It’s Big Wednesday, which is weirdly as big as Casual Tuesday… If you didn’t roster Westbrook or Durant last night and you went the wrong way on Boogie, maybe it’s time to down that stack of flapjacks, wash it down with a tasty beverage and get into the lighter-than-normal eight-game Wednesday slate. Let’s get right to them!
As always, if you have any questions, find me on Twitter @JasonWalker_72 or on the Swayy app @jaywalker72.
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Phoenix Suns @ Cleveland Cavaliers
Line: Cavs -16.5
The Suns played a tough one in Philly and they’ve seemed to have at least stopped the gushing water that was their sinking team for now. Part of the reason is that Brandon Knight is out and Archie Goodwin is in the lineup. Goodwin is a versatile scorer and easily made value last night despite picking up his fifth foul early in the third quarter. Alex Len was talking about playing PF in the preseason and then that evaporated until the injuries to Jon Leuer and Markieff Morris forced the issue. Now, he’s played so well that he continued in that role with Morris back last night and would expect it to happen again against the Cavs.
The Cavs are trying to play up tempo, something I think every coach says in the preseason, but ultimately it’s about who you have on the floor. Tyronn Lue wants Tristan Thompson to start to help that cause and the team played a slightly faster tempo in their last game (96.2 poss per 48) than their average (95) so we’ll see. If they do, this helps Kyrie Irving and LeBron, as they are going to be the ones triggering any faster pace and will be more involved with the scoring than ever. Both have mid 30s usage in the last two games under Lue.
– Archie Goodwin ($4,800)
– Alex Len ($4,800)
– Kyrie Irving ($6,500)
– LeBron James ($9,900)
Denver Nuggets @ Boston Celtics
Line: Celtics -9
The Nuggets rotations continue to be maddening so we’re just going to assume 25-28 minutes for everybody and move forward. With that, Will Barton continues to lead the team in DK Net Points (filters out scoring) and DK Net Points + FGA per 36, so he’s a solid play even though Michael Malone insists that his best players play less than half the game. To that statement, Nikola Jokic continues to impress and had nearly two DK points per minute against the Hawks and gets the undersized Celtics now.
In Boston, the same rotational frustrations preside and I think I saw Tyler Zeller even out on the floor in the last game. Oy. So the triumvirate of Amir Johnson, Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk will be too diluted, minutes-wise, to roster even though this is an amazing matchup for any frontcourt. If you want to take a flyer in tourney and put one of them out there, Sullinger is always a good pick, being top 10 in DK Net Points and generally owning all the fantasy points when he plays. So the best place to look for stability is in the backcourt, and Marcus Smart and Isaiah Thomas have been producing and active for Stevens and will also have a plus matchup against Mudiay, Gary Harris and Barton.
– Marcus Smart ($5,100)
– Isaiah Thomas ($7,800)
– Will Barton ($5,600)
– Nikola Jokic ($5,000)
Philadelphia 76ers @ Detroit Pistons
Line: Pistons -12.5
There are a number of games that might be one-sided, so I’ll be picking out some second shift guys that could see a bump in these games.
In Philly, TJ McConnell continues to be a peripheries monstah and now that he’s back closer to the minimum, he’s a good play to get 20 DK points or more and crush value in a solid matchup against Brandon Jennings off the bench. Jerami Grant continues to fill in and he’ll see more time with Jahlil Okafor out.
The Pistons have a great matchup up front and Andre Drummond can surely take advantage, even at 8.5K. Behind him is Aron Baynes, who has been playing very aggressive minutes behind Drummond and has clearly caught the favor of Stan Van Gundy, at least rotation wise. In this game against a softer Philly frontcourt, Baynes is in a great spot to crush his 3.2K price tag.
– Aron Baynes ($3,200)
– Andre Drummond ($8,500)
– T.J. McConnell ($3,200)
– Jerami Grant ($4,400)
Los Angeles Clippers @ Atlanta Hawks
Line: Hawks -3.5
Against the Hawks, opposing bigs get plenty of rebounds, as I’ve written on here countless amount of times. They’ve long been weak on the defensive glass and they abandon the offensive glass to get back on defense in transition. DeAndre Jordan is one of the best rebounders in the league and this figures to be a real close game in Atlanta. Also, consider that Al Horford is a perimeter-based center so Jordan will not be picking up fouls, at least not guarding Horford. Chris Paul, when he was coming into the draft said he wanted to be a Hawk and be the man in Atlanta. Then GM Billy Knight famously said that guards are guards and point guard wasn’t a necessity, then chose Marvin Williams over Paul and said afterwards that he liked Deron Williams more than Paul, anyway. Paul has always gotten up and done well against the Hawks, scoring 45 DKPPG over his career.
On the Hawks side, the salaries on Kent Bazemore (5.6K) and Dennis Schröder (5.1K) are too high for this matchup, so the frontcourt is where to go for production and security. Paul Millsap is always the safe play for the Hawks with his statistical friendly game. DeAndre Jordan, for all of his shot-blocking and rebounding, is still a good target for opposing bigs, especially Horford who will likely get a lot of room to shoot.
– DeAndre Jordan ($7,100)
– Chris Paul ($9,700)
– Al Horford ($6,800)
– Paul Millsap ($8,300)
Oklahoma City Thunder @ Minnesota Timberwolves
Line: Thunder -7
The Thunder played an OT game against the Knicks last night, so maybe they are a little worn from that, but there is, like was written here yesterday, little reason to look past Westbrook/Durant here tonight. With Steven Adams back, Enes Kanter is back to less minutes and Westy/KD are producing huge together. I thought they were more cash game relevant because of high, but not extreme ceilings playing together, but overtime saw both launch huge numbers and likely helped teams take down many tourneys.
