Today’s NBA targets breakdown looks at BIG Wednesday’s 12-game slate, with an eye towards the studs, sleepers and mid-range players you want to have rotating in your lineups.
Damian Lillard vs. HOU ($9,200) – He hasn’t been under 38 DK FP in his last eight games, and has been over 50 in two of his last three. He has the consistency and the upside to be a consideration in any type of contest, and in this matchup, he should be able to help you in both. You almost can’t call Lillard the “centerpiece” of the Portland offense anymore – he’s the whole thing. Houston doesn’t have the defense to keep him off his spots, and when he gets comfortable he can drop points (both real and fantasy) in a hurry.
Chris Paul @ BOS ($9,100) – Boston defends points guards well, but Chris Paul isn’t just “point guards.” The Celtics have had two games against elite points guards in the last two months – John Wall went or 36 and Steph Curry, 38. They play a fast-paced game, and as the guy pulling all the strings for the Clips, he will get more than his fair share of opportunities. He’s always a safe choice, but he could have as much upside as he ever does lately in this one.
Ish Smith vs. SAC ($7,200) – Ish missed Sunday’s game, but came back Monday and played 33 minutes, so it seems safe to trust him to get his full complement of minutes and opportunities in this one. And that is a good thing, since this is a matchup he should be able to exploit. He is stuck in this price range because of his downside, with disappointing efforts sprinkled around here and there in his games with the Sixers so far. But he has also been over 38 DK FP in four of his last six, and against the Kings, you would expect to see him more in that range or better than in the sub-30 zone you’re afraid of.
George Hill vs. CHA ($5,700) – He has scored over 25 DK FP in four out of his last five games, and has been over 20 in eight straight. He is consistently playing 30+ minutes and his upside is 20+ points with solid if not great rebounding and assist stats. At this price, hitting that 25 point mark makes for a decent option as you’re filling in your roster, especially in a cash game.
James Harden @ POR ($10,400) – Five out of his last six games have been over 50 DK FP, including a 76 point outburst a week and a half ago against Washington (40-7-11 with four steals), and the 37 he dropped on Golden State in a losing effort last night. In other words, he has been looking at lot more like the Harden that might have been the fantasy MVP of the season last year than the guy who opened this season. It might be too late for the Rockets to end up with one of the top seeds their fans were expecting before the season, but it’s not too late for him to be the key player on plenty of fantasy lineups.
C.J. McCollum vs. HOU ($7,100) – Klay Thompson only had 13 points against Houston last night, compared to 35 for Steph, so it might seem strange that I am recommending both guards here. But Thompson took 19 shots and went 0-for-7 from downtown – good luck getting that to repeat itself. McCollum and Lillard are back to being the whole show in Portland. McCollum is averaging just over 18 shot attempts per game over his last five, and there is no reason to expect any fewer opportunities for him in this one.
NBA Value Plays
Andrew Wiggins vs. TOR ($6,400) – Going against DeRozan hopefully motivates Wiggins to tap into one of his more aggressive offensive games, where he is flashing all his ability in both getting to the line and hitting from the outside. He has the size and athleticism to just kind of fall into a few rebounds and blocks, so when his scoring comes together, he can easily be good for 30+ DK FP, about as much upside as you ever see in this price range.
Devin Booker vs. GS ($5,900) – This really could also be Archie Goodwin. The Suns play a guard-centric style of offense and have all year, because their personnel dictated it (ie, no big men). Their guards got hurt, and what do you know… still no big men. So Goodwin and Booker have been getting more minutes and opportunities by a factor of two or three, and their prices just haven’t caught up. They are both obvious values, but against the Warriors – who play good defense but keep the pace high enough that fantasy values often spike for their opponents – Booker is the better choice, for me, just because of his stroke from downtown. Those shots are more likely to be available.
LeBron James vs. LAL ($9,800) – LeBron is heading into the break on a little bit of a tear, averaging just over 50 DK FP over the last ten days, including his first triple-double of the season earlier this week (21-10-10 with a block and two steals against SAC). I actually like the fact that the game is on the road because if this one is close enough for LeBron to stay out there for all four quarters, he will just pile up stats in every category all along, as the Lakers don’t have anyone to keep him from getting to his spots or keep him off the boards.
Gordon Hayward @ NO ($7,300) – New Orleans makes for a good matchup for Hayward – he had 20-6 last time they faced off against each other. The thing is, with Favors around, Davis has his hands full, and Hayward should be able to get off his mid-range shots and even foray into the lane without getting his looks contested too heavily. I could see him besting his 35-ish DK FP scoring average in this one, trying to get Utah another win before the break.
