With a full 12-game slate on Wednesday night, there are top players at every position and lots of mid-priced depth to sort out. Here are some names to consider at every position and price range.
John Wall @ BKN ($10,700)- The fact that Wall is averaging more fantasy points per night than Isaiah Thomas in the middle of the Boston guard’s breakout season says something about the kind of upside Wall consistently brings to the table. The big difference, of course, is the playmaking – averaging double-digit assist does wonders for your floor, especially when you combine that with 30+ point scoring potential every time he steps on the floor.
Isaiah Thomas @ SAC ($10,100) – The biggest concern here is that the Kings can’t keep it close without Cousins, so there won’t be a need for Thomas to be out there gunning in the fourth quarter. But this is the type of narrative you have to build for yourself to pick against a guy who is averaging 35.3 points, 7.4 assists, 2.7 boards, 1.1 steals and 4.3 three-pointers per night over the Celtics’ current seven-game win streak.
Other Options – Stephen Curry ($10,000), Kyle Lowry ($8,200), Kyrie Irving ($7,700)
Tyus Jones vs. TOR ($3,300) – With both Rubio and LaVine out Saturday, he played 24 minutes, but then Rubio came back on Monday and Jones’ minutes went up to 31, showing that he might get the first crack at filling in the majority of the time for LaVine, rather than someone like Brandon Rush. He had 15 assists over those last two games, averaging an even 26.0 fantasy points per night. That’s excellent value at this price level, even if Rubio is going to be the one getting the bigger increase in scoring chances.
Other Options – Ricky Rubio ($6,700), Brandon Jennings ($5,300)
UPDATE: Jimmy Butler has been ruled OUT of tonight’s game against the Warriors, and Dwyane Wade is now a GAME TIME DECISION, per Fred Hoiberg.
Dwyane Wade @ GS ($7,800) – This is an especially strong choice if Jimmy Butler is forced to miss his third straight game with his foot injury. If Butler continues to be out, the Bulls will have to look for Wade for some scoring to keep up with the Warriors in this one. While Wade might not be able to bring it every night, he can bring his A game in spurts, like his 31-point outburst against the Kings on Wednesday with Butler missing.
Bradley Beal ($7,100) – Beal had his third 40+ point scoring game of the season last time out, and he and Wall are feeding off each other in the backcourt right now. Their skill-sets complement each other well, and they are creating open looks for one another regularly as they pull the perimeter defense of their opponents side-to-side and then attack with a drive-and-kick mentality.
Other Options – Jimmy Butler ($8,900), Devin Booker ($6,500)
Marcus Smart @ SAC ($5,600) – With Bradley out, Smart continues to see 30+ minutes every night. While his scoring is definitely more than a little touch-and-go, he has the potential to salvage his fantasy performance in any one of four categories on a given night (he has had at least five rebounds, assists and steals once each over the last week).
Other Options – Brandon Rush ($3,700)
Kevin Durant vs. CHI ($9,700) – He shot 2-for-10 from the floor in their last game, including 0-for-6 from three, and suffice it to say I don’t expect to see that again here. He has looked very comfortable in this Golden State offense of late, and he’s been getting more open looks than he was ever accustomed to in OKC.
Gordon Hayward @ NO ($7,600) – Hayward has scored 27 or more points in each of his last three games, hitting seven threes and attempting 21 free throws over that span, showing me that he is starting to play offense aggressively, scoring in multiple ways and making himself harder to defend. He has a great matchup with this Pelicans team tonight, which should give him a chance to extend his streak of 45+ fantasy scoring nights to four.
Other Options – Giannis Antetokounmpo ($10,200), Paul George ($7,800)
Khris Middleton vs. MIA ($3,400) – I include him here to point out that he is scheduled to make his season debut tonight, and you’ll want to pay attention, not only to see how he looks, but how his presence impacts the rest of the Bucks’ options. He can be a high-volume scorer at times, which could take away looks for other guys. Reports are that he has been ready to go for at least a week, and that he’s been able to get in some full-speed practices in advance of his first game.
Other Options – Jae Crowder ($6,400), T.J. Warren ($4,900)
Blake Griffin @ NY ($9,300) – As the unquestioned best option on offense for the Clips, his scoring is up to around 26 points a night lately, and he is starting off the offense with the ball in his hands at the high post often enough to give himself a boost in assists. In a good matchup that should lend itself to enough scoring, I think he should be able to get you to 45-50 fantasy points tonight (45+ in every game in which he has scored 25 or more points in the last three weeks).
Other Options – Kevin Love ($8,500)
Trevor Booker vs. WAS ($5,400) – He has 27.0 fantasy points or more in four of his last five games, with double-digit scoring and at least 7 boards in each of those contests. He’s been coming off the bench and leading the second unit in both scoring and rebounding, making you wonder if he could help the Nets more by playing more than 25 minutes a night.
Other Options – Markieff Morris ($6,600)
Karl-Anthony Towns vs. TOR ($9,800) – He should be able to create plenty of space to get his looks on offense against the Raptors’ frontcourt, even if he doesn’t present the biggest challenge to someone like Valanciunas in terms of positioning on the blocks. Now with LaVine out, I only expect to see his offensive usage increase, not bad for a player with 50+ fantasy points in six of his last seven.
Other Options – Anthony Davis ($9,900), Andre Drummond ($8,600)
Guillermo Hernangomez vs. LAC ($5,900) – He is averaging almost 24 minutes a night over the last two weeks, up from his season average of only 15 minutes, and over that span he is giving New York 11 points and 9.5 rebounds a night. For fantasy purposes, this is a player who, last week, over a two-game span, totaled 31 points and 30 boards.
Willie Cauley-Stein vs. BOS vs. TOR ($3,500) – He has been playing better recently, averaging 10 points and 3.5 rebounds a night over his last six, and clearly gaining a little more trust from the coaching staff (minutes up almost 5 per night over his season average). That said, tonight you should expect him to be able to take full advantage of Cousins’ absence (Cousins had his 16th technical in their last game). He is an obvious value due to the spike in minutes.
Other Options – Jonas Valanciunas ($5,900)
WATCH – THE GREAT WALL, TRAILER
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