Big Wednesday is back and brings us the 11-game goodness for this evening’s slate. Do you roster or fade Russell Westbrook tonight? I’ll help you decide along with all the high, mid and value plays on this diverse slate. Let’s get to it!
As always, if you have any questions, find me on Twitter @JasonWalker_72 or on the Swayy app @jaywalker72.
New York Knicks @ Miami Heat
Line: Heat -7.5
Pace: New York (23rd), Miami (29th)
Offensive Rating: New York (22nd), Miami (11th)
Defensive Rating: New York (18th), Miami (4th)
Net Rating Differential (the higher the NRD, the more likely for a blowout): 7.0 in favor of the Heat
Hassan Whiteside is questionable for the Heat.
New York is coming off a win in Atlanta and on the back end of a back to back. You can attack the Knicks in the frontcourt, and if Hassan Whiteside does sit with some patella trouble, then Chris Bosh is an excellent play to soak up the entirety of the Heat big man goodness. Dwyane Wade continues to eat up the possessions and is the other good play here against the Knicks.
Carmelo keeps on truckin’, putting up a 50+ DK point game against the Hawks Tuesday night. For Carmelo to hit value, he needs to shoot a lot like the 22 times he launched against the Hawks. Since this is a slower paced game, I’m not so sure I see that happening. Best to fade these guys completely on a back-to-back, but if you were going to go with anyone on the Knicks, best to either get Melo for the usage or shoot for value with Robin Lopez against Bosh in the middle if Whiteside is out.
– Chris Bosh ($7,900)
– Dwyane Wade ($6,900)
– Carmelo Anthony ($8,200)
– Robin Lopez ($4,700)
Tonight’s Matchup Breakdown
Indiana Pacers @ Orlando Magic
Line: Pacers -1
Pace: Indiana (8th), Orlando (23rd)
Offensive Rating: Indiana (14th), Orlando (17th)
Defensive Rating: Indiana (7th), Orlando (13th)
Net Rating Differential: 3.2 in favor of the Pacers
Elfrid Payton is questionable for the Magic and both George Hill and CJ Miles are questionable for the Pacers.
In this game, with both starting PGs questionable, it could be a good night to roster both Victor Oladipo and Monta Ellis. First, Point ‘Dipo for the Magic. Oladipo scored nearly 38 DK points at the point in a blowout loss to the Pistons. His usage wasn’t grand, only 21%, but could have been skewed due to the result. You have to love shooting guards who play as points and if Payton is out again, then Victor is a solid play for less than 6K (5.8). The Pacers have not done well defending opposing centers, so Nikola Vucevic, who had over 30% usage against the Pistons, should be a good play against the Pacers.
Now for Monta Ellis. Point Monta can be fun, evidenced by his 17 point, nine assist effort against the tough Miami Heat Monday night. If both Hill and Miles are out, he’ll be a great value in this matchup for 5.9K price. Paul George has been getting back in the volume swing on things, shooting 29 times Monday against Miami and putting up 50.5, 56 and 49.8 DK points his last three games.
– Victor Oladipo ($5,800)
– Nikola Vucevic ($7,300)
– Paul George ($9,100)
– Monta Ellis ($5,900)
Cleveland Cavaliers @ Washington Wizards
Line: Cavs -7
Pace: Cleveland (28th), Washington (5th)
Offensive Rating: Cleveland (5th), Washington (25th)
Defensive Rating: Cleveland (5th), Washington (19th)
Net Rating Differential: 8.6 in favor of the Cavs
Gary Neal is questionable for the Wizards and Brad Beal and Nene are out.
Kyrie Irving is in a good spot against John Wall tonight and he will be an 8K player soon enough now that he’s close to losing his minutes restriction. Against the Raptors and Kyle Lowry Monday night, Irving scored 45 DK points in nearly 29 minutes and had a 31% usage rate. He won’t play 35 minutes, but a similar game to Monday is in focus here in a better matchup against Wall. With Irving using so much, LeBron was down to 26% and while he’ll most likely bubble at 30% on most nights, having Irving on the court mitigates his ceiling and keeps him in cash game play only at his salary. For value, he’s a one-trick-pony, but JR Smith is in a good spot against the banged up Wizards wings and being sub 5K would be the only value play of consideration for the Cavs.
Now, with Irving back instead of Matthew Dellavedova, the Cavs PG defense just got easier, meaning that John Wall may be matching Irving, DK point for DK point tonight. With other high end PGs in better game totals and more people on them, Wall could be a very sneaky tourney play considering his exorbitant 9.6K salary. With Gary Neal closer to coming back, it takes me off Ramon Sessions, who has been a consistent value play at his 4Kish salary with Beal/Neal out. If Neal misses again, Sessions has a good matchup with some Irving and JR Smith, both of which are the weakest links of the Cleveland defense.
