It’s Big Wednesday! Forget about Alan Anderson, drop your injunction against Gerald Henderson, take long looks at your life sized picture of Damian Lillard and get ready for the Jr. of Big Wednesdays, a hefty nine-game slate. Let’s get to it!

As always, if you have any questions, find me on Twitter @Jason_Walker_72.

Stats from StatMuse, NBAWowy, NBA Stats, Nylon Calculus


Injury Watch

StatusPlayer
OutEric Gordon (NO), Dion Waiters (OKC), John Henson (MIL), Stanley Johnson (DET), Ben McLemore (SAC)
DoubtfulKelly Olynyk (BOS), Luc Mbah a Moute (LAC), Mike Conley (MEM), Chris Andersen (MEM), Lance Thomas (NYK), Jahlil Okafor (PHI), Zach Randoloh (MEM)
QuestionableTerrence Jones (HOU), Andre Iguodala (GSW), Timofey Mozgov (CLE), Marco Belinelli (SAC), Rodney Hood (UTA)
ProbableHassan Whiteside (MIA), Kendall Marshall (PHI), Nik Stauskas (PHI), Nerlens Noel (PHI), Matt Barnes (MEM), Jared Sullinger (BOS)


New Orleans Pelicans @ Charlotte Hornets

Over/Under: 210
Line: Hornets by 9

As a public service to you, the reader, I am obliged to say that I can’t get Norris Cole right. I was fooled by his dealing with a back injury before he logged 40+ minutes in his last start. Now, I’m inclined to believe he’s good to go, despite the red cross that is attached to his profile right now due to same said back pain. As such, and despite his 5.4K salary, he’s a target tonight for me, albeit not my favorite. Jrue Holiday continues to be a good play, and for some reason Anthony Davis went down to 9.6K after back to back 50-burgers, but as a writer in this industry, I’m obligated to pooh-pooh The Brow for credibility purposes. He still doesn’t use elite levels of possessions (27 percent) and while he’s a top 15 peripherals player (22.7 DK Net Points per game), he’s not in the elite class there, either. All of which means there just hasn’t been a lot of games where Davis has done the exceptional, which is why there is deflation in his salary. Still, in his last two games the usage has been high, 45% against Utah and 31% against Sacramento.

In Charlotte, Al Jefferson has been back and is now increasing his minutes, which has made some of the non-Kemba guys a little more volatile, production-wise, from night to night. Davis is on Marvin Williams so you can scratch Marvin off the maybe list. Nic Batum’s cost has jumped to 7K, and one game in the last 15 for value at that number does not get me interested. Kemba is fine, though 8.3K makes him a tourney play here. Jefferson himself, with more minutes, looks good, and the Pelicans are bottom five in center defense, fantasy-wise, over the last three weeks (nine games). Jefferson is only 4.8K, so a sneaky solid play here.

Targets

  • Norris Cole ($5,400)
  • Jrue Holiday ($8,100)
  • Kemba Walker ($8,300)
  • Al Jefferson ($4,800)


Houston Rockets @ Philadelphia 76ers

Over/Under: 219
Line: Rockets by 9.5

Lots to like in this game as the Sixers are weak defending, well, just about everywhere, and the Rockets are still weak defending wings, a strange development considering Trevor Ariza’s reputation. I love Robert Covington, but I don’t like rostering him when he gets to and above the 6K salary range. I much prefer loading up Nerlens Noel at 6.1K instead. It took a while to find a second target, but it looks like Isaiah Canaan is the least hurtful choice at 4.1K. Canaan has played more recently and has played the most minutes with Ish Smith/Nerlens Noel on the court and Jahlil Okafor (out) off the court. Canaan has also played 28 and 32 minutes the last two games (albeit with Nik Stauskas out) and scored 44-45 DK points in those two games.

James Harden was allowing Dwight Howard to use possessions when on the court at the same time, but Harden has obliterated that recently, using 34% of possessions over the last five games and scoring 56+ DKPPG over that span. It’s going to be hard for Robert Covington or whoever to stay with Harden tonight. The other comes down to who do you like to get to 6x more, Howard to 48 DK points or Ariza to 36? Given the minutes he’s been playing, and Philly’s problems with the wings, I like Ariza here more.

