It’s been a weird week for the NBA schedule. Between elections and tropical storms, it’s just been a lot to keep up with. However, as it currently stands, we’ve got a massive 12-game featured slate this evening with an even bigger injury report.
Let’s dive into the madness and see if we can’t find some bargains.
PG/SG Jevon Carter, Milwaukee Bucks at Oklahoma City Thunder, $3,900
There are certainly a few different ways you could go with the Bucks on Wednesday. Khris Middleton (wrist) is practicing, but is still weeks away from a return, and Jrue Holiday ($8,800; ankle) has now popped up on the team’s IR with a sprain. That obviously opens up a ton of minutes and opportunity. Grayson Allen ($4,600) likely has a the highest ceiling of any “value” option on Milwaukee’s roster against the Thunder, while George Hill ($3,200) will definitely see his role increase. Yet, it’s Carter who catches my eye. Carter’s averaged 25.5 DKFP in the three games he’s logged at least 26 minutes in 2022-23, with two of those three contests coming in the past week. In an uptempo matchup with Oklahoma City — it ranks sixth in pace — Carter’s already sturdy floor should be elevated, putting 7x value well within the range of outcomes.
PG/SG Cameron Payne, Phoenix Suns at Minnesota Timberwolves, $4,300
Editor’s Note: Suns PG Chris Paul (heel) has been ruled out for tonight’s game vs. the Timberwolves.
This isn’t a situtation that’s overly difficult to track. Either Chris Paul ($8,000; heel) plays through his questionable tag or he doesn’t. Count me among those thinking the Suns will want to be extra cautious with their 37-year-old point guard this early into the season. If that ends up being a correct prediction, the sky is the limit for Payne. Yes, it’ll be Devin Booker ($9,000) who inherits many of the lead guard responsibilities, but Payne’s already proven himself to be a useful fantasy piece in 2022-23, averaging a very sound 1.06 DKFP per minute logged. Payne’s role is also 100% influenced by the presence of Paul, as the two guards have only shared the court for three possessions so far through 10 games. If Paul’s unavailable, Payne’s minutes have no cap.
PF/C Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers at Sacramento Kings, $4,900
Love isn’t a conventional value play, as he’s not someone whose role changes all that much by the roster movement around him. The veteran is just sort of locked into his 20-25 minutes per night. However, he’s recently proven to be hyper efficient in his limited time on the court. In Cleveland’s past five games, Love is averaging an obscene 1.59 DKFP per minute logged. That level of output makes sense when you consider that Love is currently leading the NBA in defensive rebounding rate (38.0%), all while producing a career-high 6.3 assists per 100 possessions and shooting 42.2% from three-point range. Maybe regression hits the veteran big man at some point this season, but I don’t expect it to be tonight. The Kings come into Wednesday with the seventh-worst defensive rating (113.7) and the ninth-fastest pace. That’s an amazing combination in terms of matchup.
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