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 three-game slate starting at 4 p.m. ET.
The PG position is a bit thinner than usual at the top today. Chris Paul is the only player priced above $6,400 on FanDuel, and he checks in at only $7,900.
That said, Paul is definitely in play vs. the Rockets. The Thunder have won two straight games to even up the series, and Paul has been a big reason for their success. He’s scored at least 42.7 FanDuel points in both contests, and he’s played at least 36.5 minutes in all four games during this series. CP3 has averaged 1.17 FanDuel points per minute inside the bubble, which is the top mark at the position.
The big news on today’s slate is that Damian Lillard will not suit up for the Portland Trail Blazers. He exited Monday’s game with a sprained knee and has already been ruled out for today’s contest.
That makes Anfernee Simons an interesting option at the absolute minimum on FanDuel. He could potentially replace Lillard in the starting lineup, and he’s increased his usage rate by +2.4% in games without Lillard this season. He’s currently projected for 25.5 minutes in our NBA Models, and min-priced PGs with a comparable minute projection have historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +2.65 (per the Trends tool).
The Magic will be trying to avoid elimination today vs. the Bucks, so don’t be surprised if they lean on their key players a bit heavier than usual. Markelle Fultz fits that description, and he’s coming off nearly 31.5 minutes in his last game. Fultz has averaged 0.99 DraftKings points per minute this season, so he’s capable of paying off his $5,100 salary with a similar workload.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has PG eligibility on DraftKings, and he stands out as one of the top options of the day regardless of position. He’s carried a massive workload for the Thunder during the playoffs, and he’s currently projected for 42.3 minutes in Game 5 vs. the Rockets. SGA is capable of producing well over 1.00 DraftKings points per minute, so he can do a lot of damage with that much playing time.
James Harden has started to assert himself a little more offensively over the past two games, and he’s responded with at least 60.7 FanDuel points in both contests. That said, he still has room for improvement. He’s been below-average in terms of his shooting in both contests – he’s shot just 44.2% from the field and 32.1% from 3-point range – so he has even more upside if can make a few more shots today.
He should also carry another large workload with Russell Westbrook out of the lineup, especially in a crucial Game 5. The team that wins Game 5 of a tie series advances at a nearly 85% clip, so both of these teams should treat this as a must-win contest.
Gary Trent Jr. is another player who should see a larger workload with Lillard out of the lineup. He’s currently projected for 37.6 minutes at just $4,000 on FanDuel, and comparable players have historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +5.31.
Sticking with the Blazers, C.J. McCollum will likely be asked to shoulder the scoring load in today’s contest. He’s increased his usage rate by +7.5% with both Lillard and Zach Collins off the court this season, resulting in an average of 1.23 DraftKings points per minute. That said, McCollum is dealing with an injury of his own, so the Blazers may exercise a bit of caution with him if this game gets out of hand early.
The Magic are begging for offense at the moment, so they’ve started to lean a little harder on Terrence Ross. He’s coming off 31.2 minutes in his last outing – which was his top mark of the series – and Ross has averaged 0.93 DraftKings points per minute this season.
The Lakers offense got off to a slow start vs. the Blazers, but they’ve been absolutely humming recently. They’ve scored at least 111 points in each of their past three games, including 135 in their last contest.
LeBron James has unsurprisingly been a big part of that production, and he posted 57.0 DraftKings points over just 28.3 minutes in his last outing. He definitely has huge upside today if this game stays competitive, but that is no guarantee with Lillard out of the lineup. The Lakers are currently favored by 14 points, so LeBron could be looking at another early exit.
Danuel House is simply too cheap right now considering the number of minutes he’s playing. He’s priced at just $4,800 on FanDuel, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 95%, and he’s logged at least 38.1 minutes in each of his past three games. House has scored at least 26.0 FanDuel points in each of those contests, and he’s scored at least 31.7 FanDuel points in two of them. There’s no reason not to go back to the well today.
Carmelo Anthony is another excellent value on FanDuel. His $5,400 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 92%, and he definitely carries a higher ceiling with Lillard out of the lineup. He’s increased his usage rate by +3.2% with Lillard off the court this season, resulting in an average of 0.82 FanDuel points per minute.
Eric Gordon is coming off his best fantasy performance of the series in Game 4 despite the fact that he logged fewer shot attempts than he did in each of the previous three contests. The big difference was he actually made some of them, so if he can combine his efficiency from Game 4 with his earlier volume, he could be looking at a big performance.
Giannis Antetokounmpo has been his usual dominant self during the first round. He’s tallied at least 59.0 DraftKings points in all four contests, and he’s scored at least 64.75 DraftKings points in three of them. He hasn’t even been asked to play that many minutes in those games, which makes his production even more impressive.
There are some blowout concerns with the Bucks today, but it’s not like any of their past games have been all that competitive. They lost by 12 points in Game 1 and have won each of the past three games by at least 14 points.
The Rockets have a pair of appealing PF options today in Robert Covington and Jeff Green. Green has been slightly better in the bubble, averaging 0.93 FanDuel points per minute, while Covington has been better over the course of the full season. Green is also priced up to essentially his highest price tag of the season, while Covington is at one of his lowest. With that in mind, Covington is definitely my preferred option of the two.
Anthony Davis was unable to finish the Lakers’ last game with back spasms, but he is listed as probable for today’s contest. The Blazers have had no answers for Davis in this series – he’s torched both Jusuf Nurkic and Hassan Whiteside – and he logged a ridiculous 40.5 FanDuel points over just 17.6 minutes in his last game. He has the same blowout concerns as LeBron, but he obviously has huge upside if this game stays competitive.
Gary Clark has posted a positive Plus/Minus on DraftKings in each of his first four games vs. the Bucks, and he should be looking at another increased workload if Aaron Gordon is unable to suit up. That makes him a viable option at a pretty cheap salary across the industry.
Nikola Vucevic has been one of the lone bright spots for the Magic in this series. He’s averaged 29.5 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game, and he’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in three of four games on FanDuel. He leads the position with 13 Pro Trends on FanDuel, where his $8,600 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 94%.
Hassan Whiteside has started each of the past two games for the Blazers, and that seems unlikely to change with Lillard out of the lineup. He played approximately 25.7 minutes two games ago, and that’s enough playing time to make him an interesting option. He’s averaged 1.40 FanDuel points per minute this season, which is the top mark at the position on today’s slate.
Steven Adams has one of the best possible matchups vs. the Rockets, who have been absolutely slaughtered on the glass after trading away Clint Capela. That said, the Thunder did limit Adams’ minutes in his last contest. They chose to go with a smaller lineup featuring Danilo Gallinari at center, so he may not play as much as expected today.
It’s hard to find a cheaper source of minutes than P.J. Tucker on most slates. He isn’t exactly a monster when on the court – he’s averaged 0.63 DraftKings points per minute this season – but he’s currently projected for 36.8 minutes at just $4,300 on DraftKings. Historically, players with comparable salaries and minute projections have averaged a Plus/Minus of +4.05.