Big Wednesday brings us a decent, nine-game slate with a mixed bag of close matchups w/good game totals, and some blowout watch potential games. There are a few $10K players on the board tonight so sort out which to roster and what value to play alongside them. As always, if you have any questions, hit me on Twitter @JasonWalker_72.
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Golden State Warriors @ Charlotte Hornets
Line: Warriors -9
The Warriors are the third fastest team in the league and are the best in offensive rating (OFFRAT) and fifth in defensive rating (DEFRAT). The Hornets are the 10th slowest team in the league and are the fifth best in OFFRAT and 10th best in DEFRAT. The Net Rating difference (OFFRAT minus DEFRAT) between the teams is 12.2 points in favor of the Warriors. Al Jefferson is out and Jeremy Lin is questionable for the Hornets while Harrison Barnes is out for the Warriors.
You really don’t have to dig deep when rostering Warriors because you know them so well, but the Hornets are particularly weak in the frontcourt, made even moreso by the injury to Jefferson, leaving Cody Zeller the likely starter at center. The Hornets have been best at defending the PG position, but does that really apply to Stephen Curry? Especially since the Warriors aren’t likely to change their offense to suddenly get Andrew Bogut 20 shots.
The Warriors have been tough defensively, most so defending the small forward position, which isn’t altered too much by the absence of Barnes because Andre Iguodala picks up some slack there. The one weak spot in the Death Star that are the Warriors is Curry’s defense at the point. And it just so happens that when Jefferson misses time, Kemba Walker’s usage jumps over 30% (32.2 since last year). The replace Jefferson Team looks like it could be a minutes mess between Zeller, Frank Kaminsky, Marvin Williams and Spencer Hawes so it’s hard to recommend anyone for value straight out though Zeller will likely start.
– Stephen Curry ($10,600)
– Draymond Green ($7,900)
– Kemba Walker ($7,500)
– Nicolas Batum ($7,400)
Los Angeles Lakers @ Washington Wizards
Line: Wizards -10
The Lakers are 13th in pace and second worst in both OFFRAT and DEFRAT. The Wizards are fourth fastest team in the league and are sixth worst in OFFRAT and 14th worst in DEFRAT. The Net Rating difference between the two teams is 6.9 in favor of the Wizards. Nene and Gary Neal are questionable for this game.
The Lakers allowed a strong game to Philadelphia Tuesday night and now have to wrestle with the Wizards. Nobody is worse against the PG position than the Lakers and John Wall is coming off a 60 burger against Cleveland. Wall is usually better at home and, while it’s hard to feel like you are chasing points with Wall, in a vacuum of just this game you can’t deny the play here. The Lakers are also atrocious defending the center position and small forward, so Marcin Gortat is a better play than normal here.
The Wizards have done the worst job of any team at any position when you look at their defensive impact against the small forward position. It remains to be see how the Lakers line up tonight given their game last night, but they usually play three guards so either Kobe Bryant or Jordan Clarkson could benefit from this. Since the Wizards are also dead last at defending the shooting guard position, as long as both play, they are in play.
– John Wall ($8,000)
– Marcin Gortat ($5,600)
– Jordan Clarkson ($5,600)
– Kobe Bryant ($5,900)
Phoenix Suns @ Detroit Pistons
Line: Pistons -4
The Suns are the fastest team in the league and are 10th best in OFFRAT and seventh worst in DEFRAT. The Pistons are ninth slowest in pace and seventh worst in OFFRAT and ninth best in DEFRAT. The Net Rating difference is 0.1 in favor of Phoenix. Tyson Chandler is questionable for the Suns.
The Suns can attacked in the backcourt, so Reggie Jackson is in play here for the Pistons. Jackson is coming off of a 50+ DK point game against the Rockets and is in a good spot in a pace-up game for Detroit. Tyson Chandler being questionable likely means another start for Alex Len, who did a decent job against Brook Lopez Tuesday night, but that doesn’t mean a lot when it comes to the fantasy prowess of Andre Drummond, who is also coming off of a 50 point game against Houston.
On the other side, the Pistons are weakest up front, so Len would not be a bad choice to go back to at 3.3K at all. The hulk of all the scoring has fallen on the Suns backcourt and since the Pistons backcourt has been close to league average in defense there, either guy is a decent play since the both get over 25% of the possessions. If he played 30+ minutes again, Markieff Morris has a great matchup here as well.
