3 NBA FanDuel Studs to Target on Friday 10/21/22

Back healthy, Zion Williamson bullied the Nets on Wednesday. Which other studs are worthy their salary on Friday's slate?

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?

Ja Morant, PG, Grizzlies ($9,400)

The best environment of the day is arguably in Houston.

The Grizzlies are modest 7.5-point favorites over the Rockets, and the game has a whopping 232.5-point total overall. We should look to scorers in this one, and none are quite as talented as the sensational Ja Morant.

Morant received MVP buzz last year, and he started his campaign in earnest on Wednesday. He dropped 1.30 FanDuel points per minute behind 37 points and 9 assists. That came on a gargantuan 37.8% usage rate, which might stay rather high for as long as Dillon Brooks is sidelined with a thigh issue.

Stephen Curry has to navigate the Nuggets, who are a bottom-five team in pace again after last year's similar output. I'd rather take the high-flying showdown here.

Zion Williamson, PF, Pelicans ($8,800)

It's so good to see Zion Williamson back healthy again.

He is such a bully in the paint, posting 25 points and 9 boards on 50% shooting in his return against Brooklyn. Williamson's 31.3% usage rate led the way for the Pelicans, and that's a situation we'll want to monitor closely with Zion, Brandon Ingram, and C.J. McCollum all under the same umbrella for the first time in New Orleans.

I love Zion's matchup here with Charlotte. The Hornets allowed the second-most second-chance points in 2021-22, and they've really kept their frontcourt the exact same with Mason Plumlee, PJ Washington, and Nick Richards. This is a team most big men should dominate all season.

With LaMelo Ball sidelined for the Hornets with an ankle injury, Zion is easy to pair with some value from the Charlotte side like Kelly Oubre or Gordon Hayward. That's one of my favorite mini-stacks on Friday's slate.

Pascal Siakam, PF/C, Raptors ($8,500)

Speaking of the Nets that Zion victimized on Wednesday, they'll now draw Pascal Siakam and the Raptors on Friday.

Brooklyn had the 10th-worst defensive rating last year, and they're dead last through the limited action thus far (127.5). Everything screams targeting them in daily fantasy, and that's especially true for someone who creates in transition like Siakam. The Nets allowed the sixth-most fastbreak points per game (14.0) a season ago.

As for Siakam, he's holding down a nearly identical role to last year. He's Toronto's crunchtime five, pulling down 11 rebounds in his season debut before fouling out. Curiously, he also led the Raptors in usage rate (35.0%) in his first game, and his fantasy appeal could be through the roof if he routinely usurps Fred VanVleet in that regard.

Some of the day's top stars are in brutal matchups, so even with a smorgasbord of value, I'm somewhat defaulting to a balanced build in this $8,000-$9,000 range, and Siakam is a versatile piece when doing so.