Big Wednesday takes it easy on us with a full, but not exhausting, 10-game slate. Every game looks to be close and there aren’t a ton of high salaried plays tonight, leaving a lot of possible combinations for us to go through, so let’s do it! As always, if you have any questions, hit me on Twitter @JasonWalker_72.
Chicago Bulls @ Boston Celtics
Line: Celtics -3
Pace: Chicago (7th), Boston (5th)
Offensive Rating: Chicago (26th), Boston (15th)
Defensive Rating: Chicago (4th), Boston (3rd)
Net Rating Differential (Blowout Potential): 4.4 in favor of the Bulls
Marcus Smart is still out and David Lee is questionable for the Celtics.
The Bulls plays lately have been all about Pau Gasol. Even in limited minutes, and by that I mean between 25-30 minutes if all Bulls are healthy, he’s producing, averaging over 38 DK points for the year in less than 30 minutes per game. Lately, Gasol’s been even more boss, scoring 49.3, 62.3, 41.8 and 54 DK points in his last four matchups. Gasol is also 5th in DK Net Points, the metric that only measures things don’t change against the Celtics, who don’t have the skilled size to stop Gasol. Avery Bradley is back to playing better defense, so Jimmy Butler isn’t in a prime spot here, which he’d need to be at his current 7.7K salary.
You can attack the Bulls at SF and C, so that puts Jae Crowder ($5,300) and Jared Sullinger ($6,200) in focus tonight. Sullinger, despite his own minutes ceiling (25 minutes per game) has produced, getting nearly 30 DK PPG and currently seventh in DK Net Points, showing his ability to accrue stats very quickly on the court. Sullinger may get more minutes as they try to stretch Gasol away from the defensive rim a bit to chase him.
– Pau Gasol ($7,700)
– Nikola Mirotic ($5,000)
– Jared Sullinger ($6,300)
– Jae Crowder ($5,700)
Miami Heat @ Charlotte Hornets
Line: Heat -1.5
Pace: Miami (27th), Charlotte (19th)
Offensive Rating: Miami (13th), Charlotte (7th)
Defensive Rating: Miami (2nd), Charlotte (7th)
Net Rating Differential (Blowout Potential): 1.4 in favor of the Heat
Al Jefferson is out for the Hornets while Luol Deng is expected to return tonight for the Heat.
I am so glad Deng is back for Miami, not because I want to roster him, necessarily, but because I’ll no longer be tempted to roster Gerald Green in his stead. The Heat frontcourt is very much a good target against the Hornets tonight and Chris Bosh and Hassan Whiteside are ready to take advantage. The Hornets are 4th worst against PF and eighth worst against centers and Whiteside is third in DK Net Points this season. Sign me up.
Miami has been tough on every position this season, especially in the backcourt, where Goran Dragic and Dwyane Wade have shut down opponents. The SF position, though, has been the lone weak spot, so Nicolas Batum (%7,500) can be targeted tonight for Charlotte. I guess you have to acknowledge what Cody Zeller ($4,600) has done in place of Jefferson (34.0, 31.5 in last two games), so you can look at him at that 4.6K tag, but you’re likely to find a better situation for similar salary in a better spot that here on this slate.
– Chris Bosh ($7,400)
– Hassan Whiteside ($7,100)
– Dwyane Wade ($7,100)
– Nicolas Batum ($7,500)
Houston Rockets @ Washington Wizards
Line: Wizards -3.5
Pace: Houston (9th), Washington (4th)
Offensive Rating: Houston (17th), Washington (22nd)
Defensive Rating: Houston (27th), Washington (22nd)
Net Rating Differential (Blowout Potential): 1.1 in favor of the Wizards
Marcin Gortat is expected to be back for the Wizards tonight, while Nene and Drew Gooden are questionable. Trevor Ariza is listed as questionable for the Rockets.
The Wizards are the worst on the wings, so James Harden, despite his quiet game against the Nets, is a prime target tonight. Watch the injury reports on Ariza, because he’s a good play, too, if he goes. If not, it looks like Marcus Thornton will be a major thing against at 3.8K. Thornton assumed the minutes left after Ariza injured his back early in the game and rolled a 50-burger out there.
The Rockets are terrible defensively everywhere, so Otto Porter ($5,800) as is Gortat if he’s ready for his usual minutes at 5.8K. John Wall and Bradley Beal are alright here, but bear in mind Patrick Beverley has been playing more and the backcourt pales in comparison to the frontcourt in terms of attackability.
– James Harden ($10,600)
– Marcus Thornton ($3,800)
– Otto Porter ($5,800)
– John Wall ($8,700)
Memphis Grizzlies @ Detroit Pistons
Pace: Memphis (24th), Detroit (21st)
Offensive Rating: Memphis (24th), Detroit (25st)
Defensive Rating: Memphis (25th), Detroit (8th)
Net Rating Differential (Blowout Potential): 4.2 in favor of the Pistons
Marc Gasol is questionable for the Grizzlies as is JaMychal Green. Brandan Wright remains out for Memphis as well.
