Today’s NBA targets breakdown looks at Wednesday’s BIG 11-game slate, with an eye towards the studs, sleepers and mid-range players you want to have rotating in your lineups.




Russell Westbrook vs. ORL ($11,000) – He has been over 50 DK FP in five straight and eight of nine. He is coming off back-to-back triple doubles and five straight double-doubles. His upside knows no bounds. In other words, if you want a top stud in a cash game lineup, he is the obvious choice. No one else has been as consistently great as him from a fantasy perspective all season long, and he’s been, if anything, even better recently.

Chris Paul vs. MIN ($9,600) – Ever since Blake went down, Chris has consistently taken on more of the load offensively. His minutes, shots, points, and fantasy points are all up over this stretch compared to his season-long averages, all of a sudden creating something of a value where before there was “just” an elite option. He scores 30+ fantasy points every night, with 60+ point upside, making him a solid play in any kind of tournament format.


Ish Smith vs. ATL ($7,100) – On paper it’s not the best matchup, but the 76ers have actually managed three wins in their last seven games (they had four in their previous 41 games), and then took Golden State to the wire, losing only 108-105 last time out, on Saturday. That qualifies as a turnaround for a team that’s been this bad recently, and it’s hard not to attribute that to Smith. Of their seven total wins on the year, six of them have come with Smith; their 6-11 record since he arrived is actually somewhat respectable. He has just a few options at his disposal, so he gets plenty of looks of his own, but when he does dish, he also has a couple of solid finishers who can help him rack up the assists. He couldn’t have landed in a better spot for his own value.

Darren Collison vs. CHI ($4,600) – This pick obviously has everything to do with Rondo’s toe. Rondo is listed as questionable for tonight’s game with turf toe, which we’ve seen seriously limit guys for long stretches of time. In this particular situation, what’s noteworthy is the fact that Collison is one of the best players on the Kings, and when he’s inserted into the starting lineup, he immediately becomes a top option. With or without Rondo, he routinely turns his nights with 30+ minutes into nights with 30+ DK FP.





Jimmy Butler @ SAC ($8,800) – Butler has had two double-doubles in his last six games, once with 26 points and ten assists, and once with 28 points and 14 boards. In other words, he can do everything, and is establishing himself as one of the most consistent threats from the 2-guard position in the entire league. He is the lynchpin of everything the Bulls do on offense and defense, and in a matchup with the Kings, he should be able to get to his spots at will.

Klay Thompson @ WAS ($7,500) – He is 16-for-28 in his last three games from behind the arc. That is just a tad over 57%. That’s just about in line with Shaq’s career FG%, and he was pretty much just dunking for the first half of his career. A very logical, sound argument could be made that Klay is the second best shooter in the world, and in what should be a fast-paced game against a team with no one to effectively defend him on the perimeter, he should have a good change to keep up the pace he has set over the past week.


Avery Bradley vs. DET ($5,700) – In a game where Isaiah Thomas might have a harder time than usual scoring the ball, Bradley could see his opportunities for fantasy production spike. He is always a good bet to supplement his scoring with some contributions in other categories, and that doesn’t change here, either. He will likely be tasked in large part with defending Reggie Jackson, and spending the whole game on the ball, against a guy who is never crashing the boards himself, will regularly leave Bradley in a position to accumulate the rebounds and defensive stats he needs to reach his real upside.

J.J. Redick vs. MIN ($5,100) – There should be a fantasy category for “sneakily might be one of the most valuable players on his team.” He has turned himself into an above-average defender and rebounder, and someone who will make the right decisions with the ball and keep it moving around the perimeter instead of letting the offense stagnate, something Chris Paul must appreciate (sometimes it feels like him and Redick are the only two who ever pass on this team). And, J.J. has always been able to shoot, and still can. While Minnesota is good at defending two-guards, that’s because they have a couple of above-average on-the-ball defenders on the perimeter, not because they play the kind of great team defense that would keep Redick from getting open looks.




Kawhi Leonard vs. NO ($8,000) – There is just a murderer’s row at the top of this position tonight, with Durant, LeBron, Paul George and Kawhi all active. I would not be at all surprised to see more than one SF in plenty of lineups tonight. This will be the second time these two teams square off this year, and unless you specifically remember the first one, you might be surprised to learn that the Pelicans won the first matchup, 104-90. I don’t think the Spurs liked that much. Kawhi had 22-5 in that game, but I expect him to be a primary offensive option for San Antonio in this one as their bigs have their hands full containing Davis.

Gordon Hayward vs. DEN ($7,500) – Hayward is the kind of player whose fantasy value is constrained at times by the style of play of the team he is on. So even though Utah features him prominently, they just don’t score enough to maximize his fantasy potential. That’s where facing a team like Denver can come in handy. Denver averages something like 5 more possessions per game than Utah, and if that style of play wins out, Hayward could be looking at the best of both worlds: a great matchup that causes him to be featured in his offense, and an uptick in the tempo of his offense that creates more opportunities for everyone.


