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NBA DFS Breakdown (Wednesday, Aug. 5): Celtics Have Big Upside vs. Nets

The NBA Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each day’s slate using the FantasyLabs Tools and metrics to highlight notable players.

Make sure to monitor all injuries and lineup changes prior to tip-off using the new Labs Insiders tool.

Wednesday features a six-game slate starting at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Point Guard

Stud

Ben Simmons has technically started at PF in each of the first two seeding games for the 76ers, but he still has PG eligibility across the industry. That’s a good thing for DFS players because PG is a bit thin at the top today.

Simmons stands out as one of the best options at the position on FanDuel, where his $8,000 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 95%. He’s also in a dream spot vs. the Washington Wizards. They’ve been one of the worst defensive teams in basketball this season, and the 76ers’ lead the slate with an implied team total of 120.0 points. Simmons also has one of the better individual matchups at the position, evidenced by an Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.71.

Value

Bradley Wannamaker is priced at the absolute minimum on DraftKings, and he has the potential to see a large workload today. Kemba Walker will be given the night off, which opens up a solid handful of minutes at the PG position. Some of those will be absorbed by Marcus Smart, but Wannamaker should see a bump as well.

He’s currently projected for 26 minutes in our NBA Models, and he’s averaged a respectable 0.78 DraftKings points per minute this season. Historically, minimum-priced players have averaged a Plus/Minus of +3.71 with a comparable minute projection (per the Trends tool).

Fast Break

Dejounte Murray is one of the best producers at the PG position on a per-minute basis. He’s averaged 1.18 DraftKings points per minute overall this season and 1.1 DraftKings points per minute in the bubble. He’s played at least 29.1 minutes in each of his past two games, which makes him a strong option at just $6,000 on DraftKings.

The Thunder will be without Dennis Schroder for the next few contests after he left the bubble to attend the birth of his child. He’s only missed one previous game this season, and Chris Paul responded with 45.2 FanDuel points in that contest. He has a tough matchup today vs. the Lakers, but he still leads all PGs with 11 Pro Trends on FanDuel.

Shooting Guard

Stud

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is not priced like a stud, but you can expect stud-like production with Schroder out of the lineup. These seeding games are essentially meaningless for the Thunder, so I wouldn’t expect a huge bump in playing time for Paul. Protecting his health and keeping him fresh for the postseason should be their top priority.

I don’t have any of the same concerns with SGA. He played 38.7 minutes in his first game without Schroder this season and logged 46.4 FanDuel points in that contest. The result was a Plus/Minus of +15.4. SGA should also be expected to operate as the focal point of the second unit sans Schroder, which gives him more direct upside from his absence.

Value

The Nets are going to be an interesting team to monitor today. The pulled off one of the biggest upsets in recent memory yesterday, defeating the Bucks as whopping 19-point underdogs. They played that contest with Caris LeVert, Joe Harris, and Jarrett Allen all out of the lineup, but all three have the potential to return today.

Still, you never know what’s going to happen with the Nets. If LeVert and Harris are out again, Garrett Temple and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot would become strong value options on FanDuel. Both players own Bargain Ratings of 99%, and TLC led the shorthanded Nets with 31 minutes.

If LeVert is active, he is definitely a viable option at his current salary across the industry. He dominated for the Nets in his last contest, logging 45.9 FanDuel points over 39.2 minutes.

Fast Break

Smart has been an absolute monster this season in games without Walker. He’s logged an average of 35.3 minutes over 12 contests, resulting in an average of 36.04 DraftKings points per game. That’s good for an average Plus/Minus of +10.6 on salary of nearly $6,000.

He is slightly more expensive today at $6,500 on DraftKings, but he still has plenty of upside at that price tag.

Jordan Clarkson has been doing Jordan Clarkson things inside the bubble. Specifically, he’s shooting the ball virtually every time he touches it. He hasn’t made anything over his past two contests – he’s just 6-30 from the field over that time frame – but don’t expect that to deter him today vs. the Grizzlies. He has big upside when his shot is falling, evidenced by his 37.25 DraftKings points in his first game in Orlando.

Small Forward

Stud

LeBron James is 0-3 in terms of returning fantasy value within the bubble. He’ll face another tough test today vs. the Thunder, who have been one of the better defensive teams in basketball this season. They currently rank ninth in defensive efficiency, giving LeBron an Opponent Plus/Minus of just +0.69 on DraftKings.

We also have to worry about the motivation factor with the Lakers today. They have already clinched the top spot in the Western Conference playoffs, so they really don’t have anything to play for at this point. It would be wise for them to get some rest for LeBron and Anthony Davis over these final five games, and it’s always possible that could start today.