Wow. If Gasol is out and is joined by JaMychal Green, there isn’t much left up front for the Grizzlies and you could see Memphis go really small here, with Jeff Green and Matt Barnes playing a hybrid SF/PF combo and Zach Randolph at center. If this is the case, it’s Z-Bo whom you want to target as his usage rises significantly to over 32%. Mike Conley also moves up, though his matchup against Reggie Jackson isn’t as good.
Amazingly, the center spot helmed by Gasol is the only place you couldn’t target for Memphis opponents. If Gasol is out, I’d expect Detroit to do really well tonight at all the usual spots, especially at center and the wings. Drummond got into 2014-like foul trouble against Charlotte but hasn’t done that consistently this season. If Gasol is out, Drummond can get back to his 40+ DK point ways. Drummond is currently second in DK Net Points (points from peripherals) with 30.1.
– Zach Randolph ($6,300)
– Mike Conley ($6,700)
– Andre Drummond ($9,400)
– Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ($4,600)
San Antonio Spurs @ Toronto Raptors
Line: Spurs -5
Pace: San Antonio (26th), Toronto (25th)
Offensive Rating: San Antonio (4th), Toronto (5th)
Defensive Rating: San Antonio (1st), Toronto (12th)
Net Rating Differential (Blowout Potential): 9.0 in favor of the Spurs
Kawhi Leonard is still questionable for the Spurs. Jonas Valanciunas is out and DeMarre Carroll and Lucas Nogueira are questionable for Toronto.
There are two very skilled offensive clubs, but the Spurs have taken their defense to the next level in the past couple of weeks. The only vulnerable spot has been going at Tony Parker, so Kyle Lowry and his steadily inflating salary ($8,900) could be in play. Depending on two things: DeMarre Carroll’s availability and Kawhi Leonard’s, the Raptors SF position could be a great spot for value tonight as Terrence Ross stepped in for 35 DK points when Carroll surprisingly missed Monday’s game and is still 3.5K tonight. With Bebe Nogueira out last game, Bismack was back with 35 DK points. If Bebe misses again, you can target Bis as his DK Net Points per 36 minutes is around 20, giving him a solid floor of peripherals, no matter who the Spurs have on him defensively.
Toronto has also been very good defensively, offering no net positive positions to attack. However, Kawhi Leonard cares not for your statistics and if he’s active, he’s a target no matter what. If Leonard is out, however, usage moves over to LaMarcus Aldridge, who zooms over 30% with Kawhi out. The weakest spot for Toronto also happens to be PF, so he’s good to go. Also, if he plays, Tim Duncan will deliver DKPPM goodness at his 5.9K salary, even though his minutes will be closer to 25 than 30.
– Terrence Ross ($3,500)
– Kyle Lowry ($8,900)
– LaMarcus Aldridge ($7,000)
– Tim Duncan ($5,900)
Los Angeles Lakers @ Minnesota Timberwolves
Line: Timberwolves -6.5
Pace: Los Angeles (14th), Minnesota (13th)
Offensive Rating: Los Angeles (29th), Minnesota (19th)
Defensive Rating: Los Angeles (29th), Minnesota (15th)
Net Rating Differential (Blowout Potential): 10.3 in favor of Minnesota
Oh, you gloriously awful Lakers. Such a luxurious bed of fantasy goodness coming from your matchups. The Lakers offer a positive fantasy experience especially to opposing PG and C. So the fact that Ricky Rubio has been back to his mid-30s DK points game since returning from injury is a good match to target tonight. Also, Karl-Anthony Towns seems to have gotten the rest needed to proceed, and he’s in play as well.
Kobe Bryant is not going away just because this is his last season. His usage has gone up significantly since he said this is going to be it. Over the last seven games, Bryant’s usage is 32%. Both Jordan Clarkson and D’Angelo Russell’s usage is in the low 20%s. Kobe’s DKPPG is at 30 over that same span, so he’s not bringing a ton of value, but he’s going to be the one with the ball now until he gets hurt or the end of the season comes. The only other player providing value has been Julius Randle, but Kevin Garnett has been making things hard on opposing PF, limiting Randle’s effectiveness in this one.
– Ricky Rubio ($6,700)
– Karl-Anthony Towns ($6,800)
– Kobe Bryant ($6,000)
– D’Angelo Russell ($5,000)
Los Angeles Clippers @ Milwaukee Bucks
Line: Clippers -5.5
Pace: Los Angeles (13th), Milwaukee (29th)
Offensive Rating: Los Angeles (6th), Milwaukee (21st)
Defensive Rating: Los Angeles (18th), Milwaukee (26th)
Net Rating Differential (Blowout Potential): 7.7 in favor of Los Angeles
Greivis Vasquez and Jerryd Bayless are questionable for the Bucks.
The Bucks have been weaker on the wings defensively, but the Clippers, save for bench scorer extraordinaire Jamal Crawford, don’t really have the firepower there to take full advantage. Wesley Johnson ($3,200) is only a deep tournament punt play at SF if you are looking to slam a ton of salaries in ahead of him. Otherwise, DeAndre Jordan ($7,100) has the DK Net Points to count on, even though the Bucks are good defensively against the center position. Blake Griffin’s salary is high, but his matchup is good here and his DKPPM goes up with Chris Paul in the lineup.
