NBA FanDuel Studs to Target on Tuesday 1/4/22
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?
LeBron James, SF/PF, Los Angeles Lakers ($11,400)
The cornerstone of the slate is the ageless wonder, LeBron James.
James has been on an absurd scoring run since Anthony Davis went down for the Lakers on December 17th. Since that game, LeBron has posted a Giannis-like 1.73 FanDuel points per minute on a gaudy 33.3% usage rate. Russell Westbrook has had his moment, but the offense is largely in LBJ's hands.
We'll have to be forgiving of James that he posted just 55.1 FanDuel points in Sunday's 108-103 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. It was only the second time in the last eight games that James has been held under 60 FanDuel points.
With this type of floor, it's hard to find a reason to fade him -- especially against the Sacramento Kings. The Kings' 112.9 defensive rating -- at the fifth-fastest pace in the NBA -- is not to be feared, and James posted 50.9 FanDuel points sharing the ball with Davis in Los Angeles' last meeting with Sacramento.
There's a void of studs on Tuesday's five-game slate, and LeBron's durability has him close to a 100% type of play in tournaments for me.
Ja Morant, PG, Memphis Grizzlies ($9,800)
The Grizzlies have plenty of players in COVID-19 protocols, so Morant has been doing much of the heavy lifting recently. Since Christmas Day, Morant has a team-best usage rate (33.8%) that he's turned into 1.50 FanDuel points per minute. He's eclipsed 47 FanDuel points in each of his last four games. Worth noting -- Morant's season-long usage (32.1%) isn't that different.
VanVleet has been the beneficiary of the Raptors' COVID protocol issues, as well. The difference is that OG Anunoby, Scottie Barnes, and Gary Trent Jr. are now back. Therefore, the 31.2% usage rate VanVleet has enjoyed since Christmas could soon regress closer to the 24.2% mark he's enjoyed for the entire season. VanVleet's white-hot shooting in this stretch (46.7%) likely won't stick, either.
Therefore, with more adhesion to his current role likely at a similar salary, Morant appears to be the clear target as Memphis visits Cleveland. The shorthanded Cavs are a neutral matchup for point guards (47.18 FanDuel points per game allowed; 13th-most in the NBA), so Morant should be able to continue his hot streak.