It’s Big Wednesday, and if you got sucked into the Celtics’ big man vortex then take a deep breath, put on some Miles Davis, sip some delicious coffee and begin to take in this getting ready for the all-star break 12-game mega-main slate! Let’s get to it!
As always, if you have any questions, find me on Twitter @JasonWalker_72.
Stats from StatMuse, NBAWowy, NBA Stats and DFSGold
Charlotte Hornets @ Indiana Pacers
Line: Pacers by 4
A solid game featuring two teams with stars that could go off in any game. For the Pacers, with everybody but Rodney Stuckey back healthy, it only leaves Paul George as a solid target every game. George’s salary has sunk to 8.4K but his usage is still the most solid, being the only regular to top 20%. Only CJ Miles comes close and he’s only getting 17 minutes per game over the last five games. Myles Turner has locked down a solid rotation spot, but seems to have settled in at 20% usage with the first unit and 25-32 DKPPG, which would be great if he were in the 5.5K range, but he’s still over 6K right now.
Kemba Walker is the type of player on a broad slate, with higher totals everywhere, that can go for 55-60 DK points and be a contest changer for players. Walker is a solid 30% usage over his last three games and is coming off one of those 50-burgers against the Bulls. His salary has risen to 8.2K, but like the Pacers, with everyone back and healthy for the Hornets, his is the role and usage that is well situated. Nic Batum has also settled in and the Pacers have struggled recently against wings. Batum has gone for 44.7 DKPPG over his last four games.
– Paul George ($8,400)
– George Hill ($5,700)
– Kemba Walker ($8,200)
– Nicolas Batum ($7,300)
San Antonio Spurs @ Orlando Magic
Line: Spurs by 8
The Spurs are on a back to back, so there is danger here in the minutes. Lately that hasn’t been much of an issue and LaMarcus Aldridge has been performing very well without Tim Duncan presence. He’s averaged 42.5 DKPPG over his last four games and he and Kawhi Leonard have both been over 27% usage for the team. Both players are averaging nearly seven assists per game.
Elf Payton is waking up in Orlando, with back to back 40 DK point games and is at a 5.1K salary. The Spurs are the top defensive team in the league, but it’s highly concentrated on the wings, leaving the PG and C positions merely around neutral, putting Payton in focus here as well as Nikola Vucevic, who went for 42.5 recently against the Spurs. Payton and Vuc make for excellent tourney plays on a large slate and against the Spurs, which always depresses ownership on big slates.
– LaMarcus Aldridge ($7,100)
– Kawhi Leonard ($7,600)
– Elfrid Payton ($5,100)
– Nikola Vucevic ($7,200)
Sacramento Kings @ Philadelphia 76ers
Line: Kings by 4.5
The Kings are in turmoil is the frozen screen on your mobile device. Despite the structure of the team, George Karl is going to ABA this team up and down the court. That’s the only thing keeping this line high as the Sixers have been one of the worst offensive efficiency teams over the past 15 games. Boogie Cousins, even at 11.1K, is in a great spot against the errant Sixers. The Sixers have been all season, and in the last three weeks, a target for opposing big men. Same for opposing PG, putting Rondo (probable) in play. If you wanted less expensive exposure, Ben McLemore is doubtful for tonight, and that has meant more minutes for Marco Belinelli and though he hasn’t played well, the Sixers are near the bottom against opposing SG, too.
But no team is targeted at SG more than the Kings, putting Isaiah Canaan and Hollis Thompson in play. Thompson has been playing better and getting more consistent minutes than Canaan. Both guys will be firing away at the team that allows the most threes attempted per game and Nik Stauskas questionable with neck pain. On a more cash game level, while the attention surrounding his arrival in Philly has died down, Ish Smith’s usage has not, over 31% in his last four games. And both Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor will be solid plays in this heavy pace game at their mid 6K range salaries.
– DeMarcus Cousins ($11,100)
– Marco Belinelli ($4,500)
– Nerlens Noel ($6,500)
– Hollis Thompson ($3,700)
Los Angeles Clippers @ Boston Celtics
Line: Pick ‘Em
Oh, the Celtics. Do NOT get sucked into their big man vortex and play any of them in cash games. They are all tourney only. Why, oh why won’t Brad Stevens play Jared Sullinger more than 20 minutes? Don’t waste a roster to find out. Isaiah Thomas had a down game last night, which is a perfect time to play him. For some reason he only got nine shots, the fewest since 12/21 against Minnesota. He’s the only Celtic who plays 30 minutes a game that’s also over 20% usage, so he’s your guy to target, even against Chris Paul. Make it a tourney play, but it’s in these kind of games Thomas goes nuts. The place you can always target the Clippers is…wait, NO NO NO, not the big men! Alas, yes, it’s the bigs that do well against the Clippers, so you can give Amir Johnson a call in tourneys if you are so including, as his 25-27 minutes seems repeatable, at least more so than his teammates.
