The NBA Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each day’s slate using the FantasyLabs Tools and metrics to highlight notable players.
Tuesday features a five-game slate starting at 7:00 p.m. ET.
If you haven’t noticed yet, the superstar fantasy version of Russell Westbrook is back. Russ has exceeded expectations in nine of his past 10 games, averaging a +10.87 over that stretch. He’s really thriving in all the extra Houston space with no traditional center on the court, getting to the rim and scoring often.
Boston presents a tough matchup, of course, but with Eric Gordon out, Westbrook should be expected to keep on shooting. He has the top Projected Plus/Minus among point guards at both sites at over +7.8.
Your other stud option is Damian Lillard, who has cooled a bit from bubbling molten lava to a still oozing plasma over the past week. Lillard gets a +3.99 Opponent Plus/Minus against the Pelicans’ porous defense along with a +2.6 pace differential, but his value has dropped a bit as his price is still reflecting the molten lava weeks. He’s not a great play at DraftKings but a strong option at a +7.12 Projected Plus/Minus at FanDuel.
The Point God is having such a wonderful bounceback season. Chris Paul has exceeded fantasy expectations in 69% of his season games, and that’s up to 74% over the last month and 80% over his past 10. Even against Dejounte Murray, point guards have continued to produce with a positive matchup against the Spurs. CP3 is over a +5.6 Projected Plus/Minus at both sites.
Lonzo Ball has 11 Pro Trends today at FanDuel and a 95% Bargain Rating. He looks like a strong option with his +2.34 Opponent Plus/Minus against the Blazers, and his value could increase further if Brandon Ingram (questionable) sits out.
You’ll definitely want to get a couple Bulls in your lineup tonight with so many bargain-priced players in a track meet against the Wizards. Coby White and Tomas Satoransky are options here, and both are over a +3.9 Projected Plus/Minus at each site in a great matchup. Sato costs a bit more, but has been far steadier and looks like a strong bet to exceed expectations. Coby is more of a wildcard if you’re looking for a sneaky tournament play.
You know James Harden is going to spend a ton of time tonight with either Jaylen Brown or Jayson Tatum in his grill. Boston has a top-3 defense and will surely try to get the ball out of Harden’s hands. Our model is fading him a bit tonight, especially at DraftKings. Harden is averaging a +0.03 over the past 10 games as his production has slipped a bit with Westbrook exploding. His salary is so high it’s just difficult to provide surplus value these days.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander looks like a fantastic value play tonight, especially at FanDuel, where his +7.29 Projected Plus/Minus tops all shooting guard options. SGA has gone over expectations in 11-of-14 games with an average +6.63 over that stretch. Like CP3, Shai benefits from what has become a cushy matchup against the Spurs and could be in for another big night.
If CP3 and SGA are good options, you figure Dennis Schroder is playable too. I like him the least out of the three, but at over +5.2 Projected Plus/Minus at each site, he’s an intriguing pivot if you’re looking for a more unique OKC contribution in your lineup. He’s also the cheapest of the three and has been on fire lately, averaging a +11.79 over his past 10 games.
C.J. McCollum looks like a quality play who should net positive value. His matchup against the Pelicans is favorable in what should be a high-scoring game. He’s over a +4.3 Projected Plus/Minus at both sites.
Our models are not loving Paul George tonight against the 76ers, and it’s easy to imagine why. The Sixers are a long, tricky defense, and George will have his hands full on defense, too. This looks like one of the lowest scoring games of the evening, likely a slow grind-it-out type pace. Our models have PG as a slight positive play but would prefer you spend your cash elsewhere tonight.
Danilo Gallinari has proven to be a quality play much of the season. He has a 55 Upside rating so there’s not a ton of room for an outburst, but he looks like a positive value in that Spurs-Thunder matchup where you want a few bites at the apple with plenty of points to go around. Gallo is over a +6.4 Projected Plus/Minus at both sites.
You’ve got a couple Celtics options here, and Gordon Hayward looks like an outstanding FanDuel option with his 95% Bargain Rating there. The Rockets are a positive fantasy matchup for anyone, even with Robert Covington around, and it’s a big pace boost as well. Hayward has a +5.82 Projected Plus/Minus at FanDuel.
Chandler Hutchison has quietly been a huge value of late. He’s gone over expectations in five straight games, averaging a +9.72 over that stretch with a big minutes boost with Denzel Valentine out. At over a +6.7 Projected Plus/Minus and a salary of only $4,600, he’s a great value play at a weak position tonight.
Our models are pretty tepid on Kawhi Leonard tonight. They like Leonard even less than his running mate George, mostly due to the fact that he costs significantly more. The Clippers-Sixers matchup should be a tough, slow-paced, defensive-minded game. Our models have Kawhi as a negative play at DraftKings and a fade at both sites.
Robert Covington is still finding his way in Houston, but he has exceeded expectations in two of three games, averaging 12.3 points and 6.0 rebounds along with a steal and a block. That includes one game on par with his expectations, one well below, and one way above. Basically, we don’t know much yet. But a +1.81 Opponent Plus/Minus against the Celtics is in his favor, and our models rate him over a +4.1 Projected Plus/Minus at both sites.
As promised, I will continue to recommend Zion Williamson until his salary has caught up, and that hasn’t happened yet, especially at FanDuel.
Zion looks like by far the best power forward play of the slate there with his +6.4 Projected Plus/Minus, and he has exceeded expectations in six of his eight games. He should be good for 30 minutes and another big game in a light matchup.
When in doubt, feel free to grab another Bulls player; in this case that’s Thaddeus Young, who has exceeded expectations in six of eight. Young’s 55 Upside rating means there isn’t much room for explosion, but at over a +3.8 Projected Plus/Minus at both sites, he looks like a positive value that lets you focus elsewhere.
It’s been another drama-filled week for Joel Embiid, whose cryptic social media post went viral this week as rumblings of Embiid-to-Miami became the hot new trade rumor. Embiid is one of those guys who plays especially well when motivated. If you think the smoke indicates fire, you may want to stay away here. If you’re in on Embiid and Philly, however, this could be a monster spot for him.
The Clippers offer a +3.44 Opponent Plus/Minus along with a +3.4 pace differential. L.A. doesn’t really have anyone who can hang with Embiid physically, so if he decides to show up, he could be a tournament winner. He looks like your biggest decision tonight.
Of course, you’re welcome to avoid that decision and make an easy one with Hassan Whiteside, who our models rate over a +8.0 Projected Plus/Minus at both sites. Whiteside has exceeded expectations in 72% of his games over the last month with an average +4.72, and his rebounding and blocks afford him sneaky upside that might be as strong as Embiid’s, though his floor is certainly lower if he a misses the mark.
Steven Adams is a more moderate option if you can’t afford a high-priced center. Adams is a better play at FanDuel with his 86% Bargain Rating, a +6.03 Projected Plus/Minus there. It’s a relatively neutral matchup against the Spurs and Adams has struggled lately, but his salary reflects that and makes him a decent value.
There’s not much on the slate at center tonight, but Moe Wagner is a nice upside bargain play if you need one. With Thomas Bryant out another few games, this is a big opportunity for the young Wolverine alum against a Bulls team that bleeds points to opposing big men, offering a +4.16 Opponent Plus/Minus. He’s an intriguing wildcard if you need to skimp at center.
Pictured above: Joel Embiid (21) of the Philadelphia 76ers
Photo credit: Mitchell Leff/Getty Images