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 four-game slate starting at 4 p.m. ET.
Today’s slate should be an interesting one. All eight teams are solidly in the playoffs, so the only thing they’re playing for is seeding. With that in mind, it will be interesting to see how seriously they take these contests. Expect some injury information prior to lineup lock, which you can monitor using the Labs Insiders tool.
Chris Paul is the most expensive PG option on today’s slate, and he leads the position with 12 Pro Trends on FanDuel. He’s also reasonably priced at $7,700, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 92%. He’s played very well in the bubble, increasing his fantasy production to 1.26 FanDuel points per minute, but how much he will actually play today is up in the air. The Thunder could still finish anywhere from No. 4 through No. 6 in the West, but there isn’t a ton of difference between those seeds given the lack of home-court advantage.
The Pacers might be very shorthanded today. T.J. Warren has already been ruled out, while Malcolm Brogdon, Victor Oladipo, and Myles Turner are all listed as questionable. The Pacers would need to lose in each of their last two games to even have a chance of falling lower than No. 5 in the East, so they have some flexibility to rest their players.
Aaron Holiday would become close to a must-play if all four are unable to suit up. He’s increased his usage rate by a team-high +6.8% with all four players and Domantas Sabonis off the court this season, resulting in an average of 1.08 DraftKings points per minute.
If you want to go even cheaper with the Pacers, consider T.J. McConnell. He’s priced at just $3,500 on DraftKings, and he could also be looking at an expanded workload. McConnell has historically been an excellent fantasy producer when on the court, and he’s averaged a stout 1.16 DraftKings points per minute inside the bubble.
The Clippers are another team that will be shorthanded today. Patrick Beverley, Landry Shamet, and Montrezl Harrell have already been listed as out.
That means Reggie Jackson will likely move into the starting lineup, and he’s priced at just $3,800 on FanDuel. That results in a Bargain Rating of 99%.
The Rockets are playing on the second leg of a back-to-back, but James Harden will be back in the lineup after getting the day off yesterday. It’s now Russell Westbrook’s turn to sit as the Rockets look to get both of their superstars some rest before the postseason. The good news for the Rockets is that Eric Gordon will be available for the first time in Orlando.
The removal of Westbrook from the rotation obviously makes Harden an excellent fantasy option. He’s increased his usage rate by +7.6% with Westbrook off the court this season, resulting in an average of 1.73 DraftKings points per minute. He owns the highest ceiling projection in our NBA Models regardless of position, and frankly it’s not even close.
Ben McLemore is another member of the Rockets who should get a boost with Westbrook out of the lineup. He’s affordable at $3,900 on FanDuel, and he’s currently projected for 30.0 minutes in our NBA Models. Historically, players with a comparable salary and minute projection have averaged a Plus/Minus of +4.10 (per the Trends tool).
The 76ers rested virtually their entire starting five yesterday, but their plans for today’s matchup vs. the Raptors are currently unknown. The status of Joel Embiid in particular will be important since he’s such a usage monster when he’s on the court.
If Embiid is out, Josh Richardson may be worth a look at $5,200 on FanDuel. He’s increased his usage rate by +3.6% with Embiid and Ben Simmons off the court this season, and he’s coming off 50.75 DraftKings points with both players out or limited in his last game.
Torrey Craig is not the sexiest DFS option, but he has some value at just $3,900 on DraftKings. The Nuggets will be without Gary Harris and Will Barton for the seventh-straight game in Orlando, so Craig should be locked in to a pretty large workload.
Kawhi Leonard is listed at just $8,700 on FanDuel, which could make him an interesting buy-low option. He’s only played nine games with a comparable salary this season, but he’s posted a Plus/Minus of +8.06 in those contests.
You definitely have to worry about his minutes in this contest, but he has nice upside if he plays his usual workload.
Justin Holiday and JaKarr Sampson are both priced at the minimum on FanDuel, and both should see plenty of playing time for the shorthanded Pacers. Holiday is the safer option – he’s currently projected for 28.0 minutes – but Sampson has been the more productive player when on the court. He’s averaged 0.87 FanDuel points per minute in Orlando.
