3 NBA FanDuel Studs to Target on Tuesday 10/18/22

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?

LeBron James, SF/PF, Los Angeles Lakers ($10,800)

How is this article starting in the same place it did in 2006?

LeBron James is 37 years old, turning 38 in December. He's still one of the best players in the world -- and the undisputed top wing on this slate.

Last season, James posted a whopping 32.8% usage rate that he turned into 1.41 FanDuel points per minute. That production rate last year was second on the slate to Joel Embiid, who has a brutal assignment with a tough Boston defense.

Given LeBron held a 30.5% usage rate in the preseason, don't expect him to give up the reigns to his teammates quite yet. In fact, it might be higher this year if Russell Westbrook indeed comes off the bench.

While Jayson Tatum will battle Jaylen Brown for buckets, a bulk of the Lakers' points should come from the ageless king.

Anthony Davis, PF/C, Los Angeles Lakers ($10,100)

Let's be real -- the other three teams on this slate were deep playoff contenders a year ago and good teams. The Lakers weren't -- and likely still aren't.

As a result, you can absolutely start James and Anthony Davis in this same lineup. This entire squad will revolve around that duo, and if they plan on a better season, it'll be Davis that has to take a massive leap forward.

We've seen A.D. have individual monster evenings. He posted over 55 FanDuel points in 12 of his 40 games played last season. That "games played" metric is always the concern, though.

It should help him tonight that Draymond Green and Kevon Looney aren't expected to play full minutes due to conditioning issues. Golden State was a rough matchup for bigs last year, but those two are predominately why.

At just $600 lower in salary than Joel Embiid, Davis will likely be one of the least popular stars on the slate. He can still turn in a huge evening.

James Harden, PG/SG, Philadelphia 76ers ($8,900)

As mentioned, the Celtics' defense is no joke, so I'm treading lightly when targeting the 76ers on opening night.

However, given his salary, it's really easy to get behind James Harden. He could soar past 50 FanDuel points routinely given his projected role in their offense.

Harden posted 1.22 FanDuel points per minute last season on a modest 24.9% usage rate. That usage rate was his lowest since his time with Oklahoma City back in 2012 (21.6%), but it could have been health-related. Harden battled hamstring issues each of the last two years but says he's back to full strength.

"The Beard" is Tuesday's second-best projected star on a per-dollar basis behind his teammate, Embiid. Given Embiid's historical struggles with Al Horford, I'll spend my salary in Philadelphia's backcourt.