FanDuel NBA: Wednesday Value Plays

FanDuel NBA: Wednesday Value Plays

This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.

We're almost at the one-week mark of the NBA's seeding games, and it's been multiple days of close games, big upsets and strong all-around play. While team-based outcomes have been difficult to predict at times, what we value in DFS, individual performances, have been largely what we'd expect – particularly from the players that typically require the heftiest investments.

That should continue during Wednesday's six-game slate, which will also once again feature multiple opportunities for lower-cost options to potentially outperform expectations due to injuries to key teammates.

We'll proceed to examine many of those key injuries below and will also break down the positional outlook before reviewing possible chalk plays and some likely low-rostered bargains that could help you round out your lineups with a couple of superstars.

Before delving into the slate, a reminder that FanDuel has reverted to its previous format of NOT dropping the lowest scoring in lineups after a one-year experiment with that feature. Therefore, it will be important to be prudent with each selection, as each player's total will count toward your final score.

Without further ado, let's take a more comprehensive look at Wednesday's slate! 

Slate Overview 

Here's a closer look at the two games with the highest projected totals on Wednesday's slate as of Wednesday morning:

Philadelphia 76ers at Washington Wizards

Projected total: 231.5 points

The Wizards have actually reduced their amount of points surrendered in each of their first three seeding games, but they're still seen as a defensively vulnerable squad, especially without Bradley Beal (shoulder). The 76ers have been outstanding offensively thus far in the bubble, scoring 121 and 132 points in their first two games, and they also have averaged 119.0 points in their first two meetings against the Wizards this season. 

Memphis Grizzlies at Utah Jazz

Projected total: 224.0 points

This is an interesting total when considering the Jazz's defense, as well as the fact the Grizzlies will be playing without Jaren Jackson (knee) the rest of the way and Utah is missing Bojan Bogdanovic (wrist) in the Orlando bubble. Only one of the previous three meetings between the teams this season resulted in a total of note, as the Grizzlies and Jazz combined for 238 points in a 126-112 victory for Utah back on Dec. 7.

Positional Breakdown

PG: Jamal Murray's hamstring injury, which once again has him carrying a questionable tag, and Kemba Walker's scheduled rest day are the two potential/confirmed absences of note at point guard. Otherwise, the position is both affordable and deep, with Ben Simmons ($8K), Kyle Lowry ($7.9K) and Ja Morant ($7.5K) up top and solid value into the sub-$5K range with the likes of Markelle Fultz and Monte Morris.

SG: Shooting guard also has a pair of big names that are sporting injury tags in Caris LeVert (thigh) and Dennis Schroder (personal). Schroder is definitely out after leaving Orlando for personal reasons, while LeVert could come down to a game-time decision. Otherwise, DeMar DeRozan, Fred VanVleet, Donovan Mitchell and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander are among the high-upside options that can be rostered for the reasonable range of between $6.9K and $8K.

SF: LeBron James heads up the pool as is customary when he's on the slate, and he's free of an injury designation due to his sore groin for the first time in the bubble. There's a $2.1K drop-off to Pascal Siakam from James' $10K price, while Tobias Harris, Jaylen Brown and Gordon Hayward – the latter two who should see bumps in usage with Kemba Walker (rest) out – can be rostered for under $7K.

PF:  Anthony Davis is up top with the highest price on the slate ($10.5K), although considering his play in Orlando thus far, he's certainly worth it. Jayson Tatum ($8.3K) could also be an intriguing value Wednesday with Kemba Walker (rest) out of action, but the overall depth at the position is hurt by Jaren Jackson's (knee) injury. Nevertheless, the likes of Michael Porter ($5.5K) and Jackson's fill-in Brandon Clarke ($4.9K) could make for excellent value plays.  

C: Center is healthy and full of viable plays Wednesday, with Joel Embiid ($9.5K) heading up the position in an excellent matchup versus the Wizards. Nikola Jokic, Nikola Vucevic, Rudy Gobert and Jonas Valanciunas all make for good options for those who can't quite afford Embiid's salary, while Jarrett Allen ($6.7K), who sat out Tuesday's win over the Bucks for rest, could make for a strong value play if Caris LeVert (thigh) and/or Joe Harris (back) sit again.

Injury Situations to Monitor

NOTE: Injury reporting is especially fluid in the NBA, where the status of multiple players can change during the course of a day. Therefore, although the following serves as a foundation for the latest injury report as of the time the article is written (usually late morning Eastern time), check back throughout the course of the day with RotoWire for the latest news regarding the status of all players on that night's slate.

