NBA

3 NBA FanDuel Studs to Target on 11/21/19

Giannis Antetokounmpo is an easy choice on a short slate, but who else is worth paying up for on Thursday?

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-priced 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 up for someone. Even with strong value plays in your lineup, paying up and getting a dud is likely going to leave your lineup drawing pretty close to dead.

Let's get right into it and look at which top players should be the focal points of your lineups tonight.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF, Milwaukee Bucks ($12,600)

We're not exactly flush with choices for fantasy plays on tonight's two-game slate, and it's really hard to pass up on Giannis Antetokounmpo's unique ceiling, as he's the only one of the league's true top-tier fantasy producers in action tonight. He's $3,700 more than any other active player (since Damian Lillard is ruled out), but with a handful of key injuries on tonight's slate, his salary isn't all that hard to fit in your lineup.

Antetokounmpo's 60.1 FanDuel points per game are the most in the NBA on the year, and nobody else that's active on tonight's slate is averaging more than 46.2, while only two other players are averaging more than even 40.0.

The Milwaukee Bucks are playing on the second half of a back-to-back, but Giannis played just 30.2 minutes (dropping over 50 fantasy points for the 13th time in 14 games), meaning he shouldn't be especially worn out heading into tonight's matchup with the Portland Trail Blazers.

Our models project Giannis to score 17.0 more fantasy points than anyone else on Thursday night.

Devin Booker, SG, Phoenix Suns ($8,300)

Devin Booker's production has been up-and-down this year, but he dropped a season-high 50.0 FanDuel points in his last game, snapping a bit of a slump.

The sharpshooter's 1.05 FanDuel points per minute are his fewest in the last three seasons, and since we're still just dealing with a relatively small 13-game sample, we can probably expect a slight uptick on that simply due to regression. It is worth noting that his usage rate is down to 28.3% (from 32.9% last year), so a full rebound to last year's 1.16 may not be in play.

Tonight's matchup should be money for his efficiency, though, as the Phoenix Suns take on the New Orleans Pelicans.

The Pels have played at the NBA's fourth-fastest pace this season (to go with ninth for the Suns), so this game should be a seriously uptempo affair. The Pelicans also check in at 26th in defensive rating, meaning the Suns should easily convert their high number of possessions into a ton of scoring. This contest also has only a 4.0-point spread, compared to Milwaukee and Portland's 11 points (per FanDuel Sportsbook), suggesting that this one is more likely to stay close and see the starters called on for big minutes in a potential shootout.

C.J. McCollum, SG, Portland Trail Blazers ($7,500)

Another thing that makes Giannis so appealing tonight is that you can pair him with a stud who's way underpriced, as C.J. McCollum's salary doesn't reflect Lillard being ruled out.

This salary would already be too low based on his last five games with Lillard, averaging 41.7 FanDuel points per game (5.6 per $1,000 of salary tonight) in that stretch. He then stepped up and scored 42.3 with Lillard out on Tuesday. He also played one game sans Lillard last year, exploding for 55.0 points (averaging 32.0 per game the rest of the year).

It's no surprise to see him out-produce his averages with Lillard sidelined, either. This season he's averaging 1.06 FanDuel points per minute with Lillard off the floor, compared to 0.88 with Lillard on. We see a similar trend dating back to the start of last season as well (1.08 off, 0.93 on).

Already underpriced for what he was doing with Lillard, McCollum is a no-brainer with Lillard on the shelf on Thursday.


Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.