**** UPDATED CORE FOUR AT 6:39PM ET****
Harrison Barnes has been ruled out. See slate notes below. Fox remains questionable.
Khris Middleton has been ruled out. Bump up Jrue Holiday, Donte DiVincenzo, and Brook Lopez. Add Pat Connaughton in the player pool as a value option.
The Pacers have ruled out Malcolm Brogdon, Jeremy Lamb, and Edmond Sumner, though Goga Bitadze is playing. I discussed this in-depth below in slate notes section.
The Rockets are down to eight players tonight. Kevin Porter Jr., Avery Bradley, Armoni Brooks, Kenyon Martin Jr., Kelly Olynyk, DJ Augustin, DaQuan Jeffries, and Anthony Lamb are their available players. You can consider someone like Martin for value here, but I would not want to invest on any of their high priced players given that this is expected to be a blowout.
Rui Hachimura has been ruled out. You can bump up Bertans. Keep an eye on the starting lineup for additional value. They had three different starting lineups the last four games Hachimura sat out.
What’s up #elitemafia. Happy Wednesday! Today I’ll be breaking down tonight’s nine-game slate.
It’s an interesting slate tonight as we have multiple games with healthy implied totals, as well as three games with double-digit spreads. On the news front, we received word that Jae’Sean Tate, Tristan Thompson, Jae Crowder, Darius Garland, Terrence Ross, James Ennis, Michael Carter-Williams, and Chuma Okeke will not play tonight. Harrison Barnes was downgraded to doubtful, Christian Wood is now considered doubtful, and Bogdan Bogdanovic was removed from the injury report. There is still plenty of potential impactful news pending for tonight’s slate, which is something we have to keep a close eye on throughout the day.
I will be in the live chat tonight from 6:00PM to 7:00PM discussing news and any changes that we need to take note of, so make sure to stop on by and get all of your questions answered prior to lock.
Remember, the NBA differs from all other sports because one piece of news can change the entire look of a slate. Monitoring news throughout the day and keeping an eye on starting lineups is a key part of the daily process for those playing NBA DFS.
For the purpose of this article, I’ll be using FanDuel positions as they are less flexible than they are on DraftKings, but you should have plenty of options at each position to build on DK as well given the roster flexibility and multi-position eligibility of many players on their site.
Players are listed in order of preference by position.
Let’s jump right into it!
Top Projected Total
- Bucks 123.23
- Pacers 123
- Grizzlies 120.5
- Trail Blazers 120.25
- Wizards 118.5
- 76ers -13
- Trail Blazers -12
- Celtics -11
- Pacers -6.5
- Jazz -6.5
Position By Position
- Russell Westbrook
- Delon Wright
- Ja Morant
- Malcolm Brogdon/T.J. McConnell (if Brogdon sits)
- Jrue Holiday (GPP)
- Austin Rivers/ Shaq Harrison
- Bradley Beal
- Seth Curry (DK)
- Terence Davis (see slate notes)
- Caris LeVert (if Brogdon sits)
- Dillon Brooks
- Marcus Smart
- Oshae Brissett (prefer FD price)
Khris MiddletonRULED OUT
- Buddy Hield
- Michael Porter Jr.
