Two more games have been postponed in the NBA for Wednesday night, but we still have eight contests to choose from. There are a few high-end superstars on this DFS slate, as well as some very underpriced ones that immediately stand out when building lineups.
Let’s break it all down.
(Make sure to check out all of the great FTN NBA offerings and fantastic NBA Tools, including our FTN NBA Odds Tracker and daily FTN NBA DFS cheat sheets!)
Milwaukee Bucks @ Detroit Pistons
MIL -11; total: 227
Yes, the Bucks are 11-point road favorites here, but Giannis Antetokounmpo at $10,600 on DraftKings is very, very enticing. This is still an elite player, averaging 1.61 fantasy points per minute, while sporting a usage rate north of 34%. We could see Giannis play just 28 minutes in this game if it gets out of hand, but he could also smash in those minutes, as the Pistons rank 22nd or worse against eight of his nine archetypes, including superstar, rebounder, scorer and point forward, per advanced DvP. Detroit is also coughing up the sixth-most points per game in transition this season (22.4), as well as the fifth-worst field goal percentage against the play type (57.8%). That bodes extremely well for Giannis, who once again leads the NBA in transition points per game this season, averaging 9.1 per contest, while also sporting a 31% frequency rate off the play type. I definitely have interest in Giannis in this spot, despite the blowout concerns. However, the rest of Milwaukee is tough. Jrue Holiday is someone I haven’t played once yet this season, as his usage rate has dropped from 24.6% last season with the Pelicans to 18.9% this season. He just doesn’t present much of a ceiling when this team is at full strength.
For the Pistons, Jerami Grant continues to enjoy a breakout campaign, averaging 25.1 points and over six rebounds per game. He is in the biggest role of his career, sporting a 26.6% usage rate, while his touches per game are up by nearly 30. Grant has scored at least 20 points in each of his last nine games and eclipsed 40 fantasy points in both meetings against Milwaukee so far this season. His price is very expensive, while the matchup isn’t the best in the world, making him more of a secondary play for me tonight. Meanwhile, Blake Griffin is pretty affordable at $6,200 on DraftKings but his ceiling really hasn’t been there either. An 18% rebounding rate leaves much to be desired, while his 20.9% usage rate is fourth-best on the Pistons.
Dallas Mavericks @ Charlotte Hornets
DAL -4, total: 220
The Mavericks are once again going to be shorthanded, as Josh Richardson, Dorian Finney-Smith, Jalen Brunson and Maxi Kleber are all out again. However, Kristaps Porzingis is probable to make his season debut in this game, though he is absolutely unplayable at $8,400. He hasn’t played a game since August and is almost guaranteed to see limited minutes, even with the Mavericks missing so many players. Some might worry about Luka Doncic’s upside with Porzingis back in the lineup, but he still sported a 35.2% usage rate, 26% rebounding rate and 26% assist rate when sharing the floor with KP last season, while averaging 1.61 fantasy points per minute. Add the fact that Dallas is missing so many players and it makes up for Porzingis’ return. 31% of Luka’s shot attempts this season have come from the short mid range, which is essentially from the foul line, while the Hornets are allowing the 10th-highest field goal percentage from that part of the court (43.3%). If choosing between Luka and Giannis Wednesday, I’ll lean toward the Dallas star.
It is a shame Porzingis won’t be full go for this game, as it is a very enticing matchup. With Dallas left with just Boban Marjanovic and Willie Cauley-Stein at center outside of KP, perhaps one of these players could produce. Of course, banking on minutes from Boban is risky, while Cauley-Stein is averaging 24.3 minutes per game over his last three outings. Meanwhile, no team in basketball is surrendering more rebounds per game to opposing centers this season than the Hornets (19.4), who are also allowing the fifth-most putback points per contest (6.9). Finally, Tim Hardaway is still a fine play given all of the missing Mavericks here and should be in line for 37-40 minutes. No team in basketball is allowing more points per game to opposing spot-up shooters than the Hornets (41.0). That bodes well for Hardaway, as his 9.3 points per game off catch-and-shoot opportunities are the second-most in basketball.
Gordon Hayward has been fantastic with Charlotte this season, averaging over 22 points per game to go along with 5.2 rebounds and four assists per game. The price tags on Hayward and LaMelo Bell are starting to rise, especially with the rookie, who is starting to come on. He shot 3-for-13 last game but still scored 44.5 fantasy points due to his awesome peripherals. Over the last two weeks, Ball’s 23.1% usage rate is higher than both Terry Rozier and Devonte Graham, while his 1.43 fantasy points per minute easily lead the team. Hayward and Ball are my preferred Hornets to consider in this game, while I also wouldn’t be shocked if Bismack Biyombo had a sneaky productive game here. Charlotte has been using P.J. Washington as a small-ball center at times since Cody Zeller went down but I don’t know if they’ll be able to get away with that here. Dallas has a weak interior, coughing up the highest field goal percentage at the rim (73.1%). That could bode well for a player like Biyombo, who is averaging 3.7 points per game off cuts so far this season, good for the sixth-most in basketball.
Brooklyn Nets @ New York Knicks
BK -4.5; total: 218.5
The Nets already announced Kevin Durant is expected to play in this game, meaning he won’t sit on the second end of a back-to-back. With that in mind, even after playing 36 minutes Tuesday night, how do you not love him again here? A $9,400 price tag without Kyrie Irving is far too cheap, as Durant has now scored over 50 fantasy points in four of his last five games. And with Irving off the floor this season, Durant’s usage rate is pushing 37%, while averaging around 1.7 fantasy points per minute. With Kyrie out, Durant is posting up more, averaging nearly 10 post-ups per game over his last three games. Meanwhile, the Knicks are allowing the second-most points per possession (1.13) and fifth-highest field goal percentage (56.8%) to the post so far this season.
It will also be interesting to see what this Brooklyn frontcourt looks like, as we already knew that Jarrett Allen was separating himself from DeAndre Jordan. However, I didn’t expect Jordan to not step onto the floor Tuesday night, while Allen once again played over 30 minutes. In fact, Allen played 36 minutes and while the production wasn’t there, he is always in play in GPPs if he is going to get that type of run, especially against a New York team that is allowing 9.2 points per game to the roll man out of the pick and roll, good for the fifth-most in basketball, as well as the fifth-highest frequency rate (7.0%). Allen, meanwhile, is averaging a healthy 4.0 points per game as the roll man, tied for the ninth-most in the league.
I really liked Mitchell Robinson last game and it worked out fairly well, as the center posted a double-double (12 points, 11 rebounds), while adding two blocks and two steals. This is another strong spot for Robinson, facing a Nets team that is allowing the fifth-most rebounds per game to opposing centers (16.7), as well as the third-most putback points per game (7.5). Robinson, meanwhile, has a whopping 39% frequency rate off putbacks this season, one of the highest rates in basketball. Both Robinson and Allen are very intriguing mid-range center options from this game. Meanwhile, despite his poor showing the other night, I still believe Julius Randle is a perfectly fine play here. He’s still sixth in the league in touches per game (89.5), while ranking sixth in rebounding chances per game (18.9).
Memphis Grizzlies @ Minnesota Timberwolves
MIN -2.5; total: 219.5
Karl-Anthony Towns returned to the lineup Jan. 9 but was held out the following game, likely due to it being a back-to-back. However, he is expected to suit up Wednesday night against the Grizzlies and makes for a really strong play. Towns is still sporting a very solid 26.8% usage rate so far this season to go along with a 37% rebounding rate. He is also averaging 1.57 fantasy points per minute. This seems like a good spot for D'Angelo Russell/Ricky Rubio and Towns to thrive in the pick and roll, as the Grizzlies are coughing up the most points per possession (1.37), sixth-most points per game (8.6) and highest field goal percentage (66%) to opposing roll men out of the set. Memphis is also allowing the fifth-worst field goal percentage to the post (56.8%), making this a really, really juicy spot for KAT. Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, there’s also this…
The rest of the Minnesota team doesn’t stand out all that much. Russell is still capable of producing in a strong matchup, but his price is up and will now lose some usage with KAT back. We could see Anthony Edwards replace Jarrett Culver in the starting lineup very soon and he’s been a high usage player when on the floor this season, sporting a 26.2% usage rate. However, that number drops to just over 16% with Towns on the floor this season, though it is only a three-game sample, for what it is worth.
The Grizzlies have one of the best matchups in fantasy Wednesday, as the Timberwolves have been arguably the worst defense in the league so far this season. Minnesota is a top-six unit in pace right now, while ranking 28th in defensive rating. I have been chasing Jonas Valanciunas for a while now and it hasn’t really panned out. However, he’s been getting around 30 minutes more often than we all might expect as of late and now his price has dipped below $7,000 on DraftKings. This is a very good matchup, as Minnesota is allowing the second-most paint points per game so far this season (52.2), while JoVal is averaging 8.8 paint touches per game on the year, good for the ninth-most in the league. The Wolves are also coughing up a league-leading 8.2 post-up points per game, which bodes well for Valanciunas, who is averaging 4.3 post-up points per game, the fifth-most in the league. I also have interest in Dillon Brooks, who leads the Grizzlies with a 30% usage rate with Ja Morant off the floor this season.
Los Angeles Lakers @ Oklahoma City Thunder
LAL -9; total: 219
Right off the bat, the price tags on both LeBron James and Anthony Davis stand out. Davis is legitimately questionable after suffering a minor toe injury Tuesday night. If he sits, you simply lock LeBron into your lineups. He is only $9,600 on DraftKings; with Davis off the floor this season, James’ usage rate climbs to 35.9%, while averaging 1.44 fantasy points per minute. The Thunder rank 26th against superstars so far this season and James should smash here, with or without Davis. Of course, if Davis suits up, I like him quite a bit, especially at a $9,000 price tag that is possibly the lowest I have ever seen on him. Oklahoma City is an awful post defense, coughing up the fifth-most post-up points per game (5.9), as well as the fifth-highest field goal percentage to the play type (56.5%). The Thunder are also allowing the fourth-most points per game to the roll man out of the pick and roll (9.4), while Davis is averaging 4.0 points per game as the roll man, tied for the seventh-most in basketball.
If Davis sits, we could see Markieff Morris enter the starting lineup. He started the last time Davis missed a game, logging 29 minutes against the Bulls. Morris would become a viable value play if Davis doesn’t play, while Montrezl Harrell becomes more intriguing, as he’s sporting a 28% rebounding rate and averaging 0.99 fantasy points per minute with Davis off the floor this season.
Meanwhile, I’m not really on the Thunder unless Al Horford rests here. If that is the case, Isaiah Roby would likely enter the starting lineup and would become a viable punt play. With Horford off the court this season, Roby is sporting a healthy 25% rebounding rate and in his lone start of the year, Roby compiled 19 points, seven rebounds and a pair of blocks.
Atlanta Hawks @ Phoenix Suns
PHO -5.5; total: 228.5
The Suns are coming off a putrid performance against the Wizards, as they were absolutely destroyed. They’ll look to bounce back here against the Hawks. Cameron Payne is listed as doubtful, which is actually notable when you consider that he is really the Suns only backup point guard. With Payne out, Phoenix has been staggering the minutes of Chris Paul and Devin Booker, as one of the two have essentially been on the floor at all times. That has helped push Paul’s minutes into the mid-30’s, whereas they were in the low-30’s earlier in the season. This is a favorable matchup for Paul, as the Hawks are coughing up the third-most points per game to opposing ball handlers out of the pick and roll (21.9), as well as the fifth-most points per possession (0.97). I also think you can go to Booker in tournaments, as this is a pace-up spot for the Suns, while he should handle the ball more now that he is seeing more playing time with Paul on the bench. Booker is averaging just 58.1 touches per game so far this season, though he’s averaging around five more touches per game over the last two contests with Payne out.
I also think we could see Cameron Johnson enter the starting lineup, which makes him a very strong value play at $4,100 on DK. His minutes were already trending upward prior to last game’s blowout and Johnson is getting plenty of good looks in this Phoenix offense, averaging 7.8 spot-up points per game, good for the fourth-most in the NBA. Even if he continues to come off the bench, Johnson makes for a viable value play, as the Hawks rank dead last against skilled centers and 22nd against opposing bench units so far this season.
Trae Young is under $9,000 on DraftKings, which despite the tougher matchup, firmly puts him in play here. I also believe John Collins looks more appealing if Clint Capela (hand) doesn’t play here. Since Capela made his season debut, Collins’ rebounding numbers have taken a hit, as he’s playing less center. In fact, with Capela on the floor this season, Collins’ rebounding rate is sitting at an underwhelming 22 percent. However, with Capela off the floor, that mark jumps up to 31%, while Collins also averages 1.22 fantasy points per minute with a usage rate hovering around 25%.
New Orleans Pelicans @ Los Angeles Clippers
LAC -6.5; total: 220.5
Lonzo Ball has already been ruled out for this game, while Eric Bledsoe is questionable. The Pelicans backcourt could be extremely shorthanded, presenting us with plenty of value. Nickeil Alexander-Walker could be one of the most popular plays of the slate if Bledsoe sits but is honestly probably viable already with Lonzo out. With Ball off the floor this season, Alexander-Walker is sporting a 27.7% usage rate, while averaging 1.06 fantasy points per minute. At $3,100 on DK, it’ll be tough to avoid him, especially if Bledsoe also sits. Of course, if Bledsoe plays, he needs to be considered, too. His usage rate jumps up by over 5% with Ball off the court this season, while sporting a solid 20% assist rate and 1.12 fantasy points per minute.
Meanwhile, Josh Hart should see a boost in minutes here, and he could actually enter the starting lineup. Hart isn’t exactly cheap but he’s such a strong rebounder already, sporting a 30% mark with Lonzo off the floor. If the absences of Ball and potentially Bledsoe lead to an uptick in usage for Hart, he has the upside to reach 35-40 fantasy points in this game. Of course, we should continue to see Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson do a ton of the heavy lifting in this game. Williamson has been a bit more aggressive as of late, attempting 19, 17 and 22 shots over his last three games. His price has come down to $7,300 on DraftKings, a very appealing tag.
The Clippers aren’t really on my radar in this spot. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George aren’t going to be popular plays at all here, especially with underpriced players like Durant and LeBron right around them. We know there is a ceiling there, while the roster percentage should be way, way down.
Portland Trail Blazers @ Sacramento Kings
POR -4.5; total: 236
The final game of the night is a juicy one, as it features a 236-point total. These teams are also both in the top-eight in pace, while the Kings rank dead last in defensive efficiency so far this season. That said, let’s start with Portland. Damian Lillard is in a very good matchup here, facing a Kings defense that is allowing 10.1 points per game off isolations this season, good for the second-most in the league. That bodes well for Lillard but also for the red-hot CJ McCollum, who is averaging 4.1 isolation points per game this year, the fifth-most in basketball. He is also averaging a gaudy 1.21 points per possession off the play type, while McCollum has eclipsed the 50 fantasy-point mark in half of his games so far this season. Meanwhile, the Kings have also been an awful transition defense this year, surrendering the most points per game (24.7), as well as the highest field goal percentage (63.5%) and second-most points per possession off the play type (1.33). McCollum also leads the Blazers in transition scoring, averaging 5.5 such points per contest, good for the ninth-most in the NBA. Both Lillard and McCollum find themselves in good spots here, but it might actually favor McCollum a bit more.
Meanwhile, Jusuf Nurkic is questionable to play in this game with a quad injury. He played just nine minutes before leaving the game the other night and Portland ran some small-ball lineups in his absence, as Carmelo Anthony and Robert Covington made up the frontcourt for much of the game. That was against a Raptors team that was going pretty small, too, playing Pascal Siakam and Chris Boucher at the five. The Kings have Richaun Holmes and Marvin Bagley to soak up plenty of center minutes, while Hassan Whiteside will get anywhere between 12-18 minutes at the five, which means Enes Kanter could flirt with 25 or 26 minutes if Nurkic sits. With Nurkic off the court this season, Kanter is sporting a massive 49% rebounding rate, while averaging 1.30 fantasy points per minute. Sacramento ranks 30th against scorers, 27th against skilled centers and 28th against rebounders so far this season, while Kanter leads the NBA in putback points per game (3.8). I also think you could take a shot on Carmelo at just $4,200 on DraftKings because we know Kanter wouldn’t suddenly play 32-35 minutes if Nurkic is out. 29% of Anthony’s shot attempts are of the short mid-range variety, while the Kings are allowing the second-highest field goal percentage in basketball from that part of the floor (48.0%).
My top play from the Kings is easily De'Aaron Fox, who comes in at a very solid $7,400 price tag on DraftKings. Portland has also struggled a bit in transition this season, allowing the seventh-most points per game off the play type (21.9). That bodes well for Fox, who is averaging the 9th-most transition points per contest this year (5.5), while shooting over 60% from the field in transition. However, the prices don’t really stand out for anyone else on this team, though I’ll once again make a GPP argument for Marvin Bagley, who has a healthy 31% rebounding rate and 25% usage rate this season, while averaging a fantasy point per minute.