3 NBA FanDuel Studs to Target on Thursday 2/9/23

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?

Giannis Antetokounmpo, PF/SF, Bucks ($12,500)

The NBA's trade deadline has injected plenty of value into this slate, so multiple five-digit stars when building a lineup is more than feasible.

There's a clear top spot to find them. It's the clash between the Bucks and Lakers in L.A., which is projected for a 240.0-point total between two squads that are top 10 in pace. It should be a back-and-forth affair with plenty of action coming from Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Milwaukee's slasher has a picturesque matchup here. The Lakers' defense has a 116.9 rating in February (ninth-worst in the NBA), and their new parts to help won't be ready for Thursday's game. Plus, Los Angeles cedes the sixth-most FanDuel points per game to Antetokoumpo's power forward spot.

A blowout limited Antetokoumpo to just 22 minutes on Monday in Portland, but he still posted 45.6 FanDuel points. He's averaging 73.6 FanDuel points per 36 minutes in February, which is just absurd.

Normally, value dictates whether or not Giannis can be a core play, but with Phoenix and Brooklyn's rosters toppled by last night's blockbuster, we've got plenty to make it happen.

Anthony Davis, PF/C, Lakers ($10,900)

It won't get more contrarian at the top today than Anthony Davis. Many will flock to the surging Antetokoumpo or the venerable Nikola Jokic. I love the idea of pivoting to A.D.

Much was made of Davis' reaction and on-court play during Tuesday's game as LeBron James broke the all-time NBA scoring record. The reality is Davis has sacrificed plenty to help LeBron reach the record recently, and that was especially true in that one.

Davis' usage rate was just 16.2% against Oklahoma City. That's significantly down from his 28.9% rate this season as he stepped out of the way. It's easy to forget through the injury and working his way back that "The Brow" is still averaging 56.7 FanDuel points per 36 minutes this year. This salary is a bargain.

Because of their pace, the Bucks aren't a horrible matchup for a big. They're allowing the 18th-most FanDuel points per game to centers, sandwiched between the Wizards and Suns. We wouldn't avoid either of those clubs in a total this large.

There's also a heightened chance that James sits with his ankle injury now that the record is broken. If so, the Lakers also just shipped off Russell Westbrook, and the new pieces obviously aren't ready to play yet. A.D. could end up with any shot he wants tonight in Los Angeles.

Chris Paul, PG, Suns ($8,100)

The Suns are the capital of the NBA's daily fantasy world for this battle with Atlanta.

They just sent Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson, and Jae Crowder to Brooklyn in exchange for Kevin Durant, T.J. Warren, and draft compensation. Durant is injured anyway, and Warren likely won't make his team debut 21 hours after the deal.

They've got a plethora of value options to help us jam in studs, but that also includes the salary above our $8,000 cutoff on Chris Paul. Paul is the best-projected player above $8,000 -- per dollar of salary -- in numberFire's model.

In addition to the deal, Phoenix is resting Devin Booker from his groin issue. All in all, with Booker, Bridges, and Johnson off the floor, CP3 averages 52.4 FanDuel points per 36 minutes on an elevated 26.4% usage rate. It's him, Deandre Ayton, and a bunch of random pieces remaining tonight.

The 228.5-point total in Phoenix is still fairly sizable, and we'll all be rostering plenty of Suns to jam in stars on this slate.