For the Clippers, Chris Paul continues to lead in usage with Blake Griffin out, but in the last four games, Jamal Crawford has been deployed as a 30+ minute guy and he, as per his usual, has been launching. One of the best shooters I’ve ever watched has posted nearly 31 DKPPG over his last four games and seen his salary rise to over 5K. You can attack the C’s bigs, all of them, so Wesley Johnson’s still sub 5K salary could be a value tonight.
– Isaiah Thomas ($7,700)
– Amir Johnson ($4,600)
– Chris Paul ($9,100)
– Wesley Johnson ($4,800)
Memphis Grizzlies @ Brooklyn Nets
Line: Grizzlies by 3.5
The Grizzlies have gotten back to their grindhouse way, slowing down over the last 15 games to be the second slowest team behind the Jazz in that time frame. Their defense, however, hasn’t gotten appreciably better, still middle of the pack. The wings are where they are most vulnerable, so Joe Johnson is in focus here, as his usage in his last few games has gotten back over 20% and his DKPPG has been around 36-37. Brook Lopez is still the usage king of Brooklyn, and will likely have an easier time inside with Marc Gasol out.
The bigs are exactly where the Nets are to be attacked so Zach Randolph, who will be asked to soak up the possessions and shots vacated by Gasol, will be very active tonight. Others who will see a bump in usage will be Mike Conley and Jeff Green, who both register over 20% usage with Z-Bo on the court and Gasol off this season.
– Joe Johnson ($5,400)
– Brook Lopez ($7,500)
– Zach Randolph ($6,500)
– Mike Conley ($6,300)
Denver Nuggets @ Detroit Pistons
Line: Pistons by 5.5
With Emmanuel Mudiay back in the lineup and Jameer Nelson out, the Nuggets have picked up the pace the most of any team over the past 15 games and are in the top ten in pace over the span. The Pistons have been targeted at the Andre Drummond square often this season and continues to be a solid place to roster against, one of the five best team to target there in the last three weeks. Nikola Jokic has been hot…except for his last game when Michael Malone decided to go small and never turn back against Brook Lopez and the Nets. Might he do that again? Yes, Malone is on the can’t trust coaching lists and Jokic is a rookie, which by nature frustrates cross-armed coaches like Malone. But it’s a great spot and he’ll be lower owned on a huge slate. Jokic is one of the top peripheral bigs in the league, right behind the top names like Drummond and Karl-Anthony Towns. Danilo Gallinari’s price dropped below 7K and there is no more surer place for minutes, shots and fantasy goodness on the Nuggets than he. Giddy-up! On the other side, the Nuggets have given up huge games to opposing bigs, so Drummond and Ersan Ilyasova are targets tonight, especially as their salaries have come down to 8K and 5K, respectively.
– Nikola Jokic ($6,100)
– Danilo Gallinari ($6,800)
– Andre Drummond ($8,000)
– Ersan Ilyasova ($5,000)
Los Angeles Lakers @ Cleveland Cavaliers
Line: Cavaliers by 15.5
The Cavs have become a fairly average defensive team under Tyronn Lue, and teams have been able to target Kyrie Irving with great success. The numbers are 24, 21, 28 and 25. The source of those numbers? Kobe Bryant’s shot attempts over his last four games. Kobe’s usage has gone solar, 38% in those four games, averaging 43 DKPPG. With Larry Nance out, Julius Randle has fulfilled his excellence with extended minutes, getting back to back 40-burgers. As long as Kobe is firing away like that (and this is his last game in Cleveland), then it snuffs out any consistent value from Jordan Clarkson, Louis Williams and D’Angelo Russell. The Lakers are attackable everywhere, so the new epicenter of the Lue attack (LeBron, Kyrie and JR Smith) are all solid plays as long as this game stays close.
– Kobe Bryant ($6,200)
– Julius Randle ($6,400)
– Kyrie Irving ($7,700)
– LeBron James ($9,800)
Atlanta Hawks @ Chicago Bulls
Line: Hawks by 3
The bigs will be in middle of the action in this game, as the Hawks are the worst rebounding team in the league and give up a ton of points to opposing bigs and the Bulls want to be just like the Hawks. Pau Gasol has been rolling and his salary has skied to 9K, but this is still a decent play for him. Derrick Rose has been a usage leader for the Bulls with 34% over his last four games.