Rui HachimuraRULED OUT
- Bojan Bogdanovic (FD)
- Cedi Osman (GPP)
- Giannis Antetokounmpo
- Marvin Bagley
- Domantas Sabonis
- Robert Covington
- Davis Bertans (GPP)
- Doug McDermott (if starting)
- Nikola Jokic
- Robert Williams
- Richaun Holmes
- Brook Lopez
- Joel Embiid
Key News To Watch
- Wendell Carter – questionable
- Norman Powell – questionable
- Damian Lillard – probable
- D.J. Augustin – questionable
- Danuel House – doubtful
- Christian Wood – doubtful
- Harrison Barnes – doubtful
- De’Aaron Fox – questionable
- Chimezie Metu – questionable
- Goga Bitadze – questionable
- Malcolm Brogdon – questionable
- Jeremy Lamb – questionable
- Edmond Sumner – questionable
- Jeff Teague – TBD
- Nerlens Noel – questionable
- Nikola Jokic – probable
- The Pacers continue to deal with injuries as Malcolm Brogdon, Edmond Sumner, Goga Bitadze, and Jeremy Lamb are all questionable, while Myles Turner and JaKarr Sampson are both out. We saw the Pacers run an eight-man rotation on Monday night when Brogdon, Sumner, Lamb, and Bitadze sat out that game. Well, technically it was nine players, but Kelan Martin was in the game for few seconds. The point is that they could run a tight rotation once again this evening. If that is the case, we can look at this team for players with increased roles and reasonable price tags. On Monday, Domantas Sabonis played 43 minutes and had a stellar performance, finishing one assist shy of a triple-double and sporting a 24.6 percent usage rate. He will once again be in a position to stuff the stat sheet if the Pacers, in a favorable matchup, and with the Pacers possibly shorthanded once again. Caris LeVert sported a 34 percent usage rate in the last contest and now has a usage rate of 27 percent or higher in four straight games. He is another beneficiary of the Pacers being shorthanded, however, his price is creeping up and would be best suited for GPP’s. T.J. McConnell came off the bench last game, but played 31.2 minutes, which includes the final eight minutes of that last game. He would be a solid point per dollar play given the matchup and potential role for this evening. Justin Holiday is another player that exceeded 30 minutes on Monday and would be in line for an expanded role again tonight, should the players who are listed as questionable, sit. Doug McDermott, who started on Monday played just 25 minutes, and didn’t shoot particularly well, but that does not mean we can’t go back to the well here with him. He remains affordable and would be in a great position for a productive evening in a favorable game environment. We would want him in the starting lineup, however. A big disappointment on Monday was Oshae Brissett who played 26 minutes and struggled immensely with his shot. He did not play well and did not play a ton of minutes in a great spot, but it is totally fine to go back to the well with him in tonight’s contest. He has been playing incredibly well as of late and finds himself in a great spot again, on a frontcourt that is thin. It is worth noting that the game on Monday turned into a blowout, which impacted the minutes for McDermott and Brissett, as they went small down the stretch.
- The Kings will be without Tyrese Haliburton who is likely done for the season and Harrison Barnes is now listed as doubtful, but they could get De’Aaron Fox back this evening, which would be huge for this backcourt. This is a team that we have to monitor news closely with. If Fox is unable to play, Delon Wright essentially becomes a lock. We saw him start in last night’s game and turn in an excellent performance, scoring 13 points with 10 rebounds, eight assists, four steals, and four blocks, which was good for 55 DK points. He remains incredibly affordable on both sites and could once again be in line for a huge role. If Fox plays and Wright is still in the starting lineup, which is feasible, Wright remains viable, but no longer is someone you lock into your lineups. Wright is a big peripherals players, so even if he is not scoring a ton of real points, he has the ability to rack up the fantasy points. Other players that would benefit from Barnes and Fox being out tonight would be Buddy Hield, Marvin Bagley, Richaun Holmes, Terence Davis, and Maurice Harkless. We saw Davis play 30.8 minutes off the bench last night, including seven minutes in the fourth quarter. He and Hield led the Kings in scoring with 18 points in that contest. Davis remains incredibly cheap and could be considered a strong value option should Fox and Barnes be unable to suit up. Hield also led the team in minutes, playing 37.5 minutes last night, followed by Wright who played 36.7. Other players who were on the court for at least 30 minutes were Bagley and Holmes. We could see a similar rotation against the Pacers tonight like we saw last night (see image below).
- The 76ers are in a great spot tonight against a depleted Rockets team. Naturally, this is a matchup you want to target, but Philadelphia is also the heaviest favorites on the board, which makes this risky business. On a nine-game slate, this is not the risk I am willing to take given that it’s unlikely that many of these 76ers players hit their ceiling if this game doesn’t stay close. With that said, Philadelphia also has one of the higher implied team totals on the night, so they should put up some points. If you want some exposure to this team because of that, my advice would be to invest in one of their cheaper players who provides us with upside. As good as Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, and Tobias Harris grade out based on the matchup, especially Embiid, I would be looking at someone like Seth Curry instead. Not only has Curry been shooting well in the last two games and comes at a cheap price, but this is a matchup against a Rockets team that allows the seventh most three-pointers per game and the fifth highest three-point field goal percentage, which is his bread and butter. Outside of him, it feels too risky to invest in one of the big three from Philly.
