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 p.m. ET.
New offer from FantasyLabs: Get our NFL models and tools free when you sign up for the NBA monthly plan!
Luka Doncic has disappointed recently — he’s posted a negative Plus/Minus in four straight games on DraftKings — but those have come against tough competition. Two were against the Jazz and two were against the Suns, and both of those teams rank in the top-six in defensive efficiency and bottom six in pace this season. That makes them two of the worst matchups in the league from a fantasy perspective.
His matchup vs. the Hawks isn’t ideal, but it’s a clear step down compared to what he’s faced recently. Doncic has still averaged a robust 1.68 DraftKings points per minute over the past month, and his $10,800 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 95%. He’s a nice buy-low target.
Ish Smith returned to the Wizards’ lineup two games ago, and he’s stepped right back into a solid workload. He’s coming off 27.4 minutes in his last outing, and he has a chance to move into the starting lineup tonight. Raul Neto remains out with an injury, while Russell Westbrook is a clear rest candidate on the second leg of a back-to-back. Smith has averaged 1.09 FanDuel points per minute over the past month, so he has the potential to pay off his current salary in less than 30 minutes of playing time. He’s an elite value at just $4,600 on FanDuel.
Dejounte Murray has seen a slight reduction in value with Derrick White back in the rotation for the Spurs, but he has a chance to see a few extra shot attempts tonight. LaMarcus Aldridge has been ruled out, and Murray has increased his usage rate by +1.8% with Aldridge off the court this season. He also owns an elite matchup vs. the Timberwolves, who have been dreadful defensively with Karl-Anthony Towns out of the lineup.
Chris Paul owns a Bargain Rating of 75% on FanDuel, and his 11 Pro Trends are also tied for the top mark at the position. He owns one of the best individual matchups on the slate, resulting in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +4.23, and he should continue to benefit from the absence of Devin Booker.
Bradley Beal has been on an absolute mission this season. He’s leading the league with an average of 35.0 points per game, and his 37.5% usage rate is also tops in the league. Overall, his average of 1.51 DraftKings points per minute over the past month ranks fifth on Wednesday’s slate.
Of course, Beal has the potential to improve upon those numbers if Westbrook is out. He’s increased his usage rate to 41.1% with Westbrook off the court this season, resulting in an average of 1.58 DraftKings points per minute. The Heat are also a solid matchup, ranking just 21st in defensive efficiency.
Devonte’ Graham has the potential to be one of the best plays of the day at $5,500 on FanDuel. He’s coming off 41.1 minutes and 35.3 FanDuel points in his last outing, which came with Terry Rozier out of the lineup. Rozier is currently listed as questionable, and Graham could be looking at another huge workload if Rozier is ruled out once again.
Graham also leads the position with 13 Pro Trends, and he’s historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +5.49 with a comparable price tag (per the Trends tool).
Garrison Mathews is another potential value option for the Wizards. He’s priced at just $3,300 on DraftKings, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 99%, and he’s currently projected for 23.1 minutes in our NBA Models. Mathews has averaged 0.85 DraftKings points per minute over the past month, so that should be more than enough playing time for him to potentially pay off his current salary.
Kevin Huerter stands out as one of the best pure values on the slate on FanDuel. He’s priced at $4,500, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 87%, and he’s carrying a massive workload for the shorthanded Hawks at the moment. He’s played at least 38.6 minutes in two of his past three games, and he’s projected for 36.6 minutes Wednesday vs. the Mavericks.
I’m not sure what Jaylen Brown has done to anger the good people at DraftKings, but this salary is disrespectful. He’s priced at just $7,900 vs. the Kings, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 97%. Brown has been one of the most consistent producers in fantasy this season, and he managed 39.0 DraftKings points in just 32 minutes Tuesday vs. the Warriors. He was dealing with foul trouble during that contest, so expect him to play more minutes tonight.
The Kings also represent one of the best matchups in fantasy. They rank dead-last in defensive efficiency, and the Celtics’ implied team total of 114.5 is tied for the fourth-highest mark on the slate.
The Wizards aren’t the only team with the potential to be shorthanded on Wednesday. John Wall has already been ruled out of the Rockets, which opens up a bunch of usage for the rest of the roster.
