3 NBA FanDuel Studs to Target on Monday 3/14/22

Joel Embiid will look to get the better of Nikola Jokic in Monday's battle of MVP candidates. Who else is worth their lofty FanDuel salary?

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 ($11,600)

Monday's slate is loaded with high-totaled affairs, and the Bucks' trip to Utah is no exception.

Milwaukee is a 1.5-point road favorite in this game with a 235.5-point total. We obviously know the heartbeat of the Bucks lives and breathes through Giannis Antetokounmpo.

In Saturday's marquee game, Antetokoumpo was a letdown against Golden State. He scored 31 points and grabbed 8 boards, but he fell short of value on FanDuel with just 3 assists. It was an ugly affair for Milwaukee from the get-go, and Giannis still had 12 assist chances through his role.

"The Greek Freak" is averaging 1.77 FanDuel points per minute in March, so "average" for him in a full-time workload would do just fine on Monday. Brook Lopez is off the injury report for Milwaukee, but that's likely a larger ding to Bobby Portis than Giannis. In fact, last season, Giannis averaged more rebounds per 36 minutes with Lopez on the floor than with Portis on the court.

Usually, Milwaukee and Utah face heavy blowout risks as high-profile squads. The bullies will meet their match in this one.

Joel Embiid, C, Philadelphia 76ers ($10,700)

The high totals elsewhere almost bring a bit of a damper on the battle of MVP candidates in Philadelphia.

Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic have been stalwarts in this article with gaudy production all season, but when they face each other, Embiid is the clear target at the lower salary.

With 646 free-throw attempts and counting this season, Embiid puts any opposing center in foul trouble danger when he walks into the arena. That's a sizable risk at $11,400 for Jokic. Philadelphia allows the fifth-fewest FanDuel points per game to centers (50.1) as is; a part-time workload in foul trouble would be a disaster.

While far from a perfect matchup, Embiid's role is also much better at present. He's got a 37.1% usage rate in March -- with James Harden. Denver allows the 11th-most points scored per game to opposing centers (23.0). Embiid is less reliant on overall production and more reliant on his shot volume, and he should be able to score.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, SG/PG, Oklahoma City Thunder ($10,000)

With Luguentz Dort out for the season and Josh Giddey still sidelined, "The Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Show" was picked up for a second season.

Gilgeous-Alexander has done yeomen's work to keep the Thunder afloat without his next two best options. He's posted a 34.5% usage rate since Giddey, the latter of the two to exit the lineup, went down. In that span, he's posted 1.59 FanDuel points per minute. That's fourth in the NBA behind Giannis, Jokic, and Embiid.

That's good company in fantasy basketball.

A matchup with the Hornets' weak defense isn't exactly a notable spot for a downturn. Charlotte had turned their defense around slightly, but they're back to the ninth-worst unit in the NBA in terms of defensive rating in March (116.9). As a result, the Thunder are just 9.5-point underdogs and might be able to keep pace in this one.

There are spots to attack other star guards with value options in the same backcourt. San Antonio has Devin Vassell as a decent pivot from Dejounte Murray, and Mike Conley can capture some of the upside that Donovan Mitchell has against Milwaukee.

SGA is a one-man band capable of dropping a platinum record on Monday.