- R.J. Hampton has played at least 30 minutes off the bench in each of his last two games for the Magic. He is coming off an impressive performance, finishing three rebounds shy of a triple-double and has now scored over 40 DK points in back-to-back games. He remains cheap on DK and is PG/SG eligible there, which gives you plenty of roster construction flexibility. Hampton averages 0.81 fantasy points per minute and if he plays 30 minutes in this contest, he is capable of returning value at his DK price tag. I am not including him in my player pool tonight because I don’t love the matchup and I prefer other value options ahead of him, but I did think it would be a disservice if I did not point out Hampton’s role and production in recent games. For what it’s worth, he played 23.6 minutes and scored nine DK points the last time he played against Boston.
Washington Wizards vs. Milwaukee Bucks: It feels like every time I write an NBA Breakdown, the Wizards are on the slate, and naturally I gravitate towards targeting their game. Not only does Washington play incredibly fast, but they are not a great defensive unit. Tonight, they face off against a Bucks team that plays at a top three pace, but one that ranks 11th in defense efficiency. That being said, Russell Westbrook is firmly in play once again as, especially since neither of the sites have adjusted his price tag to reflect his production. Yes, $11K is a hefty price tag, but that has not stopped Westbrook from exceeding expectations even at that price. This will be the third time that he faces the Bucks and in their previous two meetings, Westbrook has averaged 39 minutes, 32.5 points, 14.5 assists, 7.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals, and 0.5 blocks, scoring 80.5 and 59.25 DK points. Bradley Beal, Rui Hachimura, and Davis Bertans are the other Wizards player on my radar tonight. From Milwaukee, Giannis Antetokounmpo is in a great position for a huge game. We want him in competitive games and according to Vegas, plus the results of their previous two meetings, this game should remain competitive. Antetokounmpo has played incredible basketball against the Wizards this season, averaging 36 minutes, 32 points, 13 rebounds, 10.5 assists, two steals, and one block per game, while scoring no less than 70 DK points in any of those meetings. Fitting both he and Westbrook in one lineup might be challenging, but it is something worth trying to do. Khris Middleton has been playing well as of late and is also in a great position here. He is someone you can consider from the Bucks side as well, along with Brook Lopez (nice point per dollar option) and Jrue Holiday (GPP only). Donte DiVincenzo is also someone worth considering in tournaments as part of a game stack, as he is reasonably priced on both sites. He has played at least 29 minutes in four of his last five games. This contest has a 240-point over/under and just a 3.5-point spread, so we should see plenty of fantasy goodness from this game. It is one you want to invest in this evening.
Sacramento Kings vs. Indiana Pacers: As noted above, these are two teams that are dealing with injuries and news will affect how we approach this game. What we know here is that neither of these defenses are particularly good, especially as of late. Both of the teams rank 26th or worse in defense efficiency over the last 10 games. When looking at defensive efficiency by position, the Kings rank 17th against point guards, 29th against shooting guards, 13th against small forwards, 23rd against power forwards, and 30th against centers for the season. The Pacers on the other hand rank 25th against centers, 26th against power forwards, 23rd against small forwards, 18th against shooting guards, and 15th against point guards. If Fox plays tonight, he is not someone that I would be considering. Not because he can’t succeed in this spot, but because he is expensive, and I rather pay up for Westbrook at the point guard position. I discussed both teams in-depth above as far as how this things can play out, but if I am listing players in order of preference from both teams, here is how I would rank them as follows. Kings (if Fox & Barnes sit) Wright, Hield, Bagley, Holmes, Davis, and Harkless. If Fox is in, move him to the front of the line and we would bump down the rest of the players slightly. If both Barnes and Fox are in, I’d be looking at Wright and Bagley mostly from this Kings team. For the Pacers (if Brogdon & Lamb sit) it’s Sabonis, LeVert, McConnell, Brissett, McDermott, and Justin Holiday. If Brogdon plays, he would be the second option behind Sabonis and we can bump down LeVert, while taking McConnell out of the player pool. This contest has a healthy 239.5 implied total and a 6.5-point spread, so it’s one you want to have exposure to this evening.
DraftKings: Russell Westbrook, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Marvin Bagley, Delon Wright
FanDuel: Russell Westbrook, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Robert Williams, Delon Wright
** Always check for updates to the core four closer to lock as it is subject to change with news**