Damian Lillard

Wednesday’s NBA fantasy basketball showdown slate has a choice of three NBA games: Miami Heat at Boston Celtics (7:30 p.m. ET), Minnesota Timberwolves at Dallas Mavericks (8:30 p.m. ET) and Sacramento Kings at Portland Trail Blazers (10:00 p.m. ET). This article will focus on the late game. The Trail Blazers are playing on the second night of a back-to-back, giving the Kings the rest advantage.

The most notable name on the early injury report is Kings SG/SF Bogdan Bogdanovic (hamstring), who is listed as questionable to play. For up-to-the-minute news, analysis and lineups, download the DK Live app, as NBA news, injury reports and betting lines on DraftKings Sportsbook can change throughout the day. Value also unexpectedly can open up due to late lineup changes and late injury news, making it important to stay up-to-the-minute with the DK Live app until lineups lock. You also can follow DK Live on Twitter @dklive.

Note: All salaries will be Flex prices unless noted as Captain’s Pick prices.

BETTING TRENDS

— The Trail Blazers have won each of their last 11 home games against the Kings.

— The Kings have failed to cover the spread in each of their last four road games against Northwest Division opponents.

— Each of the Kings’ last five road games have gone UNDER the total points line.

Stats provided by DraftKings Sportsbook


SHOWDOWN STRATEGY

The Trail Blazers made a splash in the middle of November, signing NBA outcast Carmelo Anthony ($8,000), a future Hall of Famer who was on the outskirts of the league in large part due to degrading skills at age 35. Anthony’s defense was viewed as a major issue, especially for switch-heavy defensive schemes that would allow opponents to hunt Anthony in mismatches on screens. However, early returns were reasonably good, and Anthony had been making a difference for Portland in a small sample prior to Tuesday’s blowout loss to the Clippers. In his first six games with Portland, Anthony’s shooting efficiency was better than league average, and he helped Portland move from a negative point differential prior to his arrival to about an even point differential with him in the lineup. Portland had scored about four more points per 100 possessions since Anthony entered the starting five, a strong offensive boost, and while their defensive had unsurprisingly been a tick worse, the net gain was positive. That said, an ugly 20-point loss against a tough Clippers team on Tuesday night has pushed Portland’s point differential back into the negative, and Anthony shot just 2-of-9 from the field in the game, pushing his shooting efficiency back down to a below-average clip.

The good news for Portland fantasy owners is that Anthony’s addition has not negatively affected the usage of Portland’s other key players, including Damian Lillard ($10,000), CJ McCollum ($8,800) and Hassan Whiteside ($9,400). Instead, Anthony’s volume has come at the expense of players such as Anfernee Simons ($4,200), Skal Labissière ($4,600), Nassir Little ($1,000) and Kent Bazemore ($3,000), who have all seen a tick down in usage.

Last season, the Kings generally made for a highly appealing fantasy opponent due to their fast pace combined with their poor defense. However, under a new coaching staff this season, Sacramento’s pace has tanked to slowest in the league, playing just 98 possessions per game, down from 104 possessions per game last season, which ranked third highest. Because of Sacramento’s slow pace, the Kings have allowed fewer points per game than average despite allowing more points per possession than average. Sacramento has also been poor on the glass by the percentage of missed shots they rebound, ranking as the seventh worst rebounding team by that metric, although their slow pace has created less rebounding opportunities, allowing the fourth fewest rebounds to opponents. Lillard, McCollum, Anthony and Whiteside are the most appealing fantasy plays for Portland, with Rodney Hood ($6,200) also in the mix.

Portland’s defense has unsurprisingly been worse since Anthony’s debut given Anthony’s poor defensive reputation. Portland’s points allowed per possession and points allowed per game both rank in the bottom third of the league over that stretch. In addition, Portland’s rebounding has held steady in the bottom third of the league through both endpoints. Because the Trail Blazers have been poor defensively and on the glass, Kings players draw a good fantasy matchup.

The top options for Sacramento are Buddy Hield ($9,000) and Bogdan Bogdanovic ($7,000), although Bogdanovic’s status is unclear as he is listed as questionable. Bogdanovic has shouldered more of a facilitating load since PG De’Aaron Fox (ankle) was injured, creating about nine potential assists per game since Fox’s injury, a boost from five potential assists he created per game prior to Fox’s injury. Bogdanovic’s usage has also climbed with Fox sidelined, posting a 27% usage rate since Fox’s injury, a boost from 22% previously. Download the DK Live app for up-to-the-minute news on Bogdanovic’s playing status.

Hield is one of the league’s highest volume 3-point shooters, attempting about 10 3s per game, second only to Rockets SG James Harden’s 14 3s per game. Hield’s 28% usage rate is strong, and his plus volume gives him good fantasy value in a matchup against a defense that allows more points than average. Other options on Sacramento’s roster include Richaun Holmes ($8,400), Harrison Barnes ($7,600), Cory Joseph ($5,400) and Nemanja Bjelica ($7,800).


THE OUTCOME

If Bogdanovic ($10,500 CP) plays, he is an affordable Captain’s Pick option against a team that has been below average defensively and on the glass. Hield ($13,500 CP) is also an option for the Kings, and the top Captain’s Pick options for the Trail Blazers are Lillard ($15,000 CP), Whiteside ($14,100 CP), Anthony ($12,000 CP)and McCollum ($13,200).

The Trail Blazers are playing on the second night of a back-to-back, giving the Kings the rest advantage, which could keep the game close. However, the Trail Blazers have more firepower and are playing at home, which should be enough to overcome potential fatigue.

Final score: Trail Blazers 110, Kings 108


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