3 NBA FanDuel Studs to Target on Friday 2/25/22
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 ($11,200)
It's hard to ignore what Luka Doncic has put together in February.
Doncic has posted 1.64 FanDuel points per minute on a massive 41.4% usage rate. With Kristaps Porzingis out of town, the Mavericks don't have a clear second option. In that event, this do-it-all Luka may be here to stay for the remainder of the season.
With that type of roll, Doncic's floor will be exceptional. It's hard not to score FanDuel points with the ball exclusively in your hands. However, don't discount Doncic's upside for this salary -- even at its lofty mark. He's eclipsed 60 FanDuel points in four of his last five contests.
The return of Rudy Gobert has made Utah a tougher matchup once more, but Doncic has also posted 32.1% of his field-goal makes from outside this month. He should continue to have ample chances to fill it up on Friday.
Julius Randle, PF/C, New York Knicks ($10,200)
All season, we've been asking what's wrong with Julius Randle.
The Knicks' forward posted a consistent, healthy 1.21 FanDuel points per minute a season ago. That mark had dropped to 1.09 entering February. Now, Randle has scorched the league for 1.37 FanDuel points per minute in February, and he's posted at least 50 FanDuel points in five straight contests.
The answer? RJ Barrett.
Barrett has missed the last four games for New York. Really, Barrett's increased 25.7% usage rate this season has hampered Randle. If he's without the guard listed as questionable again on Friday against the Heat, "Orange Julius" should be a decent bet once more.
Importantly, Randle has a 31.6% usage rate. There isn't really another New York option to turn to if one wants to mini-stack Jimmy Butler in this space.
James Harden, SG/SF, Philadelphia 76ers ($9,600)
When the going gets tough, find a better team.
That was James Harden's solution anyway. He'll make his Philadelphia 76ers debut on Friday in Minnesota after the blockbuster trade two weeks ago.
At a lower salary than we've seen him most of the season, he's at least interesting on Friday's slate as a result. After all, Harden hasn't held a usage rate below 28.0% for a season since 2014. When he's on the floor in any uniform, with any team, he's one of the leading ballhandlers.
That should, as a result, knock Joel Embiid down quite a bit. Embiid has enjoyed a 42.1% usage rate this month, but he's salaried for that type of work. The combination of the two should pull these salaries in opposite directions over time.
The environment in their contest Friday is why it's worth a look. The 229.0-point total is the second-highest on the slate, and Philadelphia (27th in the NBA in pace) sees a giant upgrade in possessions to Minnesota (5th) inside of it.