WATCH: 3 IN THE KEY – DEMARCUS COUSINS
With eleven games on tap for Wednesday night, there is plenty of good NBA action to watch, and plenty of elite fantasy options to sort through. Here are a few of the names I’m considering at every position.
Stephen Curry @ TOR ($9,400) – His total scoring is down from last year, for obvious reasons, but that reality is reflected in his price tag. And the fact is, his upside is the exact same as it always has been – he’s still the best shooter in the world in an offense that will get him plenty of open looks. He’s shooting over 61% from three over his last four games, on almost 50 attempts, which is how you end up with three of four with over 50 fantasy points.
Giannis Antetokounmpo @ ATL ($9,000) – Atlanta seems on paper like a tough matchup for a guy like Giannis, with the ability to trot out Kyle Korver’s size against him on D. But that assumes that Giannis gets his fantasy value from scoring alone, which is clearly not true. Atlanta has the kind of backcourt that he will be able to hound all over the floor, forcing mistakes and just generally being involved in everything Milwaukee is doing. He is averaging two steals and two blocks every night, the kind of defensive contribution that props up his floor and makes him impossible to ignore for me.
Other Options – Russell Westbrook ($11,900), Kyrie Irving ($7,600)
Tim Frazier @ ORL ($5,900) – At this point, it’s not just opportunity. The opportunity was presented to him, but he is proving himself capable of taking advantage of it, averaging 30 fantasy points per game in just about 30 minutes a night, and while Orlando does a decent job defending guards, the fluctuation in his fantasy output is entirely dependent on assists because he doesn’t score enough himself, and he should be able to dish out plenty of those with AD going against this frontcourt.
Other Options – Eric Bledsoe ($6,900), Marcus Smart ($5,700)
James Harden @ OKC ($12,200) – There just isn’t anyone else who is doing more for his team right now – Harden has had 15 or more assists four times since the beginning of November, and two triple-doubles in the past week, and he is doing all that while averaging 30 points per game. Simply put, there is no one with a higher floor or more upside. If I was going to roster him tonight, I’d do it here at SG to take advantage of more depth at the PG spot.
DeMar DeRozan vs. GS ($8,600) – There are not a ton of elite options at the SG spot tonight, which makes DeRozan someone you have to consider. Against a Golden State team that is bound to put up a bunch of points, there is no reason to expect DeRozan to get up 25+ attempts, giving him plenty of upside at this price.
Other Options – Klay Thompson ($6,400)
Wesley Matthews @ BOS ($4,800) – He is one of the only guys in this price range consistently seeing more than 30 minutes of action. However, that needs to be taken for what it is, considering that Dallas also tends to depress the total volume of offensive possessions for both teams in every game they’re involved in. He is doing just enough on defense and on the glass to make him a useful option in a cash game, but without a lot of upside.
Other Options – Monta Ellis ($5,200), Eric Gordon ($5,000)
Editor’s Note: LeBron James (rest) is likely OUT tonight against the Pacers, per ESPN.
LeBron James @ IND ($9,800) – I mention LeBron here because for whatever reason, tonight is a night where all the best small forward options are available, and it could seem like an obvious place to spend a big portion of your budget. I just want to point out that no matter how great some of these other options are playing, there is no one as skilled and as consistent as James, who is almost averaging a triple double right now (23-9-9).
Kawhi Leonard @ SAC ($8,700) – Theoretically, at least, Cousins is one of the few big men who can neutralize the advantage the Spurs have down low every night, which could end up making them turn to their most dominant perimeter player more often than usual. When he is on his game and playing aggressively, he can take over a game as completely as anyone in the league, and tonight seems like a night when that could happen for the star small forward.
Other Options – Kevin Durant ($9,500), Carmelo Anthony ($7,500)
Otto Porter @ PHI ($6,500) – One of my favorite plays on the board tonight, perhaps filling in that second forward slot, Porter has a nice matchup with Philly in which he can try to extend the recent run of success he’s been having. He has at least eight rebounds in five of his last seven games, making him a consistent threat to put up a double-double, a threshold I expect him to be able to reach against this Sixers lineup tonight.
Other Options – Dario Saric ($4,500)
DeMarcus Cousins vs. SA ($8,900) – He has 45 or more fantasy points in four straight, and he has only reached double-digits in rebounds in one of those four, doing most of his damage on the offensive end. Against a Spurs squad that lacks an individual defender to match up perfectly with him, and who will score enough and keep the tempo high enough for his opportunities to remain high, he has as much upside as you can hope for from a big man tonight.
Blake Griffin vs. MEM ($8,400) – As long as he is healthy, he is one of the best options at the position, with a mid-range face-up game and the athleticism to dominate in the paint for stretches, and to fill the lane on a break as well as anyone in the league (helpful when CP3 is your point guard). He is an obvious candidate for a 20-10 game in this matchup, making him very appealing at this price when compared to some of the more expensive other options at his position.
Other Options – Anthony Davis ($10,900)
Markieff Morris @ PHI ($6,100) – There should be plenty of chances for the Wizards around John Wall tonight, something it’s not always easy to trust. But the Sixers and the Wizards play fast enough to end up with a relatively high scoring game here tonight, and Morris is getting a ton of run for Washington, and staying very involved. He has 30+ fantasy points in four out of his last six games, averaging 20 points a night in those four contests, something that is looking more and more sustainable for him all the time.
Other Options – Kristaps Porzingis ($6,900), Kris Humphries ($3,000)
Kevin Love @ IND ($7,800) – In a game where Indiana’s best defenders will be otherwise occupied, Love could see increased volume even in a game with a decrease in pace, which could happen in this matchup with Indiana. The strength of the Pacers’ big men defensively is in help, with some rim protection, which is why I didn’t list Kyrie as a big play tonight. But Love should be able to find plenty of open looks to go along with the 10 boards a night he is averaging, making him a threat to push for 40+ fantasy points, which would return great value at this price.
Marcin Gortat @ PHI ($6,400) – He is routinely getting 35+ minutes of action for this Wizards team, and he is turning that into 11 points and 12 rebounds night in and night out. Toss in a block or two, and you have a very useful contributor from a fantasy point of view – even if his upside isn’t too high – making him a legit consideration for any cash-game lineups in my opinion.
Other Options – DeAndre Jordan ($6,600)
Serge Ibaka vs. NO ($5,400) – Ibaka hasn’t been flashy this season, but is at a level where his 20-25 fantasy points every night make him a consistent asset, not just a disappointment. He still has some upside if he ever gets featured on offense, but with a number of similar options in Orlando, that’s not likely to happen very often. However, he is still getting 30 minutes of court time and double-digit shot attempts almost every night, giving him plenty of opportunities to make him a valuable cash-game play.
Other Options – Marc Gasol ($6,200), Steven Adams ($5,500)
Note: Keep a close eye on the DK Live news section prior to lock for the analysis, injury updates and news you need to see before finalizing your lineup.
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.