3 NBA FanDuel Studs to Target on Thursday 3/16/23

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?

Mikal Bridges, SG/SF, Nets ($8,500)

This slate is absolved of quality value, but it does help quite a bit that the best studs carry lower salaries in a few instances.

One of those instances is the slate-high 238.0-point total in Brooklyn as the Kings visit the Nets. Right now, Mikal Bridges' salary doesn't match his insane scoring role and production, and in an elite environment, we can take advantage of that.

Bridges has posted at least 30 points in five of his last seven games behind a team-best 29.4% usage rate, and that's come with 49.3% efficiency in March. He's been an elite scorer just about any way you slice it.

Sacramento is the surprise team of the NBA season, but they won't top many defensive metrics. Beyond a poor defensive rating (115.9), they allow the second-most FanDuel points per game to Bridges' small forward slot.

He's an affordable path to capture a large chunk of Brooklyn's scoring output opposite De'Aaron Fox or Domantas Sabonis.

Pascal Siakam, PF, Raptors ($8,400)

One of the most fascinating stories of the NBA season has just been the rapid decline of Pascal Siakam.

From the start of the season through February 1st, Siakam flirted with a five-digit FanDuel salary averaging a team-best 43.1 FanDuel points per game. Since February 1st, Siakam has taken a nose dive, amassing 38.7 FanDuel points per 36 minutes.

The Raptors did acquire Jakob Poeltl, so that could have to do with the change, but Siakam still has a team-best 26.0% usage rate in this sample. He's badly struggled with his shot in March, posting just a 41.7% rate from the field.

On this short slate, he'll get as good of a chance to turn it around as he'll have the rest of the season. The opposing Thunder allow the eighth-most points and most rebounds to power forwards.

Perhaps, Siakam can put it together in tonight's game with a modest total (231.0) and tight spread (6.0).

Jamal Murray, PG, Nuggets ($8,200)

Speaking of turning it around, the Denver Nuggets get a golden chance to do so tonight, as well.

Denver has lost four in a row, and Nikola Jokic has tumbled out of the lead for the league's MVP award. As 14-point favorites tonight, you'd assume they can snag this win over Detroit, but I'm not sure it'll be easy. Denver's -3.6 net rating on the road is the eighth-worst mark in the NBA.

"Not easy" is what we'd want for their studs in daily fantasy. If this game stays tight, the Nuggets' offense should dismantle a Pistons defense with the third-worst defensive rating in the NBA (117.1).

Jamal Murray is an interesting case at a mark $4,000 lower than Jokic's tonight. Murray actually leads the team in usage rate since March 1st (27.3%), but he's struggled with his shot. Murray's 37.1% field-goal percentage this month is well below his 44.6% mark for the season, and the splits are worse from three.

Assuming this one stays tighter than its spread could be contrarian, and that would open up several Denver starters for consideration, including Jokic, Michael Porter Jr., and Aaron Gordon.