Despite just three games last night, there are four teams playing the second game of a back-to-back in Wednesday’s big 14-game slate of NBA games as the league heads towards the All-Star break. With this many players going, there are lots of ways you can build a roster, so here are a few names to consider from every position and price range.
Russell Westbrook vs. NY ($12,500) – The Knicks are not the best matchup for a guard on paper, but that does not apply here, when they don’t have a single individual defender who can even come close to stopping him from getting to his spots at will. The last time these two teams met, the Thunder won easily on the back of a 27-point, 18-rebound, 14-assist performance from Westbrook, and his explosiveness and tenacity should allow for a similar type of performance again tonight.
Eric Bledsoe vs. LAL ($8,600) – For me, Bledsoe is much more of a GPP option than a cash-game consideration, but he does now have 50+ fantasy points twice since the beginning of February. That kind of upside at this price is enticing, and can be a big part of your success if he hits. This game against the Lakers gives a good opportunity, as Phoenix and LA are two of the faster-paced teams in the league, and a high-tempo, up-and-down game should definitely benefit a player like Bledsoe, who can thrive in transition.
Other Options – Stephen Curry ($9,600), Isaiah Thomas ($9,300), Kemba Walker ($7,600)
Jameer Nelson vs. MIN ($6,000) – Emmanuel Mudiay is out tonight. Nelson has gotten an opportunity in his absence, and has played very efficiently. He now has 30+ minutes in five straight, and in his last three, he has shot 20-for-36 from the floor with 11 3-pointers made — good for a fantasy scoring average of basically 40.0 points per night.
Other Options – George Hill ($5,800), Yogi Ferrell ($4,700)
DeMar DeRozan vs. CHA ($7,900) – With Harden no longer qualifying at SG and Jimmy Butler not going tonight, SG feels surprisingly thin despite the big slate of games. DeRozan is one of those players playing in the second half of a back-to-back in this one, but he will be looking for redemption after being harassed into a 5-for-19 shooting night by Butler in a loss to the Bulls last night. Prior to that he had four straight games with at least 38.75 fantasy points, averaging just over 27 points per game over that stretch.
UPDATE: After being ruled OUT earlier in the day, Wilson Chandler is now QUESTIONABLE to play tonight.
Will Barton vs. MIN ($7,300) – Barton is another beneficiary to a bunch of injuries in Denver, like Jameer Nelson, with Gallinari,
Chandler and Faried all out in addition to Mudiay. As a result of those guys missing time, Barton played 41 minutes on Monday and posted a line of 24-points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and a steal against the Warriors, shooting 4-for-8 from 3 in the game. His minutes per night is up about four per game on average right now, and that’s translating into seven more fantasy points than his season average, a jump in production not yet fully baked into this price.
Other Options – Nicolas Batum ($7,600), Devin Booker ($7,200)
Marcus Smart vs. PHI ($5,700) – The Celtics are another squad going through a number of different injuries heading into break. There is no one new on the horizon who is suddenly get minutes and production as a result, but with Bradley and Jaylen Brown both out, Smart should continue to see extended minutes in the near future. He is a kind of jack-of-all-trades, which makes him hard to trust completely as a fantasy option – but his ability to get you to five or more rebounds, assists, and steals on any given night gives him a nice floor that makes him a good consideration in cash-game lineups in my opinion.
Other Options – Evan Fournier ($5,900), Eric Gordon ($5,200)
Giannis Antetokounmpo @ BKN ($10,800) – His performances have been erratic enough from a fantasy standpoint that it’s hard to trust him in a cash-game lineup. But he is still playing 35+ minutes more often than not, which gives him plenty of opportunities to stuff the stat sheet. Also, against a team like Brooklyn that will allow him to penetrate and create for teammates or score, and also will struggle to dominate the glass, he has the potential to put up a big scoring total and reach double-digits in three categories.
