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.
Kyrie Irving returned to the lineup Monday after missing the previous two games with an eye injury, but was limited to just under 28 minutes of playing time. That said, the Celtics won that game by 21 points, so his reduced workload was likely a result of the poor game script rather than his injury. He should return to his normal workload today vs. the Pacers.
It’s a difficult matchup — the Pacers currently rank second in defensive efficiency — but Irving leads all point guards on today’s slate with an average of 1.39 FanDuel points per minute over the past month. He also seems underpriced at just $8,400, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 90%.
Devin Booker missed yesterday’s contest vs. the Sacramento Kings and seems unlikely to suit up today vs. the Dallas Mavericks. His absence would make De’Anthony Melton one of the stronger value options of the day. He exploded for 40.8 FanDuel points sans Booker in yesterday’s contest and has seen a team-high usage bump of +3.5% with Booker off the court this season.
Cameron Payne played over 22 minutes in his Cavs’ debut, which could make him an appealing punt play at just $3,000 on DraftKings. He has averaged a respectable 0.77 DraftKings points per minute this season and is in an elite spot vs. the New Orleans Pelicans. They’ve played at the sixth-fastest pace this season, giving Payne an Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.52.
Reggie Jackson is coming off two straight subpar games, and his salary has dropped to just $4,600 on DraftKings as a result. Jackson can be a frustrating fantasy asset at times, but he offers very little downside at his current salary. He has averaged 0.97 DraftKings points per minute over the past month and has a great matchup vs. the Los Angeles Lakers.
James Harden has been so good recently that he really deserves his own category at this point: comparing him to the other studs on the slate feels mildly insulting. His production over his past 12 games is absolutely ridiculous, averaging 40.2 points, 9.6 assists, and 6.8 rebounds in 39.3 minutes. The result is an average of 75.92 fantasy points and a +14.06 Plus/Minus on DraftKings. At this point, he offers the highest floor and ceiling on the slate regardless of matchup.
He’s in an interesting spot today vs. the Milwaukee Bucks. On one hand, they’ve played at the fifth-fastest pace this season, which makes this a massive pace-up spot for the Rockets. On the other hand, they rank fourth in defensive efficiency, and Harden has a subpar individual matchup vs. Eric Bledsoe: He ranks 11th among qualified point guards in Defensive Real Plus/Minus (DRPM) this season.
Overall, the pace seems to be the most important factor, with Houston’s current implied team total of 113.0 representing a slight increase when compared to their season average (110.7). With that in mind, there’s absolutely no reason to consider fading Harden, even given his likely astronomical ownership.
The injury situation for the Cavs continues to get worse and worse. Larry Nance Jr. was forced to leave after just five minutes yesterday vs. the Pacers, which puts his status for tonight’s contest vs. the Pelicans in doubt. If he’s unable to suit up, it could lead to a larger workload for Jordan Clarkson, who played 32 minutes off the bench yesterday. He commanded a massive 36.4% usage rate in that contest, which gives him big upside at just $5,000 on FanDuel.
Alec Burks is also worth some consideration on FanDuel, where his $4,500 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 95%. He has started each of the past two games in place of Rodney Hood, who is currently doubtful with an Achilles injury.
D’Angelo Russell has one of the best matchups of the day vs. the Atlanta Hawks, who have played at the fastest pace in the league this season. He was limited to just 23 minutes in his last contest vs. the Celtics but had seen at least 33 minutes in each of his four prior contests. That makes him appealing at $7,600 on DraftKings given his average of 1.18 fantasy points per minute over the past month.
Bradley Beal might be the best pure value at the position on DraftKings, where his $8,900 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 98%. His 12 Pro Trends are tied with Harden for the most at the position, and Beal has averaged 49.72 DraftKings points in nine games without John Wall this season.
Giannis Antetokounmpo has averaged a stout 1.67 DraftKings points per minute over the past month, which trails only Harden’s and Anthony Davis’ on today’s slate. That said, his elite per-minute productivity hasn’t translated to fantasy success on DraftKings.
He posted an average Plus/Minus of -2.15 over his past 10 games and -1.52 over the course of the season. He has been limited to an average of just 33.5 minutes per game, which puts him outside the top 20 and well behind the likes of Harden and Davis.
