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 nine-game slate starting at 7 p.m. ET.
Luka Doncic has struggled to live up to expectations recently, posting an average Plus/Minus of -4.54 over his past 10 games on DraftKings. He’s still been the driving force of the Mavs offense during that time frame, posting a usage rate of 36.6% and an assist rate of 39.3%, but he’s seen a drop-off in his shooting efficiency. He’s struggled in particular from behind the arc, shooting just 26.5% during that time frame.
That said, he’s in a prime bounce-back spot today vs. the Pelicans. They’ve played at the second-fastest pace this season, giving Doncic an Opponent Plus/Minus of +3.00. Doncic is a particularly strong target on FanDuel, where his $10,400 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 93%.
Tonight’s game between the Wizards and Blazers owns the top total of the day at 242 points. The Wizards will also be slightly shorthanded, with Thomas Bryant already ruled out and Ish Smith currently listed as doubtful.
That makes Shabazz Napier a prime target. He’s been an excellent fantasy producer this season, averaging 1.05 FanDuel points per minute, and he should see a slight uptick in playing time if Smith is ruled out. He’s simply too cheap at $4,600 on FanDuel.
On the other side of that matchup, Damian Lillard is expected to return to the lineup after missing each of the past five games. He could be limited in his first game back, but the Wizards represent an elite matchup. Lillard averaged a Plus/Minus of +9.75 in his previous 10 games prior to getting injured, and has salary has decreased by nearly $2,000 from its peak during that time frame. He has huge upside if he sees his regular usage workload, and he should command slightly lower ownership than usual.
The Celtics are going to be extremely shorthanded today. Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown and Gordon Hayward have all been ruled out, which opens up plenty of usage for the rest of the roster. They also have a great matchup vs. the Cavaliers, who rank dead last in defensive efficiency.
Bradley Wanamaker figures to be one of the biggest beneficiaries. He’s currently projected for 26.1 minutes in our NBA Models, and Wanamaker has seen a usage bump of +2.7% with Walker, Brown and Hayward off the court this season. He’s very reasonably priced at $3,500 on DraftKings, and players with comparable salaries and minute projections have historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +2.95 (per the Trends tool).
Bradley Beal has been unstoppable recently. He’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in six straight games, and he’s scored at least 61.5 DraftKings points in four of those contests.
His salary has increased pretty significantly across the industry, but he still has appeal given his matchup vs. the Blazers. They rank just 26th in defensive efficiency, and the Wizards’ implied team total of 117.0 is tied for the third-highest mark on the slate.
The Pistons are another interesting team on today’s slate. They will be without both Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose, and Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson are no longer with the team. Bruce Brown is also doubtful, and Brandon Knight is questionable. That just doesn’t leave a ton of viable options on their roster.
With that in mind, Svi Mykhailiuk could be asked to carry a large workload vs. the Thunder. He’s coming off more than 38.8 minutes in his last contest, and Mykhailiuk has increased his fantasy production to 0.82 DraftKings points per minute with all the currently unavailable members of the team off the court this season.
Coby White has SG eligibility on DraftKings, and he should continue to carry an increased workload for the Bulls. Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn are both out for tonight’s contest vs. the Timberwolves, and White has increased his usage rate by +4.1% with both players off the court this season. He’s also increased his fantasy production to 1.13 DraftKings points per minute over the past month, and he’s posted an average Plus/Minus of +12.57 over his past 10 games.
The Thunder are expected to be without Danilo Gallinari today, which should give Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Dennis Schroder a boost in value. Schroder has increased his usage rate by a team-high +4.4% with Gallo off the court this season, while SGA has increased his usage rate by +3.7%. SGA is the more expensive option of the two, but he leads all SGs with 13 Pro Trends on FanDuel. Both players also stand out as excellent values on FanDuel, where each owns a Bargain Rating of at least 95%.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is coming off a poor performance in his last game, but he’s still been a fantasy force recently. He’s averaged a Plus/Minus of +5.04 over his past 10 games on FanDuel, and his average of 1.95 FanDuel points per minute this season is drastically higher than every other player in the league.
