3 NBA FanDuel Studs to Target on Tuesday 2/14/23
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 ($12,000)
If the game in Milwaukee stays close, I wouldn't want to be missing Giannis Antetokounmpo in a cash-game or single-entry build.
That "if" is a large one. The Celtics are in town potentially down several starters, including 2023 NBA All-Stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. With some of their better defense options, like Robert Williams or Grant Williams, also mentioned on the report, Giannis could feast on Boston's backups.
Granted we'll also get stellar volume from the C's, there isn't a better Milwaukee candidate to round out the stacks. Antetokounmpo has posted at least 55 FanDuel points in 8 of his last 11 games, and his overall season usage rate (38.9%) has actually been even higher since Khris Middleton returned (41.9%).
In tournaments, there is considerable blowout risk, but don't write off Giannis in just three quarters of work. He's eclipsed 55 FanDuel points on five separate occasions when logging fewer than his season-long minutes average (33.3).
Domantas Sabonis, PF/C, Kings ($9,500)
There are two games on Tuesday with totals above 230 points. Sacramento and Phoenix's clash is one of them.
With that, I think we can lean on Domantas Sabonis, who has the best per-dollar projection of any center above $7,000, despite the tricky matchups with the Suns. They allow the 11th-fewest FanDuel points per game to centers, but the short slate has us short on options.
Sabonis has found a consistent level of production recently. He's posted at least 45 FanDuel points in his last five games with his full workload (above 36 minutes). That's not a huge surprise at a production rate of 46.5 FanDuel points per 36 minutes for the season.
The do-it-all stat-stuffer has amassed this despite a low usage rate (21.2%), but that also removes some of the volatility that can come with a cold shooting night.
Sabonis, Deandre Ayton, and Devin Booker could be a contrarian way to stack this one and spend top-shelf salary with the same Boston value pieces as everyone else.
Fred VanVleet, PG, Raptors ($8,800)
The Raptors are the other key injury situation on this slate.
In addition to OG Anunoby out with a wrist issue, the team has Precious Achiuwa (ankle) and Gary Trent Jr. (calf) listed as questionable for tonight's game against the Orlando Magic. Fred VanVleet should be the primary beneficiary.
Anunoby and Trent Jr. are the vital scoring pieces of that trio; Achiuwa would just open up minutes for value reserves. With OG and Trent off the floor, VanVleet sees an enormous lift in usage rate (7.9 percentage points) that he parlays into a sizable 46.5 FanDuel points per 36 minutes.
We have other high-salaried options, but curiously, Pascal Siakam and Scottie Barnes see FanDuel production rate decreases with that duo off the floor. In one of those odd NBA floor tendencies, Toronto becomes FVV's show when its two other backcourt members are out.
VanVleet will likely take a back seat to Damian Lillard for most, but I see the Raptors' lead guard well-positioned to exploit an Orlando defense that's a middle-of-the-road one in most categories against point guards.