That makes him tough to trust for cash games, but his game vs. the Raptors on Sunday does paint an optimistic picture for GPPs. He played 39.5 minutes and commanded a usage rate of 40.6%, both of which suggest the coaching staff is willing to loosen his reigns in competitive contests. Tonight’s game vs. the Rockets could definitely qualify, and he should check in with lower ownership the other top studs on the slate.
It’s tough to ignore Kelly Oubre after what he did yesterday. He led the Suns with a usage rate of 27.1% en route to 48.0 FanDuel points in 30 minutes. He’s likely due for some regression today — he shot 60% from the field in a pace up spot vs. the Kings — but he still looks like a massive value across the industry.
Sticking with the Suns, T.J. Warren could be an interesting target in GPPs. He was one of the few members of the team who disappointed yesterday, which will likely result in lower ownership. That said, he averaged 0.97 FanDuel points per minute over the past month and has increased his usage rate by +2.2% in games without Booker this season.
Joe Ingles seems underpriced at $5,500 on DraftKings, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 86%. He’s currently projected for 34 minutes in our NBA Models and has averaged 0.87 DraftKings points per minute this season, which makes him one of the better plays at the position from a points per dollar perspective.
The power forward position is really strong today, and it starts at the top with Anthony Davis. He’s been a bit overshadowed by the performance of Harden recently but has still managed an elite 1.76 DraftKings points per minute over the past month. He’s also slightly cheaper than Harden on DraftKings, where his $11,500 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 98%.
That said, he’s in a bit of a subpar spot today vs. the Cavaliers. For starters, the Cavaliers are absolutely awful, which puts them in jeopardy of being blown out every time they take the floor. They’re currently the largest underdogs of the day at 14-points, and the Pelicans beat them by 35 points just four days ago in Cleveland. They also play extremely slow, giving Davis an Opponent Plus/Minus of -0.45. I would rather play Harden in all formats and would lean Giannis over Davis in GPPs as well.
Josh Jackson entered the starting lineup for the Suns yesterday and did not disappoint, scoring 30.3 FanDuel points in 31 minutes. He remains priced at a discount at just $4,800 on FanDuel, giving him a Bargain Rating of 93%.
Myles Turner has been ruled out for the third straight game, which means Domantas Sabonis should remain entrenched in the starting lineup. He’s averaged 38.5 FanDuel points in the two previous games sans Turner, and his 34 minutes in his most recent contest was his second-highest mark of the season. He has huge upside at just $7,000 on FanDuel.
John Collins could be the preferred mid-range target on DraftKings, where his $7,200 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 97%. He’s coming off 44.5 DraftKings points in his last game and is in an elite spot vs. the Brooklyn Nets, who have hemorrhaged fantasy points to opposing big men all season.
I’m starting to worry that Joel Embiid’s matchup vs. the Wizards is so good that it’s actually bad. The 76ers have eviscerated the Wiz in their first two matchups this season, winning by an average of 21.0 points per game. Embiid has been a huge part of their success, averaging 18 points and 12.5 rebounds in just 23 minutes per game. He has huge upside if today’s game actually stays competitive, which makes him an excellent target in GPPs, but the blowout risk makes him too risky to trust in cash games.
Tristan Thompson looks like a massive value across the industry, especially if Nance is ultimately unable to suit up. He’s been one of the best fantasy assets for the majority of the season, averaging a Plus/Minus of +5.68 on DraftKings, and he’s coming off 42.75 fantasy points yesterday vs. the Pacers. His size will likely be needed today vs. the Pelicans, so he could also see more minutes than usual.
DeAndre Jordan has scored at least 41.25 DraftKings points in two of his past three games and is set up for success again today vs. the Phoenix Suns. They’ve been awful against opposing centers this season, giving Jordan an Opponent Plus/Minus of +3.59 on DraftKings. He’s also underpriced at just $6,900, giving him a Bargain Rating of 97%.
Jarrett Allen could be worth some consideration at just $5,800 on FanDuel given his matchup vs. the Hawks. They’ve struggled on the glass and defensively this season, and Allen has averaged 1.10 FanDuel points per minute over the past month.
After this piece is published, FantasyLabs is likely to provide news updates on a number of players. Be sure to stay ahead of your competition with our NBA news feed.
Pictured: Pacers PF Domantas Sabonis
Photo Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports