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?
Ja Morant, PG, Grizzlies ($9,900)
The Grizzlies are in Sacramento tonight, and the 246.5-point total does a lot of the heavy lifting as to why we'd target this one in daily fantasy, but the total sits that high largely because these are two top-seven teams in pace. As a result, the Grizz and Kings have ceded the 13th- and 14th-most FanDuel points per game, respectively.
As odd as it may seem for a star with his name value, Morant might go a touch overlooked in this one. He's failed to eclipse 48 FanDuel points per 36 minutes in eight straight games, and that's not going to get it done at this mark.
Still, I don't have to speculate as to what his evening could look like. He dropped 35 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists in a 10-point win over the Kings back in Memphis on January 1st, and Memphis being on the road should only help this one stay tighter.
All things considered, Ja's cold spell could end in a ferocious manner on Monday.
Jaylen Brown, SF/SG, Celtics ($8,400)
The Celtics should -- rightfully -- be a popular spot in DFS tonight.
The team is expected to be without both Marcus Smart and Malcolm Brogdon in the backcourt, and that'll shift more responsibility onto their frontcourt players to create plays and handle the ball. Jayson Tatum's $11,100 salary -- stemming from his time with Jaylen Brown out of the lineup -- is still a bit hard to justify, but all others should be on the table.
Now back and healthy, Brown should be the key piece of the puzzle. When looking at floor situations without Brogdon and Smart, Brown's usage rate rises to a team-best 32.0% in the split, and he produces an extra 3.82 FanDuel points per 36.
This split hurts J.T., too. Tatum's usage rate actually drops to 30.2% as Brown handles the ball, resulting in a small drop of 0.03 FanDuel points per 36 minutes. I imagine the injuries will push some usage Tatum's way despite the salary, but the juice appears not worth the squeeze.
Orlando's defensive rating (114.6) is bottom 10 in the NBA, so Boston should be a spot all of us target in earnest. We'll have to load up on Brown, Al Horford, Derrick White, and Payton Pritchard if we want to be overweight relative to tournament fields.
DeMar DeRozan, SG/SF, Bulls ($8,000)
As Brown did, players typically slide in terms of salary while they're on the shelf. DeMar DeRozan is no exception.
DeRozan missed three games due to injury, but those concerns seem like a distant memory at this stage. He returned to 37 minutes and 48.3 FanDuel points on Thursday against Detroit, and he appears objectively under-salaried in this spot, too.
Detroit's defensive rating (118.0) is worse than Atlanta's (113.5), but the Hawks are within shouting distance within the bottom 12 of the NBA. Plus, they cede the seventh-most FanDuel points per game to shooting guards, which is DeRozan's primary position.
Without key injury news, DeRozan's general floor condition could go overlooked. He just averages 41.9 FanDuel points per 36 with Chicago at full strength. Plus, the 239.0-point total in this game -- while sizable -- is also just the fourth-largest of the day.
I'm not sure if DeMar will slide under the radar given his sparkling projection from numberFire's model, but he's a no-doubt, must-have option for me in any format tonight.