The NBA Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each day’s slate, using the FantasyLabs Tools and metrics to highlight notable players.
Wednesday features a 10-game slate starting at 7:00 p.m. ET.
Despite being a 10-game slate, Wednesday really lacks a true stud PG after the injury to Stephen Curry. Dennis Schroder warrants consideration with elite matchup against Orlando. The Magic have been one of the worst defensive teams in the league against the position this season, resulting in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +7.30 for Schroder on FanDuel. Schroder continues to dominate possessions for the Atlanta Hawks, with his current usage rate of 29.9 percent ranking 13th in the league.
Anthony Davis is unlikely to play today, and his absence has been a major positive for Rajon Rondo recently. Rondo has scored at least 38.5 DraftKings points in three straight games, despite not seeing more than 28.5 minutes of playing time in any of those contests. His salary has increased to a season-high $5,500 on DraftKings for today’s game against the Nuggets, but given his average of 1.00 fantasy points per minutes, he should still have a chance to return value even with playing relatively low minutes.
JJ Barea has been an awesome source of value on DraftKings over his past 10 games:
Like Rondo, he doesn’t see many minutes per game, but he’s pretty effective when he does see the floor: He’s averaged 1.20 DraftKings points per minute over the past month and is second on the Mavericks with a usage rate of 26.7 percent. The Mavericks are in the largest pace-up spot of the day against the Boston Celtics, with their players owning a pace differential (paceD) of +5.1. Barea’s $4,500 salary on DraftKings comes with a Bargain Rating of 90 percent.
While Schroder might have the top matchup of the day against the Magic, Elfrid Payton shouldn’t be overlooked on the other side of ball. He’s played at least 32 minutes in back-to-back games, a rarity for him this season. Payton has an excellent individual matchup against Schroder, who has been one of the worst defensive PGs in the league according to Defensive Real Plus/Minus (DRPM). Payton has an Opponent Plus/Minus of +5.15 on DraftKings.
Eric Bledsoe has failed to exceed value in each of his past two games, which has resulted in his price dropping by $700 on FanDuel since its peak last week. Still, Bledsoe has been a solid source of value as a member of the Bucks, posting an average Plus/Minus of +5.54 over his past 10 games. He leads all PGs with 11 Pro Trends on FanDuel.
Shaun Livingston will likely garner some attention today given the injury to Curry, but both DraftKings and FanDuel have aggressively priced him up in anticipation of today’s matchup. He’s averaged only 19 minutes per game in two contests without Curry this season, so even as a starter, Livingston likely wont see much of a boost in value. If other people want to take the plunge with Livingston, you should probably let them.
Today’s slate offers the potential to get stud production from the SG position without having to break the bank. Klay Thompson is the most obvious candidate to fit that description given the injury to Curry, with none of the Warriors regulars seeing a larger increase in usage with their star PG off the court this season:
Thompson has a solid matchup today against the Hornets (+3.66 Opponent Plus/Minus on FanDuel), and his 11 Pro Trends lead the SG position. His current $6,900 salary also comes with a Bargain Rating of 95 percent.
Jrue Holiday is another SG candidate to see stud-like production at a non-stud price. So far this season, he’s averaged 38.75 DraftKings points and just under 39 minutes per game in three games without Davis:
The Pelicans lead the slate with an implied team total of 112.75 points, and Holiday has a Bargain Rating of 86 percent on DraftKings.
Finally, don’t forget about Jimmy Butler, who continues to be massively underpriced on DraftKings. He’s posted an average Plus/Minus of +6.93 on DraftKings and has an outstanding matchup today against the Los Angeles Clippers, resulting in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +5.84. He leads all players with 13 Pro Trends on DraftKings, where he has a Bargain Rating of 99 percent.
Garrett Temple has seen steady minutes for the Kings recently, playing at least 30 in four of his past five games. He’s posted an average Plus/Minus of +5.88 over that time frame and exceeded salary-based expectations in all five contests. He has a strong matchup today against the Cavaliers, who rank just 24th this season in defensive efficiency.
Gary Harris may not have the same injury and usage upside as Thompson, Holiday, and Butler, but no one has provided more security than him over the past month on DraftKings. He’s posted a perfect 100 percent Consistency Rating over his past 11 contests, averaging a Plus/Minus of +5.94. Only Butler is projected to play more than his 38.1 minutes at the SG position, and Harris has a strong Opponent Plus/Minus of +3.42 in today’s matchup against the Pelicans.
Lou Williams should continue to serve as the focal point of the Clippers offense with Blake Griffin sidelined, averaging a usage rate of 30.7 percent in that situation this season. He’s played at least 33 minutes in six straight games and has averaged 1.05 fantasy points per minute over the past month.
The decision at the top of the SF position is going to be a really interesting one on today’s slate. Giannis Antetokounmpo and LeBron James have dominated the position for most of the season, but both might take a back seat to Kevin Durant on today’s slate, given the injury to Curry. Unsurprisingly, he has led the Warriors in usage with Curry off the court this season while averaging 45.2 FanDuel points per 36 minutes:
He has the best matchup of the three today against the Charlotte Hornets, resulting in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +3.11. His Bargain Rating of 81 percent on FanDuel also leads the trio. The Warriors’ implied team total of 112.75 is tied with Pelicans for the top mark on today’s slate, and Curry’s absence results in the Warriors being merely six-point favorites on the road. At least on FanDuel, Durant should be the clear chalk option of the group.
