3 NBA FanDuel Studs to Target on Tuesday 1/24/23
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 post 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?
Luka Doncic, PG/SG, Mavericks ($11,900)
It's been 12 days since Luka Doncic burst over 60 FanDuel points. Are we more nervous about him or about the upcoming squads he'll face?
Including a rest game, Dallas' star has had to navigate the tough Clippers and Heat defenses in recent appearances, but the Wizards should be a breath of fresh air. Washington's 113.4 defensive rating is 14th-worst in the NBA as they continue to slide down the standings.
They also cede the 14th-most FanDuel points per game to opposing point guards. Any way you slice it, this is a slightly positive matchup for Doncic coming off a pair of ugly ones.
Those matchups -- appropriately -- dropped his salary, though. He's now in a more realistic realm given his average of 57.3 FanDuel points per 36 minutes with Christian Wood off the floor this season. His usage rate is also a gigantic 38.9% with Wood out as he will be on Tuesday.
Another ceiling game from Luka is right around the corner, and I don't want to miss out when it happens.
LeBron James, SF/PF, Lakers ($11,100)
Five of the last six stud columns I've done have been impacted by an injury or rest. I'm certainly flirting with another given LeBron James is officially questionable with his lingering ankle issue.
However, I can take solace in the fact James has played three straight for the Lakers through this same status, and I'm doubting that this cross-town, national-television contest against the Clippers would be the spot he'd want to take off.
King James has been tough to target with all the injury statuses, but he's actually found a great level of consistency in daily fantasy. He's exceeded 51 FanDuel points in seven straight games, and he's held a sizable team-best 36.4% usage rate in this period. It's truly one of the best roles for a star in the game at present.
Though the matchup is a bit harrowing, LeBron dropped 30 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists the last time these L.A. teams met, and that was with Anthony Davis in the lineup. Without him, James has seen a spike of 3.07 FanDuel points per 36 minutes on the year.
Julius Randle, PF/C, Knicks ($9,900)
I've got zero inclination of how Tom Thibodeau woke up and felt during breakfast this morning, so I'll pass on predicting which of Jericho Sims and Isaiah Hartenstein gets additional run in Mitchell Robinson's place tonight.
Instead, we can turn toward Julius Randle in the frontcourt on a night when the big-man spots aren't as strong as usual. Randle's salary is still in a friendly position here.
On the year, Orange Julius has seen a 1.0-percentage-point increase in usage with Robinson off the floor, and that's resulted in an additional 1.97 FanDuel points per 36 minutes. While that's not a ton of a boost, this is from his already strong baseline. Randle has exceeded 48 FanDuel points in 13 of his last 16 games, which makes this mark a bit of a headscratcher.
Importantly, he's the one guy on the Knicks that might have room to operate tonight. The opposing Cavaliers allow the fewest FanDuel points per game to guards, the second-fewest to small forwards, and the sixth-fewest to centers. Against power forwards, they've allowed the 15th-most.
Nikola Jokic might be a bit hard to get to with our other studs, but Randle's salary is friendlier to fit with both.