3 NBA FanDuel Studs to Target on Wednesday 12/28/22

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?

Nikola Jokic, C, Nuggets ($12,300)

Everyone should largely ignore Nikola Jokic today. That's where the stat-padding center is his most dangerous.

Last night's identical matchup -- on the road in Sacramento -- didn't produce monstrous results for Nikola. Michael Porter Jr. dropped 30 points, and Jamal Murray dropped 25, so Jokic deferred to his red-hot teammates and only took 10 shots. All of those things are unlikely to happen in consecutive games.

Denver's key injuries should help Jokic's fantasy production even more. Aaron Gordon was a late scratch last night with a shoulder issue, and Bruce Brown Jr. left the game early with an ankle injury. If both sit, Jokic sees a bump of 3.62 FanDuel points per 36 minutes without two of the team's key players.

Plus, this Nuggets-Kings showdown should be fantasy-friendly once again, holding a slate-best 235.5-point total. Both Jokic and De'Aaron Fox are buy-low opportunities inside of it.

DeMar DeRozan, SG/SF, Bulls ($8,600)

Another high-scoring showdown should be in Chicago.

The Bucks and Bulls will face off for a tilt with a 232.5-point projected total, and the two squads fall into the top half of the league in terms of pace. Giannis Antetokounmpo would work here, but I wanted to shine a light on the red-hot DeMar DeRozan.

Whether it's related to the team's injuries, potential, frigidity towards Zach LaVine, or both, DeRozan has taken off in the past two weeks. He's produced 41.4 FanDuel points per 36 minutes on a team-best 29.3% usage rate, eclipsing 25 real-life points scored in five of the seven games.

It can be frustrating to choose between DeRozan, LaVine, and Nikola Vucevic -- who all share similar salaries and ranges of outcomes. DeRozan's strong usage and LaVine's salary increase (to $7,500) make him an easy choice of the trio for this one.

Dejounte Murray, SG/PG, Hawks ($8,400)

With fair assumptions able to be made about other injury topics, the biggest question mark on the slate is Trae Young.

Young left last night's game early with a calf issue, and that's got him questionable -- at best -- to play on the back-to-back Wednesday. I almost prefer he plays to reduce Dejounte Murray's popularity in tournaments.

Murray doesn't really see a giant lift when Trae is off the floor. His rate of 1.11 FanDuel points per minute is decent for this salary as is, and the increase (+0.07 per minute) with Trae off the floor isn't worth the exponential increase in draft rate should Young sit.

Murray is a key piece from a third stellar environment on this slate. There's a 234.5-point total on deck as the Nets visit the Hawks.

Dejounte has exploded past 48 FanDuel points on five separate occasions this year. His salary is dropping to a point where another "pop" game should be coming soon and Brooklyn, allowing the sixth-most FanDuel points per game to shooting guards, is a decent spot to project one.