NBA FanDuel Studs to Target on Tuesday 1/18/22
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?
Karl-Anthony Towns, C, Minnesota Timberwolves ($9,600)
Tuesday's two-game slate provides the clearest direction of perhaps the entire season.
The 3.5-point spread between the Knicks and Timberwolves appears to be the one to attack. The only other contest features a 15.0-point spread between the lowly Pistons and league-best Golden State Warriors.
Since returning from a bout with COVID-19, Karl-Anthony Towns has been a tremendous fantasy asset. Towns has a team-best 27.3% usage rate that he's turned into 1.40 FanDuel points per minute in the month of January, and even despite a turbulent month with a few blowouts, he's yet to fall short of 43 FanDuel points on a given night.
It's fairly simple to fit Towns, D'Angelo Russell, and Anthony Edwards into one lineup, so while on many slates the question is which one -- maybe two -- of the Wolves' stars is in the best spot, all three seem like great options given the lack of alternatives on Tuesday.
Julius Randle, PF/C, New York Knicks ($8,400)
On the other side of that game, the Knicks have only two reliable options in top-shelf consideration -- RJ Barrett and Julius Randle.
At a mid-range salary, Barrett is on a streak of generating at least 33.0 FanDuel points in six of his last seven contests. He's easy to justify.
Randle isn't a no-brainer at his salary; he's eclipsed 40 FanDuel points in just two of his past seven contests. But I'd like to lay out a reason to still make Randle a priority -- his recent schedule. It's been a brutal one for a big man.
Since Randle's stint in COVID-19 protocols, the Knicks have drawn Indiana, Boston (twice), San Antonio, Dallas, Atlanta, and Charlotte. The Pacers, Mavs, and Hawks are all top-10 squads in terms of defensive rebounding, and the Pacers and Celtics are both bottom-five teams in terms of pace. In the two positive matchups (San Antonio and Charlotte), Randle has shot just 34.1% from the field despite collecting 22 boards across those two games.
It's been a rough stretch of production, but the building blocks for a ceiling game are still there. It should aid Randle that Minnesota is dead last in the NBA in defensive rebounding percentage (70.7%), and they're third in pace (102.5).
With more easy looks and hopefully a positive regression with his shot, Randle is still worth a roster spot in tournaments given his game environment.