Big Wednesday is back and has an interesting 10-game slate on hand for you! There’s only 10 players listed over 8K tonight, so there’s a wealth of mid-liners to look at and some possible value plays out there. There’s a lot to look at, so let’s get to it!
As always, if you have any questions, find me on Twitter @JasonWalker_72 or on the Swayy app @jaywalker72.
Los Angeles Clippers @ Charlotte Hornets
Line: Clippers -3
Pace: Los Angeles (14th), Charlotte (15th)
Offensive Rating: Los Angeles (4th), Charlotte (9th)
Defensive Rating: Los Angeles (14th), Charlotte (7th)
Net Rating Differential (the higher the NRD, the more likely for a blowout): 1.0 in favor of the Hornets
Nicolas Batum and Jeremy Lin are questionable for the Hornets. Blake Griffin is out for the Clippers. UPDATE: Lin is now OUT.
Charlotte has been surprisingly efficient team and this could be a sneaky fantasy point filled game. With Blake Griffin out, Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan was had a slight uptick in production, while it’s been Paul Pierce who has seen more minutes, along with Cole Aldrich. Paul has averaged nearly 47 DKPPG in his last four games and will likely be on the floor more than his customary 32-33 mpg as Kemba Walker plays almost 40 minutes a game in recent games. Jordan, meanwhile, is in the top ten in DK Net Points, providing a solid floor for his evening. Jordan’s rebounding rate without Blake has shot up from 21 to 29 percent overall, including a jump from 30 to 39 percent on defensive rebounding rate.
If Batum or Lin, or Batum and Lin are out, this raises Walker’s usage and also brings Jeremy Lamb into play for the Hornets. Al Jefferson has been coming off the bench in a limited minutes role as he works his way back onto the court, which mitigates the advantage a Hornets center would have against Jordan. If Lamb gets significant minutes (30 or above), he’s a great play since he averages about nearly 1 DKPPM and is salaried at 4K tonight.
– Chris Paul ($9,200)
– DeAndre Jordan ($7,500)
– Kemba Walker ($7,600)
– Jeremy Lamb ($4,000)
Brooklyn Nets @ Orlando Magic
Line: Magic -7.5
Pace: Brooklyn (18th), Orlando (22nd)
Offensive Rating: Brooklyn (28th), Orlando (14th)
Defensive Rating: Brooklyn (25th), Orlando (10th)
Net Rating Differential: 8.3 in favor of the Magic
Elfrid Payton is questionable for the Magic.
CJ Watson is already out for the Magic, so if Payton misses the game, then it’s all the Shabazz Napier you can roster for 3.1K tonight. For the season, the PG matchup against the Nets has been a positive one, but it’s been more neutral over the past 10 games. When Napier has had over 25 minutes in a game (twice this season), he’s gone for 30 DK points in 30 minutes and 32.3 DK points in 29 minutes, the latter against the Cavaliers. The other target will be the center position, where it’s a perfect blend of allowable defense from Brook Lopez and the increased minutes/production from Nikola Vucevic. Vuc has had games of 41.8, 34.5, 52 and 47.5 in his last four, all while averaging 36 minutes per game over that span.
Against Napier, potentially, Jarrett Jack continues to produce at low to mid 6K range. Jack is averaging 31.5 DK PPG and has see that up to 33.5 over his last five games. Jack got 40 and 35 against John Wall and Goran Dragic, which have been negative matchups for most this season. Lopez will get beat defensively, but he gets his on the offensive end. You can’t beat the usage from the center spot in this game, where Vuc and Lopez should both be near the top over the entire slate in the usage department.
– Nikola Vucevic ($7,700)
– Shabazz Napier (if Payton is out) ($3,100)
– Brook Lopez ($7,000)
– Jarrett Jack ($6,500)
Los Angeles Lakers @ Boston Celtics
Line: Celtics -12.5
Pace: Los Angeles (11th), Boston (4th)
Offensive Rating: Los Angeles (29th), Boston (21st)
Defensive Rating: Los Angeles (30th), Boston (3rd)
Net Rating Differential: 15.9 in favor of the Celtics
David Lee is listed as questionable but expected to be available for the Celtics.