For Milwaukee, especially with Bayless out the last two games, the usage increase has helped Michael Carter-Williams (27%) and the usual pair of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Greg Monroe. Monroe has the good matchup against Jordan, who adds value to opposing centers and Giannis has been steady, scoring 38.5 and 34.3 in the last couple of games. OJ Mayo has been playing long minutes, including point guard minutes, but his salary has risen to 5.2K, which plays outside his value.
– DeAndre Jordan ($7,100)
– Blake Griffin ($9,300)
– Greg Monroe ($7,200)
– Giannis Antetokounmpo ($6,600)
Orlando Magic @ Phoenix Suns
Line: Suns -4
Pace: Orlando (18th), Phoenix (1st)
Offensive Rating: Orlando (20th), Phoenix (14th)
Defensive Rating: Orlando (5th), Phoenix (19th)
Net Rating Differential (Blowout Potential): 3.3 in favor of the Magic
Aaron Gordon is questionable for the Magic tonight as is Tyson Chandler for the Suns.
The Magic have been messing around with lineups, minutes, etc, making it nearly impossible to target specific players night to night. Against the Suns, though, you have to target the backcourt. Victor Oladipo has been coming off the bench, but getting starter’s minutes by the end of the games (33 mpg last two games). Oladipo and Elfrid Payton are leading the team in usage and DKPPG, so this matches up well with their trends for sure. Nikola Vucevic has been a consistent play for Orlando but the Suns center defense has been really good this season, whether it’s Chandler, Alex Len or whoever, so the backcourt should remain the focus here.
The backcourt in Phoenix is always a safe play, with Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight holding it down night after night. Orlando has been fairly neutral against all positions, so those two guys, who also dominate possessions, are in play. Elsewhere, with Chandler out and Markieff Morris in a minutes doghouse, it’s opened up tournament plays with Mirza Teletovic ($4,100) and Jon Leuer ($4,800). Leuer has the better peripherals and is the safer play if Morris continues to sit. Teletovic can be a high upside play but is highly dependant on scoring to make his mark. If Chandler sits again, it’ll be Alex Len, but the matchup against Vucevic could cause his foul trouble to flare up, making him less of a tasty option.
– Elfrid Payton ($6,600)
– Victor Oladipo ($6,600)
– Eric Bledsoe ($8,100)
– Jon Leuer ($4,800)
New York Knicks @ Utah Jazz
Line: Jazz -3.5
Pace: New York (23rd), Utah (30th)
Offensive Rating: New York (23rd), Utah (15th)
Defensive Rating: New York (17th), Utah (16th)
Net Rating Differential (Blowout Potential): 2.9 in favor of the Jazz
Here’s is what you need to know about the Jazz with Rudy Gobert out: They are faster in pace, much worse defensively and it doesn’t mean a thing to the playing time of Trevor Booker. When I say worse defensively, they have the fifth worst defensive rating over the last three games since Gobert went down. Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis are firmly in play tonight against the Jazz as is Jose Calderon at 4.2K.
Offensively for the Jazz, it’s been Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors averaging 40 DKPPG over the past three games while splitting the usage at 22.2%. The Jazz start with Raul Neto, and then they go to Alex Burke and close with a no-PG lineup that features Rodney Hood, Alec Burks, Hayward, Favors and Gobert. With Gobert out, sometimes they’ll close with Booker, sometimes Burke. If Hood is in foul trouble, then maybe both Booker and Burke. Against the Knicks, who are very good this season against all positions, it’ll be best to focus on Hayward and Favors first, then Burke, who has led the team in Usage with Gobert out and is getting 30 minutes per game at 4.1K.
– Carmelo Anthony ($7,600)
– Jose Calderon ($4,200)
– Derrick Favors ($7,900)
– Trey Burke ($4,100)
Atlanta Hawks @ Dallas Mavericks
Line: Mavericks -2
Pace: Atlanta (20th), Dallas (15th)
Offensive Rating: Atlanta (8th), Dallas (11th)
Defensive Rating: Atlanta (13th), Dallas (11th)
Net Rating Differential (Blowout Potential): 1.0 in favor of the Hawks
For the Hawks, it’s a simple target assignment tonight. The Mavericks are weakest defending the point guard position and power forward and the Hawks highest usage players are Paul Millsap and Jeff Teague. Big, bam, boom — there you go tonight.
As for Dallas, the Hawks always give up the offensive glass so they can get back on defense, thereby making opposing front courts a bit stronger from a fantasy perspective. Dirk Nowitzki always hammers the Hawks and he’s a good fit here, too. A healthy Deron Williams also does well against the Hawks and he’s been very good this season, averaging 36 DKPPG over his last seven games. Finally, another frontcourt guy and former Hawk favorite, Zaza Pachulia, is a solid play as well.
– Paul Millsap ($8,300)
– Jeff Teague ($6,800)
– Dirk Nowitzki ($6,800)
– Deron Williams ($6,400)