Overall, LeBron is a bit too risky for me, which is something I don’t say very often.

Value

The Spurs are dealing with one of the biggest absences in Orlando given the injury to LaMarcus Aldridge, and Rudy Gay has been one of the primary beneficiaries. He’s currently projected for 26.5 minutes in our NBA Models, and Gay has posted a usage rate of at least 29.5% in each of his past two contests. That production isn’t all that surprising either: He’s seen a usage bump of +3.0% with Aldridge and Bryn Forbes off the court this season, resulting in an average of 1.05 FanDuel points per minute. That gives him nice upside at just $4,600.

Fast Break

Most of the Celtics’ roster is going to be in play today, but Gordon Hayward stands out as one of the best pure values on FanDuel. He’s priced at just $6,100, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 98%, and he leads the team with an average of 36.5 minutes in games without Walker this season.

If you’re looking for a cheap way to target the Thunder today, consider Luguentz Dort. He’s been starting at SG for the Thunder with Terrence Ferguson out of the lineup, and he’s coming off more than 36 minutes in his last contest. His playing time doesn’t figure to decrease with Schroder out of the picture, and you can roster Dort at just $3,200 on DraftKings.

Power Forward

Stud

The buy-low window on Anthony Davis is officially closed. His salary jumped by nearly $1,000 on FanDuel after exploding for 73.4 fantasy points in his last outing.

That makes him a lot tougher to roster today vs. the Thunder. He’s dealing with the same matchup and motivation concerns as LeBron, and he no longer has the added benefit of being priced at his floor. He’s projected for 21-25% ownership on FanDuel, and I’m fine with fading him if that’s the case.

Value

The Nuggets have a trio of interesting PF options for today’s matchup vs. the Spurs.

It starts with Michael Porter Jr, who had himself a day on Monday. He logged 37 points and 12 rebounds, resulting in a whopping 55.90 FanDuel points at just $4,100. That’s one of the best fantasy games we’ve seen all season in terms of value. He’s been priced up more aggressively for today’s contest, but he still has huge upside for the shorthanded Nuggets. He’s averaged 1.20 FanDuel points per minute this season.

Paul Millsap and Jerami Grant are also viable options. They don’t possess nearly the same upside as MPJ, but they are slightly cheaper. Both guys are currently projected to be among the best points per dollar plays at the PF position in our NBA Models.

Fast Break

Jayson Tatum has been up-and-down for the Celtics in Orlando. He’s posted a negative Plus/Minus in two of his first three games, but those have been sandwiched around a monster performance of 58.5 DraftKings points. He’s averaged a Plus/Minus of +9.7 in 12 games without Walker this season, so he has some additional upside in this contest.

The Grizzlies got dealt a big blow with the injury to Jaren Jackson Jr. in their last game. Luckily, they do have another stellar option to turn to in Brandon Clarke. He’s been awesome from a fantasy standpoint in particular, averaging 1.15 DraftKings points per minute this season, so he can do some damage with some additional playing time.

Center

Stud

Joel Embiid has apparently enjoyed the 76ers’ lineup changes to start the seeding games. He’s increased his fantasy production to 1.97 DraftKings points per minute, and he’s posted a usage rate of at least 35.7% in each of his first two contests.

That bodes well for his fantasy outlook today vs. the Wizards. They have been a fantasy goldmine for opposing big men this season, ranking 29th in defensive efficiency and dead-last in team rebound rate.

He’s an elite target on FanDuel, where his $9,500 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 97%.

Value

Allen is going to be tough to avoid at $5,400 on DraftKings if he’s back in the lineup for the Nets. He’s coming off a huge game in his last outing – he posted 48.75 DraftKings points over 38.1 minutes – and his current price tag comes with a Bargain Rating of 97%. His matchup vs. the Celtics isn’t particularly good, but he’s simply too cheap if he’s going to see that much playing time.

Fast Break

Jonas Valanciunas is another member of the Grizzlies’ frontcourt who should see a few additional minutes today. That makes him a solid option. His playing time can be volatile when the Grizzlies are at full strength, but he’s almost always productive when he’s on the court. He’s averaged 1.32 DraftKings points per minute this season, which is the fifth-highest mark among today’s centers.

Nikola Jokic is easily the most frustrating player in fantasy basketball. He has a monster ceiling when he goes off, but that doesn’t seem to happen as frequently as it should. Who knows if he’ll be able to replicate the 30-point triple-double he posted in his last game, but he does have a solid matchup vs. the Spurs. He’s also very fairly priced at just $9,100 on FanDuel.