Targets

  • Nerlens Noel ($6,100)
  • Isaiah Canaan ($4,100)
  • James Harden ($10,700)
  • Trevor Ariza ($6,200)


Memphis Grizzlies @ Boston Celtics

Over/Under: 207.5
Line: Boston by 10.5

The Grizzlies. Is any team set up to disappoint people more than Memphis tonight? After benching half their team, leaving just a few good men left to produce against the Cavaliers, many loaded up without any concern for the team scoring 80 points against the assumed Eastern champs. However, they went berzerkers, and everyone who rostered those Grizzlies was certainly happy. But, the Celtics are a slightly better defensive team and way less chaotic right now, plus they have the better coach. All of which means that trying to jump on the wagon now will yield much less savory results this time around. Just saying. We’ll wait and see what happens and who sits tonight, but two things are pretty solid. One is Mike Conley is out, so even though the C’s are not magic offense potion for opposing PGs, Mario Chalmers at 5.2K is a good start. The other is that with Marc Gasol, Brendan Wright and Chris Andersen out, JaMychal Green is the only big. HOWEVER, his game performance was unrealistically helped by some aberrant peripherals, so while he’s going to be a good play at 4.5K, especially if Zach Randolph misses again, a 50-burger repeat is clearly outlier territory. Tony Allen/Lance Stephenson are at 4.5 and 4.4K apiece and are high usage plays, especially if Matt Barnes misses again.

“[He] must have earned minutes immunity from Stevens for the whole season, as his minutes go relatively untouched and he’s second on the team in usage”

Isaiah Thomas is still using between 28-30% of possessions for this ever-changing Celtics lineup. His salary is a modest 7.3K, and he’s averaged 41.4 DKPPG over his last four games. Mario Chalmers isn’t going to shut Thomas down, so he’s a sneaky target on a night where all the top PGs will grab the spotlight. I would love Jared Sullinger here, but he’s dealing with a skin irritation and Kelly Olynyk is close to coming back and is questionable. Olynyk ruins all the Sully goodness in this world. So that leaves you looking at either Jae Crowder, who must have earned minutes immunity from Stevens for the whole season, as his minutes go relatively untouched and he’s second on the team in usage. Evan Turner is your other choice, having dipped back below 5K but still producing a solid 25.5 DKPPG over his last five games.

Targets

  • JaMychal Green ($4,500)
  • Tony Allen ($4,500)
  • Isaiah Thomas ($7,300)
  • Evan Turner ($4,900)


Miami Heat @ Milwaukee Bucks

Over/Under: 200.5
Line: Heat by 2.5

You can go after Milwaukee just about anywhere, and just the opposite is true about the Heat. Miami has really consolidated their minutes after the loss of Chris Bosh for the season and the subsequent acquisition of Joe Johnson. Over the last four games, all five main players (Hassan Whiteside doesn’t start) are over 30 minutes per game and Josh Richardson/Justise Winslow are solidly at 25. Whiteside is questionable with illness but he did go with the team to Milwaukee, which has to be considered a playing activity there. He’s a top target against a soft Milwaukee underbelly and Whiteside’s top three level peripheral rate. Goran Dragic is the other play with his 35 minutes per game rate and 40 DKPPG over his last four games. He’s behind Wade in usage, but his extra minutes and lower salary give him the edge here.

For all of the awesomeness of Point Giannis with Michael Carter-Williams out for the season, Khris Middleton is still using more possessions over the last four games. Amazing. Giannis is averaging over 53 DKPPG over his last four games and basically laid an egg against Chicago and still cleared 41 DK points. He’s basically Anthony Davis right now, but about a thousand cheaper. Jabari Parker’s salary actually dipped to 6.3K, but he’s averaging 35 DKPPG over his last four games. The PF position is actually the one place that isn’t deep red, position-wise, for opposition of the Heat.

Targets

  • Hassan Whiteside ($8,400)
  • Goran Dragic ($6,800)
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo ($8,700)
  • Jabari Parker ($6,300)


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Detroit Pistons @ Dallas Mavericks

Over/Under: 204.5
Line: Mavericks by 2.5

Dirk being under 6K (5.8 right now) should have some kind of auto alarm push notification to it. Dirk’s averaged 32.8 DKPPG over his last four games, but he’s also getting 30% usage over that span, too. The Pistons have been up and down in defending the frontcourt, but Dirk knows how to work around any defense. 17 FGA per game over that 4-game span, too. David Lee has been popular, but now is 5.1K and still coming off the bench, so rostering him now may be like showing up for school with last year’s cool backpack. The Pistons are weak defensively against centers, and Zaza Pachulia has been held back by Rick Carlisle lately for the playoffs, but at 4.8K, with this matchup and his history of 30+ DK games, you may roll him out as a punt play.

As good as Dirk is defensively, he (and David Lee for that matter) is a good target for opposing PFs, too. That puts Tobias Harris in focus at 6K. Harris has been getting good minutes and has averaged 30 DKPPG over his last four games, so the bump in matchup here makes sense for him. Andre Drummond is down to 7.6K and has been averaging 39 DKPPG over his last four games. Zaza isn’t going to shut Drummond down and Drummond isn’t coming off the floor if the Mavs go small, so Andre’s in a good spot here, too.

