Identify the players on tonight’s NBA DFS slate who have the safest floors for your DraftKings & FanDuel cash game lineups!
Solid nine-game slate of NBA DFS action for Wednesday. The biggest problem today is projecting players with so many injuries. Projecting a team when you have one guy is out is not that hard. You look at baseline averages, research rotation changes when that player has been out before, and adjust the number of minutes and shots for the rest of the team to have everyone fall in line with the number of possessions expected and how they should perform. Trying to project for one or two players being out is not as hard, because we have seen times with that player off the floor for his team and have enough data to reasonably project what should happen. The more variables we have, the harder it gets to predict anything accurately and we have a few of those spots here today.
The Boston Celtics are a great example, as we currently have Kemba and Tatum listed as out, Brown and Hayward listed as doubtful, and Marcus Smart listed as questionable.
IF any one or even two of these guys are out, we can use the data from this season to make reasonable assumptions about where those minutes and shots are going to go; but when you have five variables, all high usage and high minute players, it becomes nearly impossible. Quantitatively, we can say guys like Brad Wannamaker, Javon Green, Carson Edwards and Semi Ojeleye are in for big minutes boosts, but it’s tough to predict how they will perform. I would be looking to upgrade any of the Celtics regulars that fight through injury and play because we know someone has to score and rebound and set up teammates here. The five guys on the injury list today tend to play 3/4th of the game when active, so this is uncharted territory if they all sit.
The reason I am starting out with this example today is the Celtics are going to offer some amazing value on this slate. If three or four of those studs sit, you will have at least one or two Celtics at near min price playing 30+ minutes. Even if they are not great, at a sub $4K price, a 25+ point game is 6-7X. This also allows you the needed cash to go with some stars and scrubs kind of builds. Even on DK where the pricing is tighter, it’s not as hard today to fit Luka and a second $9500-$10K+ stud and build around him. Or even Luka with a few $7K guys and then rounding it out with a couple of these Celtics punts.
Without having the final injury news, I can’t tell you how many Celtics are too many today. I will say, if you don’t have at least one in cash, you are definitely doing it wrong and the ideal roster build probably includes a few. That game is one Vegas has not even bothered to put up numbers for yet, as you also have Andre Drummond and Darius Garland out, with Tristan Thompson questionable on the other side of the ball.
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Top Projected Totals
- Trail Blazers – 123.5
- Mavericks – 121
- Wizards – 116
- Timberwolves – 115.5
- Pelicans – 115
Biggest Pace Bump
- Pacers: +6.4
- Mavericks: +4.8
- Bulls: +3.9
- Trail Blazers: +2.3
Highest Projection over Average*
- Trail Blazers: +10.25
- Bulls: +5.5
- Mavericks: +4.5
*No one else is over +2.5
NBA DFS Position By Position
- Luka Doncic – Luka is the #1 overall play today and likely to be extremely chalky in cash. Depending on how the Celtics carnage plays out, it’s a good chance the chalkiest FD pairing at PG today is going to be Luka and Brad Wannamaker. Dallas gets one of the bigger pace bumps today at +4.8 and projects for 4.5 points above average. Luka is an absolute stud and projects for the highest fantasy total on the day at any position. It’s never a bad idea to play Luka, but when you can see all the value, it makes it more of a stars and scrubs kind of day and we definitely have all the elements today to make this happen.
- Collin Sexton – I know the Celtics are normally a defense you don’t want to mess with, but that’s because of the guys they have like Smart, Tatum and Brown. Those are all guys who are unlikely to play today. The Celtics defense today is going to be guys like Edwards, Green and Wannamaker guarding Collin Sexton. Andre Drummond is out, and Darius Garland is too. That opens up more PG minutes for Sexton as well as a need for him to score. He’s a solid mid-tier priced option, although, I much prefer the pairing of the guys above and below him.
