It's another huge Wednesday in the NBA. While it would be nice if they were able to schedule eight games a night, this up and down does keep us DFSers on our toes as it forces strategy to change nightly. With a few high scoring games to be aware of (POR-LAC, MIL-GS, PHX-ORL, DEN-MIN, CLE-TOR) and a few blowouts on tap (GS, MIN, MIA, OKC, SA, and IND all expected to win big), fantasy scores should soar tonight in FanDuel's highly anticipated $1M Mega Slam. 11 of tonight's teams are on the second half of a b2b, while Portland and OKC are on the first half of b2bs. The TrailBlazers at Clippers should be an excellent, high scoring, competitive game to target tonight, as should Phoenix at Orlando. With a huge slate like this one, it's not too hard to find the value plays you need to round out your lineups. As always, I try to keep these players under $5500 on FanDuel and to let you know if/how I plan to deploy them myself tonight.
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Ishmael Smith ($4500): Philadelphia is high on the list of teams expected to be blown out big time tonight. Russell Westbrook is listed as probable but his presence isn't even necessarily required for said blowout. While the 76ers are figuring out their new rotations, Ish Smith is a guy that keeps playing better and better. The fact that Isaiah Canaan starts shouldn't concern you as Smith has been effective in an average of 26 mpg over the last three, outscoring Canaan in all three games (fantasy and real). The Thunder may win big, but they are giving up the 2nd most fantasy points to PG on the season, right in line with their dead last ranking in defensive efficiency over the last 10 games.
Grevais Vasquez ($4200): Kyle Lowry is doubtful again tonight and all signs are that Toronto will continue to rest him as long as necessary to get him right for the playoffs. He certainly hasn't been right, so here's hoping rest is the answer. It is Grevais Vasquez who will fill in at PG while Lowry is out. While he isn't going to blow you away, he ought to meet value in about 30 minutes in a potentially close game against the Cavaliers, who have been resting players more often on the second half of b2b lately. I don't think we can rely on that in this Eastern Conference showdown, but certainly watch for it. Vasquez is merely a cheap filler at PG tonight, who should secure you at least 20-25 fpts.
Advice: Chris Paul and the red hot Ricky Rubio feel like value plays in their matchups at their salaries tonight. I'll definitely be having a lot of exposure to both. I like George Hill as a mid range play that is always overlooked by the DFS crowds, and though Goran Dragic gets the sweetest matchup of the day with the Lakers, his production while playing through the injury and the possibility of continuing to share time with Tyler Johnson has me wary, even at $6300. I'd like to be able to roster the Spurs PG against the Kings, but if I'm going value, I honestly think Smith and Vasquez outscore Tony Parker for $1000+ less.
Danny Green ($5300): San Antonio playing an island game (meaning no b2b, I think I stole that from Drew Dinkmeyer) which has an over/under of 200 and in which they're predicted to win handily is as confident as you'll get playing a Spur for DFS. I don't mind using Danny Green on short slates, but tonight he gets the best SG matchup with the hapless Kings backcourt. Green contributes in points and rebounds and as long as he sees 25-30 minutes which he does in these island games, he typically meets value.
Rodney Stuckey ($5300): Rodney Stuckey is also not the most exciting value SG to write up. He gets a decent matchup with the Knicks who give up the 10th most fpts to SG on the season and are ranked 29th in defensive efficiency. For his part, Stuckey has been playing really well for the Pacers, averaging 32 fantasy points per game since the ASB. The Pacers are huge favorites, but since Stuckey has been coming off the bench that shouldn't hurt him. He's piling on the points, but also averaging 4 rebounds and over 4 assists, with two 3-steal games in the last five.
Advice: A lot of the best matchups for SG tonight fall into the laps of players I'm not even going to glance at (ahem Dion Waiters) for my lineups. You might be tempted by Will Barton at $4500 as he was seemingly locked in for the Nuggets for a week or so. The departure of Brian Shaw and subsequent freeing of Kenneth Faried and Ty Lawson, who both double doubled for the first time in forever last night, may have put a damper on Barton's blazing breakout. He's in a good spot, but I'd use him only for GPPs. Kevin Martin should be back tonight, so don't use Gary Neal on the other side of that game. DeMar DeRozan will be a popular play tonight in a big game with Lowry out, and him coming off a 55 fantasy point effort. I'd expect around 40 fpts from him tonight, still very playable, but Toronto isn't the 76ers.