Robert Covington vs. ATL ($6,200) – He is out there for 30+ minutes every night, which right there just shows what the value of bad teams is for fantasy purposes. Only the Sixers could turn Covington into a primary option and fantasy standout, but the fact is, they’ve done it. With Atlanta’s ability to defend guards and very little else this season, Covington should see double-digit shot attempts, and with that number of opportunities, he could be a good option, especially in a cash game (24 or more DK FP in 9 straight with 40+ upside, not bad for the price).

Otto Porter vs. GS ($5,700) – He got 20+ minutes last time out and didn’t seem to suffer any setbacks this time, so you would expect him to get his usual run in this one, barring any late setbacks. Typically, he’s been out there for about 30 minutes or more every night this season, getting up double-digit shot attempts and contributing on the glass and on defense. Someone is going to have to score in this matchup other than Wall, so it’s easy to imagine him with double-digit attempts, which could prove to be a significant boost to his normal fantasy production.




Anthony Davis @ SA ($9,500) – He pulled down 18 boards last time he faced the Spurs, and Duncan is going to be out for this one. Davis has had 20 or more points every single night that’s gotten his full complement of minutes since missing some time just after the new year. When he is scoring like that, it’s almost surprising when you don’t get the double-double bonus. And when you do, he’s good for 50 fantasy points. He was priced in the stratosphere when the season opened because we all saw 80 DK FP upside, but consistently getting you 40+ at this price is perhaps even more valuable.

Paul Millsap @ PHI ($8,100) – After there was some doubt about his availability in their last game due to a slightly sprained ankle, Millsap went out and played 34 minutes, grabbing a dozen boards. He only scored 8 points, but he has had games like that all season long, where he just isn’t getting a ton of looks. But against this Philly team, there is no reason not to just continually pound them in the paint all night long, and Millsap could be a big part of that. He has had 20+ points five times in the past couple of weeks, and along with everything else he brings to the table, that’s when he flashes his 50+ DK FP upside. That could be tonight.


LaMarcus Aldridge vs. NO ($7,000) – I included him and Davis both here because this is just the matchup I am most interested in watching tonight. Last time they faced each other, Davis had 20 points and 18 boards, and Aldridge went for 20 and 11. That kind of player is what the Spurs were looking for when they signed Aldridge – the kind of guy who could go toe-to-toe with the best power forwards in the league. With Duncan out right now, he is getting a chance to show that that’s exactly what he is, and he’s running with it (28-4 with 5 blocks against the Magic two nights ago).

Tristan Thompson @ CHA ($5,400) – The Hornets don’t have anyone to defend traditional power forwards, and that’s exactly what Thompson is. Love is the starter, and a great player, but he is more the kind of stretch 4 (at least with the way Cleveland uses him) that Charlotte actually does have the bodies to match up against. Thompson should have plenty of success in this matchup, especially without the kind of speedy 4 on the other side that can give him problems on defense. And when Thompson is having success, he gets more minutes. And when Thompson is getting minutes, he produces. When all you’re asking someone to do is rebound and play defense, it can really be that simple.




Andre Drummond @ BOS ($8,600) – He is averaging 17-13 against Boston in three games this season, and that includes a 13-5 last time they faced off, when he only played a total of 21 minutes. His best game of the year against them might have just been his best game of the year, period, when he went off for 22 points and 22 boards the day after Christmas. The Celtics have a lot of depth they can run at you, but they don’t have any single body who can keep him off the boards. If Detroit manages to control the pace in this one, Drummond should be in line for yet another huge performance.

Karl-Anthony Towns @ LAC ($8,200) – It’s amazing to say about a rookie, but Towns already seems so much more poised and polished than DeAndre, which for me just says that there is room for them both to succeed in this one. Towns is technically proficient enough that he is not going to let any missteps from Jordan go unpunished, whether it is bad position or bad footwork or anything else. With 49 or more DK FP in four of his last six (and 30+ in nine straight), he’s an option in both cash games and GPP formats.


Myles Turner @ BKN ($6,300) – With 30+ DK FP in each of his last three, and five of his last six, he is making a very real contribution to the Pacers right now, and his combination of size and athleticism is exactly what they needed to begin to be able to throw out a competitive “small ball” lineup. With him at the five and George basically playing the four, they have the offensive weapons to create matchup headaches for almost everyone, while still have the size and strength to defend pretty much any frontcourt they might face. This price is going nowhere but up from here.

Willie Cauley-Stein vs. CHI ($5,300) – Chicago seems like the kind of opponent where the Kings will actually have plenty of chances to use both Cauley-Stein and Cousins. That’s been one of the biggest stumbling blocks for him getting serious run – with the way the league has changed, it can be challenging for two guys like that to be out there at the same time. But if you’re pulling for Cauley-Stein, the biggest news is whether Cousins is actually ready to play. Boogie is listed as questionable after missing Monday, and if he does sit, it should mean more minutes and more opportunities – which are never a bad thing. He has played more than 20 minutes twice in the last week, and is averaging just over 25 DK FP in those two.