WATCH: HE’S ON FIRE – JAMES HARDEN
Wednesday’s nine-game NBA slate features some of the best fantasy options in the game, including what could be an epic Westbrook-Golden State showdown. There are plenty of ways you could go in building your lineups tonight, so here are a few names to consider from every position and price range.
Russell Westbrook @ GS ($12,100) – Durant went off for 39 last time these two teams met, in a Warriors blowout, and you know Westbrook views tonight as his turn. The Warriors are on a roll right now, so the Thunder are going to need scoring here, and they are going to turn to Westbrook to lead a fast-paced counter-attack. That gives him a shot at reaching his upside, which would be the single best fantasy option of the night by a mile.
Isaiah Thomas vs. NY ($8,700) – Thomas had 27 points when he faced the Knicks last, and that was on 3-for-13 shooting from downtown. He’s usually going to hit a few more of those bombs when given the opportunity, and if anything, the Knicks’ defense is only getting worse, so the potential is there for an even better fantasy night from a guy who has well more than 40 fantasy points in four of his last five games.
Other Options – Giannis Antetokounmpo ($10,400), Kyle Lowry ($8,400)
Derrick Rose @ BOS ($6,300) – He had 25 points on 19 shot attempts last time these two teams met, when he, Porzingis and Carmelo dominated the production for the Knicks. The Celtics’ defense is great against guards who score from the outside, with a great ability to close on shooters, but they continue to struggle against guards who just penetrate relentlessly, which makes Rose a bad matchup for them and gives him some upside here.
Other Options – Reggie Jackson ($7,000), Malcolm Brogdon ($5,600), Darren Collison ($5,300)
James Harden vs. MIL ($11,700) – There is a chance he has to spend most of the night contending with Giannis defending him, which makes this one of the more intriguing matchups of the night for me. In the end, I love both of them as fantasy options – if Giannis finds a way to limit Harden’s scoring, he is still going to have the ball in his hands on every play, and he will simply find another way to contribute to his team (and your fantasy squad).
Bradley Beal vs. MEM ($6,400) – Beal looks like Ray Allen out there. His form is true every time he rises up, and he has a motor that keeps him running around screens relentlessly all night long. He has multiple threes in eight straight games, with a total of 29 over that span (with five or more three times), more than enough consistency and upside to make him useful in any format.
Other Options – C.J. McCollum ($7,300)
Malcolm Brogdon @ HOU ($5,600) – He has been inserted into the starting lineup for the Bucks and doesn’t seem to be giving that up any time soon. The role has come with an average of about six more minutes per night on the floor, to just under 30. He’s not shooting a lot, which limits his upside, but he is contributing in multiple categories, making him a solid cash option (25 or more fantasy points in four of his last five).
Other Options – Eric Gordon ($5,700)
Giannis Antetokounmpo @ HOU ($10,400) – For me, he is the top option available tonight. He should be able to grab a few extra rebounds and assists just based on Houston’s up-tempo style, and I think he will be able to find enough room in the lane to approach 30 points scored as well, making him a high-end, triple-double candidate with as much upside as anyone on the board.
Carmelo Anthony @ BOS ($8,000) – He had 29 points and 7 boards last time the Knicks faced the Celtics, and he has now gone for 40 or more fantasy points in three of the last four Knicks’ games. As the Knicks seem to struggle more, Carmelo becomes a better fantasy option, as he is allowed to simply do more and more iso on the offensive end (84 shot attempts in those last four games), especially with Porzingis out.
Other Options – Kevin Durant ($9,900), Paul George ($7,700)
Trevor Ariza vs. MIL ($5,500) – Ariza has been a perfect cash game option this season, averaging 28 fantasy points per game, but almost never scoring fewer than 20. He scores in the teens and has his 5-6 rebounds virtually every single night.
Other Options – Aaron Gordon ($5,400), Marcus Smart ($4,800)
DeMarcus Cousins vs. IND ($10,600) – He should have no problem at all getting his shot against this front court, whether he’s on the block or facing up. They don’t have anyone to slow him down, which makes him a good candidate for a double-double. With 30+ scoring potential, he’s in the class of Giannis as one of the two best options on the board for me tonight.
Joel Embiid vs. TOR ($8,400) – He’s been under 40 fantasy points only once in his past nine games, and this is not likely the matchup to make him do it again. Even on a minutes restriction, he’s shown that won’t hinder his ability to put up big numbers. (Check back closer to game start to confirm his status).
Other Options – Paul Millsap ($7,800), Jabari Parker ($7,100)
Aaron Gordon @ NO ($5,400) – If Davis ends up missing, there should be some extra room to operate in close, and a few more rebounds to go around, which should help Gordon’s value. This is a crowded front court, but he has been playing well enough that he is averaging just over 33 minutes per game over the past couple of weeks, which is five or six more than what he has been seeing for most of the year.
Other Options – Ersan Ilyasova ($5,400), DeMarre Carroll ($5,300)
Draymond Green vs. OKC ($7,900) – I think he is a great cash game option, because he is good for just about 30 fantasy points a night, and the upside is as high as it was last year – it just shows up less often. In a fast-paced game against OKC, I am comfortable expecting him to hit his averages in this one.
Marc Gasol @ WAS ($7,200) – Gasol vs. Gortat is a pretty classic old-school matchup in the paint, and Gasol is enough of a focal point of his team’s offense that this particular matchup is going to be a key to the game. Gasol has had 18 or more shot attempts in three of their last five games, and that kind of usage makes him a threat to go for 20+ points every night, which means a few rebounds either above or below his average of six per game makes all the difference for his fantasy value.
Other Options – DeMarcus Cousins ($10,600), Al Horford ($6,900)
Terrence Jones vs. ORL ($6,700) – He’s tournament only for me, as early reports indicate Anthony Davis will play tonight. However, in the last four games in which he has played 25 or more minutes, he is averaging just over 35 fantasy points per game.
Other Options – Jonas Valanciunas ($5,900)
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.