First game back for Marcus Smart and it didn’t impact Isaiah Thomas’ minutes a single bit, holding steady at 33 minutes. Smart will be eased back in, but for now it seems the coast is clear to continue to pay up for Thomas in the right matchups, which a game against the Lakers certainly is. Per DFSGold, the Lakers offer an additional 16.4% of production to opposing PG, leaving Thomas to have a field day, as long as the game script will allow. You can’t really trust the minutes of anybody else on the Celtics roster, especially with Amir Johnson and David Lee likely to be available for this game, so Jae Crowder is the only other guy to consistently see 30+ minutes, so he’d be the other play on Boston, if you needed it.
You can score fantasy points in the middle against the Celtics, but the Lakers don’t have anyone primed to take advantage there. Roy Hibbert is a possible play if you wanted to field a lineup on the most outlier-y of outliers, since his 4.3K salary, 25 minutes could make value, but don’t do that on a 10-game slate. I say here all the time in this space, if Kobe plays, it’s all about Kobe and, at 6.1K in salary and driving down narrative street in his last game in Boston, he’s going to use a huge amount of possessions. This game might best be avoided completely, save for Thomas and Bryant.
– Isaiah Thomas ($7,800)
– Jae Crowder ($6,200)
– Kobe Bryant ($6,100)
– Larry Nance ($3,900)
Washington Wizards @ Toronto Raptors
Line: Toronto -6.5
Pace: Washington (5th), Toronto (26th)
Offensive Rating: Washington (18th), Toronto (5th)
Defensive Rating: Washington (22nd), Toronto (11th)
Net Rating Differential : 6.4 in favor of the Raptors
Bradley Beal and Gary Neal, along with Nene are out for the Wizards.
With Beal and Neal out, John Wall is over 30% usage and his DKPPM rate ticks up a smidge. The matchup against Kyle Lowry isn’t prime, but there aren’t many PG who will use and play more minutes that Wall likely will tonight. Garrett Temple has been a popular play, but his salary is at the top end of his value zone at 5K and it isn’t a good matchup for him, so I’m swinging down to Ramon Sessions, who is 4.1K and has been on par with Temple for production since Beal/Neal went down. In the middle, Marcin Gortat is getting more minutes and allowing his usual 1.0 DKPPM rate to help his salary value. He’s a solid 5x on his 7.1K salary tonight.
The Wizards continue to be awful defending the wings, so it’s a nice game for DeMar DeRozan tonight. DeRo has averaged nearly 40 DKPPG over his last five games and has the very plus matchup against Temple, Sessions, Porter and whoever else Washington tries to cover him. Jonas Valanciunas is back for Toronto and him splitting time at center limits the effectiveness of he and Bismack Biyombo, leaving neither to take advantage of what has been a positive matchup at center the last three weeks against the Wizards.
– John Wall ($9,700)
– Ramon Sessions ($4,100)
– DeMar DeRozan ($7,600)
– Kyle Lowry ($8,400)
Indiana Pacers @ Chicago Bulls
Line: Bulls -3
Pace: Indiana (7th), Chicago (8th)
Offensive Rating: Indiana (14th), Chicago (27th)
Defensive Rating: Indiana (6th), Chicago (4th)
Net Rating Differential: 2.6 in favor of the Pacers
CJ Miles and Myles Turner are questionable for the Pacers and Jordan Hill is out. Doug McDermott is questionable for the Bulls and Joakim Noah is out.
