3 NBA FanDuel Studs to Target on Friday 12/16/22

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 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 an excellent 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 will likely leave your lineup drawing pretty close to dead.

Which top players should be the focal points of your lineups today?

Trae Young, PG, Hawks ($9,800)

On a slate loaded at the top, with nine players carrying a five-digit salary, Trae Young can get you access to a big-time ceiling at a salary a little under what the slate's top stars are listed at.

Young is up against the Charlotte Hornets, a team that has been rocked by point guards all year long, giving up the seventh-most FanDuel points per game to the position (48.8).

It only helps matters that the Atlanta Hawks are going to be sans Dejounte Murray, Clint Capela and John Collins. With those three off the floor this year, Young boasts a gaudy 41.0% usage rate and produces 1.36 FanDuel points per minute, according to RotoGrinders' CourtIQ. That's a usage-rate bump of 7.4 percentage points.

Young will likely be chalk, but this is a smash spot for him, and you can pair him with Onyeka Okongwu ($5,200) and LaMelo Ball ($8,000) for a high-upside game stack that gets you plenty of exposure to the slate's highest total (240.0).

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG/SG, Thunder ($10,200)

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has a delightful matchup with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

For the year, Minnesota has permitted the second-most FanDuel points per night to floor generals (52.1), and the Wolves may be without rim protector Rudy Gobert, which would be big for Gilgeous-Alexander.

The Minnesota-Oklahoma City matchup should be a fun one for DFS. The total is 233.5 points, and the spread is just 2.5. Both teams sit in the top five in pace.

SGA has a 32.3% usage rate for the season and a 33.5% usage rate over the last five games. He should thrive in this game environment, especially if Gobert is ruled out.

Our model has Gilgeous-Alexander going for 50.4 FanDuel points.

Nikola Jokic, C, Nuggets ($12,200)

Nikola Jokic's salary is way up there, but as of early Friday afternoon, it looks like there will be a lot of value on this slate. And with the aforementioned Okongwu rating out as an elite value at center, Jokic might not be all that popular.

I love this spot for Jokic. He's up against the Los Angeles Lakers. LA has surrendered the sixth-most FanDuel points per game to centers (55.8), and the Lakers (2nd in pace) are a pace-up spot for the Denver Nuggets (20th). This matchup holds a 237.5-point total and 1.5-point spread. Yes, please.

Jokic sports a 33.4% usage rate across the past five games, and with Michael Porter Jr. off the floor this season, Jokic has generated a whopping 1.71 FanDuel points per minute. He's scored 71.4 and 81.8 FanDuel points in his last two games and could be in line for another monster outing tonight.