– Kyrie Irving ($6,500)
– J.R. Smith ($4,500)
– John Wall ($9,600)
– Ramon Sessions ($4,100)
Detroit Pistons @ Boston Celtics
Line: Celtics -4
Pace: Detroit (19th), Boston (4th)
Offensive Rating: Detroit (21st), Boston (19th)
Defensive Rating: Detroit (8th), Boston (2nd)
Net Rating Differential: 2.7 in favor of the Celtics
Avery Bradley is out for the Celtics. Isaiah Thomas is a game time decision, but he is expected to play.
With Bradley out for the C’s, Evan Turner got the minutes, playing 36 of them against the Nets. His offense was still of the not-good variety, but he did grab 11 boards and score 31 DK points. His salary has jumped up to 5.6K, so if you missed the one-game value window for 2015-16, it’s gone. He’ll need to score more to make value and Detroit isn’t the best place to do that. Brad Stevens insists that Jared Sullinger is not a 30 minute guy, which is too bad, because he crushes when on the court and this is a great matchup against Andre Drummond and Ersan Ilyasova. A sneaky play might be to think that Marcus Smart may play more in light of Evan Turner’s meh outing in place of Bradley. Smart has played 24 and 23 minutes his last two night out and has scored 22.3 and 18.5 in that span. At 4.3K, he’s a tournament low-owned play. IF Thomas sits, lock Smart in a straight value play. Jae Crowder and Isaiah Thomas are the safe minutes plays on the Celtics, but both have salaries that exceed value tonight.
I’m reading this brochure called, “So, You Want to Play Andre Drummond” and the first bullet point on the inside is that Boston is a great time to play the big fella. In his last outing against the Boston roster the day after Christmas, Drummond had a 22/22 game for a 59.5 DK game total. So you want to play Andre Drummond.
– Marcus Smart ($4,300)
– Jared Sullinger ($5,500)
– Andre Drummond ($9,000)
– Ersan Ilyasova ($5,300)
Toronto Raptors @ Brooklyn Nets
Line: Raptors -7
Pace: Toronto (27th), Brooklyn (18th)
Offensive Rating: Toronto (6th), Brooklyn (28th)
Defensive Rating: Toronto (14th), Brooklyn (22nd)
Net Rating Differential: 8.9 in favor of the Raptors
Joe Johnson is questionable for the Nets and DeMarre Carroll is questionable for the Raptors.
In Shane Larkin’s first game as starting point guard for Jarrett Jack, he was terrible, scoring 8.25 DK points in 26 minutes. His offrat and defrat numbers were atrocious as well, meaning that Kyle Lowry should take advantage in a big way for the Raptors tonight. Lowry’s last three games have gone for 44.3, 48.8 and 52 DK points and with Larkin, and Brooklyn’s defense in general, being subpar, only a blowout will hinder his chances of making 6x value on his modest 8.3K salary tonight. Lowry is the only real good play for the Raptors tonight, though DeMar DeRozan will always be able to score due to his free throw rate (and a good matchup here). If you were going to go anywhere else, maybe Jonas Valanciunas, who is 5.1K and will score a DK point per minute against Brook Lopez, but just won’t play more than 25-26 minutes.
Larkin’s time will be short at the point if he doesn’t improve his overall production, but also because he simply didn’t get the ball enough to Brook Lopez his first time out. For Lopez to have only have 14 shots against a broken Celtics interior defense is an indictment of the floor general to make sure Lopez gets his hands on the ball in a good situation. Toronto has been a net positive towards opposing centers, so if Lopez doesn’t see closer to 20 shots in this game, we may see some (gasp!) Donald Sloan in the Nets starting lineup. I liked 6.8K Thaddeus Young, but I’m ok with the 7.4K version, too. Young does everything on the court and is played 38 minutes in his game against the Celtics Monday.
– Kyle Lowry ($8,300)
– Jonas Valanciunas ($5,100)
– Brook Lopez ($7,700)
– Thaddeus Young ($7,400)
Denver Nuggets @ Minnesota Timberwolves
Line: Timberwolves -3.5
Pace: Denver (20th), Minnesota (17th)
Offensive Rating: Denver (17th), Minnesota (24th)
Defensive Rating: Denver (27th) Minnesota (20th)
Net Rating Differential: 2.1 in favor of the Timberwolves
Emmanuel Mudiay is questionable for the Nuggets and Nikola Pekovic is questionable for the Timberwolves. Kenneth Faried is not listed as questionable, but he missed practice Tuesday but is expected to play.
