The NBA has an atypical, shorter slate of games on Wednesday with only six contests on the docket. The fantasy plays appear concentrated among only a few of those games, making for an interesting set of DFS circumstances. Let’s roll through some game stacks you can target and let LineupLab's PlayerLab do the rest when putting together lineups on FanDuel and DraftKings.
Game Stack Alert
New Orleans Pelicans vs. Indiana Pacers
Anthony Davis (FD: $11,900, DK: $11,600)
Projected Points: FD: 63.85, DK: 63.83
Jrue Holiday (FD: $7,600, DK: $7,500)
Projected Points: FD: 37.52, DK: 37.62
Nikola Mirotic (FD: $7,200, DK: $6,500)
Projected Points: FD: 35.1, DK: 36.1
Rajon Rondo (FD: $4,800, DK: $5,100)
Projected Points: FD: 24.88, DK: 25.22
With the loss of DeMarcus Cousins, the Pelicans (in a fight to keep a playoff spot) have had to resort to playing their starters major minutes, and even shipped away some assets to get Nikola Mirotic from the Bulls. They’ve lost four of their last five games, including a blowout to the Jazz on Monday, but this game lines up as a more advantageous matchup. The Pacers come in as a bottom-third defensive-efficiency team. The Pelicans’ starters are all coming at relative value at their individual price points, with Davis the clear big money play on this slate. His minutes, in closer games, can crest over 40 at times. Davis has a season-long 28% usage that jumps to 34% with Cousins off the court and the true rebounding rate climbs to 19% from 16%. He’s dominant, and the Pacers have one of the worst interior defenses in the league. Davis could be a chalk play and it’s been awhile since he’s burned folks with an early exit from the game.
The rest of the Pelicans’ starters are all in play as well. Holiday sees around 22% more usage with Cousins off the court, highlighted by his jacking up 21 shots in the loss to the Jazz. His minutes are as safe as anyone on the team considering he becomes the primary point guard with the second unit and even handles playmaking responsibilities with Rondo on the court.
Mirotic entered the starting lineup on Monday, and one has to assume the plan is to play him major minutes in close games. He ran 33 against Utah, finishing with 19 points and seven rebounds. Even with the price increase since the trade, I’d be willing to target him in cash games because of the implied minutes floor.
The only real question mark is Rondo, whose standard deviation of minutes is the thing of nightmares. In the right match up, he’ll see solid court time, but he’s risky from a cash-game perspective because they will bench him for long stretches. All in all, the Pelicans will have heavy ownership in cash games across the industry.
Victor Oladipo (FD: $9,700, DK: $8,600)
Projected Points: FD: 45.5, DK: 45.88
Myles Turner (FD: $6,500, DK: $5,600)
Projected Points: FD: 34.98, DK: 33.65
Thaddeus Young (FD: $5,900, DK: $5,500)
Projected Points: FD: 29.06, DK: 28.37
On the other side of the ball, the Pacers get a Pelicans defense that ranks 23rd in the league in defensive efficiency, and is worse with Cousins out of the mix. The Pacers will be without Darren Collison for the foreseeable future, which helps the other pieces across the board. Oladipo, already putting together a fantastic season (24 points, five rebounds a game), gets a moderate usage bump without Collison, going from an already-elite 30% to 34%. He’s coming off a missed game on Monday because of illness, but he should be fine to suit up in this matchup.
Young’s struggles are on the defensive end, but that won’t be as big of an issue with the Pelicans now rolling out Mirotic at the power forward. This plays better for Young’s size, and he should see mid-30s minutes against a suspect interior defense. Young can score when given the opportunity, and Mirotic doesn’t offer much in the way of resistance.
Finally, Turner will lock up with Davis on the defensive end, which does present some foul-trouble risk for the young Pacer. But he’s coming at incredibly low prices, especially on DraftKings where he’s butting up against must-play status if you think he’ll play 30 minutes in this game. He has tremendous upside if he can work his inside-out game and the rebounds should be there since he’ll be defending Davis closer to the rim.
Team Stack Alert
Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
Jimmy Butler (FD: $9600, DK: $9500)
Projected Points: FD: 44.49, DK: 44.04
Jeff Teague (FD: $5,800, DK: $5,700)
Projected Points: FD: 31.52, DK: 31.98
Andrew Wiggins (FD: $6,200, DK: $6,100)
Projected Points: FD: 30.81, DK: 31.06
It’s quite difficult to understate just how bad the Cavaliers are on the defensive end this year. Before Tuesday’s game against the Magic, they ranked third-worst in the league in defensive efficiency (narrowly ahead of the Kings and Suns, who are in open tank mode). And then they went ahead and got blown out by Orlando’s JV squad in the second half on Tuesday night in an embarrassing loss. It’s tough to see how they improve, and the Timberwolves are in a fantastic spot here. Both Teague and Wiggins are coming at solid price points, even as secondary (or lower) scoring options on Minnesota.
Wiggins remains one of the highest minutes guys in the league at 36 per game, and won’t run into all that much interference from J.R. Smith and others in the Cleveland backcourt.
Teague will likely draw Isaiah Thomas, which is about as good as you can hope for when it comes to offensive production. Thomas is the worst defender in the league (not hyperbole), and Teague should see plenty of looks. His minutes have been something of a question mark in the short term, but I don’t think he’ll find too many roadblocks on Wednesday.
Butler is a little expensive and a bit of a close call for cash games. But he’s playing at a high level, and over the last five games is averaging 26 points, six rebounds and five assists. He’ll likely draw plenty of LeBron James but, again, this Cavaliers’ defense is just atrocious. Even moderate ball movement opens up high-quality looks for whoever is on the court, and Butler sees major minutes.
A couple other considerations:
Blake Griffin, vs. Nets (FD: $9,200, DK: $9,000)
Projected Points: FD: 46.12, DK: 47.51
I was skeptical when the Pistons traded for Griffin, suspecting he’d struggle to mesh with Andre Drummond’s game and thus reduce the team’s floor-spacing. That assessment is looking wildly incorrect. In his first three games with the Pistons, Griffin is averaging 20 points, nine rebounds and six assists, made even more impressive because the matchups were against slow, defensively sound teams in the Blazers, Heat and Grizzlies. On Wednesday he gets the Nets, who are undersized on the interior and allowing 7% more scoring and rebounding to opposing bigs.
Alex Len, vs. Spurs (FD: $4,600, DK: $4,200)
Projected Points: FD: 17.43, DK: 17.19
This is speculation, but Tyson Chandler has sat every single second half of back-to-backs this season and likely will again on Wednesday. With Greg Monroe shipped out of town, that would leave Len as the lone big man on the Suns’ roster. This is a terrible matchup, of course, but Len is a points-per-minute fantasy beast when given the opportunity. He’s a double-double candidate with even mid-20s minutes projections. If you think he’s the only center option for the Suns, then he’s closing in on must-play territory. Phoenix has been excellent on injury reporting this season, so here’s to hoping we get the news well before lineup lock.