With Hill out and Turner questionable, it means a few extra minutes for Ian Mahinmi and Lavoy Allen against a very giving Bulls front line. Mahinmi is the sneaky play, as he’s averaging 0.95 DKPPM and the Bulls are providing an additional seven percent value to the position, meaning Ian could see around 1.05 DKPPM, which even if he gets 30 minutes tonight, made very likely by Hill’s absence, it puts a 31-32 DK point game in play for the Pacer center. At 4.8K, that’s a solid value play at center. Hey, the Bulls are also super weak at SF! That’s good news for the Pacers small forward, which just happens to be Paul George. PG13 has run into some pretty strong defenders lately, but has 55-60 DK point ceiling potential, gets 36 minutes every game and near 30% usage. Sign me up tonight.
Conversely, the lack of depth in the Pacers frontcourt bodes well offensively for one of the most consistent big man right now in Pau Gasol. With no Noah, Gasol has gone to averaging 44 DKPPG and an additional two-three minutes per game. Noah’s injury has also helped Taj Gibson be relevant again, averaging 28 DKPPG. His salary has gone up to 5.5K, limiting value since his ceiling is not high. Jimmy Butler at 7.4K might be in the running with DeMar DeRozan and CJ McCollum for the top SG of the night as Fred Hoiberg has discovered, like Tom Thibodeau before him, that it’s hard to take Butler off the court. Jimmy’s minutes keep creeping up, averaging 38 per game over the last four games and 37 per game now for the season.
– Paul George ($8,700)
– Ian Mahinmi ($4,800)
– Pau Gasol ($7,800)
– Jimmy Butler ($7,400)
Utah Jazz @ Minnesota Timberwolves
Line: Timberwolves -2
Pace: Utah (30th), Minnesota (16th)
Offensive Rating: Utah (16th), Minnesota (20th)
Defensive Rating: Utah (16th),Minnesota (20th)
Net Rating Differential: 1.5 in favor of the Jazz
Derrick Favors is questionable for the Jazz.
Pretty simple. If Favors is out, you have to play Gordon Hayward in one of your lineups. With no Favors and no Alec Burks (out for months), Gordo’s usage leaps to 32% and his DKPPM is at 1.13. The usual low game totals have not stopped Hayward from scoring 45.5 and 44 DK points his last two times out. The Jazz put the ball in Hayward’s hands down the stretch in every game, further highlighting his usage. The one drawback tonight is a possible crunch from Tayshaun Prince and Andrew Wiggins, but the stats show that over the last three weeks, Minnesota has been a positive matchup for opposing small forwards. Rodney Hood’s salary is up to 5K or I would be locking and loading the former Duke Blue Devil. However, the man can’t stop fouling early in games, and late in games, and basically whenever he’s on the floor. Hood’s penchant for the personal foul greatly limits his ceiling, making a 5K salary and a 30 DK point value level to hard to attain. Therefore, I have to turn to Trey Burke, who already sports a 27% usage rate with Favors, Gobert and Burks off the court and Hayward on the court. At 4.2K, he’ll have the matchup and usage to get value over Hood.
Meanwhile, Ricky Rubio should be able to take great advantage of the Jazz’s shaky backcourt situation. Rubio’s reasonable 6.5K salary and the same sort of situation (minus the blowout factor) that he faced against the Spurs (39.3 DK points), puts Rubio in a comfortable spot. Karl-Anthony Towns is the other player who can take advantage of the injuries, especially if Favors sits again at 6.8K.
– Gordon Hayward ($7,500)
– Alex Burks ($4,200)
– Ricky Rubio ($6,500)
– Karl-Anthony Towns ($6,800)
Golden State Warriors @ Dallas Mavericks
Line: Warriors -8.5
Pace: Golden State (1st), Dallas (17th)
Offensive Rating: Golden State (1st), Dallas (7th)
Defensive Rating: Golden State (2nd), Dallas (15th)
Net Rating Differential: 13.8 in favor of Golden State
Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Festus Ezeli are questionable for the Warriors and Leandro Barbosa and Harrison Barnes are out. Deron Williams is questionable for the Mavericks.
