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

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?

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, SG/PG, Thunder ($10,600)

Though Shai Gilgeous-Alexander's FanDuel-point total was underwhelming on Tuesday (41.7), it might have been a floor outcome entering a repeat matchup on Thursday.

SGA dropped 31 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists, which should have been enough with more peripheral luck. Gilgeous-Alexander didn't have a stock (steals plus blocks) despite averaging 2.68 per 36 minutes this season, and he turned the ball over four times.

The Clippers could really struggle to defend floor generals like SGA in the coming weeks. Paul George, one of the best perimeter defenders in the league, is out with a knee injury for a bit, and it's not like they've passed with flying colors to this point. L.A. has allowed the most FanDuel points to opposing point guards over their last 15 games.

Kawhi Leonard's production rate with George off the floor hasn't matched his new salary, so in a contrarian turn, I prefer Oklahoma City's five-digit star in the game with today's highest projected total (232.5 points).

Julius Randle, PF, Knicks ($10,300)

SGA might be somewhat contrarian, but Julius Randle will be fully contrarian.

The Knicks are at full strength, and Randle has eclipsed 50 FanDuel points just twice in his last nine games. Admittedly, this isn't a salary (or spot) that I'd target on a larger slate, but when Randle is one of three players on the slate with a realistic shot to break 50 FanDuel points, and he'll be mostly ignored, we should consider him.

Randle should benefit more from Mitchell Robinson's reduced role moving forward. He sees an increase of 1.32 FanDuel points per 36 minutes with Robinson off the floor, and the center has been limited to under 28 minutes in five straight since his cryptic social media post.

Plus, this matchup is really solid for Orange Julius. The Magic allow the ninth-most FanDuel points to opposing power forwards.

Limited value could mean just one of SGA, Kawhi, or Randle in a particular lineup. Randle -- by far -- will be the least selected choice with a path to points. Take note.

Brandon Ingram, SF, Pelicans ($8,700)

Brandon Ingram was popular on a six-game slate two days ago in a worse situation, but the Clippers' injury news might keep him under the radar on this slate, too.

Ingram's floor is rock solid in this era for the Pelicans without Zion Williamson. Behind a sturdy, team-best 32.5% usage rate, Ingram has posted 40.1 FanDuel points per 36 minutes with Zion off the floor this season.

This particular matchup should help realize a bit more production than the median. Charlotte allows the seventh-most FanDuel points per game to small forwards, and ranked 8th in pace, the Hornets present a decent uptick in possessions for the Pels (16th in pace).

The 225.5-point total in NOLA is just the third-highest of the four games on Thursday's slate, but the eight-point spread isn't too wide. Ingram is another place to attack the best mentality in daily fantasy sports -- sensibly contrarian.