The NBA Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each day’s slate, using the FantasyLabs Tools and metrics to highlight notable players.
Wednesday features an 11-game slate starting at 7:00 pm ET.
The Thunder have a relatively tough matchup against the Minnesota Timberwolves, resulting in a pace differential of (paceD) of -3.4 and an implied team total of just 103.75. However, it’s going to take a whole lot more than that to deter Russell Westbrook, who has been an absolute monster recently. He’s averaged a whopping 1.62 fantasy points per minute on FanDuel the past month and has posted a positive Plus/Minus in 11 of his last 12 games. He’s dominated the usage for the Thunder over that time frame, posting a usage rate of 37.1 percent over the month of December. He has officially reverted to the style of play that made him the safest asset in daily fantasy basketball last season.
Westbrook also remains affordable despite his dominance on FanDuel, owning a Bargain Rating of 90 percent on today’s slate. He leads all players with 15 Pro Trends and should be a staple of most cash game lineups.
Anthony Davis is currently doubtful to play for the Pelicans today and his absence would do a lot for the fantasy value of Rajon Rondo, who has averaged 31 minutes and 33.7 fantasy points per game in four games without Davis.
He’s a strong play across the industry, but his 93 percent Bargain Rating on FanDuel makes him very tough to fade there.
Per ESPN NBA writer Baxter Holmes, today’s game between the Hornets and the Mavs will feature perhaps the biggest discrepancy in rest that we’ll see all season:
That seems to be reflected in the Vegas data for today’s contest, with Charlotte’s implied team total of 108.5 representing a 3.5-point increase from their season average. One player in particular who should benefit is Kemba Walker. The Mavs have struggled with opposing PGs all season, resulting in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +5.49, and Kemba has historically done very well when playing at home with at least three days of rest:
Damian Lillard is questionable today for the Blazers. If he were to sit, Shabazz Napier would once again be clear to assume a large role. Napier has averaged 33.8 FanDuel points per game in seven starts without Lillard this season, resulting in an average Plus/Minus of +14.1:
Jrue Holiday is another member of the Pelicans who has seen a massive bump in production in games without Davis, averaging 42.8 DraftKings points:
No one at the position is projected to play more minutes than him today (38.6), and he played a whopping 43.5 minutes in the Pelicans’ last game. He has a tough matchup against the Memphis Grizzlies, owning an Opponent Plus/Minus of just +0.09, but that likely won’t matter if Davis sits.
The Denver Nuggets have a great matchup with the Atlanta Hawks, resulting in an implied team total of 112.5 points. Both Gary Harris and Will Barton have great individual matchups as well, with each owning an Opponent Plus/Minus of at least +3.76 on DraftKings. Harris is typically the safer bet to play more minutes – he’s played at least 35 in 11 of his last 12 games – and he’s converted those minutes into a Consistency Rating of 83 percent over the past year. Barton is the more volatile player, but he may provide more salary value at the moment given his price decrease of $1,800 over the past month. Both options look like strong plays on DraftKings, with each owning a Bargain Rating of at least 95 percent.
Victor Oladipo has showed no signs of rust since his return from injury two games ago, scoring a total of 87.25 DraftKings points in just 56.5 minutes. Assuming the game stays competitive, he should increase his minute count today against the Heat, where he has a solid Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.80. He’s a more appealing target today on DraftKings, where his $8,800 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 95 percent.
Jimmy Butler is so consistently underpriced on DraftKings that it’s honestly getting boring to write about. He has a Bargain Rating of 98 percent once again on today’s slate despite the fact that he’s crushed value over his last 10 games:
He has a tough-on-paper matchup against the Thunder, but that matchup is made a whole lot easier by the absence of Andre Roberson. Oklahoma City has allowed 113.8 points per 100 possessions with him off the court versus 102.2 with him on the court this season.
Giannis Antetokounmpo has been a major disappointment recently, averaging a Plus/Minus of -4.25 on DraftKings over his last 10 games. This could be a nice spot to potentially buy low on Giannis. The Bucks have an outstanding matchup against the Orlando Magic, who currently rank sixth in pace and 27th in defensive efficiency. It results in an implied team total of 114.5 for the Bucks, which is a number that Giannis hasn’t really seen throughout his career. He’s played only 12 games in which Milwaukee has had an implied team total of at least 110 points and has unsurprisingly done really well in them:
He’s also priced down a bit at the moment after seeing a salary decrease of $600 over the past month. His current salary of $10,700 on DraftKings comes with a Bargain Rating of 98 percent.
Next up on today’s tour of the Pelicans is E’Twuan Moore, who is yet another member of the team who has crushed in games without Davis this season:
He has honestly been a strong value in general for cash games, posting a Consistency Rating of 88 percent over the past year on FanDuel.
Tyler Johnson did not play yesterday and is currently questionable for today’s contest. If he does sit, it figures to increase the value of Josh Richardson. Richardson played over 38 minutes sans Johnson yesterday and should serve as one of the primary ball handlers/creators for the second unit. He seems too cheap at the moment on FanDuel, where his $5,600 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 98 percent.
Gerald Green has been a staple of the Rockets rotation since joining the team, playing at least 26 minutes in five of his last six games. He’s turned those minutes into an average Plus/Minus of +6.44 on FanDuel, where he currently has a Bargain Rating of 98 percent.
PF seems like a position that most people will pay down at today. No one at the top of the position really stands out, with only one of the eight highest priced options on FanDuel owning a positive projected Plus/Minus in our Player Models. That one player is Aaron Gordon, who could be an intriguing option for guaranteed prize pools (GPPs). His salary has decreased by $1,400 over the past month on FanDuel and his current $7,600 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 93 percent. He’s shown a massive ceiling at times this season and could have a field day on the glass against a Bucks team that ranks second to last in rebound rate.
Nikola Mirotic has been downgraded to doubtful after missing shootaround this morning, which means that Lauri Markkanen could be in for a larger workload than normal today against the New York Knicks. He played 34.5 minutes in yesterday’s contest without Mirotic and looks like a strong value at $5,900 on FanDuel. Bobby Portis is also worth a look for the Bulls. He played a season-high 33 minutes yesterday and has averaged 1.24 DraftKings points per minute over the past month. That gives him a clear path to value at just $4,700 on DraftKings.
Derrick Favors has exceeded salary-based expectations in seven of eight games on FanDuel since the injury to Rudy Gobert. That shouldn’t be much of a surprise given that he’s averaged over 34 FanDuel points per 36 minutes with Gobert off the floor this season:
He doesn’t put up many jawdropping performances, but he’s one of the safer options at the position.
Al-Farouq Aminu has a really nice matchup today with the Houston Rockets, resulting in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +3.28. He’s also really cheap at the moment on DraftKings at just $4,500 and has historically been a nice value with a comparable salary and minute projection (32):
He’ll probably fly a bit under the radar today – he’s currently projected for just 5-8 percent ownership – but he looks like a strong value option.
Myles Turner will miss at least the next two games for the Indiana Pacers, which means that Domantas Sabonis will enter the starting lineup. He’s crushed when filling in for Turner so far this season, averaging roughly 31 FanDuel points per game:
He’s averaged a Plus/Minus of +5.35 over his last 10 games on FanDuel even with Turner in the lineup, so he has an opportunity to put up a monster number today.
Last but certainly not least for the Pelicans on today’s slate is DeMarcus Cousins. Cousins has been fantastic for most of the season, but he’s unsurprisingly been at his best when not sharing the court with Davis. He’s averaged a massive 38.3 percent usage rate and 63.45 DraftKings points in five games without Davis this season:
The only downside with Cousins today is his matchup with the Grizzlies. The Grizzlies have played at the slowest pace in the league by a pretty wide margin and that pace has been particularly rough on opposing centers. It results in an Opponent Plus/Minus of -0.76 for Cousins on FanDuel, where you can only choose one player out of a group of really strong options today.
Considering the difference in salary, Andre Drummond might actually be the superior play at the top of the position. He won’t post nearly the same usage as Cousins but has the far better matchup against the Brooklyn Nets, evidenced by an Opponent Plus/Minus of +4.83. He’s also exceeded salary-based expectations in five of his last six games, with the lone exception being a blowout loss to the 76ers.
Steven Adams remains underpriced on FanDuel at $6,300, giving him a Bargain Rating of 86 percent on today’s slate. He has an excellent matchup against Karl-Anthony Towns, who graded out as the worst center in the league last season in terms of Defensive Real Plus/Minus (DRPM). Things haven’t gotten much better for him this season, resulting in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.89 for today’s contest.
Nikola Jokic could fly a bit under the radar on today’s slate, but he’s in an elite spot in his own right against the Atlanta Hawks. He has an Opponent Plus/Minus of +5.46 on DraftKings, and his Bargain Rating of 95 percent is one of the top marks at the position.
Photo via Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
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