- Brad Wannamaker – He is going to end up super chalky tonight. Even if Marcus Smart plays, the lack of Kemba, Brown and Hayward would mean he not only gets massive minutes but also at a much higher usage. I do not want to say this is without risk. It’s not like Wannamaker is a stud NBA player. The risk is mitigated by the low price though. He’s likely to do enough to get you above value with 25ish fantasy points. He’s also more likely to go for 30+ than he is to go for under 20, and that’s why he’s going to be so popular today. His base case is a beat on his value for the price and he is more likely to overperform than underperform. Add that to the fact using him gets you the cash to easily play a stud on DK and likely saves you the cash needed to play two on FD, and it’s easy to see why he is going to be so highly owned.
- Bradley Beal – Not forcing Beal into lineups today, but with the injury news floating around, we may be able to easily fit multiple studs in today. That Washington/Portland game has a massive almost 240 total, so we should get points on both sides of it. Beal is one of the few studs who is also consistent. He’s averaged over 60 fantasy points in the last six games with 50 being his worst effort and a couple of 70+ ceiling games during this run. Yes, he is pricey, but on a day where we may have multiple very solid $4K type players, he is someone you can fit in without too much trouble. Even at $10K+, you can still look at him as a good value when you have these $4K guys who can get you 25-30. Beal plus a good punt could easily return 90+ fantasy points. That’s better than you will normally find by going the middle route and playing two guys in that $6500-$7500 range.
- Jimmy Butler – Butler is a guy I like a lot for cash games. Remember, the Orlando Magic have played up in pace lately, so looking at seasonal stats for pace and defense vs. position are a bit misleading here. Butler projects about the same as most of the other SG options today. The reason I am high on him is that he’s not priced like most of his peers, as he is seeing a bit of a discount. When I sort projections by raw points, you have a few guys like Russell, CJ and Jrue right in line with him for projections. Russell and Jrue are on back-to-backs, and CJ is going to take a hit with Lillard returning. Beal projects a tad higher than Butler, but he’s a couple thousand more expensive on both sites. When you sort by points per dollar, Butler ends up ahead of all those other high-end options mentioned.
- Caris LeVert (FD) – LeVert was absolutely awesome last game, especially at the end. His DK price has jumped up a bit to where I’m not as comfortable playing him in cash. He’s priced like the slew of guys mentioned above on DK, and while he has a ceiling in line with them, his floor is a bit lower. On FanDuel, he’s underpriced and a steep discount to those guys. He’s popped for that 60 point game a few times recently, but his floor games have been in the 30s. At $7K+, that floor could hurt you. At over $1000 cheaper on FanDuel, that floor would still be around 6X and you have the chance for the massive outperformance to the upside as well.
- Malik Beasley – Beasley is not a massive upside guy, but the change of scenery has led to consistent minutes for him in Minnesota and he’s taken advantage of that. Minnesota is also playing at a high pace right now, and that has led to some big totals. Beasley is not the guy who is going to carry an offense and put up a massive number, but he’s playing about 33 minutes a night at just shy of a fantasy point per minute since coming over. His $5300 price on FD is more friendly than the $6K on DraftKings. #2 points per game average is over 6X on FD at that price and about 5.5 on DK.
- Giannis Antetokounmpo – I initially was not going to write up Giannis. Not because I don’t think he can go out and have a good game, but at the price, he’s not a superior value with anything short of a ceiling type 65-70 point game. When you see how much value may open up on the slate due to injuries though, it is not hard to find a path to get him in your lineups and he is the guy along with Luka who has the ability to go for 70+ on this slate tonight. It’s easier to afford him on FD, and I’m never going to argue with you if you can get him in. He projects well ahead of his peers at the position, and it’s never a bad idea to take someone with that big of a projection.
- Kevin Porter – Porter is a very viable mid-tier play again today. He has benefitted with increased minutes since Darius Garland went out with an injury. Porter was a solid value even as a reserve with his production. Lately, he’s seen games with as many as 40 minutes and is averaging 34 over his last five. He went for 6X or better in four of those last five, and the price has not really moved up much. His price even seems depressed today, likely because of the projected match with a tough Celtics team. The Celtics may end up missing five of the top options on that roster, and that group consists of a few plus defenders who normally limit the production of opposing guards. Today, they are likely to face the bench guys filling in, so the defense is much softer and thus makes this a great spot for Porter.
