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FanDuel: Be wary of playing injured star players

Bradley Beal has been one of the top shooting guards in the NBA so far this young season. But should you take a chance on him -- or any star who is not at full strength?

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Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Disclaimer: Even though this is a sponsored post with affiliate links, all of the opinions in this post are my own. And as an FYI, FanDuel gave me some cash to play its daily fantasy games. To sign up for FanDuel, click here.

Welcome to Week 2 of FanDuel pointers. This week, we will talk about whether you should play star players who are coming off injuries in one-day fantasy basketball.

On Monday, reports surfaced that Bradley Beal suffered a bruised shoulder during Saturday's loss to the Atlanta Hawks. The good news is that he may not miss Tuesday's, or tonight's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. But when you're putting your one-day fantasy basketball lineup, is this a good idea?

That's a hard question, once you look at the Top-10 players based on salary and production for tonight's NBA games:

Top 10 shooting guards based on FanDuel salary

Player Team Price FPPG
DeMar DeRozan Raptors $7,600 32.6
Kobe Bryant Lakers $7,300 24.9
Brad Beal Wizards $7,000 31.4
Dwayne Wade Heat $7,000 29.8
Giannis Antetokounmpo Bucks $5,800 32.7
Avery Bradley Celtics $5,500 20.9
Eric Gordon Pelicans $5,400 26.4
J.R. Smith Cavaliers $5,400 13
Alec Burks Jazz $5,400 22.6
Wesley Matthews Dallas $5,300 15.1

As one of the top performing shooting guards in the NBA, Beal is not a cheap option. He is the third most expensive shooting guard you can select on your roster for Tuesday night's games.

Even if Beal plays tonight, you also have to risk him putting a lackluster performance compared with some other players on this list like Giannis Antetokounmpo or Eric Gordon who have lower salary caps but are healthier and average lofty numbers themselves.

In short, I would be hesitant to play Beal in such a lineup unless you can find other "bang for your buck" players in other positions. Now that I've talked about "bang for your buck" players, which shooting guards have the highest FPPG ratings for Tuesday's games?

Top 10 shooting guards based on Fantasy Points Per Game (FPPG)

Player Team Price FPPG
Giannis Antetokounmpo Bucks $5,800 32.7
DeMar DeRozan Raptors $7,600 32.6
Brad Beal Wizards $7,000 31.4
Dwayne Wade Heat $7,000 29.8
Eric Gordon Pelicans $5,400 26.4
Kobe Bryant Lakers $7,300 24.9
Louis Williams Lakers $5,200 23.5
Alec Burks Jazz $5,400 22.6
Avery Bradley Celtics $5,500 20.9
Wesley Matthews Dallas $5,300 15.1

It's no surprise that nine of the ten most expensive shooting guards are in the Top 10 based on FPPG. However, it's not a direct correlation.

Antetokounmpo has the highest FPPG for all shooting guards and is very reasonably priced at $5,800, below the $6,666 pro-rated average salary of a player on a nine-man team with a $60,000 salary cap. To me, it's a no-brainer that I select the Greek Freak when small forwards like LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and point guard Russell Westbrook are also playing tonight. Besides Antetokounmpo, Eric Gordon and Lou Williams also produce big numbers for relatively low salaries when it comes time for you to select your shooting guards.

As Wizards fans, of course, we'd love to see Beal play tonight, score 30 points, dish 10 assists and block a couple shots in a win over the Thunder. However, you can't fall in love with your team too much in fantasy.

In a one-day league format like FanDuel, it's generally a better idea to pick healthy players who also won't take disproportionately large salary cap hits. Remember that you also point guards, forwards, and a center to fill your team.

Since the best players in these positions in tonight's game cost more, it's even more important that you find a couple "bang for your buck" players at this position here. That way, you can have enough cap room for a superstar duo like LeBron and KD.