3 NBA FanDuel Studs to Target on Friday 2/24/23

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?

Domantas Sabonis, PF/C, Kings ($9,600)

Blowouts are usually the deflating end of a stud's night, but Domantas Sabonis wasn't bothered on Thursday.

In just 31 minutes, Sabonis posted a triple-double and 58.6 FanDuel points on a Portland Trail Blazers squad that is bottom 10 in FanDuel points allowed to combo bigs. Sacramento will face a second straight opponent fitting that description tonight in Los Angeles.

Especially as his minutes ramp upward in a playoff race, Sabonis seems undersalaried at this sub-$10,000 mark. He's paced the Kings at 47.0 FanDuel points per 36 minutes on the year.

The 236.5-point total tonight is a bit higher than we usually see in a game featuring the Clippers, who are just 23rd in overall pace. However, their addition of the high-flying Russell Westbrook should kick their pace up in a hurry.

Sabonis is the obvious top choice at center with Kristaps Porzingis, Deandre Ayton, and Bam Adebayo all sinking into smaller roles with various teammates returning after the break.

Anthony Edwards, SG/SF, Timberwolves ($9,400)

Ever since the Minnesota Timberwolves shipped away point guard D'Angelo Russell, it's unlocked a brand new Anthony Edwards.

It's just a four-game sample, but the early returns are promising and make logical sense. Edwards' new usage rate in this situation is 32.9%, which would rank fifth among qualifiers if translated to the entire season.

His 44.0 FanDuel points per 36 minutes in this stretch aren't impressive, but keep in mind, this sample featured a 17-point clunker against the brutal Memphis defense. Charlotte's 115.6 defensive rating (sixth-worst in the NBA) doesn't impose nearly as much fear.

The 241.0-point total in Minneapolis is the highest of the day, and Edwards now possesses a role akin to a player with a five-digit salary. He's the top wing on the slate by a good margin when factoring in the aforementioned Westbrook, expected to start, will take plenty of touches and shots away from Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.

Jrue Holiday, PG, Bucks ($8,000)

I'm so glad Jrue Holiday snuck in past the arbitrary $8,000 cutoff I use for "studs".

The most significant news on tonight's main slate -- by far -- is the expected absence of Giannis Antetokounmpo. Giannis is still bothered by the wrist/thumb injury he suffered in Chicago eight days ago and is doubtful to play tonight against Miami.

Obviously, when a player that's leading the league in usage rate (37.7%) sits, we should target his teammates in droves in daily fantasy. Holiday is no exception, seeing a boon in usage rate (up 6.1 percentage points) and FanDuel points per 36 minutes (+4.78) with Giannis off the floor this season.

If there's a priority amongst these three, it's Jrue. He's the third-highest projected player above $8,000 by numberFire's model behind Edwards and Dejounte Murray, but he's got the safest floor by a country mile in this expanded role.

Several Milwaukee value options also top our projections on a per-dollar basis, so using Jrue -- as one of the maximum possible four players from one team -- could also end up being a more contrarian way to access the Bucks than others.

**Editor's Note: Giannis Antetokounmpo was upgraded to questionable on Friday afternoon. Check numberFire's projections to confirm his status and its impact on the main slate.**