– Andre Drummond ($9,000)
– Reggie Jackson ($7,200)
– Alex Len ($3,300)
– Brandon Knight ($8,000)
Philadelphia 76ers @ New York Knicks
Line: Knicks -9
The Sixers are 10th in Pace, last in OFFRAT and 11th worst in DEFRAT. The Knicks are sixth worst in Pace, eighth worst in OFFRAT and 12th worst in DEFRAT. The Net Rating difference is 7.9 in favor of the Knicks. Carmelo Anthony is expected to play for the Knicks tonight.
The Knicks have been alright in defending positions this season but are weakest in the backcourt, putting Isaiah Canaan back on the radar though his salary ($5,400) is starting to reach the danger zone. Jerami Grant has been playing great ball and had another super value game Tuesday night. His matchup isn’t great but given his cost ($5,000) and his minutes he’s still in play.
The Sixers have been terrible defending the frontcourt this season, so if Anthony plays, both he and Kristaps Porzingis are good to go against the Sixers. Kevin Seraphin had a tremendous game with Anthony out but his minutes have been far too inconsistent to count on him getting extended run again tonight.
– Isaiah Canaan ($5,400)
– Jerami Grant ($5,000)
– Kristaps Porzingis ($7,900)
– Carmelo Anthony ($8,300)
Toronto Raptors @ Atlanta Hawks
Line: Hawks -3.5
Toronto is the seventh slowest paced team in the league and is seventh in OFFRAT and tenth in DEFRAT. The Hawks are 15th in Pace, sixth in OFFRAT and 15th in DEFRAT. The Net Rating difference is 0.3 in favor of the Raptors. Jonas Valanciunas is out for Toronto and Tiago Splitter is doubtful for the Hawks.
The Hawks usually give up points in the frontcourt due to their abandon the offensive glass philosophy, but the Raptors have always had success against Atlanta with their backcourt, so DeMar DeRozan is a solid play as is Kyle Lowry. Bismack Biyombo at 4.9K is a solid play as well given the rebounding floor he’ll have against the Hawks. DeMarre Carroll has Narrative Street on his side in returning to the ATL where he is loved by Hawks fans, but at 5.9K he’s not a great value, especially since he’ll see a good bit of Thabo Sefolosha there.
On the other side the Raptors have been weakest at defending the frontcourt, so Al Horford at 6.5K and Paul Millsap at 8.1K are the main focus for the Hawks. Thabo Sefolosha is an interesting play at 4.4K because his peripherals can almost get him to value there even if he doesn’t score a point, as he did against OKC in his last game, but the minutes from Mike Budenholzer have not been consistent when it comes to the wings in Atlanta.
– DeMar DeRozan ($7,200)
– Bismack Biyombo ($4,900)
– Al Horford ($6,500)
– Paul Millsap ($8,100)
Denver Nuggets @ Chicago Bulls
Line: Bulls -10
The Nuggets are the 13th slowest team in the league and are the fifth worst in OFFRAT and sixth worst in DEFRAT. The Bulls are the eighth fastest team and are the fourth worst in OFFRAT and sixth best in DEFRAT. The Net Rating differential is 7.4 points in favor of Chicago. Gary Harris is doubtful for the Nuggets.
Opposing PG have had some fun at the expense of the Nuggets this season, making Derrick Rose ($6,100) and interesting tournament option here. Rose still leads the team in Usage Rate at over 25%. The Nuggets have also been generous towards the SG position as well, but that’s dropped off recently. It remains to be see if that’s a product of Harris being out or that they just haven’t played a SG in that span of time that is as effective as Jimmy Butler ($7,700).
The Bulls, like the Hawks, bail on the offensive glass to get back defensively, leaving the center position plenty of rebounds to collect. This helps explain their ranking as fifth most helpful towards opposing centers. However, the Nuggets since getting all their players back, save for Jusef Nurkic, have muddled the inside minutes, thereby affecting all players up front, including Kenneth Faried. The SF position is the main exploitable place left and Danilo Gallinari ($7,000) is in a good place to take advantage. The absence of Harris has meant more starts for Randy Foye ($3,200), but the production edge has been to Will Barton ($5,800). Emmanuel Mudiay hasn’t done much with his 27% Usage Rate, but the Bulls are slightly below average defending that position and gives Mudiay a nice play at his 5.5K salary level.
– Derrick Rose ($6,100)
– Jimmy Butler ($7,700)
– Danilo Gallinari ($7,000)
– Emmanuel Mudiay ($5,500)
New Orleans Pelicans @ Houston Rockets
Line: Rockets -4
The Pelicans are seventh in Pace, 15th in OFFRAT and dead last in DEFRAT. THe Rockets are 11th in Pace, 10th worst in OFFRAT and fifth worst in DEFRAT. The Net Rating differential is 0.9 in favor of Houston. Jrue Holiday is expected to rest after playing Tuesday.
