3 NBA FanDuel Studs to Target on Wednesday 10/26/22
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, Nuggets ($11,000)
I've been selling Nikola Jokic stock as his co-stars Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. have returned to the lineup. Wednesday might be the first great spot of the year for the reigning two-time MVP.
First of all, Porter Jr. is already listed as questionable for this one managing his back issues from last season. Personally, it's doubtful he plays against the struggling Lakers if that's potentially in the Nuggets' plans moving forward. Murray has also yet to exceed 27 minutes in a game.
Therefore, Jokic might revive some of the usage that made him an MVP. Last year, without Murray and Porter for most of the season, he had a 31.8% usage rate. That's plummeted to 21.1% in 2022-23 thus far.
I'm not anywhere close to rostering him with Denver at full capacity, but Wednesday might be a special exception in a special matchup. The visiting Lakers are dead last in the NBA in estimated rebounding percentage (44.1%), so Jokic has a high floor on the glass here where 20 boards isn't out of the question.
Once a stalwart in fantasy basketball on any slate, we still can fire up the Serbian superstar on the right occasion. This appears to be it.
Kevin Durant, SF/PF, Nets ($9,900)
With a massive salary on a slate where I want to get to Jokic, Antetokounmpo is deserving. He's posted an insane 1.86 FanDuel points per minute with Khris Middleton still out of action. However, there are paths -- as we saw last year -- where Milwaukee wins this game without massive contributions in all categories from Giannis. That's what is required to pay off his near $12,000 salary.
On the other hand, if this game is remotely competitive, we know Durant will be involved. K.D. has opened the year with a higher 34.5% usage rate than last year (31.5%), but he's dropped from 1.35 to 1.32 FanDuel points per minute thanks to a massive drop in rebounding.
Last year, he was grabbing 7.08 rebounds per 36 minutes. This year, it's a mediocre 4.41 boards per 36. In the long run, expect the lanky Durant to return to the glass moderately often.
The 231.0-point total here is mouthwatering for daily fantasy, and K.D. is an easy choice if you look to stack this game. At nearly the same salary, I strongly prefer a mini-stack of Durant and Jrue Holiday instead of Giannis paired with the aloof Ben Simmons.
Trae Young, PG, Hawks ($8,700)
Salaries can take a while to move, and Trae Young has just sat at this mark now for three straight games. He's earned better.
Young has posted at least 43 FanDuel points in each of his first three games. Any concerns with Dejounte Murray tanking his fantasy production have been greatly exaggerated since Young's usage rate this season (35.3%) is actually higher than last year's mark (34.2%).
This isn't a bad spot against the unrested Detroit Pistons, either. Detroit is allowing the 10th-most three-point attempts per game, so their defense hasn't been strong on the perimeter to start the year. They've also allowed the fourth-most FanDuel points to opposing point guards.
The Hawks are 8.5-point favorites, so there's a tinge of blowout risk here, but Young joins Nikola Jokic as the only players above $8,500 projected for a value score north of five today. They're both great studs to build around on this 10-game slate.