Gah! This is the impact of a long winning streak. Golden State guys are banged up and finally need some additional time off. Curry has been rumored to be sitting the next two games, so Shaun Livingston would certainly start for him. At 3.5K, Livingston is a classic 30 minute, 22-24 DK point player, but definitely worth taking a punt flyer at if he starts here. With Barnes out, Green and Klay Thompson have gotten the bigger bumps. Green is expected to play tonight, despite his questionable designation and without Curry on the floor, Green will be asked to facilitate even more. Green has averaged 46.7 in his last four games. Thompson will also be asked to shoot more and play longer minutes with Barbosa also out. That doesn’t mean sudden 60-burgers, but it does lock in his 40 DK point potential for the game, which would make some value out of that 7.4K salary. Very interesting front court situation is if Ezeli sits out. I don’t think this will mandate more Andrew Bogut, but more likely brings high usage reserves Marreese Speights or James Michael McAdoo into the game for 20 minutes or so. Golden State used to use Speights in this spot, which meant a 30+% usage rate, but against the Kings they used McAdoo, who doesn’t use quite as much but is very similar to Speights’ DKPPM with Marreese at 1.04 and McAdoo at 0.99 with Ezeli and Bogut off the floor. My guess is they’d use Speights since it would be longer minutes if Ezeli does indeed miss the game.
Deron Williams is questionable and this would be a very interesting game to get one more JJ Barea outing in relief of Williams. JJ didn’t have the success against the Bucks he had against Chicago and Brooklyn and Livingston presents some of the same issues Barea came up against with Michael Carter-Williams. Chandler Parsons’ minutes average has zoomed to 33 over his last four games and his salary has gone up right along with it. And even though he’s not a high possessions user (~18% his last three games, per NBA Stats), he’s nearly leading the team in AST% and Rebounding Rate, while sporting a +11 personal Net Rating. His 5.6K salary puts him near the top of his range since he doesn’t use more possessions to score. Zaza Pachulia is in a good spot at 5.6K and a faster, more possessions pace.
– Klay Thompson ($7,400)
– Shaun Livingston (if Curry is out) ($3,500)
– Zaza Pachulia ($5,600)
– Chandler Parsons ($5,600)
Phoenix Suns @ San Antonio Spurs
Line: Spurs -14
Pace: Phoenix (3rd), San Antonio (27th)
Offensive Rating: Phoenix (17th), San Antonio (3rd)
Defensive Rating: Phoenix (20th), San Antonio (1st)
Net Rating Differential: 16.4 in favor of the Spurs
Tim Duncan is questionable for the Spurs and Eric Bledsoe is out for the Suns.
With Bledsoe out, Brandon Knight will get more usage (25.2 up to 29.5 with Bledsoe out) and he scores more DKPPM (0.93 up to 1.08). Now, take Markieff Morris off the court, too and Knight goes up to 30.1% usage and 1.10 DKPPM. He’ll be the guy in play against the Spurs, who will crush Phoenix’s basketball soul tonight, but Tony Parker isn’t a bad matchup for Knight. Devin Booker is a straight scorer that offers little else in terms of peripherals, so he’ll play about half the game, make a couple of threes and put up maybe 20DK points. That’s not going to be enough at his 3.9K salary. Jon Leuer, at 17.7 DK Net Points per 32, is the only other Suns starter to consider here, since his peripherals can withstand better defense on his scoring.
Kawhi Leonard is beastly and his salary shows it at 8.6K. He’s a solid 40 DKPPG player who could spike up a little more if Jeff Hornacek continues to keep the pace up in Eric Bledsoe’s absence. It’s a game that could be like the Rockets game on Christmas where Leonard scored 51.3. And since there aren’t any other obvious values, let’s take this space to ask if you’ve caught Boban Fever yet? Boban Marjanovic has been nearing Jeremy Lin or Tim Tebow mania after his last two games showed what his true believers have been looking for since he joined the Spurs. Boban has scored 27.8 and 25 in his last two games, over which he totalled 30 minutes. With another one-sided Net Differential game afoot, and at a near minimum 3.2K, don’t be surprised to see some folks with some Boban on their rosters tonight. Strictly tournament punt play only, but could be fun in this game if he plays.
