NBA FanDuel Studs to Target on Thursday 1/20/22

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?

Luka Doncic, PG/SG, Dallas Mavericks ($10,900)

One thing clearly stands out at first glance on Thursday's slate -- there aren't many studs worth rostering.

Between large spreads and underperformers, Luka Doncic stands out as the top option to spend up. It's been a wild year for the Mavericks' franchise player, but he appears to have righted the ship momentarily with back-to-back games of at least 60 FanDuel points.

Notably, both of those performances came with Kristaps Porzingis in the lineup. Doncic does see a slight dip sharing the court with Porzingis versus having it all to himself, but it's still hard to argue against an overall season usage rate of 32.8% (and 1.34 FanDuel points per minute) when K.P. and Luka share the court together.

The game environment in Dallas is by far the best of the day. The 216.5-point total is tied for the highest of the slate, and this one carries a 3.5-point spread, compared to a large spread between the Pacers and Warriors.

Luka is a high-floor play on a slate where per-dollar value just won't be necessary.

Caris LeVert, SG/SF, Indiana Pacers ($8,100)

The Pacers are in trouble tonight in San Francisco.

For that reason, I may not get to LeVert in a single-entry lineup in favor of a balanced approach behind Luka. Still, if Indiana is going to mount any sort of competitive effort -- or if that's the angle you're going to play things from -- Caris LeVert should be a priority.

Indiana is just running out of top-tier players in their lineup. Both Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis are headed toward a prolonged stint on the shelf, and Malcolm Brogdon logged just 28 minutes on Wednesday when returning from his latest setback with the Achilles injury he's been fighting since the drop of the season. LeVert is the lone reliable source of offense left standing for Indiana.

During floor situations with Sabonis and Turner out, LeVert has turned a team-high 36.0% usage rate into 0.96 FanDuel points per minute. The uninspiring per-minute production is the concern for Indiana's entire squad on Thursday, but the usage rate eclipses Doncic's at a salary much lower than Luka's.

Amidst a muddy set of top-tier options, LeVert has the second-clearest role on the slate. That's worth something at a salary that's not hard to reach.