PJ Tucker ($5600): See my last week's bargain bin, and the one before that, and the matchup plays from...you get the idea. I like PJ Tucker. So do the Suns. His price has climbed a little bit from the super tasty $4500 he lived at for so long, so I guess that means FanDuel finally likes him too. We can't all be wrong, now can we? Tucker dazzled on Monday (double double must be the salary hike code at FD) but has really been a constant presence for over a month on the Suns. At 25-35 mpg or more, Tucker should continue his roll tonight at Orlando. Expect 25-30 fpts as Tucker takes advantage of Orlando's terrible defensive efficiency to SF.
Danilo Gallinari ($5200): Gallinari is the Tucker of the Nuggets. Well, not really, but he has also been an undervalued contributor over the past several weeks. The loss of Shaw may or may not reinvigorate the rotations, the attitudes, the energy, and the subsequent production of this Nuggets team, but Gallinari is locked in right now and as long as he's given ample opportunity on the court (averaging 30.5 mpg since the break) that should continue. Expect around 32 fantasy points from Gallinari going against the league's worst SF defense.
Advice: Tobias Harris should return tonight to a nice matchup with the Suns, Andrew Wiggins gets Denver, and Gordan Hayward drives the Jazz into Boston who allow the 6th most fantasy points to the position. Nic Batum is often in a good spot but the days of his being a lock for a near triple double are behind us. It's not worth risking him. I expect LeBron James to play in this big Eastern Conference highlight game, especially since he only notched 26 minutes last night. If it's close, expect a big game from James as he tends to exert his will (to the tune of 50+ fpts) in these kinds of situations.
Thomas Robinson ($3800): Oh dear. Okay, the thing to focus on with Robinson is his price. We're asking for 20 fantasy points to reach value. He's done it in each of his last three games, twice in 15 minutes or less. With Robert Covington out, the 76ers will need him to play and the Thunder don't represent a bad matchup at all, allowing the 7th most fantasy points to opposing PF. If you need this much salary cap saved, Robinson is the guy to use to get it.
JJ Hickson ($3700): I obviously won't be the only one on TRob tonight, so if you want to save just as much with a far less popular guy, look at JJ Hickson. With Jusef Nurkic out, Denver has been using some different rotations depending on their opponent. Hickson has played 16-18 minutes in the last two, going for 6 pts and 10 reb in both. He played poorly vs the Jazz (3pts/5reb), but given the state of the Jazz defense lately, this is excusable. I expect the Nuggets to go big when they can tonight to match up with Gorgui Dieng and the returning Nikola Pekovic, so Hickson should see around 20 minutes and get his opportunities against the league's 24th best rebounding team.
Advice: This is clearly a great spot to save with one of these players. To pair with your value play, Serge Ibaka deserves a look as Kevin Durant remains out. Derrick Favors, Tim Duncan, and Markieff Morris also find themselves in good matchups tonight in the mid-range and LaMarcus Aldridge is the elite PF option you want some exposure to tonight. If you're new to DFS, let me tell you a secret. As soon as you think it's safe to trust Ersan Ilyasova in your lineup, and we are at or very nearly at that point, it's time to run as fast as you can to roster anyone else. FanDuel knows this too, as they've overridden the double double salary hike code for him just to keep you coming back. (I kid, as far as FD's motives go, but not about fading Ilyasova).
Alex Len ($5200): More boringness here...I hope Hickson and TRob were enough excitement for one slate. I mean, unless he's going to wrestle Nikola Vucevic under the net tonight (Don't do it Alex!!), that'd be exciting I guess. Len is playing 31 mpg and averaging 28 fantasy points per game with four double doubles since the break. His ceiling isn't super high, but he should be fine against the Magic's generous frontcourt.
Andrew Bogut ($5100): Len is getting to be a popular play, so again, if you're looking to pivot with your value center, consider Bogut. Milwaukee's front court is totally exploitable from a fantasy perspective, as the Bucks are only 26th in rebounds/game and are 3rd in turnovers. Bogut should be playing 25-30 minutes again back at the Oracle. He's a pretty solid 22-26 fantasy point player, nearing a double double most nights and often adding 2-3 blocks. It's consistent production if you want to spend elsewhere tonight.
Advice: There aren't any screaming must play centers tonight. I like Hassan Whiteside against the Lakers, he's just a machine and should be able to grab ALL the rebounds tonight. Rudy Gobert is solid against the Celtics, as is Enes Kanter, who should have his way at home vs the 76ers much like he did against the Lakers on Sunday. DeAndre Jordan bounceback? I bet yes, but CP3 is the Clipper I'm more likely to spend up on tonight.