Today’s NBA targets breakdown looks at Wednesday’s 9-game slate, with an eye towards the studs, sleepers and mid-range players you want to have rotating in your lineups.
Stephen Curry – GSW vs. UTA – $10,500 – Just in case you thought he was slowing down, he has been over 70 DraftKings fantasy points (DKFP) twice in his last five games, and over 60 in six of his last eight. He has scored over 40 actual NBA points in four of his last six, bringing his season scoring average up to 30.7 ppg. The last time they faced the Jazz, Klay Thompson led the way, but that was in a 20 point victory. Earlier in the year, in a three point game, it was Curry. And that’s the way it’s been going lately – when the Warriors need to close out a game, or need a boost in the middle of the game, it’s Steph who provides it, time and time again. The same could be true for your fantasy lineup.
Chris Paul – LAC @ OKC – $9,800 – I recommended Chris Paul over Westbrook in this space in this same game last week and technically, I suppose I was wrong. Westbrook scored one more DKFP than Paul. One. For $1,000 in savings, I will take it. Paul is doing everything for his team right now, and he is not the type to ever concede that he is anything less than the best player on the floor. And that means that when he is in a game where that might not actually be true, you can expect him to up his competitiveness level a notch or two and try to take over. He is capable of it, as he showed with the 21 points and 13 assists he used to lead his team to victory a week ago today.
Isaiah Thomas – BOS vs. MEM – $7,300 – He has scored 27 or more points in three straight games, and is entrenched enough in the Celtics’ rotation that he is pretty much always getting at least 30 minutes a night (something not too many others on the team can say). But as much as the Celtics play different combinations and shuffle minutes around, they do the same with shots, usually feeding whoever is fitting the best into that game’s flow. This makes Thomas harder to trust in a cash game, but a great upside play for the price. With Conley out, this Grizzlies backcourt just does not have the speed to keep Thomas contained for long stretches.
Ronnie Price – PHO vs. NYK – $4,400 – He has played 45 and 36 minutes over the last two games, recording 38.25 and 18.25 DKFP, not bad for an option in this price range. The Suns have basically no one available to play any of their positions, so Price’s return from injury obviously means he will be getting a shot at earning plenty of time and opportunities. Why wouldn’t he?
James Harden – HOU @ PHI – $10,700 – He has played 40 or more minutes in seven straight games. He recorded 50 or more DK FP in six of those, and 69 or more in three. He is coming off a 40-point, 14-assist domination of the Raptors on Sunday, and with plenty of time to rest, should be ready to lay waste to the Sixers in a similar fashion tonight. The only fear is that maybe in a blowout win, he doesn’t play quite so many minutes, but 40 points and 14 assists in a single game points to a player who controls the destiny of every possession the entire time he is on the floor.
Dwyane Wade – MIA @ MIL – $7,200 – Wade has been over 40 fantasy points in three of his last five outings, playing a bunch of minutes and serving once again as the primary scorer for the Heat on offense. He has been playing efficiently, shooting almost 50% from the floor over the last two weeks, and getting to the line almost ten times a game. It almost looks like Wade from a decade ago, leading the Heat to their first title. Almost.
Evan Turner – BOS vs. MEM – $4,900 – I think you will probably notice a theme here with the value-play guard options available to you tonight. First, remember that the Celtics routinely trot out three-guard lineups, featuring some combination of Bradley, Smart, Thomas and Turner. Second, while Turner sees fewer minutes on average than Bradley, he costs $100 more for a reason, and it is because while he is out there, no matter who else is joining him, he is actually usually serving as the primary distributor. He essentially played point for Boston last year, and they are utilizing that same skill-set again this year, which means he spends plenty of time with the ball in his hands.
“[He] has averaged about 23 DK fantasy points per game over his last 5 games, and I can definitely see him exceeding value tonight.“
Avery Bradley – BOS vs. MEM – $4,800 – You can just consider this a joint recommendation, because this is the thing: they are both (all, actually, including Thomas) better tournament plays than cash-game options. With the way the Grizzlies’ backcourt has been playing, trotting out Mario Chalmers, Tony Allen and Vince Carter every night, I have a feeling the Celtics’ guards are going to feel like they are swarming all over the court with their collection of speed. Someone is going to be the beneficiary of that, and likely a couple of someones. Avery Bradley has averaged about 23 DK fantasy points per game over his last 5 games, and I can definitely see him exceeding value tonight.
Kevin Durant – OKC vs. LAC – $10,600 – Part of the reason Westbrook didn’t put up massive numbers against the Clippers last time out is because Durant was on fire, finishing with 30-11-5 with 5 blocks on 27 shot attempts. That game marked the beginning of a three-game run with 60+ DK FP, and he is on a six game tear with no fewer than 57. And the fact is, with the Clips’ depleted frontcourt, Durant had free range to do what he wanted all night, and there is no reason to see that changing on his home floor.
Carmelo Anthony – NYK @ PHO – $8,500 – Love him or hate him, the only thing that really matters from a fantasy standpoint is that the man is still putting up 20+ shots basically every night. He is playing a ton of minutes, which is allowing him to stumble into his fair share of rebounds, and the net result is an average of something in the vicinity of 45 DK FP a night all season long, if you remove the games where he was limited to some extent by his injuries. He’s healthy and logging all the time he needs to make $8,500 a bargain against this Phoenix team that doesn’t have the defense to force him into bad looks all night long.