The decision becomes a bit murkier on DraftKings, where Giannis has a Bargain Rating of 99 percent and costs just $1,000 more than Durant. Giannis has been far superior to Durant over the past month, averaging an additional 13.1 DraftKings points per game, and he’s projected to play roughly five more minutes than Durant in today’s contests. In addition to his contributions on the offensive end of the court, no one provides more on the defensive end than Giannis, evidenced by his average of 3.29 steals + blocks per game.
LeBron figures to have the lowest ownership of the three, which makes him a very appealing target for guaranteed prize pools (GPPs). LeBron has averaged a slate-high 1.52 fantasy points per minute over the past month, and the Cavaliers have averaged 112.8 points per game during their 12-game winning streak. He’s taking on the Sacramento Kings, who currently rank last in the league in defensive efficiency but also play at the third slowest pace.
Jonathon Simmons has played big minutes for the Magic since the injury to Terrence Ross, seeing at least 33 minutes in each of his past five games. The Magic’s implied team total of 111 points ranks fourth on today’s slate, and Simmons has an Opponent Plus/Minus of +3.84 against the Atlanta Hawks.
Kawhi Leonard is getting closer to a return, but he will remain on the sideline for today’s game against the Miami Heat. Kyle Anderson will join him – he’s expected to miss approximately 2-3 weeks with a sprained MCL – which leaves the Spurs pretty thin at the SF position. Rudy Gay soaked up many of those minutes in their last game, playing a season high 32, and parlayed those minutes into a Plus/Minus of +14.44 on DraftKings. He’s underpriced on DraftKings at the moment, where his $5,200 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 98 percent.
Darius Miller has played 34 minutes in each of his last two games, drawing the start for the Pelicans in place of Davis. He hasn’t really produced in those minutes, averaging just 16.4 FanDuel points per game, but SFs with comparable minute projections and salaries have historically been solid sources of value:
Kristaps Porzingis is probable to make his return for the Knicks today against the Memphis Grizzlies. While it’s possible he may be on a minute restriction following a gruesome-looking ankle injury, he’s probably still underpriced on DraftKings, where his $8,100 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 97 percent. He has a solid matchup against the Memphis Grizzlies, resulting in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +3.34, and he offers a unique combination of offensive and defensive upside: He ranks second in the league in both usage rate and blocks per game.
I’m not sure what Taj Gibson has done to offend the people at FanDuel, but he continues to be underpriced given his recent production: His current $5,700 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 95 percent. He’s seeing all the minutes he can handle at the moment, playing at least 36.5 in each of his past eight games, and he’s turned those minutes into an average Plus/Minus of +6.53 over that time frame.
Zach Randolph has been a more consistent source of minutes recently, playing at least 30 in four of his past six games. If he’s going to play that much, he’s almost undoubtedly underpriced on DraftKings at $5,300: He’s averaged 1.11 fantasy points per minute over the past month and leads the Kings with a usage rate of 26.4 percent.
It’s always tough to trust Kenneth Faried – especially if you’re the Nuggets coaching staff, apparently – but he has exceeded salary-based expectations in six straight games on DraftKings. He has Opponent Plus/Minus of +3.13 against the Pelicans on DraftKings, where he has a Bargain Rating of 90 percent.
Thaddeus Young has been extremely reliable recently, exceeding salary-based expectations in eight of his past nine games on FanDuel. One word of caution, however: He has shot 66.7 percent over his past three games, so some regression is likely heading his way.
DeMarcus Cousins has been a bit of a disappointment in his past two games without Davis, but the problem has not been his usage rate. He continues to absolutely dominate possessions for the Pelicans with Davis off the court:
His matchup against the Nuggets today looks difficult on paper, resulting in an Opponent Plus/Minus of -1.81, but that likely overstates its toughness given the injury to Nikola Jokic. The Nuggets have posted a lower rebound percentage over their past three games, and Mason Plumlee has graded out significantly worse than Jokic in DRPM this season. There’s really no reason not to go back to the well with Cousins on today’s slate, especially on FanDuel, where he has a Bargain Rating of 75 percent.
It looks like a good day to pay up at center, with most of the top options in good spots and no true value option standing out at the moment. Kelly Olynyk could be one option on DraftKings, where he has center eligibility and has scored at least 20.25 fantasy points in five of his last six games. He’s taken on some additional minutes after the injury to Hassan Whiteside and has an Opponent Plus/Minus of +3.95 against the San Antonio Spurs.
Most people paying up at the position will likely gravitate to Cousins, which could make Andre Drummond underowned in an elite spot against the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks have been slaughtered on the glass all season, resulting in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +6.61 for Drummond on FanDuel.
John Henson could see a few additional minutes in today’s contest to try and contend with the size of Drummond, which makes him intriguing on DraftKings at just $4,600. He’s averaged 0.90 fantasy points per minute this season, so any additional playing time for Henson could pay big dividends.
Among the elite centers, Marc Gasol leads the pack with a Bargain Rating of 86 percent on DraftKings. He has a middling matchup against the Knicks, but Gasol has posted a usage rate of 28.7 percent with Mike Conley off the court this season.
After this piece is published, FantasyLabs is likely to provide news updates on a number of players. Be sure to stay ahead of your competition with our NBA news feed: