Wednesday’s slate is a relatively clean one as only four of the 20 teams in action are on the back end of a back-to-back. We also have a spread of 7.5 or under in eight of the 10 games. It sets up a situation where we shouldn’t have a ton of late-breaking news and the research can be put in early.
1. Nicolas Batum, SG, Hornets: OUT – We now have a four-game sample of Batum on the sideline. The biggest beneficiary is Jeremy Lamb, who is averaging 30.7 minutes without Batum this year and gets .993 DK points per minute on the season. That gives him a baseline projection of 30.4 DK points, or 5.4 times his $5,600 salary. He remains in play despite the price hike. Note that Kemba Walker’s usage rate has only gone up by 2.0 points with Batum on the sideline and his DK points per game have only gone from 39.7 to 40.6. Yet his price is up to $8,600 after sitting at $8,100 last game.2
2. Tony Parker, PG, Spurs: QUESTIONABLE – Parker (back) is iffy and Dejounte Murray (groin) is out. If Parker were to sit, the Spurs would be forced to start usual reserve, Patty Mills, once again. The Australian showed his starter-caliber ability on Monday, giving the Spurs 15 points and nine assists in a hefty 37 minutes. He scored 36.5 DK points despite shooting just 5-of-13. So even though Mills’ price has risen to $5,300, he’s still in play if Parker sits. Note that in Mills’ six starts this year, he’s averaging 27.5 DK points per game. In other news, LaMarcus Aldridge (heart) is expected to play full minutes, taking David Lee out of play at $5,500.
3. Wesley Matthews, SF, Mavericks: QUESTIONABLE – Matthews (calf) is far less than 100 percent but was able to go through shootaround Wednesday morning and appears to have a decent chance to play against the Wizards Wednesday night. Meanwhile, Nerlens Noel (knee) will play. With J.J. Barea coming back within the last week and Seth Curry firmly established in a 30-minute role, this Mavs’ rotation is crowded. Assuming Wes plays, it’s a hands-off situation until prices regress toward current roles. If Wes sits, Barea will be on the radar as a punt play at just $3,300 with a 20-minute projection. He gets a strong .970 DK points per minute.
SITUATIONS TO CAPITALIZE ON
1. Rajon Rondo Back in Starting Lineup
The Bulls have turned into one of the league’s most dysfunctional franchises and coach Fred Hoiberg is partly to blame. Yes, the front office gave him absurdly misfitting pieces to work with, but his rotations have been outrageously deep and unpredictable. It appears that’s going to change after Hoiberg went tighter against the Hornets Monday and the team snapped a five-game losing streak. One of those changes was putting Rajon Rondo back in the starting five, something that will continue Wednesday night. Michael Carter-Williams and Jerian Grant were healthy scratches and backup Cam Payne logged just 11 minutes (Payne is out Wednesday due to foot soreness). So now we have a tight nine-man rotation, a realistic minute projection of at least 34 for Rondo and a price tag at just $5,300. The matchup against Memphis is difficult, but Rondo is at .970 DK points per minute on the year and at 1.10 in improved play since the All-Star Break.
1. Blake Griffin Against the Bucks
It’s been a struggle for Blake Griffin lately. He’s shooting just 43.0 percent from the field across his last eight games and taking just 12.5 shots per game during that span. That’s way off his career numbers of 51.7 percent from the field and 16.0 shots per game. A closer look at this poor stretch reveals some extremely tough matchups (at UTA, at MEM, at MIN) and some blowouts. The good news is Griffin’s price is now down to $7,900 ahead of Wednesday’s home game against the Bucks and the Clippers have the fifth-highest implied team total on the 20-team slate. Given Griffin’s baseline of 1.242 DK points per minute and a solid minute projection of 35, there’s a very good chance at a 6x salary night.
MATCHUP TO EXPLOIT
1. Devin Booker Against the Kings
The Kings are annually among the worst teams in the league against wing players and this year is no different. They rank 29th in 3-pointers allowed, 25th in 3-point percentage allowed and 23rd in overall field-goal percentage allowed. In the last six games, wings have hit the Kings with Evan Fournier (29.75 DK points), Gary Harris (37.25), Bradley Beal (63.5), Danny Green (19.5), Wilson Chandler (64.5) and Gordon Hayward (36.25). Overall, players who attempt at least 4.0 treys per game average 2.8 more DK points than salary-based expectation when facing the Kings (via Fantasy Labs). That’s the highest mark in the league. So it’s a dream matchup for Devin Booker Wednesday night, especially when we throw in that he’s averaging 34.6 minutes per game in March and 38.0 over his last four games.
CASH GAME CONSIDERATIONS
(No particular order)
PG: Rajon Rondo, Ricky Rubio, Patty Mills (if Tony Parker is out), Chris Paul
SG: Jordan Clarkson, Jeremy Lamb, Devin Booker, Avery Bradley, Dwyane Wade, James Harden
SF: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Khris Middleton, Jimmy Butler, Paul George
PF: Blake Griffin, Thaddeus Young, Willie Cauley-Stein, Skal Labissiere (if he starts),
C: DeMarcus Cousins, Karl-Anthony Towns, DeAndre Jordan, Hassan Whiteside, Ivica Zubac
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