- Juan Hernangomez – Hernangomez is a lot like Beasley in that he’s a new player since coming over from Denver. Both guys were buried on the bench of that deep roster, but they have flourished in this uptempo system with a huge bump in playing time. The Bulls are not a particularly tough defensive assignment. He’s playing a little over 30 minutes most nights. He had 48 fantasy points against Orlando, struggled a bit with only 30 in 27 minutes as Dallas blew them out, and then bounced back against New Orleans with 35 in 33 minutes last time out. He’s still a bit of a discount.
- Cedi Osman – As many things do today, this one hinges on an injury. Osman is dirt cheap, and if Tristan Thompson is out, he’ll see big minutes. Porter has had to slide over to guard with the Garland injury, and with Drummond and Thompson out, Love and Nance are both playing a bit more center, leaving some extra minutes at PF for Osman to soak up. Between the SF and PF minutes, he saw a monster 39.5 minutes of court time last game. He still barely made 6X, so I’m not saying he’s a slam dunk, but he’s another of those sub $4K guys who has 6X potential and lets you slide a second superstar in tonight.
- Kevin Love (FD) – I am not as high on the send ups at PF today. I like Bam, Zion, Wood, Randle and Porzingis for GPPs, but Love is just so much cheaper on FD. On DK, a much better case can be made, but without Drummond, we have seen the production tick up for Love. He’s not the player he once was, but he still can get it done with scoring and rebounding. He’s played at least 32 minutes in four of the last five games and is averaging close to 1.2 fantasy points per minute. At nearly $8K on DK, that’s not great; but at $6600 on FD, that projects him for around 6X.
- Rui Hachimura – Thomas Bryant is doubtful today in what looks to be a high total game against a Portland team that is friendly to bigs for Fantasy. Rui is coming off a couple of big games already. He’s priced around $5K and has been returning over 30 fantasy points on average in the most recent contests. Remember, those games Bryant was in too, so he even saw a few less minutes than he might today. Rui is a low ceiling guy, and I wouldn’t be looking for 40+ out of him, but he can get you 30-35. For that price, we are looking at 6-7X if he does.
- Larry Nance – Nance was a great value the other night with Drummond and Thompson both out. I would expect him to pick up a lot of the big man minutes again here if that is the case. Remember, Thompson is listed as questionable, and even if he plays, Nance is not a bad option. I would just prefer Thompson sits because that would push Nance to the top of my list for points per dollar and make him a great option. He had 43 fantasy points against the tough Jazz frontcourt in 39 minutes last game. We have seen him put up big numbers when he gets the playing time, including flirting with double-doubles most of those nights. He also can pass and add in some defensive stats, so he’s an underpriced guy with a high floor and ceiling when he gets 30+ minutes. With Thompson back, he’ll likely see closer to 30 than over it and that saps some of the excitement.
- Naz Reid – Naz Reid is coming off a big game, and I normally do not want to chase that. His price is still cheap though, around $5K or below on both sites. He also draws a soft interior match against the Chicago Bulls in a game with a big total. As long as the Timberwolves are so banged up, the minutes will be there. The production is not always there, but that’s why I like him in this spot. It should be there today for him, and at that price, his upside is tough to ignore and the minutes provide enough safety for his floor.
- Jonas Valanciunas – We have guys more expensive, but on projections, they are not that much better than JV to pull me off of him. Without the duo of JJJ and Brandon Clarke, you have seen him dominate the rebounds. He’s not a massive point scorer, but we have seen him do that before as well. He draws one of the softer matchups for big men today as well against the Nets. Memphis is on the road, but they do project for a point or two above average and this is a match of two teams in the top 10 on the season for pace. I will admit, I like him more on FD where you have to use a center who actually plays the position and is listed as one. On DK, you have a lot of the PF options mentioned with PF/C eligibility and I have been going that route more often. Not that JV is a bad option on DK, but my builds do not really allow me to spend that much on him there.
- Brook Lopez – Lopez is a solid mid-range option at center and one who has produced. I like him and Giannis a bit more than normal today because of the size of the frontline for Indy. Lopez has gone for 6.5x or better in three of the last four games. He’s still in the mid-tier price range, so his floor is viable for cash.
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