Kawhi Leonard @ ORL ($8,900) – The forgotten superstar in San Antonio, Kawhi is currently on a run of four straight games with 30+ real points, and from someone with the ability to get you a handful of rebounds and assists every night based on nothing but the efficiency of the system he’s in, that creates plenty of upside. That’s exactly the formula that has led to seven straight games with 40+ fantasy points, making him a perfect cash-game option in my opinion, especially when he’s always a threat to grab you four or five combined steals and blocks to push his upside even higher.
Other Options – LeBron James ($10,500), Kevin Durant ($9,700)
Jae Crowder vs. PHI ($5,700) – He doesn’t score enough to give huge upside, but like Marcus Smart, he is a beneficiary right now of some more opportunities with the guys missing from the Celtics’ roster. He’s been over 30 fantasy points in nine of his last 12 games, very useful production at this price. With a few more minutes and shot opportunities in a good matchup, I think he should be able to get to that point again tonight.
Other Options – Dario Saric ($5,800)
Blake Griffin vs. ATL ($9,500) – Griffin is averaging nearly seven assists a game over the last couple of weeks, playing with the ball in his hands on offense quite a bit. Combine that with the streak of two straight (and three of four) games with 20+ points and double-digit rebounds, and it is no wonder he is averaging almost a full nine points more than his season average over his last 10 games. This is a number he should be able to match against an Atlanta team without any individual defender capable of slowing him down on his own.
Other Options – DeMarcus Cousins ($11,300), Karl-Anthony Towns ($10,200), Paul Millsap ($7,900)
Nerlens Noel @ BOS ($6,100) – With Embiid listed as questionable, Noel and Okafor (if he plays) will get the lions’ share of the minutes in the middle for the 76ers tonight against Boston, a role and a matchup that has led to some big fantasy outings for a number of players this season. Flatly put, for all their strengths, Boston is the worst rebounding team in the NBA, which helps build a nice floor for a player like Noel, making him a great option in any format contest tonight in my opinion.
Channing Frye vs. IND ($5,000) – He got the nod in the starting lineup, replacing Kevin Love, in the first night of their back-to-back yesterday against Minnesota. He ended up playing 33 minutes and taking 15 shots, including 4-for-11 from 3. That level of usage amounts to a meteoric rise in his fantasy stock value, not really accounted for by the price tag just yet. If he can get you even a semblance of the 40+ fantasy points he saw last night, he would make for a valuable piece tonight.
Other Options – P.J. Tucker ($5,000), Noah Vonleh ($3,000)
DeMarcus Cousins @ GS ($11,300) – Last time the Kings faced off against Golden State, they got a victory in overtime, and Cousins was, of course, the primary reason why, scoring 32 points to go along with 12 boards, nine assists, two steals and a block. Cousins is coming off a massive 72.5 DKFP performance last night, clearly showing his upside as the Kings usage monster.
Karl-Anthony Towns @ DEN ($10,200) – A game in Denver against this faster-paced Nuggets team should mean an uptick in opportunities for everyone on this Minnesota squad. Towns is the kind of finisher who can thrive getting the ball in almost any position before the defense is set and making a move to create his shot. This should be a nice matchup of rising young talents at the position in Towns against Nikola Jokic, where both of them can succeed offensively while focusing on help defense rather than keeping a constant body on the opposing center.
Other Options – Nikola Jokic ($10,300), Anthony Davis ($10,000)
Frank Kaminsky @ TOR ($6,000) – Kaminsky has taken 15 or more shots in four of the Hornets’ last five games, and is in line to get another start tonight with Cody Zeller and Miles Plumlee both ruled inactive. While the offense certainly flows through Walker and Batum, they will need to get the ball inside on occasion against this Raptors squad, and Kaminsky is really their only option to accomplish that, which makes him a strong candidate to grab his fourth 40+ fantasy point performance in their last five games.
Other Options – Tristan Thompson ($5,500)
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.