The Nuggets are a mess all over. So are the Timberwolves. Having Mudiay and Pek trying to come back tonight only muddles an already highly variant minutes rotation from both coaches. If I had to rank my least favorite rotation coaches, Sam Mitchell (MIN) and Michael Malone (DEN) would be two of the least liked.
The best thing to do in these situations for cash games is to seek out the islands of trust. On Denver, it’s Danilo Gallinari, who gets his usage and shots, really no matter what. If his shots aren’t falling, that a problem, but he gets his minutes (38 per game his last two games) and will take those shots, so he’s in. For Minnesota, it’s Ricky Rubio at a steady 7.1K salary. Rubio gives the exposure to the Minnesota offense and, more importantly, the exposure to the poor Denver defense.
For others, Kenneth Faried, if he plays, is a solid play at 6.2K, but Malone doesn’t like playing him more than 25-27 minutes in a game, limiting his upside and his DK point per minute production. Karl-Anthony Towns is a good play here, too, if Gorgui Dieng and Pekovic don’t intrude too much into his minutes.
– Danilo Gallinari ($6,900)
– Kenneth Faried ($6,200)
– Ricky Rubio ($7,100)
– Karl-Anthony Towns ($7,200)
Dallas Mavericks @ New Orleans Pelicans
Line: Pelicans -5.5
Pace: Dallas (16th), New Orleans (10th)
Offensive Rating: Dallas (8th), New Orleans (15th)
Defensive Rating: Dallas (16th), New Orleans (30th)
Net Rating Differential: 6.4 in favor of the Mavericks
Tyreke Evans is questionable but expected to play for the Pelicans. Chandler Parsons left Tuesday’s game with a hip injury and is questionable for the Mavericks.
Surprise, it’s the top game total of the night, though that could change if the Mavericks call off a couple of their starters like Parsons and Deron Williams tonight. Two top 15 offenses with little semblance of defense, even with the presence of Anthony Davis in this game.
For Dallas, Zaza Pachulia is a solid play, being as consistent as possible right now, scoring over 36.3, 36.3, 36.3 and 38.8 over the last four games. This is a plus matchup for Zaza in this one and with so little competition for rebounds in Dallas, he’ll continue to be a solid option at 6K. With Parsons questionable, Raymond Felton has to be considered at 4.6K and a likely 34-36 minutes.
Anthony Davis has to be considered in a plus matchup against Dallas, despite the other options on the slate and the lack of chart-topping performances from him lately. His cost is still buoyed above 10K (10.3) due to the potential of a 70 DK point game. Still, this is a top total game and the lack of strong defenders against him should give him a bump to value him in this game. If Tyreke Evans plays, as expected, he’s still in play, even at 7.7K, but it limits the value of Norris Cole, who has been a solid value play over the last three games and is now at 4.5K. Jrue Holiday and Ryan Anderson are solid off-the-bench plays tonight as well.
– Zaza Pachulia ($6,000)
– Ray Felton ($4,600)
– Anthony Davis ($10,300)
– Tyreke Evans ($7,700)
Utah Jazz @ San Antonio Spurs
Line: Spurs -16
Pace: Utah (30th), San Antonio (26th)
Offensive Rating: Utah (16th), San Antonio (3rd)
Defensive Rating: Utah (17th), San Antonio (1st)
Net Rating Differential: 15.6 in favor of the Spurs
Derrick Favors is out for the Jazz and Tony Parker is out for the Spurs.
Jeff Withey has been a supreme value play for the Jazz in relief of Favors, scoring 31.3, 24.8, 37.5 and 33.3 in his last four games. His cost has risen to 4.6K, but remains a solid play against the Spurs, who are tough on every position, but only moderately so against centers. Trey Burke is the other play for the Jazz, given his 4.9K salary and high usage without Favors, Gobert and Burks.
In San Antonio, Patty Mills got the start for Parker but didn’t jack the shots we’re accustomed to him doing since he was on the court with Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge and company. Since he didn’t, he struggled to make value at 3.7K, and now he’s 4.1K. Proceed with caution, even though he should be on your value radar tonight. If Tim Duncan does not play tonight, LaMarcus Aldridge, at 6.8K, looks good to go along with Kawhi.
