3 NBA FanDuel Studs to Target on Friday 3/3/23
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?
Damian Lillard, PG, Trail Blazers ($10,800)
On Wednesday, Damian Lillard's backcourt mate, Anfernee Simons, returned from injury, and I assumed that would be the end of Dame leading this studs piece.
Unfortunately for Portland, Simons was reinjured in that contest and is doubtful to play Friday with an ankle injury. That puts Dolla back on the menu tonight at the Atlanta Hawks.
With Simons and Jusuf Nurkic off the floor, Dame has a 40.8% usage rate, which leads the slate for players in their current floor condition. He's turned that into a whopping 58.3 FanDuel points per 36 minutes in the split.
The environment is stellar, too. The 241.5-point total in Atlanta is the highest of the day, and these two teams each held a bottom-11 defensive rating in February.
Oh, and Lillard was just inexplicably snubbed for the Western Conference Player of the Month despite dropping 71 points five days ago. I wouldn't want to be without him in this matchup -- even on a full slate.
Domantas Sabonis, PF/C, Kings ($9,600)
The Kings and Clippers battled to a total of 351 points just seven days ago, so their matchup will demand attention in daily fantasy.
As we'll get to, the full circumstances aren't exactly the same. Sacramento is certainly hoping to get more out of Domantas Sabonis in the rematch. He was held to "just" 20 points and 10 rebounds while logging 31 of a possible 58 minutes in that one due to foul trouble.
By and large, Sabonis should have success in this matchup with L.A. The Clips allowed the seventh-most paint point per game (54.5) and second-most points off of turnovers per game (19.6) in February, and that plays right into the strengths of the crafty big man.
Our model loves Sabonis' chances to do damage. Despite the lofty salary, he's 11th in per-dollar value among power forwards in our projections.
Paul George, SG/SF, Clippers ($9,000)
The primary reason why tonight's game -- as fantasy-friendly as it may be -- likely won't see 351 points is on the Clippers' side.
They're decimated due to injury. Kawhi Leonard will rest for this one, and they've got Marcus Morris (elbow), Ivica Zubac (calf), and Norman Powell (arm) as question marks on the injury report. That'll place a bunch of work on the plate of Paul George.
Though Los Angeles' scoring hierarchy has changed dramatically by adding Russell Westbrook, George has a team-best 33.0% usage rate this season with Kawhi off the floor. He's turned that into only 43.8 FanDuel points per 36 minutes so far, but the Clippers' offensive rating with Russ (115.9) is much higher than it was without him (112.8).
The Kings allow the fourth-most FanDuel points per game to small forwards, so it's no surprise both George and Leonard went bananas in the double-overtime thriller last Friday.
Tonight, George will be looking to match or exceed the 55.5 FanDuel points he posted in that one, and our projections also shine favorably on the former Fresno State star.