3 NBA FanDuel Studs to Target on Monday 1/10/22

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?

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

One of the fantasy games of the year is on tap Monday, and we just saw it two nights ago.

The Bucks stayed in Charlotte after losing to the Hornets 114-106 on Saturday. They'll now rematch in a game with a 236.5-point total on FanDuel Sportsbook. Even with the underwhelming game on Saturday, these two teams are averaging 236.0 total points per contest in their meetings this year, so it's more than justified.

Enter Giannis Antetokounmpo. The "Greek Freak" is the star of most slates he's on but especially this one in this environment. Antetokounmpo has averaged 1.73 FanDuel points per minute in two matchups with Charlotte this season, and Giannis has been operating as the point guard in recent days with Jrue Holiday sidelined with an ankle injury.

With Holiday off the floor this season, Giannis ascends into another dimension. He's averaging 1.77 FanDuel points per minute in that floor condition. The production is not going anywhere with a 37.1% usage rate, either.

With just a 2.5-point spread and two top-10 teams in pace, this one is expected to be close and fantasy points are expected to be plentiful. Antetokounmpo's upside just isn't matched by any star on the slate.

Joel Embiid, C, Philadelphia 76ers ($10,900)

The one drawback with Joel Embiid compared to Giannis is his opponent. Other than that. he's stellar.

The 76ers are 12.0-point favorites as they travel to Houston to take on the lowly Rockets. The Rockets are one of the worst teams in the league in just about every offensive and defensive category one could imagine, but the most notable one is their league-worst 114.7 defensive rating this season. Combine that with the top pace in the entire NBA, and it's a fantasy basketball dreamland.

Philadelphia is 27th in pace as well, so this is a massive boost for Embiid and the 76ers. However, Houston has been so poor offensively that a lot of stars see so-so fantasy days because their work is cut to just three quarters.

This salary provides the possibility JoJo can get it done even in that shortened timespan. Embiid is on a monstrous run of averaging 1.75 FanDuel points per minute since Christmas Day. He's posted over 53 FanDuel points in five of six games in that span -- even despite being limited to 31 or fewer minutes three times.

As long as Tyrese Maxey remains in COVID-19 protocols, the Sixers may be down just enough firepower to keep this one tight in the fourth quarter. A monstrous day for Embiid could loom if that happens.

LaMelo Ball, PG, Charlotte Hornets ($8,400)

Even with Dejounte Murray still a quality option with the Spurs' rotation still wrecked by COVID-19 protocols, LaMelo Ball can match his upside at $2,000 lower in salary.

LaMelo is in that fantasy game du jour against the Bucks, and he's enjoyed his first two meetings with Milwaukee. He's posted a per-minute FanDuel point rate (1.53) worthy of a five-digit salary across the two contests.

He still should carry popularity in this spot as a result, but perhaps, he won't be on as many rosters as his game environment would deserve. Ball navigated foul trouble to "just" 42.8 FanDuel points on Saturday. That was just in 26 minutes of action, though.

Ball has been over-salaried for weeks after returning from COVID-19 protocols, but his mark has dropped to one that's actually left him with a decent floor. He's posted at least 37 FanDuel points in 8 of the 10 contests he's played since the layoff.

Point guard is loaded with quality options like Kyrie Irving, Darius Garland, and Murray, but Ball's correlation to Giannis is worth getting to in a single entry, personally.