4 NBA FanDuel Studs to Target on 3/17/21
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 as a whole 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 be posting high scores just about every night.
While this consistency puts us in a good position to identify top plays, it also means you can’t afford to miss when you’re paying a heavy salary to roster someone. Even with strong value plays in your lineup, getting a dud from a stud is likely going to leave your lineup lacking.
Tonight’s slate is a loaded as we’ve seen in quite some time — we’ll try to zero in on studs who offer both ridiculous upside and a floor that won’t kill your lineups.
Let’s get right into it and look at which top players should be the focal points of your lineups today.
Russell Westbrook, PG, Washington Wizards
FanDuel Salary: $10,400
If FanDuel allowed us to build a lineup with more than two players at each position (except center, of course), it’s possible that this entire column would be made up just of point guards. You can make a legitimate case that six or seven high-salaried players at the position are more than worth paying up for. I’ll start this off by highlighting Russell Westbrook.
Russ has everything we’d look for from a stud on any given slate. His floor is elite — he hasn’t had fewer than 44 FanDuel points in any of his last 14 games, and his ceiling is salivating — he’s had outputs of 55.5, 65.3, and 72.0 in three of his last five games.
In an ideal world, we’d like for our studs to take part in a high-scoring game and have a great positional matchup. That’s a check for Westbrook on both counts. The matchup between the Washington Wizards and Sacramento Kings currently has an over/under 245.5, and no, that’s not a typo. Washington’s 124.25 implied total is three points higher than any other team on the slate. Additionally, over their last 15 games, only one team has given up more fantasy points to opposing point guards than Sacramento, per FantasyPros.
This is the perfect storm for Westbrook — sign me up.
Ben Simmons, PG, Philadelphia 76ers
FanDuel Salary: $7,900
Since I began writing this column, I have never included two players from the same position — until today. Like Westbrook, Ben Simmons has a ton going for him in tonight’s matchup.
Simmons’ floor is nowhere near what Westbrook possesses, but considering that he’s $2,500 cheaper, that’s not something we’ll worry about.
The over/under for the bout between the Philadelphia 76ers and Milwaukee Bucks currently sits at 234.5, which is second-highest on this 10-game slate. This matchup features two teams that are top-6 in pace among the 20 teams suiting up tonight, which is a boon for Simmons, who went up against the snail-like New York Knicks last night.
Over their last 15 games, Milwaukee has ceded the 10th-most FanDuel points to the opposition’s one-guards, and Simmons thrived against the Deer last season, dropping 46.3 and 57.4 FanDuel points against them. According to RotoGrinders, the 24-year-old is now averaging 1.27 FanDuel points per minute with Joel Embiid, and it’s fair to expect heavy utilization from him, especially in a game like tonight.
numberFire’s algorithm projects Simmons for 41.2 fantasy points tonight, making him the best point-per-dollar play among all players with a salary above $7,600.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, PF, Milwaukee Bucks
FanDuel Salary: $11,400
On most slates, rostering Giannis Antetokounmpo is an absolute no-brainer, but this isn’t most slates. This is a slate where every position is loaded with options at nearly every salary tier. All that said, given Giannis’ current form, we just have to consider him, even at the highest salary of the night.
Over the last four weeks, Antetokounmpo is averaging 60.72 FanDuel points per game, which is 5.55 more than any other player that’s suiting up tonight. The two-time MVP has eclipsed 60 fantasy points in 14 of his last 23 outings, and that includes 12 contests with more than 64.7 — which at tonight’s salary, would be good for a value figure of 5.7. During that stretch, Giannis has managed fewer than 50 just four times, giving him a rock-solid floor.
As I mentioned in the Simmons blurb, tonight’s matchup between Philly and Milwaukee carries the second-highest over/under, and at 120.25, the Bucks have the third-highest implied total.
Granted, this isn’t the same Sixers team, but in six matchups against Philadelphia since 2018-19, Giannis is averaging an eye-popping 72.1 FanDuel points per contest.
Richaun Holmes, C, Sacramento Kings
FanDuel Salary: $6,900
Rostering Richaun Holmes tonight at a very nice salary of $6,900 allows for the potential to have a lineup build with three studs and one pseudo-stud (Holmes) while filling out the rest with value plays.
Holmes has surpassed 35 FanDuel points in each of his last four games — he only needs 34.5 for 5X (or 5.0 FanDuel points for every $1,000 in salary) — but it’s the 61 that he dropped on Monday which makes him all the more intriguing.
Seeing that kind of upside is fantastic ahead of a matchup that’s as titillating as it gets. Not only do we get exposure to that aforementioned 245.5 over/under, but we also get to roster a center that’s facing a Wizards interior that’s allowed the second-most fantasy points to fives this season, according to numberFire’s DvP tool.
Over the last four games, the Wizards have surrendered 47.4 fantasy points to Brook Lopez and 67.5 to Jonas Valanciunas — those two average 23.5 and 35.2 on the season, respectively. Holmes could be next in a long line of centers to post gaudy numbers against this squad.