The NBA season is winding down, and we have started to experience the typical late-season hectic NBA news cycle. Players are more banged up than they were earlier in the year, and playoff-bound teams are starting to rest players when they can. This creates plenty of chaos leading up until roster lock, so make sure to check the news and the NBA Starting Lineups Page often throughout the day. Blindly following picks that are posted early in the day is a slippery slope at this time of the season.
Without further ado, let's find some high-upside tournament plays that might help you out on this nine-game Wednesday slate on FanDuel!
Top Play – Jrue Holiday, New Orleans Pelicans
Eric Gordon, Tyreke Evans, and Bryce Dejean-Jones are all out for the season. Norris Cole has missed the last few games. There simply aren’t many healthy bodies in the New Orleans backcourt. That has forced Jrue Holiday into a major role, and tonight’s matchup couldn’t get any better. The Kings are dreadful at defending opposing guards, while they also play at a very fast pace. This game has a massive total of 221 points and a two-point spread, so it will be wise to find some exposure to this contest. On a night that has some star power at the point guard position, it would not surprise me to see Holiday outscore everyone else. The matchup is too good to ignore.
Value Play – Ray McCallum, Memphis Grizzlies
There is no way around it: McCallum was terrible on Monday and isn't the best basketball player on the planet. However, the whole Grizzlies team was terrible in that last game as they lost by almost 50 points against the Rockets. Things should go a little differently tonight in a home date against a rebuilding Minnesota squad. Memphis is still fighting for a playoff spot, but they are desperately thin at every position. Briante Weber is not the answer at point guard, and it would not surprise me if they handed over the starting reins to McCallum. Even though he isn't the answer either, he at least has plenty of NBA experience. The Memphis players (especially McCallum) will likely have a much lower ownership percentage tonight as a result of the dud on Monday. This is the perfect time to take advantage in a tournament format, especially on McCallum. He burned a lot of folks the other night, but he is still very affordable and should play 25-30 minutes tonight.
Top Play – James Harden, Houston Rockets
It is tough to find reliable upside at the shooting guard position, but you certainly get that with James Harden. The Rockets are fighting for their playoff lives, so expect Harden to play massive minutes over the final few weeks of the season. He did not have to play in the fourth quarter the other night as the Rockets blew the doors off the Grizzlies, so he should be rested for a prime matchup against the Clippers. J.J. Redick, Jamal Crawford, and company are no match for Harden’s skill set. He should amass 50 fantasy points with ease tonight as long as this game stays close, and of course he has the upside for plenty more than that.
Value Play – Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics
Boston is stretched thin on the perimeter right now, as Jae Crowder will miss the next 1-2 weeks of action. Marcus Smart entered the lineup last night as Boston went with a three-guard look. That really limits the bench depth, with Evan Turner and Terry Rozier the only other players available on the wings. As a result, Bradley played 38 minutes against the Pacers, while Isaiah Thomas and Marcus Smart also topped the 30-minute mark. Bradley will be out there as often as he can be tonight, as his defense will be needed against the explosive Thunder. He has shown some upside this season, and he has a nice combination of safety and upside as long as he is going to be playing close to 40 minutes.
Top Play – Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
A blowout on Monday limited the production for Durant, but he should be rested and ready to go for tonight’s game. Boston has some solid perimeter defenders in Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart, while Isaiah Thomas is no slouch, either. This means it might be more of a Durant night than a Westbrook night, as I expect the best defender (Bradley) to check Westbrook for much of the evening. This also promises to be a close game with plenty of points, as Oklahoma City is pegged for around 116 points in this game. Fire up Durant as an elite small forward option on Wednesday in all formats.
Value Play – Matt Barnes, Memphis Grizzlies
I could probably list quite a few Memphis players as values once again. P.J. Hairston is now out, while Vince Carter and Lance Stephenson remain questionable for tonight's game. That leaves Barnes and Tony Allen as the only healthy wings, and both should continue to play heavy minutes going forward. Barnes was the only starter who could score the other night, and that is going to be a problem for the team. The good news for Barnes is that he should see plenty of shot attempts moving forward. As long as this game stays competitive – which it should – Barnes should be a nice investment with plenty of upisde.
Top Play – Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans
As I wrote above, you would be well-served to get some exposure to the game that is projected to be the highest-scoring game of the night. In fact, a game stack of this Pelicans/Kings contest might not be a bad way to go in a tournament. Anthony Davis has frustrated many fantasy gamers over the course of the 2015/2016 season, but the upside has always been there. Against the up-tempo Kings, this could be one of those 70 fantasy point nights for the New Orleans big man.
Value Play – Taj Gibson, Chicago Bulls
Pau Gasol is not going to play in tonight’s game, so Taj Gibson should continue to man a heavy role in the Chicago frontcourt. He was fantastic in a surprise victory in Toronto on Monday night, and he should play around 34-36 minutes once again tonight. The Bulls match up against a fast-paced Washington team tonight, and I like Gibson’s individual matchup against Markieff Morris. If Derrick Rose sits again, that is even more usage to go around for the rest of the Bulls starters, too.
Top Play – Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves
His torrid pace slowed down a bit on Monday, but Towns still managed a double-double against the Suns despite struggling mightily in the first half. Minnesota draws a matchup against the injury-ravaged Grizzlies tonight, and it’s hard to see anyone in the makeshift Memphis frontcourt slowing down the beast that is Karl-Anthony Towns. Though it’s hard to argue against DeMarcus Cousins, I love the savings that you get with Towns. He has the upside to be the highest-scoring center on the slate this evening.
Value Play – Al Jefferson, Charlotte Hornets
There is not much to be had in terms of value center options these days. This really is a position where you need to spend up to get your production. If you insist on a value play, there is some upside with the aging Al Jefferson. He is coming off the bench for the Hornets, but he is comfortable with that role. He plays around 24-28 minutes per night, and he has snuck in a few 30 fantasy point games over the past few weeks. This is a volatile risk/reward play that could pay off in a tournament format.