3 NBA FanDuel Studs to Target on Wednesday 1/4/23

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?

Joel Embiid, C, 76ers ($11,600)

Joel Embiid's torrid month of December may not be getting enough love.

Last month, Embiid averaged 0.98 real-world points per minute -- yes, nearly one point per minute. For our purposes on FanDuel, it all amounted to a general rate of 59.2 FanDuel points per 36 minutes, and enormous ceiling games are lurking behind a 38.7% usage rate.

This is a 12-game slate, so there are plenty of options, but that type of production in this matchup might be worth anchoring the center spot. Embiid's 76ers are taking on the Indiana Pacers, who allow the fifth-most FanDuel points to pivots.

In this sublime matchup, a blowout might be the only risk to JoJo's production, but the scrappy Pacers are only 7.5-point underdogs. If that holds, Embiid could post a mammoth double-double while not being all that populsr. He's the only target above $11,000 who is in any sort of favorable matchup.

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

With plenty of games to pick from, you'd bet we have a few pristine environments -- and you'd be right.

None stand above the one in Sacramento, though. The Hawks are visiting the Kings on the second leg of a back-to-back for the home squad, which is one reason this contest has a gaudy 245.5-point total. Another pair of reasons are these two teams are top-11 ones in terms of pace, and they're both bottom-15 in defensive rating.

There is no shortage of options inside of this bout. Trae Young, Dejounte Murray, Domantas Sabonis, and De'Aaron Fox are all high-output studs who could burst with FanDuel goodness in this one, but I want to shine a light on Young.

Amidst trade rumors, Young has really started to get comfortable. He's surpassed 48 FanDuel points in four of his last six games, dropping at least 26 real-life points in all but one of those. He and Murray have both seen an uptick in production as the Hawks have staggered their rotation more.

Young's 33.1% usage rate will always give him the leg up in terms of upside compared to Murray (25.2%), but I can't reasonably argue against any of this game's studs.

Jimmy Butler, SF/PF, Heat ($9,100)

Small forward is where I'll be most different on this slate.

Giannis Antetokounmpo has passed 78 FanDuel points in three straight. LeBron James has posted more than 65 FanDuel points in consecutive meetings with Atlanta and Charlotte. I'm sure both of those guys will be enormously popular, but now facing the Raptors and Heat, respectively, their circumstances will get quite a bit tougher.

Jimmy Butler's circumstances won't. In fact, he gets a repeat matchup with LeBron's Lakers in which he just dropped 57 FanDuel points.

Butler, completely unlisted on the injury report, isn't a per-dollar value with the Heat ostensibly at full strength. He's just a buy-low candidate after a poor showing versus the Clippers' elite defensive wing pairing (110.1 overall defensive rating). The struggling D of the Lakers (113.4 rating) is a different story.

I prefer Butler (and as far as opportunity cost, Embiid) to the mega-salaried wings today. A motivated, healthy Jimmy Buckets will always be worth a look as his salary drops toward $9,000.