– Jeff Withey ($4,600)
– Trey Burke ($4,900)
– LaMarcus Aldridge ($6,800)
– Patty Mills ($4,100)
Charlotte Hornets @ Phoenix Suns
Line: Hornets -3
Pace: Charlotte (15th), Phoenix (3rd)
Offensive Rating: Charlotte (9th), Phoenix (23rd)
Defensive Rating: Charlotte (11th), Phoenix (24th)
Net Rating Differential: 6.6 in favor of the Hornets
Nicolas Batum has been upgraded to questionable for the Hornets, while Al Jefferson is out and Jeremy Lamb is expected to miss this game as well.
The Suns are the hottest mess in the league right now and I really don’t know the path to the 100 or so points Vegas has on the board for them tonight. Brandon Knight is going to get his minutes out there, almost no matter what and Devin Booker should be in line to shoot a ton of threes tonight against Jeremy Lin (in case Batum and Lamb miss tonight). I would love to highlight both PJ Tucker and TJ Warren, since they played so well together, but Jeff Hornacek has played snow globe with his frontcourt to the point where, on this larger slate, it’s not worth shaking the Magic 8-Ball to guess what he might do tonight.
For the Hornets, if Batum and Lamb are out, along with Al Jefferson, then there is a solid 30% usage night for Kemba Walker in a plus matchup against Knight and the Suns. If Batum plays, it lessens the exposure overall, but still I’m very high on Kemba tonight. Even when he’s on the floor with Lin, Walker stays over 30% usage, even if it looks like Lin decides at times to look for his own shot even if Walker is hot. In that scenario, Lin and Walker are both in play.
– Brandon Knight ($7,400)
– Devin Booker ($4,300)
– Kemba Walker ($8,200)
– Jeremy Lin ($5,500)
Memphis Grizzlies @ Oklahoma City Thunder
Line: Thunder -5.5
Pace: Memphis (25th), Oklahoma City (9th)
Offensive Rating: Memphis (25th), Oklahoma City (2nd)
Defensive Rating: Memphis (15th), Oklahoma City (9th)
Net Rating Differential: 10.2 in favor of the Thunder
Kevin Durant is questionable but expected to miss this game against Memphis.
The Fade Westbrook crowd won the night Monday night as other options (Lowry, Rajon Rondo, et all) scored more than Westbrook, despite Westbrook not having to share the floor with Kevin Durant. Why did this happen? Well, he shot poorly for one thing, below 30%. But another was that his usage wasn’t what we have come to expect with Durant off the floor. Westbrook’s usage on Monday against Sacramento was only 22.3%, shockingly low on any Westbrook night. It could be aberrant, but Billy Donovan also hindered usage by moving Westbrook to the SG position quite a bit, especially down the stretch, by playing Cameron Payne (27% usage in that game) at PG. This is a HUGE development, because we want Westbrook to be the primary ball handler and playmaker, not Payne as happened Monday night. All of this would point to fading Westbrook, especially at his suddenly extraordinary 11.6K salary. I’d agree, which means he’ll probably go for 100.
So who to play instead? Payne is an interesting tourney-only play at 3.3K since Billy likes his PGs and wouldn’t mind playing both together some more. And Steven Adams (4.1K) is going to be called upon to play longer minutes against Marc Gasol. Adams has produced 25.8 and 31.5 his last two games. For Memphis, Gasol is the linchpin, and at 6.9K he’s rock solid value there. Zach Randolph got the surprise start in his game against Portland last time out and cranked out a 55 DK-pt game. If he starts again, he’s a good play at 6.2K.
– Steven Adams ($4,100)
– Cameron Payne ($3,300)
– Marc Gasol ($6,900)
– Zach Randolph ($6,200)
Los Angeles Clippers @ Portland Trail Blazers
Line: Clippers -4.5
Pace: Los Angeles (14th), Portland (21st)
Offensive Rating: Los Angeles (4th), Portland (12th)
Defensive Rating: Los Angeles (12th), Portland (21st)
Net Rating Differential: 5.8 in favor of the Clippers
A lot of folks will be on DeAndre Jordan against the Blazers bigs, especially after Z-Bo shredded them in their last game. But I like the Chris Paul matchup with Damian Lillard a little more. Paul, back at 9.2K, is being relied on more to shoot more with Blake Griffin hurt and has raised his usage. Also, JJ Redick has been really consistent in Griffin’s absence and has a plus matchup here against Portland.
Most of the Blazers are now overpriced due to the extended absence of Lillard and the redistributed production that followed. Follow the usage back to Lillard, even against Paul, as Lillard will be the only reason this game stays within the five point spread Vegas has laid out there. Al Farouq-Aminu should have a solid matchup here and, at 5.1K, is a solid value at SF.
– Chris Paul ($9,200)
– DeAndre Jordan ($7,800)
– Damian Lillard ($8,700)
– Al-Farouq Aminu ($5,100)