3 NBA FanDuel Studs to Target on Wednesday 2/8/23
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?
Damian Lillard, PG, Trail Blazers ($10,000)
If you ever wonder why NBA stars team up, Damian Lillard was a good example on Monday.
With just two first-quarter points from Lillard, the Portland Trail Blazers were thrust into a sizable deficit early against Milwaukee, and they could never recover. Lillard still finished with 28 real-life points in 31 minutes, but the game was decided before his full night of work was completed.
Luckily, Lillard's margin of error to avoid a blowout should be higher on Wednesday. The Warriors, still without Stephen Curry, will visit Moda Center, and Portland is actually a 2.5-point favorite. It also helps the Dubs have struggled defensively all year on the road (117.9 defensive rating; third-worst in the NBA).
Even on a per-dollar-of-salary basis, Lillard is numberFire's top-projected guard above $7,000 as a result. He'll carry his gaudy usage rate (36.0% without Jusuf Nurkic on the floor) into this one with a 40-piece in mind.
Kristaps Porzingis, PF/C, Wizards ($9,000)
As always, we'll stick to a couple of injury spots with our other two stars, and it helps both are in pristine matchups.
Kristaps Porzingis could be the last man standing for the Wizards tonight. He was on Monday in Cleveland as both Bradley Beal and Kyle Kuzma sat, and the Wizards were -- somewhat predictably -- blown out by the playoff-bound Cavs. The two are questionable to play tonight.
Luckily, even without the pair, he'll likely get a competitive affair tonight. Washington is a four-point favorite over the Charlotte Hornets, and Charlotte is the golden goose of daily fantasy matchups for centers.
They allow the fourth-most points, second-most blocks, most three-point makes, and most rebounds to opposing pivots. Those are four things K.P. does at an elite level.
Porzingis averages at least 46.8 FanDuel points per 36 minutes with one of Beal or Kuzma off the floor. That spikes to 49.4 with both off the floor. So long as one of his co-stars sits tonight, "The Unicorn" profiles as an excellent play on FanDuel.
Jimmy Butler, SF/PF, Heat ($8,800)
Jimmy Butler's Miami Heat are a bit banged up as well.
Per the injury report, they'll be without Kyle Lowry (knee) and Victor Oladipo (ankle) just as they were on Saturday versus the Bucks. It should be no surprise that, even in a losing effort, Butler dropped 49.1 FanDuel points on that slate.
On the year, Butler sees an increase of 6.19 FanDuel points per 36 minutes with his floor general, Lowry, on the sidelines. That's a team-best increase in production while also seeing a team-best lift in usage rate (1.4 percentage points).
It does match what the eyes see. Butler takes on the point guard role for the Heat with Gabe Vincent -- and his tiny 18.4% usage rate -- taking an off-ball role in Lowry's stead.
Miami has a favorable matchup with the Indiana Pacers tonight. On top of Indiana's ninth-worst defensive rating (114.6), the Pacers also cede the third-most FanDuel points per game to opposing small forwards.
While Anthony Edwards and Lauri Markkanen also project to duel in a high-scoring affair, Butler's cushy floor is tough to pass up in cash-game formats.