Tobias Harris got the day off yesterday with an ankle injury, but he would be worth some consideration if he’s back in the lineup today. He’s increased his usage rate by +1.6% in games without Simmons this season, resulting in an average Plus/Minus of +7.7 on FanDuel.
Danuel House is listed as probable for the Rockets, so he should be in the lineup vs. the Pacers. He’s one of the best pure values at the position on FanDuel given his Bargain Rating of 99%, and he’s currently projected for a healthy 31 minutes of playing time in our NBA Models.
Al Horford is another member of the 76ers who didn’t play yesterday, so you’ll need to monitor his status before locking him into your lineups. That said, he’ll likely be extremely cheap at $6,200 on FanDuel if he’s able to play. He’s slid back into the starting lineup following the injury to Simmons, and he’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in each of his past two games. That includes a contest where he saw just 22.4 minutes due to foul trouble. He should see closer to 30 minutes if he’s active today, and he’s averaged 1.07 FanDuel points per minute in games without Simmons this season. That makes him a strong option at just $6,200.
If you’re looking for even more value with the Pacers, Doug McDermott would be an interesting option at PF if the team ends up being extremely shorthanded. He hasn’t played a ton in the bubble, but he has averaged 0.83 DraftKings points per minute when on the court this season. He’s priced near the minimum at $3,200 on DraftKings, so he wouldn’t need a ton of playing time to potentially pay off his salary.
Jeff Green has become one of the Rockets’ most important role players in Orlando. He’s logged at least 27.2 minutes in three of his past four games, and he’s looking at another increased workload today with Westbrook out of the lineup. He’s also increased his fantasy production to 0.94 FanDuel points per minute in the bubble, and his $4,000 salary on FanDuel comes with a Bargain Rating of 88%.
Michael Porter Jr. has had a meteoric rise in value during the restart. He’s scored the ball at an elite level, proving why he was considered a top prospect before getting hurt during his freshman year of college.
MPJ is coming off a poor outing in his last game after being limited to just 24 minutes vs. the Lakers. That said, Jerami Grant is currently listed as questionable, and Porter could return to 30+ minutes if he’s ultimately ruled out. Porter has shown what he’s capable of with playing time – he scored at least 47.2 FanDuel points in four straight games – so he would be an interesting buy-low target in that situation.
I’m expecting the 76ers to exercise some caution with Embiid today, but he’s hard to completely ignore at just $8,800 on FanDuel. That is a crazy-low salary for Embiid, especially with Simmons out of the lineup. Embiid has increased his usage rate by +5.0% in games without Simmons this season, and he’s historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +5.24 with a comparable price tag. He was only priced this cheaply for one previous game in the bubble, and he exploded with 80.20 FanDuel points vs. the Pacers.
P.J. Tucker is priced at just $3,800 on FanDuel, which is almost unfathomable considering the number of minutes he typically plays. He’s far from a fantasy monster when on the court – he’s averaged just 0.54 FanDuel points per minute during the restart – but it’s hard to find someone projected for more than 33 minutes at such a minimal price tag. Unsurprisingly, he posted a positive Plus/Minus in each of his first five games in Orlando before playing limited minutes in a blowout loss to the Spurs yesterday.
Nikola Jokic is impossible to figure out during a normal situation, so good luck trying to decide what to do with him today. He played just 25.5 minutes in his last game, so he could definitely be looking at another reduced workload vs. the Clippers. That said, he has the potential to absolutely destroy his $8,500 salary on FanDuel if he does play his usual number of minutes. He’s the ultimate boom-or-bust play for guaranteed prize pools (GPPs).
If Myles Turner is able to suit up, he should have a field day on the glass vs. the Houston Rockets. They have been eviscerated on the boards during the restart, posting a team rebound rate of just 43.0%. The Pacers haven’t been much better at 44.1%, but Turner will have a massive size advantage on the interior if he’s active.