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?
Brandon Ingram, SF, Pelicans ($9,200)
One of the joyous parts of closely covering the NBA is watching young players ascend. Brandon Ingram might have taken a step for the Pelicans just when they needed him to.
Averaging 26.1 points per 36 minutes on a 31.4% usage rate, Ingram's had the scoring role down for a while. Now, he's starting to elevate his teammates.
For the entire year, B.I. has averaged 5.46 assists per 36 minutes, but that mark has ballooned to 7.26 per 36 in the month of March. Interestingly, that's come with a heightened usage rate (32.2%), so the ball is in his hands more often, and he's using it to score and create for others.
There is some sticker shock at this salary, but snagging New Orleans' top guy with triple-double potential in what should be a shootout could be worth far more. There's a 234.0-point projected total for the Pels and Warriors at Chase Center.
With the Celtics' star wing duo facing a large spread, Ingram is comfortably the top choice at small forward.
Jaren Jackson Jr., PF/C, Grizzlies ($8,800)
I'm a simple man. When Ja Morant sits, I roster Jaren Jackson Jr. in daily fantasy.
Morant is doubtful for Tuesday's game with a thigh injury, and while Tyus Jones and Desmond Bane are more obvious targets who will have the ball in their hands more often, don't ignore Memphis' other All-Star. With Ja off the floor this season, Triple J has averaged a whopping 51.2 FanDuel points per 36 minutes.
That's because, shockingly, Jackson is the primary scoring beneficiary with Ja off the floor. His clunky shot aside, he sees a team-best usage-rate uptick of 5.1 percentage points with Morant off the floor. He's not seen as a scorer but benefits as one, which is the exact type of edge to target in daily fantasy.
His position helps him tonight, too. Xavier Tillman starts at the five for the Memphis Grizzlies, and fours have beat up rookie Paolo Banchero and the Magic this year. Orlando has ceded the ninth-most FanDuel points per game to power forwards.
You could realistically start four Grizzlies in some lineups tonight, and I want to ensure Jackson is one of them.
Darius Garland, PG, Cavaliers ($8,100)
Tonight's best game environment is in Atlanta, and it's truly a testament to poor defense.
Cleveland plays at the slowest pace in the NBA, so the Hawks' tempo (ninth-best) isn't solely responsible for the 236.0-point total tonight. Atlanta's ninth-worst defensive rating (115.1) against one of the league's most talented rosters also plays a part.
Luckily, there is a modest-salaried way to access the Cavs, and it's through Darius Garland. Garland's FanDuel production has cooled a bit lately as he's battling 37.3% shooting from deep in March, and he's also tallied just four stocks (steals plus blocks) in his last six games.
There's still plenty of hope for him tonight. Drawing Trae Young's weak defense in a game last month, Garland poured in 33 real-life points but added just 2 assists and 0 rebounds. His upside could come from a few more peripherals stats in this one.
The top of the guard player pool isn't very strong, but Garland could be a sharp pivot off of Josh Giddey if Giddey becomes tremendously popular in the wake of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander's ankle injury.