Targets

  • Dirk Nowitzki ($5,800)
  • Zaza Pachulia ($4,800)
  • Andre Drummond ($7,600)
  • Tobias Harris ($6,000)


New York Knicks @ Phoenix Suns

Over/Under: 206
Line: Suns by 2.5

How bad have the Knicks been defensively? They are underdogs to the dysfunctional Suns. Earl Watson has settled things down there over the last few games, and while they still are not a good team, it’s not as erratic anymore. Two players have emerged with usage/production roles in the Suns offense: Alex Len and Devin Booker. Over the last four games, Len is pushing 30% usage and Booker is at 26.5% himself. Len has averaged 42.3 DKPPG over the last four games, so while I applaud DK for getting his salary up significantly, his 6.6K salary is still in play against the Knicks, who happen to be softer in the two spots the Suns can exploit with Len and Booker. The Suns offense may have settled down, but they are a plus matchup everywhere on defense. Carmelo is a good play, and while the usage has been great with Kristaps (almost 30% over last four), his minutes are around 20 per game, and he’s salaried like he’s getting 32-34, so you can’t go there. If you’re looking for a second target, you may look at Arron Afflalo, whose usage isn’t great, but the matchup is and he’s only 4.6K.

Targets

  • Alex Len ($6,600)
  • Devin Booker ($5,300)
  • Carmelo Anthony ($8,500)
  • Arron Afflalo ($4,600)


Los Angeles Clippers @ Oklahoma City Thunder

Over/Under: 215
Line: Thunder by 5.5

The trend has been solid for about three weeks now, Kevin Durant is the Alpha Dog, usage wise, and Westbrook is facilitating more. Westbrook is at 26.7% usage over the last four games, while Durant is at 32% and KD is getting 10 more DKPPG than Westy over that same time. Chris Paul is a tough guy to roster against, too, so more KD at 10.6 vs. Russ at 10.8K. As a second target here, I might go Enes Kanter, who may play more to pull Jordan away from the basket and has produced and used well (23% usage, 1.0 DKPPM) over the last four games.

Chris Paul is a great play against Westbrook, and his 48 DKPPG rate over the last four should go up after tonight. OKC is ranked 25th against the PG position to give Paul a further bump. The second target is going to be one of the SGs, Jamal Crawford or J.J. Redick — both are similarly priced and produced about the same, with Crawford getting my edge due to slightly more usage (+1%) and better FTM rate than Redick.

Targets

  • Kevin Durant ($10,600)
  • Enes Kanter ($4,600)
  • Chris Paul ($9,800)
  • Jamal Crawford ($5,000)


Cleveland Cavaliers @ Sacramento Kings

Over/Under: 217
Line: Cavaliers by 7

The Cavs look as if they’re in disarray. They post good defensive numbers, then give up a ton of points to the weakened Grizzlies and lose. Kyrie Irving and LeBron James are excellent plays here, no matter how dysfunctional that situation has become. Both are, by far, the top users on the team and it’s beginning to look as if they have little else. It’s a pace up game for both of them, so I like them at 7.8K (Irving) and 9.9K (James). J.R. Smith at 4.7K against the perpetually bad Kings SG defense is an interesting punt play there as well.

“He’s dominating usage for the Kings, getting 37 percent over the last ten games and averaging 57 DKPPG over that same span”

Rudy Gay may not be a great play because of LeBron, but at 5.9K and getting his usual minutes, he’s a sneaky play. DeMarcus Cousins, though, at less than Durant or Westbrook at 10.4K, is tremendous here. He’s dominating usage for the Kings, getting 37% over the last ten games and averaging 57 DKPPG over that same span. Cleveland’s been tough against bigs, but will that matter when the sheer force of Boogie comes down on them in Sacramento? Rondo dropping below 8K and going up against Kyrie is interesting, too.

Targets

  • LeBron James ($9,900)
  • Kyrie Irving ($7,800)
  • DeMarcus Cousins ($10,400)
  • Rudy Gay ($5,900)


Utah Jazz @ Golden State Warriors

Over/Under: 207.5
Line: Warriors by 13

If Utah has a weak spot it’s in the backcourt and….oh my goodness they’re playing the Warriors. In two games against the Jazz this season, Stephen Curry hasn’t even gone over 50 DK points. It’s not a real exciting game for the Warriors because it should be pace down against Utah, who has been grinding things down slower and slower over the course of the season. Andrew Bogut may get some extra run against the bigger frontline of Utah, putting him in the mix at 4.6K. And Klay Thompson has had mixed results against the Jazz, but typically plays better at home and his price is down to 7.1K.

This is a pace up game for the Jazz, though, and Shelvin Mack, who has been showing tendencies of a volume shooter at PG (10 FGA, 21% usage) over the last four games, he hasn’t quite produced like it. He’s averaged 21 DKPPG over that span though and his cost is only 4.3K in a pace up game against GS with 29-30 minutes coming to him. Rudy Gobert at 6.6K getting rebounds and blocks looks like the next best play here and the guy most likely to benefit for Utah in getting extra possessions.

Targets

  • Stephen Curry ($10,500)
  • Andrew Bogut ($4,600)
  • Shelvin Mack ($4,300)
  • Rudy Gobert ($6,600)