Gordon Hayward – UTA @ GS – $6,900 – A player on one of the lowest-scoring teams in the league, thrusted into a game where they are going to be forced to play a style not their own, is going to have some level of value baked into his price every time. This price is based on a typical game-flow that, in all likelihood, is just not what tonight’s contest is going to look like. And if Utah is going to keep up, someone will have to be doing the scoring and Hayward is a good option. With Draymond occupied elsewhere, he should be able to consistently get his shot against the Warriors’ small forwards and the question is just how efficiently he gets them to drop.
Joe Johnson – MIA @ MIL – $5,300 – At this point in his career, he is not a night-in-and-night-out kind of guy, but, amazingly, he still has the ability to score in bunches. He has been a good fit and is getting lots of run in Miami, and has scored in double digits in four of his last five, including a vintage 24-point effort against Chicago a little more than a week ago, in which he shot 10-13 from the floor including two made threes, good for almost 40 DKFP.
Anthony Davis – NO @ CHA – $9,700 – After a couple of down performances against Houston and San Antonio, Davis got back on track with monster games against Utah and Sacramento earlier this week, averaging a cool 30-10 for the two contests. His price is down from early season levels because of the downside of those two sub-50 point games, but the upside that could win you a big tournament is still there. With this matchup against Charlotte, the likelihood of the upside showing up is high enough that Davis needs to find his way into at least one of your lineups.
“In their two meetings this year, he is averaging 20-10, in part because when the Warriors have Bogut out there defending Gobert, [he] has enough size and touch around the rim to be effective against Draymond”
Derrick Favors – UTA @ GSW – $7,500 – I am not saying the Jazz have a lineup that matches up well with Golden State, but they do have a lineup that can make this matchup work for Favors. In their two meetings this year, he is averaging 20-10, in part because if the Warriors have Bogut out there defending Gobert, Favors has enough size and touch around the rim to be effective against Draymond. And in a game where their opponent is likely to score in bunches, Favors is one of the only places Utah can turn to in any attempt to keep up.
Serge Ibaka – OKC vs. LAC – $5,900 – With the Clippers having no choice but to run Jordan out there for big minutes every night, that leaves OKC in a bind, perhaps having to play Kanter more than they might like. But Ibaka presents a matchup problem of sorts for the Blake-less Clippers either way, giving OKC the presence on the boards they need to rely on to counter Jordan. He finished their last meeting with 11 points and 11 rebounds, good for just over 30 fantasy points, good value for the price.
Dirk Nowitzki – DAL vs. DET – $5,800 – When you think about why Detroit might be good against Power Forwards on paper, none of it really fits with the things Dirk likes to do on the court. He is going to be able to get his shots playing in the Mavs’ methodical half-court offense, he gets rebounds by virtue of nothing but knowing where to be and how to position himself, veteran moves that no one on the Pistons are going to be able to stop. I wouldn’t expect a HUGE game out of Dirk, I would just expect what he always does, which makes him a solid and dependable cash-game option.
Dwight Howard – HOU @ PHI – $8,000 – Howard has been playing 30+ minutes a night consistently for a while now, and that has translated into a solid 35-38 DKFP average. His rebounding is a constant, he is a permanent threat for a double-double, and with some defensive stats thrown in, he is a very steady performer. And on occasion he will score enough to show real upside. It is easy to imagine that happening against this Sixers frontcourt. When he gets to 20 points in a game, it’s rare to see him under 40 DK FP.
DeAndre Jordan – LAC @ OKC – $7,700 – This is the kind of matchup that might keep Jordan off the court for long stretches of time, as the Clippers went with a smaller lineup… if they actually had that option. But they don’t, at least until Blake is back, and that means plenty of time for DeAndre to be out there. In the last matchup, that meant 36 minutes, 20 points and 18 boards, because the Thunder don’t have anyone to keep him away from the glass, and at times don’t even seem like they care to bother trying. They’d almost just try to neutralize Jordan by exploiting him as a mismatch on the other end, but that doesn’t do anything to diminish his potential as a fantasy option.
Al Jefferson – CHA vs. NO – $4,800 – Big Al doesn’t have the knees to be playing huge minutes anymore, but he has the post moves to be a go-to scorer in a half-court offense, and that’s exactly how they use him. “Instant offense” is a description usually reserved for explosive wing players coming off the bench, but it applies here. If their offense is getting bogged down, Big Al comes in and gives them an instant safety valve, and that’s something you can actually see in the box score. He is averaging basically a shot attempt every two minutes, which amounts to something like 1 shot attempt per 4 possessions, as high a usage rate as you are usually going to find, and higher than what else is available at this price.
Tyson Chandler – PHO vs. NYK – $4,400 – It almost seems – wait for it – as if the Suns have finally figured out that running the same game plan they did with a healthy Knight and Bledsoe without a healthy Knight or Bledsoe was really not working. Chandler is coming off back-to-back double-doubles playing alongside Len for big portions of the game, and now they have the Knicks, another team susceptible to being beaten by a good frontcourt. Could it be the game plan continues for another night?