3 NBA FanDuel Studs to Target on Thursday 4/7/22
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?
Joel Embiid, C, Philadelphia 76ers ($11,500)
Joel Embiid punished a team without a true center on Tuesday, and he'll get the chance to do so again on Thursday.
Embiid poured in 45 points and 14 rebounds against a tanking Indiana squad, but the blowout risk will be significantly lower than it was in that one. The 76ers are just 1.5-point favorites traveling to Toronto.
Of course, the Raptors most often use Pascal Siakam at the five in key situations. As a result, they're a bottom-10 squad in defensive rebounding rate (71.2%) and second-chance points allowed per game (14.0). That could be a problem against the most unstoppable force in the paint at present.
Admittedly, Toronto is a slower-paced squad with a good defense, so the 220.0-point total isn't the best environment in the world. But seeing as his total lags behind that of Nikola Jokic by 13.0 points, Embiid will likely be much less popular with an interior matchup he can exploit.
Jayson Tatum, SF/PF, Boston Celtics ($9,300)
Because of three straight wins of at least 15 points, Jayson Tatum's salary is dropping as his production rises.
In April, Tatum has posted a stellar 1.37 FanDuel points per minute. He's also maintained a higher usage rate than Jaylen Brown (31.5%) despite Brown's torrid April scoring run. The duo are both viable at their salaries in this great spot.
Boston travels to Milwaukee, and the 228.5-point total doesn't tell the whole story. Boston (24th in pace) should see a massive lift in possession against the faster Bucks (7th in pace), and there's just a six-point spread. Boston's starters only playing three quarters alleviates some risk with their back-to-back concluding here, as well.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is obviously on this slate, but he'll run into the league's best defensive rating that's been smashing foes left and right at a hefty salary. Tatum (and Brown) will see a weaker defense with a lift up in pace, and their salaries are much more reasonable.
**Editor's Note: Tatum was ruled out with a knee injury, but Brown at $8,700 is a tremendous alternative with additional usage.**
LaMelo Ball, PG, Charlotte Hornets ($9,000)
The highest implied team total of the day belongs to the Charlotte Hornets. What could go wrong?
Charlotte is hosting the Orlando Magic, and the Magic are resting three key starters as they limp to the finish line. There's a 230.0-point total here overall, and the Hornets are 13.0-point favorites, but it's really hard to see them covering that unless their horrendous April defensive rating (139.8) makes a massive turnaround in this one.
With hopes for a competitive game between two defensively-challenged teams, enter LaMelo Ball.
Ball has triple-double upside as he continues to try and surge the Bees to a play-in spot. Ball's production is always hot and cold, but a team-best 27.6% usage rate since March 1st has translated to 1.33 FanDuel points per minute overall. That's more than worthy of this salary.
LaMelo is likely the only active guard above $9,000, so if you're using value options in the frontcourt, it helps that the only option is also a solid choice.