Jae Crowder vs. LAC ($5,700) – He had 18 points, 5 boards and a pair each of assists and steals in last night’s loss to Milwaukee. The Celtics ultimately lost by one, but they managed to at least make it close on the strength of a 37-point 4th quarter. That kind of explosiveness could lead to a scoring bonanza against a like-minded team in the Clips. Crowder often has more value to the Celtics than he would for your fantasy team, but with the way these two teams match-up, there are any number of ways he could help Boston in this one, and whether he is scoring himself or serving as a facilitator, just having the ball in his hands a lot will give him a chance to outperform this price tag.
The Daily Fantasy Basketball Edge
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist @ IND ($5,400) – He has only played in six games this season and on paper, he doesn’t have the best matchup with Indiana. But here’s the thing: his price is only going up from here, which means for now he is a value, almost by definition. He had his highest-scoring night sincxe his return on Monday, with twenty points against Chicago, and he has already racked up over 40 rebounds and a handful of steals and blocks. He is someone whose fantasy value comes from his ability to put up stats in a lot of different categories and he is getting the minutes right off the bat to at least give himself a chance at doing just that.
DeMarcus Cousins @ PHI ($11,100) – The most expensive player on the board tonight, I understand the difficulty of rostering him instead of say, Steph Curry, but you can’t deny the upside of a guy who has had three games of 58 or more DK FP in the last two weeks (and two others of 47 or more). An obvious double-double candidate, he has actually also been averaging a surprising five assists a game over that same stretch. That is just indicative of a big man through whom his entire offense runs, and who has matured to the point of being able to consistently find the open man out of a double-team, enough to drive any defense batty.
Draymond Green @ PHO ($9,300) – Phoenix just does not have the big men to keep up with Draymond. Morris will have a shot at limiting his effectiveness in the post, but this will likely end up being an up-tempo, high scoring affair and in that type of environment, Draymond should flourish against a much slower Suns frontcourt. He has had a couple of games lately with single-digit scoring numbers, but he should be closer to 20 in this one, and whenever that happens he ends up pushing 50 DK FP, making him an excellent choice in any kind of contest format tonight.
Zach Randolph @ BKN ($6,500) – If Brooklyn has anything, it has a little bit of talent up front. But with Gasol out, Randolph should get plenty of looks on the offensive end. You could see Memphis going with a consistently smaller lineup with Jeff Green ($5,700) getting a lot more run and Randolph working as the de facto center, and while a matchup with Lopez might not be ideal, it is more than made up for by the increase in opportunities for the last real big man left for Memphis to work into their game plan.
Marvin Williams @ IND ($5,500) – He’s got a floor below twenty and a ceiling over 40, so you have to choose correctly, and probably limit yourself mainly to GPPs with him on your roster. But he is a talented player getting a fantasy boost because of the complete lack of other people out on the floor with him who can do the same things. Even when he has a bad matchup, he still has a chance to lock up the vast majority of the points in the paint and the rebounds for Charlotte, and when the matchup is good, all of that production should amount to very useful totals.
Andre Drummond vs. DEN ($8,000) – The thing about the Pistons is that no matter what strategy the other team is employing, their best chance to win always rides with Drummond and Jackson. Drummond has been over 30 DK FP in eight straight, with two of those coming in at 49.5 or better. He continues to be a rebound machine, with at least a dozen in six straight, and he is blocking 1.5 shots every night. If he can get the ball in his hands in this one, he will be able to score, so everything here relies on the Pistons’ ability to get into their sets efficiently. If he can do that, you could easily see one of those games on the upper end of his day-to-day potential.
DeAndre Jordan @ BOS ($7,900) – As much as DeAndre can struggle at times, he is still a big man who can move, and that is something sorely lacking on the Celtics’ roster. He should have no problem crashing the boards against the likes of Sullinger and Olynyk, and if this turns into a high-scoring affair – which it certainly could – he could be a strategic weapon for Doc against his old team. He should be able to score from above the rim with ease here, so even if he is not out there at crunch time, the rest of the time should be plenty for him to compile enough points and rebounds to easily justify the price tag. He is another obvious double-double candidate in this one.
Jonas Valanciunas @ MIN ($6,000) – Towns is certainly the sexier pick in this matchup, but Valanciunas is the kind of veteran who is going to get his even if the rook is doing flashier things on his end. For that reason, he’s an obvious candidate to get to double digits in points and rebounds here, even if the upper end of his potential is something like 18-12. 15-10 might be more realistic, but for $6,000, I will take it and run.
Kelly Olynyk vs. LAC ($4,300) – Like it is any time you put a Celtics big man in your lineup, this is basically a guess. However, with the way the Clippers have been playing since Blake went down, Olynyk could be the best fit here in terms of his ability to run and hopefully still have the size to at least try to keep Jordan off the glass. With the unpredictability of this roster, it’s hard to recommend him as anything but a flyer in a bigger tournament, but the potential is definitely there for 25+ DK FP on the cheap, which could help as you look to fill out the bottom of at least one iteration of your lineup for tonight.