3 NBA FanDuel Studs to Target on Monday 3/6/23

Given both Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic are on Monday's short slate, which one is the better selection on FanDuel?

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 ($11,800)

Of course, even on a short slate, we don't get to enjoy one of Nikola Jokic or Joel Embiid without the other. We're forced to choose again on Monday.

Popularity will mirror this assessment, but on this particular slate, you can pretty handily give the edge to Embiid.

Jokic is facing a Raptors squad allowing the third-fewest FanDuel points per game to centers, and the 6.5-point spread is a much larger concern than just the number. Denver is 29-4 at home with a +11.8 net rating. The mere existence of a home game puts Jokic on blowout watch, which is -- by far -- his most common path to failure.

Embiid, on the other hand, gets a Pacers squad allowing the sixth-most FanDuel points per game to centers, and his 6.5-point spread is on the road. Plus, Philadelphia's game total (234.0) is the second-highest of the day and has a better forecast for fantasy points than Denver's game total (229.0).

Especially with Tyrese Haliburton at a fair salary to naturally stack on the other side of JoJo, he gets the nod today.

Damian Lillard, PG, Trail Blazers ($10,800)

So long as Anfernee Simons and Jusuf Nurkic remain out, we'll keep targeting Damian Lillard's monstrous ceiling for Portland.

The pair missed Sunday's game in Orlando, and Dame did his thing. He dropped 41 points, which was the third time in five tries that Dolla has dropped at least 40. Though the injury report isn't official for the Blazers yet, it's unlikely Simons or Nurkic return from their long-term stints to a sizable role tonight.

That's been good news for Lillard's fantasy production. In his current floor condition, he leads the slate in usage rate (40.4%) and trails only Embiid and Jokic in FanDuel points per 36 minutes (58.2).

Plus, the matchup here with Detroit isn't exactly a concern. The Pistons have the third-worst defensive rating in the NBA (117.4) and allow the second-most FanDuel points per game to point guards.

All of this points to another night of Lillard at the top -- even if it means forgoing a big in some situations.

Jimmy Butler, SF/PF, Heat ($8,800)

Things have fallen into place at the right time for the Miami Heat's franchise player.

Clearly, Jimmy Butler is gearing up for the postseason. He's eclipsed 32 minutes logged in four of his last five games, rounding back into the do-it-all engine Miami probably needed all season, but Butler's knee has needed maintenance.

He's off the report today against Atlanta, and the Hawks are an excellent matchup for him. They've allowed the 10th-most FanDuel points per game to small forwards on the year.

Plus, as long as he's available, this is a Heat squad looking for a primary ballhandler. With Kyle Lowry (knee) still out, Butler has assumed those playmaking duties. His usage rate has increased by 1.1 percentage points, and he's seen a boost of 4.14 FanDuel points per 36 minutes.

The two higher totals should get attention, but Miami-Atlanta is an intriguing game stack in its own right. Butler and Bam Adebayo are in favorable matchups, and we're projecting both of Dejounte Murray and John Collins fairly well on the other side.