3 NBA FanDuel Studs to Target on Wednesday 3/1/23
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?
Anthony Davis, PF/C, Lakers ($11,500)
You'll probably get deja vu reading today's article if you read yesterday's. Two of the three studs are the same, which is fitting on a slate where 8 of the 18 teams are on a back-to-back.
Anthony Davis delivered last night in Memphis. He posted 28 points, 19 boards, and 5 blocks against a strong Memphis interior. That's why, despite the salary increase, we can turn back to him in this spot against Oklahoma City, who are allowing the ninth-most FanDuel points per game to centers.
The Lakers continue life without LeBron James -- out due to a foot injury -- on Wednesday. From a fantasy perspective, Davis benefits with James off the floor, posting 61.8 FanDuel points per 36 minutes on a team-best 31.1% usage rate.
With a modest total on deck (229.5 points), Davis is numberFire's top projected player today. I don't want to start anywhere else.
**Editor's Note: Davis was a surprise scratch due to a foot issue on Wednesday afternoon. Check numberFire's projections for the up-to-the-minute best advice on how to approach the slate.**
Damian Lillard, PG, Trail Blazers ($11,000)
Unlike Davis, Damian Lillard was a letdown on Tuesday. Obviously, writing him up again, I feel like that one-off performance isn't indicative of Lillard's overall role.
The reason for the dud in terms of FanDuel points (46.1) was simple. Lillard fought a cold shooting night (42.9%) that was well below his otherwise-excellent standard in February (49.6%). It was a tough night at the office, but Dame has the best current role on the slate otherwise.
The Trail Blazers are still down Anfernee Simons and Jusuf Nurkic due to injury, and Lillard has taken off like a jet engine without them in fantasy basketball. He's turned a gigantic 40.8% usage rate into 59.2 FanDuel points per 36 minutes, which means this salary is still a bargain.
The Pelicans are in Portland tonight, and he and old friend C.J. McCollum might trade baskets plenty if the 233.5-point total is any indication. New Orleans (12th in pace) is also a huge bump in projected possessions for Portland (24th).
If there's anyone that can find his stroke in just one night's sleep, it's Dame Dolla.
Zach LaVine, SF/SG, Bulls ($8,000)
Zach LaVine might be the poster child for the type of play this slate requires beyond those two. With Chicago at full strength, there's no value-related argument here. He's just got a modest salary for his team-best role at the moment facing a terrible opponent.
Quietly, LaVine has overtaken DeMar DeRozan for the Bulls' lead scoring role. His usage rate in February (28.5%) crushed DeRozan (24.7%) and Nikola Vucevic (25.6%). At a lower salary than both, that's incredibly appealing.
As mentioned, the matchup couldn't get much better for him tonight. The Pistons are six-point home underdogs to LaVine's Bulls, and they're terrible at defending his position. They cede the fourth-most FanDuel points per game to two guards (44.0) with the league's third-worst defensive rating (117.6).
Just five players above $8,000 grade out with a value score of 4.80 or better in numberFire's projections today. Lillard and Davis are two of them, followed by LaVine, Jalen Brunson, and Brandon Ingram. LaVine's elite matchup separates him from those other two, personally.