Over the last few weeks, I’ve been focusing heavily on playoff-hungry teams. I’ve also been weighting rest and home games more. And with just one week left in the regular season, thinking about players from a situational perspective will continue to be key. Teams that stand out as being in good macro spots Wednesday night include the Celtics, Heat and Clippers.
1. Jameer Nelson, PG, Nuggets: QUESTIONABLE – Will Barton (foot) and Nelson (calf) are both iffy for the playoff-hungry Nuggets. They were both sidelined on Tuesday night, resulting in an eight-man rotation – one which included Kenneth Faried. Note that Faried hurt his back in that one, so now the Nugs could be extremely thin for a Wednesday night shootout with the Rockets – the game has an absurd projected total of 239 points. So even though Denver is on a back-to-back, their motivation (half-game out of West’s No. 8 seed) combined with a possible thin rotation make them very interesting. Jamal Murray, Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler and Gary Harris will become very strong plays if the injury news breaks in their favor. Nikola Jokic is a very strong play no matter what at $9,400 in this matchup.
2. Dirk Nowitzki, PF, Mavs: QUESTIONABLE – Dirk (heel), Seth Curry (shoulder), Harrison Barnes (rest), J.J. Barea (rest) and Devin Harris (rest) are all listed questionable for the Mavs. Note that Wes Matthews rested Tuesday night and isn’t listed Wednesday, suggesting he will play. If all five of the aforementioned Mavs sit, we’d have a tricky situation as Rick Carlisle is in full evaluation mode. Dwight Powell, Nerlens Noel, Nicolas Brussino, Yogi Ferrell, Jarron Uthoff, Dorian Finney-Smith and A.J. Hammons are all young players the team wants to get a look at. So even if Dallas is thinned out, minutes are not secure in a tough matchup at the Clippers.
MATCHUP TO CAPITALIZE ON
1. Hassan Whiteside Against the Hornets
This is an excellent spot for the Heat overall. They are extremely motivated as they’re just a half-game out of the East’s final playoff spot, they haven’t played since Sunday and they don’t play again until Friday. Meanwhile, Wednesday’s opponent (the Hornets) played a tough game at Washington on Tuesday night. So it sets up well for Hassan Whiteside, who has played 33 and 34 minutes the last two games as the Heat make their last playoff push. Note that the Hornets have quietly given up 3.9 more DK points per game than salary-based expectation to centers priced at least $6,000 on DK this season, 8th-most in the league. They’re just 19th in rebounding differential and 26th in defensive rebounds allowed.
SITUATIONS TO CAPITALIZE ON
1. Warriors Resting Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala
Kevin Durant (knee) is targeting Saturday for his return, so the Warriors will be without at least three regulars Wednesday night. They’re also in one of the best possible matchups as the Suns rank second in pace and 28th in defensive efficiency. It creates a prime spot for value as Matt Barnes ($3,400), David West ($3,000) and Ian Clark ($3,000) are all ticketed for big bumps in minutes. With Draymond, Iguodala and Durant off the floor, the point per minute numbers is as follows: West 1.34, Clark 1.03, Barnes .88. We just need to realize the 36-year-old West is unlikely to play more than 18-22 minutes. Clark and Barnes project into the high-20s.
SITUATIONS TO MONITOR
1. Spurs in a Weary Spot
The Spurs are locked into the West’s No. 2 seed and played an overtime game against the Grizzlies on Tuesday night. Now they have a game against the lowly Lakers on Wednesday. I suspect Gregg Popovich will end up resting a bunch of key players, possibly Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Tony Parker and/or Manu Ginobili. Even if those guys are active, they’d be avoids for me given the possibility of limited minutes. If they’re all ruled out, then we’d have some serious value in the form of Patty Mills, Kyle Anderson and Jonathan Simmons. The Lakers are tied for dead last in defensive efficiency – even the Spurs’ backups would fare well.
CASH GAME CONSIDERATIONS
(No particular order)
PG: Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Goran Dragic, Ish Smith, Jamal Murray (if Jameer Nelson is out)
SG: James Harden, Ian Clark, Avery Bradley, Gary Harris
SF: Matt Barnes, LeBron James, Danilo Gallinari, Trevor Ariza
PF: Nikola Jokic, David West, Blake Griffin, Kevin Love, Wilson Chandler (if Kenneth Faried and Will Barton are out)
C: Hassan Whiteside, DeAndre Jordan, Andre Drummond, Al Horford
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is AdamLevitan) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.