WATCH: 3 IN THE KEY – GORDON HAYWARD
The NBA has some of its best fantasy players active as part of Wednesday night’s 10-game slate, with Cleveland, Houston and OKC all going. There are plenty of good options available to fill out your rosters, so here are a few names to consider, from every position and price range.
Russell Westbrook @ UTA ($11,800) – It’s somewhat hard to imagine Westbrook failing to come back with a vengeance tonight after a lackluster performance in a blowout loss to Portland last night. I expect him to get back on his triple-double pace against this Utah backcourt, with the only question being how many points he’ll have in the process. He’ll need to play pretty efficiently or dictate pace on his own in order to reach his fullest potential against a team that will try to slow everything down to contain him.
Kyle Lowry @ PHI ($8,200) – Lowry’s emergence as a fantasy option somewhat coincides with DeMar DeRozan coming back to Earth, but we’ve seen this from Lowry before, so there is no reason to think that both of those trends won’t continue. No one ever expected DeRozan to be able to score 35 points a night over the long haul, and Lowry is a great option to pick up some of that slack – so far, he has scored 24 or more points in six of his last eight, giving you 40+ fantasy points basically every night over that stretch.
Other Options – James Harden ($12,000), Kemba Walker ($7,200)
Jeremy Lin vs. LAL ($5,600) – He only played 20 minutes in his return from injury on Monday, but still managed to get you 28 fantasy points, with 10 points and seven assists. He was out on the floor at crunch time, and there is no specific minutes restriction on him from the medical staff. It likely won’t be very long before the coaching staff starts relying on him for longer stretches, and when that happens, there is plenty of room for this price to increase, making him a potential value right now while the cost is still suppressed.
James Harden vs. SAC ($12,000) – Always a good choice, the question really is whether you prefer him to Westbrook in this one. That’s never going to be an easy call, but Harden is on quite the run right now, with five straight with more than 50 fantasy points. Last time these two teams met (last month) he went for 23-10-9, numbers he could even improve on tonight.
Avery Bradley @ SA ($6,300) – With Isaiah Thomas (groin) set to miss tonight’s game, Bradley should get plenty of looks, giving him more upside than usual, and not hurting his floor any either. I think this makes him a good choice in any format contest.
Other Options – Bradley Beal vs. CHA ($6,800)
J.R. Smith @ MEM ($3,500) – With LeBron, Kyrie and Love all out tonight, the Cavs are going to need someone to shoot, and we know J.R. likes to shoot. He is coming off a 17-shot outing even with his higher-profile teammates out there with him, last night against this same Grizzlies team (finishing 8-for-17 with six 3-pointers made).
Other Options – Josh Richardson ($4,600), Iman Shumpert ($3,700)
Gordon Hayward vs. OKC ($8,400) – He is playing 30+ minutes a night as the clear focal point of the offense, getting up at least 15 shots attempts every night. He has hit 17 treys in their last six games, with at least two every night, and he is contributing with six boards a night as well. This has led to six straight performances with 40 or more fantasy points, very usable at this price, especially against an opponent that could push the pace on him, paving the way for even more volume than usual.
Paul George @ MIA ($7,900) – He is very much up-and-down this season, much like the entire Pacers team, so I can’t recommend him for cash games – he’s relatively expensive to have a floor in the low 30s. But he is playing big minutes, and he has the kind of game Miami is least-equipped to defend, so you could see one of his 50+ point outbursts (he has 49.25 or more in two of his last four), making him a legitimate option for a GPP lineup.
Other Options – Kawhi Leonard ($8,100)
Marcus Smart @ SA ($5,800) – Another beneficiary of the absence of Isaiah Thomas, he is going to be required to be the primary ball-handler for this offense tonight, giving him plenty of upside in the assists category. He always manages to stuff the box sheet in a lot of ways, but with the ball in his hands more you could see the few extra assists and shot attempts you need to really give him usable upside in a GPP.
Other Options – Otto Porter ($5,700), Jae Crowder ($5,300)
Blake Griffin @ ORL ($8,500) – Orlando’s frontcourt is a little banged up right now, and Griffin should be able to take advantage. He is averaging 20-12 with four assists a game in 35 minutes a night over the Clips’ last ten games, with a usage rate that has been steadily increasing all season long. He is someone capable of dropping a 60-fantasy point night for under $9K, something that is not always easy to find.
Other Options – DeMarcus Cousins ($11,600)
JaMychal Green vs. CLE ($5,800) – Green is another player getting a boost in value for me as a by-product of the Cavs decision not to send their big three to the game. He is someone Memphis has been leaning on for 34 minutes a night over their past ten games, and he has been almost averaging a double-double over that span, at nine points and twelve boards a game. Against this diminished Cavs squad, he should be able to outpace both of those figures.
Other Options – Derrick Favors ($5,500), DeMarre Carroll ($4,600)
Hassan Whiteside vs. IND ($8,300) – He has 40+ fantasy points in each of their last two games, with 37 points, 24 rebounds, five blocks and three steals over that span. He is a force on the defensive end, and it’s fun to have someone who can pad his fantasy performance in that way on your roster. When he is scoring, like he should be able to in this matchup tonight, I think he’s a consideration for any format contest.
Brook Lopez vs. LAL ($6,800) – Lopez is the best player on his team, facing an improved Lakers squad that still doesn’t have much in the way of interior defense, making him an upside play for me tonight. The issue for him so far has been that his rebounding has seemed a little lackluster, but with 15+ shots and seemingly multiple blocks every night, he is giving you a very consistent baseline as well, making him a cash-game consideration basically every night.
Other Options –
Tristan Thompson @ MEM ($4,900) – One of the more obvious beneficiaries of the absence of LeBron, Love and Kyrie tonight, we have seen Thompson play an outsized role at times when he is playing well. As someone who has already earned minutes even under normal circumstances, it stands to reason that he is someone the coaches trust to contribute in a big way. He should have plenty of time out there to grab rebounds and get looks on the other end, making him an easy candidate for a double-double.
Other Options – Bismack Biyombo ($5,200), Kelly Olynyk ($3,600)
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theasquad) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.