3 NBA FanDuel Studs to Target on Wednesday 2/15/23

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?

LaMelo Ball, PG, Hornets ($9,900)

On a full 10-game slate, we'll need massive scores from studs to really move up the board in tournaments. LaMelo Ball can provide one.

Ball has a five-digit workload at a salary just south of $10,000. He's amassed a team-best 29.5% usage rate that -- so far this season -- has resulted in just 45.6 FanDuel points per 36 minutes. There's reason to believe that average is climbing, though. He's exceeded 55 FanDuel points in four of his past eight games.

Overall, the largest reason to be optimistic is his touch volume. He's third in the month of February in overall touches (behind Nikola Jokic and Luka Doncic). That's a massive amount of time with the ball in your hands -- and it's part of the reason why those two regularly explode in pristine environments.

LaMelo has such an environment on Wednesday. The Spurs are visiting the Hornets. While the 242.5-point total speaks volumes on its own, these two squads are also both top six in overall pace and are bottom six in defensive rating. Jackpot.

Guard is loaded at the top with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Tyrese Haliburton, and Dejounte Murray also projecting well, but Ball's got the best game environment of the four.

Nikola Vucevic, C, Bulls ($8,600)

As usual, we'll also consider some injury-related boosts at the top today.

Nikola Vucevic should get one. The Bulls' leading FanDuel scorer, DeMar DeRozan, will miss Wednesday's game with a thigh issue. That's been a boon for Vucevic all year as he's amassed an absurd 49.1 FanDuel points per 36 minutes with DDR is off the floor.

In other matchups, you could justify fading Vuc, but likely not this one. The Indiana Pacers have allowed the fifth-most FanDuel points per game to centers, and the total is a sizable 231.0 points.

The decision to use him is easier considering that, at the top-end of the center pool, Nikola Jokic could see key teammates returning, and Joel Embiid draws a Cavaliers matchup that's been the worst in the league all year. The 212.5-point total in Philadelphia is ugly, too.

Given that, I'll line up alongside many in rostering Vucevic, Zach LaVine, and the smorgasbord of Chicago value pieces.

Brandon Ingram, SF/SG, Pelicans ($8,100)

Brandon Ingram is already a justifiable play, but he could reach the elite tier with C.J. McCollum out on Wednesday.

McCollum missed Monday's tilt with an ankle injury and is officially questionable to play tonight in Los Angeles. Ingram's production has skyrocketed this season with McCollum and Zion Williamson both off the floor, averaging 44.7 FanDuel points per 36 minutes in that floor situation.

Ingram also sees a team-best leap in usage rate (3.9 percentage points) with his fellow co-stars on the pine.

We've got another elite total to target in this one. The Pelicans and Lakers are forecasted for 234.5 points, which is no surprise with both teams in the top half of the league in pace. That total could also climb if we get news on LeBron James' ankle injury before the game.

With our model accounting for McCollum playing, Ingram is already projecting well among other elite small forwards. He could become a can't-miss option if McCollum sits once more.