The Pelicans have been getting brutalized at center and that continued Tuesday as Dave Joerger made bad on his commitment to limit Marc Gasol’s minutes because Gasol was having so much fun throttling the Pelicans. Tonight, it’s Dwight Howard’s turn at 7.1K to try his luck at beating the Pelicans center pinata. Tyreke Evans is no defensive cure for the Pelicans backcourt issues, so James Harden ($10,300) shouldn’t have any trouble there in making a large number.
Evans is back and has no minutes restrictions. He celebrated by immediately posting over 40 DK points in 32 minutes. He had a 21% Usage rate and I would consider that a floor for him moving forward. Tonight, without Jrue Holiday in the mix, I would expect Evans to own a few more possessions, especially given his matchup against the Rockets, who give up a lot of points to the wings. Anthony Davis ($10,700) had a bold game against Memphis and shouldn’t encounter a lot of problems with Clint Capela, Howard or anyone on the Houston side of this matchup.
– Dwight Howard ($7,100)
– James Harden ($10,300)
– Tyreke Evans ($6,600)
– Anthony Davis ($10,700)
Milwaukee Bucks @ San Antonio Spurs
Line: Spurs -12
The Spurs are the fifth slowest team in Pace, eighth in OFFRAT and first in DEFRAT. The Bucks are the second slowest team in Pace, 15th in OFFRAT and third worst in DEFRAT. Net Rating differential is 15.1 in favor of San Antonio.
This game is subject to Blowout Watch so with all the other great plays, games and values out there, this game doesn’t seem to warrant your rostering tonight. However, in case you have family in this game and just can’t stay away, the Bucks are weakest at SF, where the Spurs counter with one of the best in the game with Kawhi Leonard ($8,700). If the Spurs do roll the Bucks, you can bet it’s Kawhi that’s in the middle of it, so there’s that if you are considering. If the game somehow remains close, Leonard could easily get to 50 DK points in this matchup.
Meanwhile, the Spurs are among the league’s very best at defending the center, SG and SF positions and are above averaging against PF. That leaves PG, where we’ve been rostering Jerryd Bayless ($5,300) recently. But, as you can see, his salary has jumped up so much that he’s actually passed Michael Carter-Williams ($5,200), who celebrated that event by scoring 44 DK points his last time out. MCW is a tourney play only, but he’s always capable of such games if the matchup is right. He’s going to be verrrrry low owned in this one, but the matchup, if he starts, is good.
– Kawhi Leonard ($8,700)
– Tony Parker ($5,400)
– Michael Carter-Williams ($5,200)
– Jabari Parker ($4,500)
Indiana Pacers @ Los Angeles Clippers
Line: Clippers -2.5
The Pacers are ninth in Pace, 11th in OFFRAT and second in DEFRAT. The Clippers are 12th in Pace, fourth best in OFFRAT and 14th worst in DEFRAT. The Net Rating differential is 3.3 in favor of the Pacers. Chris Paul is questionable for the game tonight.
If Chris Paul misses the game, folks will flock to Austin Rivers ($4,000) for value, but beware doing so thinking of a 30+ DK point game. Rivers, with Paul out and Rivers on the court with Blake Griffin, J.J. Redick and DeAndre Jordan this season is averaging 0.45 DK points per minute (NBAWowy stat). It’s Redick ($4,400) that sees a Usage bump to over 27% with 0.83 DKPPM and Blake and Jordan are at 1.2 DKPPM. With Paul on the floor with them, Blake is a little higher (1.3), Jordan lower (1.1) and Redick lower (0.7). With the Pacers being weaker defensively at the SG position, Redick is definitely in play tonight if Paul sits this one out.
On the other side, the Clippers have struggled against centers somewhat and Ian Mahinmi has been making good value for his salary, now at 4.7K. Mahinmi has posted 24.8, 35.3 and 26.5 DK points in his last three games. If Paul is out the defense gets worse, bringing George Hill into play ($6,100). Paul George has been amazing and his salary is now over 10K ($10,200), but is an interesting tournament option in what should be a nice game total and given the combined pace and closeness of game. Add in a lower owned total for a west coast game and he’s a nice play, indeed.
– J.J. Redick ($4,400)
– DeAndre Jordan ($7,300)
– George Hill ($6,100)
– Ian Mahinmi ($4,700)