Giannis is obviously capable of smashing every time he takes the court, but he has a few things working against him today. For starters, he’s priced up a bit at the moment due to his recent success. He also has one of the toughest matchups possible vs. the Indiana Pacers. They rank 25th in pace and seventh in defensive efficiency, giving Giannis an Opponent Plus/Minus of -1.06 on FanDuel.
Jerome Robinson looks like a strong punt play for the Wizards. He’s priced at just $3,100 on DraftKings, and he’s currently projected for 29.5 minutes in our NBA Models. It’s hard to find that much playing time at such a minimal price tag, and players with comparable salaries and minute projections have historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +4.67.
Juan Hernangomez has found new life as a member of the Timberwolves. He’s posted an average Plus/Minus of +8.80 over his past 10 games on FanDuel, and he’s scored at least 29.9 FanDuel points in each of his past three games. He’s also increased his fantasy production to 0.94 FanDuel points per minute over the past month, and he’s in a solid spot vs. the Bulls. Hernangomez is one of the best values of the day on FanDuel, where his $4,900 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 96%.
On the other side of that matchup, Denzel Valentine has some appeal for the shorthanded Bulls. He’s still not expected to see a ton of minutes — he’s currently projected for 22.0 in our NBA Models — but he’s averaged a stout 1.14 DraftKings points per minute this season. He scored 27.5 DraftKings points over 21.1 minutes in his last outing, so he has some upside at a minimal salary across the industry.
Jayson Tatum has taken a major step forward recently. He’s posted an average Plus/Minus of +12.19 over his past 10 games on FanDuel, and he’s scored at least 47.5 FanDuel points in six straight games.
He’s going to be asked to carry an even larger offensive workload today. Tatum has increased his usage rate by a ridiculous +11.4% with Walker, Brown and Hayward off the court this season, resulting in a usage rate of 40.1%. That’s James Harden territory. Unsurprisingly, Tatum has averaged 1.44 DraftKings points per minute in that situation.
He’s been priced up pretty aggressively of late, but he still has excellent upside vs. the Cavaliers. He’s an elite option on FanDuel in particular given his Bargain Rating of 95%.
Naz Reid is way too cheap at $4,500 on FanDuel. He’s been an elite producer on a per-minute basis this season, averaging 1.24 FanDuel points per minute, and he’s seen a large increase in playing time recently. He’s played at least 27.2 minutes in back-to-back games, and he’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in both contests. That includes 48.3 FanDuel points in his last game vs. the Pelicans.
He’s in a phenomenal spot vs. the Bulls, resulting in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +4.01.
Christian Wood is another player who has been dominant on a per-minute basis this season. He’s not as cheap as Reid, but he’s still grading out as one of the best plays at the position on DraftKings. He leads the position with 13 Pro Trends, and his matchup vs. the Thunder results in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.14.
Kevin Love is a strong option today on FanDuel given his Bargain Rating of 98%. He’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in each of his past two games, and he should continue to see an increased workload given the Cavs’ current injury situation. Drummond has already been ruled out, and Tristan Thompson is listed as questionable.
Make sure to stay up to date on all the latest injury news using the new Labs Insiders tool.
Jonas Valanciunas isn’t exactly priced like a stud, but he has the potential to provide stud-like production. Valanciunas has always been an elite per-minute producer, and he’s seen a nice boost in playing time with Jaren Jackson Jr. and Brandon Clarke out of the lineup. He’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in three straight games, and he’s scored at least 48.0 FanDuel points in two of those contests.
Valanciunas also has a tremendous matchup vs. the Nets, who have surrendered big games in bunches to opposing centers this season. He owns an Opponent Plus/Minus of +3.89 on FanDuel, where his $7,100 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 96%.
Enes Kanter could be worth some consideration for the shorthanded Celtics. He’s still not going to see a ton of minutes, but he’s a safe bet to at least get on the court. Kanter has averaged 1.27 FanDuel points per minute this season, so he doesn’t need a ton of playing time to potentially return value.
Hassan Whiteside may not have the same points-per-dollar potential as Valanciunas today, but he undoubtedly has the superior ceiling. He’s just as good as Valanciunas on a per-minute basis, and he doesn’t have the same playing time concerns. He also owns a great matchup vs. the Wizards, who rank dead last in team rebound rate this season.
Photo credit: Maddie Meyer-Getty Images
Pictured: Celtics F Jayson Tatum (0)