Al Horford is the main target for the Hawks tonight as the team fights for some momentum heading into the AS break. Horford went bananas his last game against the Bulls (66+ DK points) and nothing has changed in the roster there to deter more of the same. Paul Millsap continues to be a solid play for the Hawks, averaging 40 DKPPG and has a solid matchup here against the Bulls frontcourt.
– Pau Gasol ($9,000)
– Derrick Rose ($7,000)
– Al Horford ($6,600)
– Paul Millsap ($8,000)
Toronto Raptors @ Minnesota Timberwolves
Line: Raptors by 6
Toronto is tough defensively, second toughest over the last 15 games (Hawks, 1st) and the Timberwolves have been the second worst over that span. This could lead to a high number and the Raptors getting a little more lax defensively because they can. With Kevin Martin and Tayshaun Prince out tonight, Zach LaVine becomes an interesting target at 5.2K. The main play for the Timberwolves has been Karl-Anthony Towns. Towns has averaged 23% usage and 40 DKPPG over his last four games and gets a very soft matchup against Jonas Valanciunas and the Raptors tonight.
No James Johnson tonight for the Raptors so Terrence Ross’ 28-30 minutes should be fairly well locked down with the concern for any annoying Prince defense to boot. Ross is just a shade over 4K and has produced 23 DKPPG over his last four games. DeMar DeRozan has been averaging 33.5% usage over his last four games and will likely get a lot of loose Zach LaVine defense tonight, too.
– Karl-Anthony Towns ($8,300)
– Zach LaVine ($5,200)
– DeMar DeRozan ($7,700)
– Terrence Ross ($4,200)
Utah Jazz @ New Orleans Hornets
Line: Pelicans by 3
The Jazz play slow, but that doesn’t mean there is no fantasy scoring, as their game against the Mavericks last night showed. With Alec Burks and Trey Burke out, Rodney Hood and Gordon Hayward have taken over the usage. Hood has averaged a 27% usage rate over the last five games to lead the Jazz with Hayward close behind at 25%. The big four players over there (Hood, Hayward, Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert) are all between 32-37 DKPPG over the last five games and if Burke misses again it solidifies that even more. The Pelicans have been funnelling their fantasy points through Jrue Holiday (off the bench) and Anthony Davis, with both being over 30% in usage. Norris Cole is also in the mid 20s and all three are solid targets, even in a pace down game against the Jazz.
– Rodney Hood ($6,000)
– Rudy Gobert ($6,800)
– Jrue Holiday ($6,900)
– Norris Cole ($5,500)
Golden State Warriors @ Phoenix Suns
Line: Warriors by 16
The Net Differential between these two teams over the last 15 games is an epically epic 29.5 points. That’s the quick formula for a blowout and on a slate this large and with plenty of higher game totals, it is possible to play off this game if you so desire. Stephen Curry is certainly a solid play, as he can get 30-35 DK points in the first half alone. One thing you can be sure of is that Andrew Bogut will not play the near 30 minutes he played against Dwight Howard last night. This would put Marreese Speights in play for at least 20-22 minutes tonight.
The Suns could decide to go small against the W’s tonight, which would mean plenty of Archie Goodwin, Devin Booker, PJ Tucker and Markieff Morris. As thin as the Suns are and as much work as their younger guys need, it’s a likely mid 30s minute game for these guys as long as they can keep from fouling.
– Stephen Curry ($11,000)
– Marreese Speights ($3,400)
– Archie Goodwin ($6,100)
– Devin Booker ($5,900)
Houston Rockets @ Portland Trail Blazers
Line: Blazers by 4.5
Houston is coming off the bender that is playing the Warriors and now coast into Portland. The Rockets are the fourth worst defense over the last 15 games making the usual Blazers suspects tremendous plays tonight. Both Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum are near 30% usage and 40 DKPPG. Given the lower price and easier defense, McCollum is the meatier play, but both are great for this matchup. Either Allen Crabbe or Gerald Henderson, both around 4K and making value, are great tourney punts here as well.
For the Rockets, James Harden is the Alpha there, clearly, as his 33.4% usage rate over the last four games affirms. He’s getting over 50 DKPPG and had over 60 last night against the Warriors. The Blazers are a terrific place to keep it going and with Howard less likely to play longer minutes in a back to back, something Harden has no trouble doing, it locks in the higher usage/DKPPM rate for Harden.
– C.J. McCollum ($7,100)
– Gerald Henderson ($4,300)
– James Harden ($10,400)
– Patrick Beverley ($5,000)