Caris LeVert, BRO (thigh)

LeVert is likely to be a game-time decision at best after missing Tuesday's contest against the Bucks. Garrett Temple will likely draw another start at shooting guard should LeVert miss.

Kemba Walker, BOS (rest)

Walker will not play against the Nets for rest purposes. Brad Wanamaker could move into the starting lineup, while the usage of the rest of Boston's first unit should see a boost to some degree.

Jaren Jackson, MEM (knee)

Jackson will miss the remainder of the season and postseason with a meniscus injury. Brandon Clarke should step into Jackson's starting role at the four, while Josh Jackson and Anthony Tolliver should see a bump in minutes off the bench.

Joe Harris, BRO (back)

Harris is likely to be a game-time decision at best after missing Tuesday's contest against the Bucks. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot could be in for another start if Harris sits after racking up 26 points versus Milwaukee on Tuesday.

Jarrett Allen, BRO (rest)

Allen is expected to play against the Celtics after sitting Tuesday versus the Bucks.

Gary Harris, DEN (hip)

Harris will not play against the Spurs. Torrey Craig and Troy Daniels should benefit from the defensive-minded shooting guard's absence.

Will Barton, DEN (knee)

Barton will not play against the Spurs. Michael Porter should continue thriving in the starting small forward role after posting a 37-point, 12-rebound double-double versus the Thunder on Monday.

Jamal Murray, DEN (hamstring)

Murray is considered questionable against the Spurs with the hamstring tightness that has been keeping him out of action. Monte Morris would be set to fill in at point guard once again should Murray miss.

Patrick McCaw, TOR (knee)

McCaw will not play against the Magic. Norman Powell and Terence Davis should both see extra minutes behind Fred VanVleet at shooting guard.

Michael Carter-Williams, ORL (foot)

Carter-Williams is unlikely to play against the Raptors after suffering his foot injury versus the Pacers on Tuesday.

Glenn Robinson, PHI (hip)

Robinson is doubtful to play against the Wizards. In the event of his likely absence, Matisse Thybulle, Furkan Korkmaz and Alec Burks should be among the biggest beneficiaries.

Mike Scott, PHI (knee)

Scott will remain out against the Wizards.

Bryn Forbes, SAN (quadriceps)

Forbes will not play against the Nuggets.

Marco Belinelli, SAN (foot)

Belinelli is a game-time decision against the Nuggets.  

Tyus Jones, MEM (knee)

Jones will remain out against the Jazz.

Terrance Ferguson, OKC (leg)

Ferguson will remain out against the Lakers.

Mike Muscala, OKC (concussion)

Muscala will not play against the Lakers.

Jamal Crawford, BRO (hamstring)

Crawford is likely to be listed as questionable at best after exiting his first seeding game with a hamstring injury.

Notable Longer-Term Injuries/Absences: Bradley Beal, WAS; Davis Bertans, WAS; LaMarcus Aldridge, SAN; Jonathan Isaac, ORL; Rajon Rondo, LAL; Avery Bradley, LAL; Dennis Schroder, OKC; Bojan Bogdanovic, UTA; Gary Payton, WAS; Garrison Mathews, WAS; Vlatko Cancar, DEN

Elite Players

The price has finally bumped up on Anthony Davis ($10.5K) after a spectacular start in Orlando, and teammate LeBron James ($10K), who's notably free of his injury designation due to groin soreness, joins him as the only other five-figure player on the slate. However, with Frank Vogel's squad now having clinched the top seed in the Western Conference, it remains to be seen if minutes will begin to be curtailed for the two superstars.

As far as below the $10k range, Joel Embiid ($9.5K) is in a particularly good matchup versus the Wizards, while Jayson Tatum ($8.3K) may be in line for elite-level production at an excellent price in a matchup against the Nets that teammate Kemba Walker (rest) will sit out.

Expected Chalk

There should be plenty of chalk when it comes to all the elite players mentioned in the previous section, but a combination of injuries and appealing prices could also boost the popularity of other selections. The Nets could certainly be one such spot after Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot was excellent against the Bucks in the absence of Caris LeVert, Joe Harris and Jarrett Allen. Allen himself could also be heavily rostered if his other two teammates sit out.

Meanwhile, Michael Porter could be one of the most popular plays on the slate with a $5.5K price and coming off a 37-point, 12-rebound double-double. He should be in line for a start once again with Will Barton (knee) already confirmed to be out of action.

