With no Cleveland, OKC, or Golden State in action for this one, there are only three players on the entire board who cost over $9,000. This should mean more mid-priced options than usual in play, less lineup overlap, and plenty of tough choices.
Today’s NBA targets breakdown looks at Wednesday’s 10-game slate, with an eye towards the studs, sleepers and mid-range players you want to have rotating in your lineups.
John Wall vs. HOU ($8,700) – He has been at 58.5 fantasy points or more in three of his last five (and the other two were still 38 point outings). With his ability to rack up double-digit assists, snag multiple steals and score on anyone, the question has always been why he didn’t look like this as a fantasy asset more often. Well, jump on board.
Brandon Knight vs. ORL ($7,500) – He is one of those players in the league who is relied on so heavily that if he is having a bad night, his team does go to someone else for production – they just lose. Between him and Bledsoe, one of them is touching the ball on virtually possession, meaning so much of Phoenix’s total fantasy production ends up consolidated between these two that they’re almost always decent selections in a cash game, and when the matchup is right (like tonight), they can help you out in a GPP as well.
Patrick Beverley @ WAS ($4,800) – At this point, Beverley really only has eight games of full minutes under his belt for the year, and he has been above 20 fantasy points in all of them. Sure, he has also been under 30 points in all of them, but there is something to be said for predictability. He probably won’t make you rich, but at this price, he’s also not likely to be the reason you lose.
Cory Joseph vs. SA ($4,500) – Cash game play only. He doesn’t shoot enough to have any real upside, but he has had 28+ minutes in five straight, which has translated into usable, if not truly exciting fantasy production. His best game over that stretch was 15-4-2 he posted against Denver, and he might be able to get to those numbers tonight if the Spurs push the pace (and especially if he is out there for a bunch of garbage time).
James Harden @ WAS ($10,600) – Before last night’s 10-point performance, which was more a product of them just not needing him as much as usual than anything, he hadn’t had fewer than 49 fantasy points in eight straight. That pretty much says it all, especially against a team without a defender capable of knocking him off his rhythm even a little.
Jimmy Butler vs. BOS ($7,700) – The first example of a player on the Bulls who might benefit from the pace of the Celtics tonight. Boston has shown an ability to force their style on other teams, and even though they are listed as a tough matchup, they might force the Bulls to change their style enough that some of their guys actually end up with more quality opportunities, not less.
Manu Ginobili @ TOR ($4,300) – I can’t say this often enough: the Spurs are so efficient, they are the team in the NBA with the most direct correlation between any given player’s minutes and his fantasy production. Coming off a game where Pop let him rest, you should see him over 20 minutes, which is almost always good for over 20 fantasy points, good value at this price, especially in a cash game.
Terrence Ross vs. SA ($3,500) – Ross was on fire last night, and ended up shooting 8-for-12 from the field – which you can’t really expect again. But he also had 39 minutes, and with Carroll missing again, you should expect another night with a ton of minutes. He doesn’t have to replicate last night’s 35-fantasy-point performance to return value here.
Carmelo Anthony @ UTA ($7,600) – He has been over 30 minutes in each of the last three games, and we know he can score. As someone who can really score on any one-on-one matchup, and who is the focal point of his offense when he is out there, he has had a minimum of 17 shot attempts in those three games. Long story short: the chances will be there.
Nicolas Batum vs. MIA ($7,500) – He is second on his own team in points, rebounds, assists, and steals. That sounds to me like exactly what you’re looking for out of a three – some of the skills of both a guard and a forward + scoring. He could be the missing piece on a title team, or the third wheel on a lottery team, and all of that, really, is out of his control. All he can control is the 35 fantasy point per game scoring average, which he has been consistent with pretty much all season long.
Marcus Morris vs. MEM ($6,100) – He is not one of the two primary threats on the Pistons, which means that some nights, the offense isn’t there for him. But he has been posting solid totals in a bunch of categories, and still has the ability to chip in a twenty-point night when the other two guys aren’t feeling it. I think Drummond may be feeling it tonight, so maybe Morris doesn’t have the 50-point upside he flashed last week, but against a decimated Grizzlies frontcourt, he should be able to get out in front of his averages.
Jeff Green @ DET ($5,000) – The Grizzlies have no one. NO ONE. Gasol sprained his ankle last night, and is likely going to miss. JaMychal Green sprained his knee – also like out. Wright and Martin – both out. Zach Randolph is going to be tied up with Drummond. Green and Matt Barnes both become interesting here, with Green obviously having the higher upside. You could see some Vince Carter ($3,000) and Courtney Lee ($4,000) as well as the Grizzlies just try to find some combination that works.
Blake Griffin @ MIL ($9,300) – When a night has so few truly high-priced players, you have to at least consider them all. Griffin is averaging just about 25-9-5 for the year, but he has the potential for up to 7 or 8 assists, up to 30 points, and up to a dozen rebounds, with a steal or a block or two thrown in, every night. He never seems to bring them all together at once for the massive upside 80-point showing, but all those different ways to score points do keep his floor up.
Chris Bosh @ CHA ($7,400) – Averaging nine boards a game, and routinely getting 12+ shot attempts a night, he is a threat for a double-double every time out. In this matchup, he should be able to best both of those averages, so I look for him to easily get your 4x value on this price, as a floor.
Dirk Nowitzki vs. ATL ($6,800) – I think Dirk might be a robot. Or maybe an alien. He went one pick ahead of Paul Pierce in the 1998 draft, and this guy is out there playing 30 minutes every night for this Dallas team. Maybe it can’t keep up – although we don’t have any evidence that it’s going to stop – but either way, it’s happening right now, so take advantage.
Nikola Mirotic @ BOS ($5,000) – Yet another Bull – it seems funny to me that the Celtics offense makes me like so many Bulls, but it makes sense – the pace of Boston’s attack is already built into the prices of all their players, but these Chicago weapons could be suddenly getting thrust into a style of play that boosts their value over what the prices indicate.
Andre Drummond vs. MEM ($9,400) -He’s a bit up and down for a fantasy stud, in the sense that his floor is around 30 fantasy points, and if you pay $9,400 for 30 points, you’re not going to be happy. But Gasol left last night’s game against OKC with what was reported to be an ankle sprain, and, especially if he misses, Drummond should have an opportunity here to dominate the glass and find his own scoring opportunities.
Pau Gasol @ BOS ($7,700) – Another player who might benefit from Boston in sort of a weird way – while the Celtics play good defense, they are such a contrast in styles with the Bulls that they might make Chicago pick up the pace enough that some of their players see better-than-usual scoring nights anyway. The rebounds that represent his floor should still be there (averaging double-digits), and the pace of this game could lead to an easy double-double chance.
Jared Sullinger vs. CHI ($6,300) – After all this talk about the Boston offense, it is probably high time I recommend an actual, honest-to-goodness Celtic. Sullinger is the definition of inconsistent, even in good ways – is he a rebounder and rim protector? Is he a stretch four with three point range? He can be all of it, which is what makes him so versatile. In this matchup, he should be able to play facing the basket and get more than his fair share of the rebounds, making him a threat for a double-double – anything he does more than that is a bonus.
Tim Duncan @ TOR ($5,900) – With Duncan coming off a night on the bench for rest, he should see a solid number of minutes in this one. And, with Kawhi possibly missing again, or limited at the very list, he should have plenty of opportunities come his way as well.