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 small, two-game slate, with the games starting at 8 p.m. ET.
There aren’t a ton of positions to pay up at on a two-game slate, but point guard is one of the exceptions. Luka Doncic has been one of the best players in fantasy since the start of last season, while Russell Westbrook has played as well as anyone over the past month.
That said, I’m giving a slight edge to Doncic on the slate. His price has come down a bit recently, while Westbrook has been priced up by more than $1,000 over the past month. Selling high on Westbrook to buy low on Doncic is a fundamental tenet of NBA DFS. Historically, Doncic has posted an average Plus/Minus of +5.05 with a comparable salary, while Westbrook has averaged a Plus/Minus of +2.80 with a comparable salary over the past two seasons (per the Trends tool).
Derrick White has barely played this season. He’s been limited by both injuries and health and safety protocols, and the latter has kept him out of the lineup since February 14th. However, White has been fantastic when he’s been on the court. He’s averaged 1.03 DraftKings points per minute this season, and he scored 43.5 DraftKings points over 26.9 minutes the last time he played. In other words, he can rack up fantasy points very quickly. He’s currently projected for 26.3 minutes in our NBA Models, which should be enough for him to return value vs. the Mavericks.
If you are going to pay up for Westbrook, FanDuel seems like the place to do it. He’s much more reasonably priced at $9,800, resulting in a position-high Bargain Rating of 75%. Westbrook has posted a positive Plus/Minus in 10 straight games, and he’s averaged a Plus/Minus of +9.93 over that time frame.
Don’t forget about Ja Morant today. Westbrook and Doncic will garner the majority of the attention, but Morant is in arguably the best spot. The Wizards have been dreadful against opposing point guards this season, giving Morant an Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.41 on FanDuel.
Bradley Beal put together a marvelous first half for the Wizards, and he’s currently leading the league in scoring. He’s also been one of the most consistent producers in fantasy this season, and he’s scored at least 46.0 DraftKings in seven of his past eight games.
He was priced at $9,900 on DraftKings in his final game before the All-Star break, so he’s very appealing at just $9,400 vs. the Grizzlies. His Bargain Rating of 99% makes him one of the best pure values on the slate. The game between the Wizards and Grizzlies is expected to be played at a break-neck pace – both of these teams rank in the top eight in pace this season – and the Wizards’ implied team total of 120.25 is the top mark on the slate by a sizable margin.
If you’re not paying up for Beal, you don’t really have any choice but to pay down at the position. No other shooting guard on DraftKings costs more than $5,700.
Dillon Brooks’ playing time has been wildly inconsistent this season, but he’s coming off 34.7 minutes in his last outing before the All-Star break. If he sees that much playing time against the Wizards, he’s almost certainly underpriced given his average of 1.00 DraftKings points per minute. The Wizards are also a dream matchup, ranking first in pace and 27th in defensive efficiency.
Sticking with the Grizzlies, Desmond Bane could be an interesting punt play on FanDuel. He’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in each of his past three games, and he’s priced at the absolute minimum against the Wizards. He’s currently projected for 21.4 minutes, and Bane has averaged a respectable 0.75 FanDuel points per minute this season.
Patty Mills should start to lose some playing time with the Spurs getting healthier, but he’s one of the better pure values at the position on FanDuel. His $4,000 price tag comes with a Bargain Rating of 80%, which is tied for the top mark at the position. His matchup against the Mavericks also results in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +1.46, which is the second-highest mark among shooting guards.
Small forward seems like the weakest position to pay up. DeMar DeRozan is your best bet if you want to go that route, but he’s only listed as a small forward on DraftKings. That’s definitely the site you want to roster him, given his Bargain Rating of 92 percent.
Still, $8,000 on DraftKings isn’t a particularly appealing salary for him with the team at close to full strength. He’s been at his best this season with the Spurs shorthanded, but they will be as healthy as they’ve been all season against the Mavericks.
Justise Winslow has struggled to live up to expectations in the NBA, and he’s dealt with a ton of injuries over the past two years. This contest against the Wizards will be just his 18th game since the start of the 2019-20 season. However, he’s actually been a solid fantasy producer through six games with the Grizzlies this season. He’s averaged 0.88 DraftKings points per minute, so he doesn’t need a ton of playing time to pay off his $3,900 salary.
FanDuel has done everyone a favor by listing Doncic as a small forward. That gives you the ability to play him with Westbrook and Morant, which is something that wouldn’t have been possible before the All-Star break. That will likely be a very popular lineup construction — which is a concern for tournaments — but that seems like the optimal strategy.
Deni Avdija is priced at just $3,100 on DraftKings, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 98 percent. He was the No. 9 pick in the 2020 draft, so expect him to carve out a larger role with the Wizards over the second half of the season. He played at least 24.9 minutes in Washington’s final two games before the All-Star break, and he posted a positive Plus/Minus in each contest. Ultimately, he’s too cheap if he’s going to continue to see that much playing time.
Kristaps Porzingis is overpriced on DraftKings, but he’s a strong option at just $8,300 on FanDuel. It results in a Bargain Rating of 75%, which is the top mark at the position. The Mavericks have been very careful with Porzingis’ minutes this season, but that’s not a huge concern on the slate. He’s projected for 33.4 minutes in our NBA Models, and no other player at the position is projected for more than 27.7 on FanDuel. He also leads the position with an average of 1.23 FanDuel points per minute this season, and his Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.43 ranks first at the position as well.
No one at power forward really stands out as a slam-dunk value, but Brandon Clarke probably has the best upside for his price tag. He’s averaged 0.97 DraftKings points per minute this season, which is an excellent mark at just $5,200. His playing time has been inconsistent — he’s played as many as 34.2 minutes and as few as 16.1 minutes over his past four games — but he has the potential to smash his current salary if he hits his minute’s ceiling. He’s a particularly strong option on DraftKings given his Bargain Rating of 98%.
Dorian Finney-Smith is about as boring as it gets from a fantasy perspective, but he’s also one of the safer value options on the slate. He’s posted an 87% Consistency Rating over the past month on DraftKings, and he’s projected for 33.7 minutes in our NBA Models. That’s a lot of playing time for someone who costs just $4,500.
LaMarcus Aldridge is a potential option at $5,500 on FanDuel given his Bargain Rating of 65 percent. He’s taken on a new role for the Spurs recently. Instead of starting, he’s been coming off the bench and operating as the offensive focal point of the second unit. That means fewer minutes, but it also provides the potential for a higher usage rate.
Outside of the point guard position, paying up for Jonas Valanciunas makes the most sense on the slate. He’s averaged a stout 1.30 DraftKings per minute this season, and he should be able to crush against a soft Wizards’ interior. In addition to struggling defensively, they also rank just 22nd in team rebound rate. Overall, Valanciunas leads the position with an Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.33 on the number.
Another factor working in Valanciunas’ favor is that there aren’t a ton of appealing values at center. You can play Clarke at center on DraftKings – which definitely has some appeal – but Robin Lopez might be the next best option. He’s coming off 26.2 minutes in the Wizards’ last game, and he could see a similar workload tonight to combat the size of Valanciunas. Lopez has averaged 0.81 DraftKings per minute this season, so he should be able to pay off his salary with that much playing time. He’s a nice value on DraftKings given his Bargain Rating of 97 percent.
Xavier Tillman is another nice value on DraftKings. He also owns a Bargain Rating of 97%, and he’s averaged a solid of 0.88 DraftKings points per minute this season. He isn’t projected for quite as many minutes as Lopez, but he has arguably a higher ceiling.