– Brandon Knight ($7,500)
– Jon Leuer ($5,600)
– Kawhi Leonard ($8,600)
– Boban Marjanovic ($3,200)
Denver Nuggets @ Portland Trail Blazers
Line: Trail Blazers -7
Pace: Denver (20th), Portland (21st)
Offensive Rating: Denver (23rd), Portland (12th)
Defensive Rating: Denver (27th), Portland (21st)
Net Rating Differential: 3.7 in favor of Portland
Damian Lillard is questionable and Ed Davis is questionable, but expected to play for the Blazers. Danilo Gallinari and Emmanuel Mudiay are out for the Nuggets.
If you missed CJ McCollum night, I’m sorry, because it was epic. Portland looked for McCollum on every single possession, leading to an epic 74.3 DK point scoring night. If Lillard’s, back McCollum is off limits at 7.7K, because he’s priced like there’s no Lillard. Denver is the type of team, especially on the back end of a back-to-back in your house, that you come back from injury to play, but we’ll see. If he’s out, then CJ is definitely in play. Terry Stotts liked the way Meyers Leonard spread the floor with shooting so Mason Plumlee was limited in minutes and, knowing Stotts’ affection for the outside shot, I would expect that to continue. With the Nuggets being very inside heavy with their own frontcourt, Leonard will play a large role tonight for the Blazers, making him a great value at 4.0K.
Will Barton makes me want to write angry letters to Michael Malone and his insistence in spending the first few minutes of the game with Barton on his bench. The first few minutes are the only minutes that are guaranteed to mean something on the court, so why waste Barton, who is by far the most dynamic offensive player the Nuggets have, on the bench while the formative minutes of the game are being played? Oh, by the way, Barton has a REVENGE GAME here since the Blazers sent Barton over to Denver in the deal that sent Arron Afflalo (non pictured there anymore) to Portland. Malone’s Rubik’s Cube like rotations make it harder to pinpoint value in their frontcourt, but at 4.7 and against Plumlee/Leonard, Nikola Jokic is a nice tourney play.
– CJ McCollum (if Lillard is out) ($7,700)
– Meyers Leonard ($4,000)
– Will Barton ($7,100)
– Nikola Jokic ($4,700)
Philadelphia 76ers @ Sacramento Kings
Line: Kings -9
Pace: Philadelphia (7th), Sacramento (2nd)
Offensive Rating: Philadelphia (30th), Sacramento (19th)
Defensive Rating: Philadelphia (23rd), Sacramento (26th)
Net Rating Differential: 8.4 in favor of the Kings
Jahlil Okafor is a Game Time Decision for the Sixers and Kosta Koufos is questionable for the Kings.
Seems as if DeMarcus Cousins will be in the game for the Kings tonight and won’t be suspended for his ejection against the Warriors Monday night. That the spread correlates so well with the Net Rating Differential, indicates that it’s business as usual in this game. That also means that Cousins would have a premium matchup, with or without Okafor in the game. The Sixers are terrible against every position, so all the Kings are in play in this one, even as they are fairly high priced at this point.
Ish Smith has quickly seen his salary rise to 5.6K as he’s assumed control of the Sixers PG position. Smith will have plenty of possessions to drive, pass and score tonight. Nerlens Noel has played very well without Okafor and, probably, because of the arrival of Ish to penetrate successfully and pass the ball to Noel around the basket. Noel is reasonably salaried at 5.9K and gets value from playing against the Kings and the extra possessions that come with that matchup.
– DeMarcus Cousins ($10,000)
– Rudy Gay ($6,900)
– Ish Smith ($5,600)
– Nerlens Noel ($5,900)