3 NBA FanDuel Studs to Target on Friday 3/17/23

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?

Joel Embiid, C, 76ers ($12,000)

The NBA has a new MVP favorite, and he'll have a wonderful opportunity to make another case tonight.

Joel Embiid has eclipsed 62 FanDuel points in four straight games, which should be an alarm bell at this salary by itself. He's also clearly taking on more work to stamp his candidacy, holding an absurd 38.4% usage rate during the month of March.

The fear of fading a fifth straight monstrous game in this matchup is obvious. The 76ers visit the Hornets tonight, and Charlotte -- down their starting center -- has been atrocious defensively on the interior this year. They've allowed the fourth-most points and most rebounds per game to opposing centers.

JoJo dropped 53 points and 12 boards in his only other meeting with Buzz City this year, so buckle up.

Stephen Curry, PG, Warriors ($10,000)

Embiid's lone argument against him is the game total (227.5 points). Unbelievably, it's 20 full points behind the highest projected total of the day.

That's the battle between the Warriors and Hawks in Atlanta. The 247.5-point total makes plenty of sense given Golden State's awful road defensive rating (119.6), and their best defender, Draymond Green, is suspended tonight.

If it's up to Stephen Curry to trade baskets, we probably shouldn't stray too far from him in daily fantasy. We saw that Wednesday as he dropped 50 points on the Clippers but lost because the Dubs couldn't buy a stop.

Curry's 32.2% usage rate since returning is 7.5 percentage points clear of the Warriors' next-closest starter (Klay Thompson; 24.7%). If they're scoring, it's predominantly him.

The Green suspension opens up plenty of value to fit Curry with his teammates, and Trae Young and Dejounte Murray are also great options on the other side. This game could comfortably sail under its total and still be the best one for daily fantasy by a mile.

Jaylen Brown, SF/SG, Celtics ($9,200)

With a 10:00 p.m. Eastern tip, it can be tough to plan lineups are potential star injuries on the West Coast. It helps when those who benefit are superb plays as is.

That's Jaylen Brown in Portland tonight. Brown has eclipsed 45 FanDuel points in three straight games, and the Blazers' 117.6 defensive rating at home is the second-worst mark in the NBA. Brown would be in a good spot with Boston at full strength, but they might not be.

Jayson Tatum is questionable for the C's with a hip issue, and Brown's role balloons with J.T. off the floor. He's held a massive 35.0% usage rate during that floor condition, which has led to 46.9 FanDuel points per 36 minutes on average.

Brown and Marcus Smart are low-risk maneuvers to target Tatum's potential injury. Both are performing well in numberFire's projections now, and that would only blossom if Tatum can't play. Malcolm Brogdon and Derrick White would be your dice rolls that might not pan out if Tatum ends up in the lineup.