In Minnesota, with Kevin Martin out that gives Zach Attack! room to score, which he did well in his last game. He should get about 30 minutes with Dion Waiters/Anthony Morrow (no Andre Roberson tonight) so he’ll be in a good spot to repeat value at 4.5K. Looking at the frontcourt, the Wolves started Nikola Pekovic but played him small minutes at PF with Kevin Garnett out. Steven Adams is a tough hombre in the middle, so the KAT, Karl-Anthony Towns, is not in a prime spot, and his cost has risen back to 7K. So that leaves me on Dieng, who is low cost enough to get value in a so-so matchup that gets better the more minutes he sees Kanter instead of Adams.
– Russell Westbrook ($10,600)
– Kevin Durant ($9,800)
– Zach LaVine ($4,500)
– Gorgui Dieng ($4,200)
Houston Rockets @ San Antonio Spurs
Line: Spurs -10.5
Spurs games are tough to call because, with the obvious exception of that team in Oakland, they are winning game before the third quarter ends. It’s difficult to recommend Kawhi Leonard or LaMarcus Aldridge because we simply can’t know how much they’ll play and they, unlike Stephen Curry, won’t run enough possessions in three quarters to make a solid value number. The Rockets play no defense and give up a ton of threes, but there isn’t an obvious guy to pick from in San Antonio to take advantage. So I reluctantly am looking at Jonathon Simmons, who is near minimum and has been getting 20-23 minutes off the bench in these sort of games, and David West, who is getting the same in relief of Tim Duncan and LaMarcus Aldridge.
The Rockets play their guys no matter what, it looks like. James Harden hasn’t played the Spurs without Dwight Howard since Howard got to Houston, so I had to look back to 2013 to find how Harden plays the Spurs on his own and the results were very encouraging. Harden had 50+ DK point games in his last two before Howard came aboard and while that’s a long time ago (almost 3 years), and Kawhi wasn’t quite Kawhi yet, it’s enough to get him into a couple of tournament plays. Josh Smith laid an egg his last game out, but he’s also a good tourney play due to his stat-sheet stuffing nature of his game and the solid minutes he’s been getting already in Houston.
– James Harden ($10,000)
– Josh Smith ($4,200)
– Jonathon Simmons ($3,100)
– David West ($4,300)
Charlotte Hornets @ Utah Jazz
Line: Jazz -5.5
Kemba Walker went off the last time these teams met and, at 8.8K, he’s a worthy target. But lower down the payroll, Spencer Hawes has been playing well and having him outside to move Rudy Gobert out to defend him is going to be a key tenet of the Hornets approach. They’ll need Gobert out there so that Kemba can attack. Otherwise, it leaves Hawes open to exploit the help defense. Given Walker’s sensational play the last time out, I think Hawes will have a chance to burn the Jazz a few times while they overreact to Walker’s last game. Troy Daniels has been getting some solid minutes with Nicolas Batum and Jeremy Lamb out — if they are out again, Daniels is in play as a tourney punt option.
The Jazz have Derrick Favors back, which immediately puts an end to the point-Hayward fun and games. Favors would be a really good play tonight if he had no minutes restrictions. It hasn’t been stated that if he is/isn’t on a restriction, but he came off the bench and played around 20, which has been the standard total in the coach’s manual on players returning from injury. So in looking for solid production in this matchup, we see that with Raul Neto out, Trey Burke stands to inherit more minutes and with his usage % when he plays, he can get to 30 DK points and really do some value damage. Rodney Hood will also get some ball handling responsibilities and some Jeremy Lin defense, so as long as he can stay on the floor, he’ll be a good play tonight as well.
– Spencer Hawes ($4,600)
– Troy Daniels ($3,600)
– Trey Burke ($4,400)
– Rodney Hood ($5,900)
Dallas Mavericks @ Golden State Warriors
Line: Warriors -16
The Mavericks played last night and have the Warriors, in Oakland, tonight. Not a good sign for solid production from the Mavericks regular starters. So I’m looking at JJ Barea, who played 28 minutes last night, as a possible beneficiary of more minutes in this matchup. With Barea’s shot attempts in a high tempo game, it fits his production quite well. The last time out against the Warriors, he scored 40 DK points in 30 minutes. Salah Mejri did not have the 20-25 DK point game against the Lakers we were hoping for, playing only 22 minutes overall in that sweet matchup. But his cost is low and there is a small chance Zaza Pachulia comes back for this one. That and the likelihood that Dirk won’t play long minutes, if any, in the back end of a back to back and it makes for a good chance Majri sees 30+ minutes against Marreese Speights, who defense is on the missing persons list.
Speaking of Speights, while his defense isn’t there, his offense and usage is. With Festus Ezeli questionable and the W’s not going to use Bogut long minutes if they are winning by the margin that Vegas believes they will, then Speights is going to get some minutes and with his 30+% usage when he plays, it’ll mean DK points. Curry is the starter to target because he has shown that he can get to value, even in 28-30 minutes, which is likely what he’d play for three quarters.
– J.J. Barea ($3,600)
– Salah Mejri ($3,800)
– Marreese Speights ($3,100)
– Stephen Curry ($10,700)