Eric Gordon stands out as one of the biggest beneficiaries. He’s increased his usage rate by a team-high +3.8% with both Wall and James Harden off the court this season, resulting in an average of 1.06 DraftKings points per minute. That makes him too cheap at his current salary across the industry.
DeMar DeRozan has seen the largest increase in value for the Spurs with Aldridge off the court this season. He’s increased his usage rate by a team-high +4.3%, resulting in an average of 1.27 DraftKings points per minute. That represents a massive increase from his average of 1.07 DraftKings points per minute over the past month.
Gordon Hayward is another member of the Hornets who should carry a huge workload tonight. He’s played at least 36.5 minutes in eight straight games, including nearly 42 minutes in his last contest. He’s currently projected for 37.8 minutes vs. the 76ers, which is the top mark at the position.
There are a bunch of different directions you can go in if you’re paying up at power forward, but Domantas Sabonis stands out as one of the best pure values on DraftKings. He’s coming off a massive 60.75 DraftKings Tuesday vs. the Pistons, yet his salary for today’s matchup vs. the Bucks is actually -$400 lower. Overall, his salary has decreased by nearly -$2,000 from its peak of $10,100, and Sabonis has averaged 51.05 DraftKings points in five games with a comparable salary this season.
There are always blowout concerns when you’re facing the Bucks — the Pacers are listed as eight-point underdogs — but Sabonis has massive upside if this game stays competitive. Milwaukee has played at the seventh-fastest pace this season, and they haven’t been nearly as dominant defensively as they were last year.
Power forward looks like a good position to pay up at today, but if you can’t, Rudy Gay stands out as a decent value. Gay has increased his production to 1.04 DraftKings points per minute with Aldridge off the court this season, and he could also see a few additional minutes with Aldridge out of the lineup. The Timberwolves have also been a disaster defensively without Towns, and the Spurs’ implied team total of 116.25 points ranks third on the slate.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is in consideration every time he takes the court, and tonight’s matchup vs. the Pacers is no exception. He’s coming off just 33.5 DraftKings points in his last contest, but the Bucks didn’t really need him in a blowout win over the Blazers. He had been playing more minutes than usual prior to that contest, so he has arguably the top ceiling on the slate if tonight’s game is more competitive.
Kristaps Porzingis is another option to consider paying up for. He stands out on FanDuel, where his $7,500 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 65%, and his matchup vs. the Hawks results in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.50. Porzingis has historically provided solid value with a comparable salary, posting an average Plus/Minus of +2.14 on FanDuel.
Joel Embiid is low on the list of studs on today’s slate, but he still deserves some attention. He’s been an absolute wrecking ball recently, posting an average of 1.71 DraftKings points per minute over the past month. That’s the top mark on the slate regardless of position. Embiid sat out the 76ers’ last game, but he went through practice on Tuesday. That’s a good sign for his availability tonight vs. the Hornets. He should be one of the lowest-owned studs if he’s active, which increases his appeal for guaranteed prize pools.
Jakob Poeltl is expected to draw the start in place of Aldridge, which makes him an appealing value at his current salary. He’s averaged 0.96 DraftKings points per minute over the past month, and he has the potential to see plenty of playing time vs. the Timberwolves. Minnesota has been an excellent matchup for centers this season, giving Poeltl an Opponent Plus/Minus of +3.98.
Drew Eubanks is another option if you’re looking to save some salary with the Spurs. He won’t see as many minutes as Poeltl, but he’s still projected for around 20 minutes in our NBA Models. Eubanks has averaged 0.94 DraftKings points per minute over the past month, and he’s priced at the absolute minimum on DraftKings.
Steven Adams missed the Pelicans’ last game, and he’s currently questionable to suit up Wednesday vs. the Suns. That said, he looks like a solid option if he’s active. His $5,100 salary on FanDuel comes with a Bargain Rating of 75%, and he’s scored at least 30.0 FanDuel points in four of his past seven games.
Cody Zeller remains an intriguing option at $5,500 on FanDuel. He’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in six straight games, and he’s scored at least 35.8 FanDuel points in three of his past four games.
Photo Credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Pictured: Domantas Sabonis