24-point, 11-rebound outing didn't eclipse value one would hope for (41.7 FanDuel points), it's a good indication Lillard is healthy and ready to lead a Blazers squad missing C.J. McCollum.

This season, during floor situations without McCollum, Lillard sees a team-best increase in both usage rate (4.6 percentage points) and FanDuel points per minute (+0.10). While Dame's 1.17 FanDuel points per minute mark overall leaves some to be desired, a majority of that sample came before Lillard's injury during a woeful shooting slump (34.9% in October).

Now healthy and shooting the ball better, Lillard's salary will probably rise as he becomes the clear top option in Portland. He's available at a fair salary of $8,700 in a game with Phoenix that has the highest total (219.0) on the slate.