3 NBA FanDuel Studs to Target on Wednesday 3/8/23

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 ($11,200)

It's easy to justify a stud with just one condition. If Portland keeps their game with Boston competitive, Damian Lillard will have had a monstrous game. If not, ignore this game entirely.

There's a 10-point spread here as of now, but the 230.5-point total still brings quite a bit of upside in fantasy basketball. Lillard has a great shot to turn a monster night into a cover for the Blazers.

The Celtics' defense is excellent (111.2 defensive rating overall), but they've really struggled with point guards in their last seven games. Boston has allowed the eighth-most FanDuel points to them in that period. Lillard, with at least 30 real-life points in 9 of his last 11 games, is arguably the best one in daily fantasy at the moment.

Plus, the floor condition still works in Dame's favor here. Per the injury report, Anfernee Simons is still out, and Jusuf Nurkic is questionable and would be limited anyway returning from a 14-game leave. Without those two on the floor, Lillard's usage rate (40.5%) and rate of FanDuel points per 36 minutes (58.5) are both at top-shelf levels.

Dame and Jayson Tatum should provide a contrarian star pairing if some of the higher totals go up in smoke.

Pascal Siakam, PF, Raptors ($8,800)

Admittedly, I wouldn't be upset if anyone still faded Pascal Siakam after this write-up.

Siakam, for this salary, has been terrible since the Raptors acquired Jakob Poeltl. He's averaged just 40.4 FanDuel points per 36 minutes despite his team-best 26.9% usage rate. He's mostly been crushed on the glass at just 5.89 rebounds per 36 in that span.

However, the Clippers might be the right matchup for him. Los Angeles' tendency to play small and fast (seventh in pace since acquiring Russell Westbrook) might force Poeltl to the bench, and he's hauled in 7.79 rebounds per 36 minutes playing without a center this year.

Surprisingly, our projections are looking toward Siakam at this salary mark below his season median. That wasn't even the case at the height of Siakam's powers, but similar athletic bigs like Jaren Jackson Jr. and Domantas Sabonis have ripped off at least 45 FanDuel points in the past two games against L.A.

Spicy P might be next.

Brandon Ingram, SF, Pelicans ($8,300)

The game of the day is likely in New Orleans between the Mavericks and Pelicans. While I could turn to Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving for Dallas, there has been a decently wide range of outcomes for the two since joined forces.

At the very least, if this game shoots out, it's pretty certain Brandon Ingram will have a hand in it for the Pels.

Ingram's 32.7% usage rate leads New Orleans in floor situations without the absent Zion Williamson. He's posted at least 24 real-life points in 7 of his last 10 games, so his profile is a bit odd in that his scoring is actually less variable than his accumulation of boards, assists, and defensive stats. That's really where his upside comes from.

Dallas should help him with work on the boards. The Irving deal depleted their size at wing, which is likely why they're allowing the sixth-most rebounds to small forwards in their last seven games.

Ingram's solid role and environment are why he's got the best per-dollar projection of any small forward above $8,000, per numberFire's model.