Last night’s NBA slate featured just three games, but we’re back in full swing on Wednesday. There are a whopping 12 games on the schedule. The DraftKings slate starts at 7:00 p.m. ET, so let’s break down some of the top studs and values at each position to help you build your DraftKings lineups.
Steph Curry, Golden State Warriors vs. Minnesota Timberwolves ($9,300) – Curry has been up-and-down to start the season, but he’s in an elite spot tonight vs. the Timberwolves. They’ve struggled mightily on the defensive end this season — they rank just 28th in defensive efficiency — and they’ve been even worse with Karl-Anthony Towns off the court. Curry shredded the Timberwolves for 53.5 DKFP in his last game, and the Warriors’ implied team total of 118.25 ranks second on Wednesday’s slate. He’s too cheap at $9.3K.
Other Options – Luka Doncic ($10,900), Kyrie Irving ($9,300)
Darius Garland, Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Detroit Pistons ($4,600) – Garland missed eight-straight games for the Cavs due to a shoulder strain, but he’s been in the lineup for their past three games. His minutes have been monitored in those contests, which has limited him to 20.0 DKFP or fewer in each game. That said, it’s only a matter of time before the Cavs start ramping up his workload. He was one of their best players prior to getting injured, and he’s averaged 0.89 DKFP per minute this season. If he sees a boost in playing time today, he has the potential to provide massive value at his current salary. The Pistons rank 23rd in defensive efficiency, so his matchup is also excellent.
Other Options – Kemba Walker ($6,300), Raul Neto ($4,300)
Editor’s Note: Wizards PG Russell Westbrook (rest) has been ruled out of tonight’s game vs. the Pelicans.
Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards at New Orleans Pelicans ($10,200) – Russell Westbrook ($9,100) is back in the lineup for the Wizards, but that has done nothing to deter Beal’s usage rate. He’s posted a mark of at least 43.3% in his past two contests, and his average usage rate of 37.7% is the top mark in the league. His average of 34.4 points per game is also the top mark in the league, so Beal is on-pace for a career year.
There’s also a chance that Westbrook sits on the second leg of a back-to-back, which would make Beal even more valuable than usual. He’s increased his usage rate by +2.8% with Westbrook off the court this season, resulting in an average of 1.59 DKFP per minute.
Other Options – Collin Sexton ($6,600), Evan Fournier ($6,400)
Joe Ingles, Utah Jazz vs. Dallas Mavericks ($4,200) – Ingles missed some time recently with an Achilles injury, and he’s played limited minutes since returning to the lineup. He played 19.5 minutes or fewer in each of his first three games back, but that didn’t stop him from scoring at least 20.5 DKFP in all three contests. His playing time increased to 27.1 minutes yesterday vs. the Knicks, but he responded with his worst fantasy performance at 18.5 DKFP. If he can combine the per-minute efficiency of his first three games with the playing time volume from yesterday’s, he has the potential for a big game.
Other Options – Jerome Robinson ($4,800), Lonnie Walker ($4,200)
Gordon Hayward, Charlotte Hornets vs. Indiana Pacers ($7,500) – Hayward has been one of the most undervalued fantasy assets to start the season. He’s playing huge minutes for the Hornets — he’s logged at least 38 minutes in three of his past four games — and he’s averaged 1.13 DKFP per minute this season. He’s capable of racking up fantasy points in every category across the board, so he’s one of my favorite midrange plays to pay up for on today’s slate.
Other Options – Kevin Durant ($10,300), Jayson Tatum ($8,700)
Mikal Bridges, Phoenix Suns vs. Oklahoma City Thunder ($5,300) – Devin Booker (hamstring) is going to miss his second-straight game for the Suns, which means Bridges should be looking at a few additional minutes. Bridges has averaged a respectable 0.85 DKFP per minute this season, so he’s capable of doing some damage with additional playing time. He’s also in a solid spot vs. the Thunder, who rank just 22nd in defensive efficiency this season.
Other Options – Jae Crowder ($4,900), Cam Johnson ($4,800)
Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans vs. Washington Wizards ($7,800) – Williamson hasn’t been the same dominant fantasy force that we saw last season, but he has been extremely consistent. He’s scored at least 39.0 DKFP in seven of his past eight games, yet his salary has dropped to just $7.8K. That’s an appealing price tag to target Williamson at vs. the Wizards, who are playing without most of their frontcourt due to health and safety protocols.
Other Options – Giannis Antetokounmpo ($10,700), Domantas Sabonis ($9,500)
Sekou Doumbouya, Detroit Pistons at Cleveland Cavaliers ($3,200) – Blake Griffin (rest) has been ruled out for Detroit, which opens up some minutes in the Pistons’ frontcourt. Saddiq Bey ($3,400) will likely draw the start, but Doumbouya should also see a solid bump in playing time. He saw 18.8 minutes the last time that Griffin was out of the lineup, and he responded with 22.0 DKFP.
Other Options – Draymond Green ($5,300), Anthony Gill ($3,000)
Nikola Vucevic, Orlando Magic vs. Sacramento Kings ($9,200) – All Vucevic does is return value for fantasy players, yet his salary never seems to budge. He’s scored at least 45.25 DKFP in six-straight games, and now he gets a juicy matchup vs. the Kings. They’ve been a disaster defensively this season, allowing 120.5 points per 100 possessions, which is the worst mark in the league by nearly five points. To put that in perspective, the gap between the Kings and the Trail Blazers — who rank 29th — is larger than the gap between the Blazers and the Nets, who rank 20th.
Other Options – Joel Embiid ($9,400), Deandre Ayton ($7,300)
Cody Zeller, Charlotte Hornets vs. Indiana Pacers ($3,400) – Zeller hasn’t played a ton of minutes since returning from an injury, but he hasn’t needed to. He’s scored at least 20.75 DKFP in each of his past two games, which is more than enough to return value at his current price tag. Zeller has averaged 1.15 DKFP per minute since returning to the lineup, which gives him a safe floor and a solid ceiling for such a minimal salary.
Other Options – Brook Lopez ($5,300), Kevon Looney ($3,000)
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