3 NBA FanDuel Studs to Target on Monday 3/7/22
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?
Nikola Jokic, C, Denver Nuggets ($10,800)
With most of the value of the day coming from the Golden State side of this contest, Nikola Jokic is a phenomenal star option at center.
After all, Jokic did just set the highest mark for FanDuel points this season with 92.9 in Sunday's overtime win over New Orleans. His salary is far from prohibitive compared to the mark over $11,000 that's been required to roster the league's reigning MVP much of this year.
I get this question a lot -- what makes Jokic such a dominant fantasy asset? It's not his talent or his triple-double upside compared to other players. His role is just absurd. He leads Denver's shot volume (31.3%) usage rate, facilitating (8.67 assists per 36 minutes), and rebounding (14.93 rebounds per 36 minutes). At his size, he has the ball constantly. It's unlike any role in the league.
The best news of the day is the spread in this game. It's just an eight-point one despite the Warriors resting Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Andrew Wiggins. With a full night's work against the Dubs' young starting lineup, Jokic should pay off this salary even taking the "under" on 90 FanDuel points again.
James Harden, SG/SF, Philadelphia 76ers ($10,400)
I haven't heard...has James Harden been any good in Philadelphia?
Of course, amidst the 76ers dominant winning streak, there is justifiable talk about Harden and Joel Embiid as title favorites. Harden has fit right in with 1.57 FanDuel points per minute in his first four contests with the Sixers. There's no doubting Harden's scoring upside to lead all small forwards on this slate.
On different slates, I might have concerns about Harden's floor. His 24.7% usage rate with Philly would be the lowest in a stint with any team since Oklahoma City way back in 2012. That's largely, though, because Harden has gone into turbo-facilitation mode with the Sixers, averaging 12.0 assists per contest.
As a result, his floor is a little bit less stable than we see with scorers. That's a very similar dynamic to Chris Paul in Phoenix.
However, the unstable floor is of zero concern in tournaments on this slate loaded with value. Finding raw points should be the name of the game, and Harden's potential to post the highest total at his position is clear.
Trae Young, PG, Atlanta Hawks ($9,700)
Luka Doncic and Dejounte Murray are on the injury report. Murray is a massive question mark. Luckily, Trae Young can help with spending salary at point guard.
Young closed last week with a 39-point, 13-assist outing against Chicago followed by a 6-for-22 shooting dud against Washington. Still, he's in a supreme role with the Hawks, and his Hawks have a supreme matchup with the lowly Pistons.
Though John Collins has resumed part-time duty for Atlanta, Kevin Huerter is now in question with an injury. Truthfully, though, they are just incremental parts to Young's stellar full-season role. He's posted 1.40 FanDuel points per minute on a 37.4% usage rate during any floor situation.
Therefore, he's finally got a salary to match that five-digit production on Monday against Detroit. The Pistons haven't exactly put up resistance to point guards this season, allowing the third-most FanDuel points per game (49.6) to opposing floor generals.
As just a seven-point road favorite, Young's floor time should be normal. The 225.5-point total in Detroit is high -- as it should always be with the Hawks' poor defense.
I don't feel the need to guess on injuries when Trae is in such a great spot.