3 NBA FanDuel Studs to Target on Monday 2/27/23

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?

Jayson Tatum, SF/PF, Celtics ($11,000)

For a slate with just eight teams in action, we have plenty of injury-related discourse with stars.

Jayson Tatum is likely the most obvious example. The Celtics are set to be without Jaylen Brown for Monday's game in New York due to an ongoing personal matter. We've seen Boston without Brown quite a bit recently, so it's just a matter of revisiting Tatum's unique situation without his co-star.

As a whole, J.T. might actually be a worse play in tournaments without Brown. At his usual salary hovering near $11,000, Tatum averages just 48.6 FanDuel points per 36 minutes. If that doesn't make any sense with the extra work he takes on, you'd also be correct.

Tatum's usage rate sees an uptick of 2.5 percentage points with Brown off the floor, so there are more shots. The offense's ceiling is just a bit capped with a 116.8 rating when Brown is off the floor in medium-to-very-high leverage situations.

With no Pistons, Magic, or Pelicans players above $8,500 and a paltry 217.0-point total in Philadelphia, this battle in New York might be the best place to stack studs on the slate. We'll discuss another momentarily.

LaMelo Ball, PG, Hornets ($10,300)

However, the best fantasy environment on this slate -- by a country mile -- is in Charlotte.

The Hornets are hosting the Pistons, and with two top-12 squads in terms of pace, this matchup has a 235.0-point total on FanDuel Sportsbook. There will be points, there will be value plays due to injury, and there's at least one star -- LaMelo Ball.

The triple-double threat has been cruising lately. He'd eclipsed 55 FanDuel points in three straight before a weekend meeting with the stingy Miami Heat defense. He's largely answered the call with 48.3 FanDuel points per game in two prior meetings with Detroit, as well.

I do want to acknowledge the concern here, and that is Kelly Oubre. Oubre likely exceeded 30 minutes tonight in place of Washington, and Ball averages just 41.8 FanDuel points per 36 minutes with the ball-dominant bench threat on the floor. His usage rate drops 2.5 percentage points, too.

Still, on this small slate knowing Ball's tangible upside against a Pistons defense with the third-worst defensive rating in basketball (117.6), you can do worse. We won't need massive scores given the lack of starpower on the slate.

Julius Randle, PF, Knicks ($9,500)

Given Julius Randle's career-long struggle with efficiency, we're starting to see his production rise as he's winning that battle.

Randle has a 61.3% true shooting (TS) rate in February. He's averaging 52.0 FanDuel points per 36 minutes since the All-Star break. That's kind of bananas considering just nine total rebounds in that span, but that's how well Randle is scoring at present.

If there's a spot on the floor Boston isn't excellent at defending, it might be a scoring four like Orange Julius. The Celtics are ceding just the 11th-fewest points to power forwards, which is a breath of fresh air compared to their top-5 marks against the other positions.

As mentioned, the Celtics and Knicks will be my preferred spot to target stars. The Heat and Sixers have a low total with excellent defenses, but the 223.0-point one at MSG isn't awful. Randle and Jalen Brunson are both interesting pairings with Tatum inside of this one.