As customary, I've also put together a specific list of sub-$6K value plays that should find themselves in plenty of lineups – some due to injured teammates – and included them at the bottom of the next section.

Key Values

Royce O'Neale, UTA vs. MEM ($4,900) 

The boost in O'Neale's involvement across the board since the start of seeding games has been notable, with the versatile wing helping pick up some of the slack in the absence of Bojan Bogdanovic. O'Neale has 7.6 shot attempts per contest over the first three contests, compared to 5.1 for the season, leading to two double-digit scoring efforts. While he only contributed five points in the Jazz's most recent contest Monday in a tough matchup versus the Lakers, O'Neale pulled down 13 rebounds to still compile 38.1 FD points. It's also worth noting the third-year pro was already trending up when the season was suspended in March, as he'd scored between 24.4 and 38.1 FD points in seven of the last 10 games before the pause in play. O'Neale has also enjoyed plenty of success versus the Grizzlies – which are now missing Jaren Jackson (knee) down low – over three games this season, averaging 9.7 points (on 55.6 percent shooting, including 58.3 percent from three-point range), 6.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.3 steals across 32.0 minutes on his way to an average of 25.4 FD points.

Patty Mills, SA vs DEN ($3,500) 

Mills is not typically minimum priced, and with the upside he brings, he's certainly worth a shot as a low-rostered tournament option, especially for large-field contests. The veteran sharpshooter has just 12.9 and 17.8 FD points in his first two games in Orlando, which actually aren't bad returns whatsoever on a $3.5K investment.

However, Mills is naturally capable of more if he gets hot, as he's averaging a career-high 11.6 points this season and has exceeded 20 FD points in 22 games, with only one of those performances coming while filling a first-unit role. The Nuggets aren't an easy matchup statistically by any stretch, but they're actually ranked in the bottom 10 against second units in offensive efficiency rating allowed (44.2), partly the byproduct of surrendering the second-highest shooting percentage (47.5), including the sixth-highest three-point percentage (36.6), to opposing bench players.

Josh Jackson, MEM at UTA ($3,500)

It's assumed Brandon Clarke will step into the starting power forward job now that Jaren Jackson (knee) is lost for the season, and the young big is naturally listed in the final section below as a higher-rostered value play worth considering. However, when digging deep for a second player that should benefit from the entire scenario and that will likely be flying under the radar for the moment, it likely comes down to either Jackson or Anthony Tolliver, both of whom should see an increase in opportunity backing up Clarke the rest of the way.

While Tolliver brings some nice floor-stretching capability, I'm going with Jackson on Wednesday, as I believe he has the potential to deliver more on the fantasy end with expanded opportunity. That much has already been evident during his short career in both Phoenix and Memphis, as the third-year pro has scored over 20 FD points in 10 of his 20 games at the NBA level this season. 

Jackson also tallied 17.2 FD points in just 13 minutes of action during the Grizzlies' seeding game opener against the Blazers last Friday, but given he only played five minutes Sunday and didn't see the floor at all against the Pelicans on Monday, he's likely going to carry a bit too much risk for many.

Other value plays to consider: Jerome Robinson, WAS ($4,400); Kyle Anderson, MEM ($4,000); Donta Hall, BRO ($3,500); Troy Brown, WAS ($5,900); Marcus Smart, BOS ($5,800); Michael Porter, DEN ($5,500); Dillon Brooks, MEM ($5,100); Brandon Clarke, MEM ($4,900); Kyle Kuzma, LAL ($4,700); Josh Richardson, PHI ($4,700); Jordan Clarkson, UTA ($4,500); Monte Morris, DEN ($4,500); Shake Milton, PHI ($4,300); Brad Wanamaker, BOS ($4,100); Chris Chiozza, BRO ($4,000); D.J. Augustin, ORL ($4,000)

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Juan Carlos Blanco plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: jcblanco22, FanDuel: jc_blanco22, DraftPot: jc_blanco22, FantasyDraft: jc_blanco22, OwnThePlay: jcblanco22.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Juan Carlos Blanco
Winner of the FSWA 2016 Newcomer of the Year Award, Juan Carlos Blanco has been playing fantasy sports for over 20 years and covers NBA, MLB, NFL, CFL and Arena Football for Rotowire.com, including serving as the beat writer for teams in multiple sports. He has previously written for KFFL.com and remains an avid season-long and daily fantasy player in multiple sports as well.
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