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NBA Daily Games Cheat Sheet: Wednesday

Chris Winkler

Chris Winkler

Master's candidate in mass communication at the University of South Carolina. Covering NBA and college football for RotoWire.

TEAM ANALYSIS

Defenses to Avoid
Memphis Grizzlies at Sacramento Kings: Left for dead a month ago, the Grizzlies have really started to turn it up on the defensive end to get back in the playoff race. They're 8-2 since acquiring Courtney Lee from Boston and only trail the Pacers in overall defensive efficiency in that span. That was seemingly capped last night after holding the league's top offense, Portland, to 81 points. It's been spurred by Lee and the return of Marc Gasol, but it's also been without their top perimeter defender in Tony Allen who could actually be back Wednesday. Sacramento, meanwhile, has each of their top three players DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay, and Isaiah Thomas nursing injuries lately. Even without Allen, the Grizzlies are as hot as anyone right now.

Offenses to Use
Phoenix Suns at Milwaukee Bucks: Overall, the Bucks rank 24th in defensive efficiency, but they've looked particularly woeful in January, going 1-12 so far this month. Granted, they've been getting blown out on a nightly basis, but they're 28th in defensive efficiency this month and have allowed at least 110 points in nearly half of their games (six of 13). Phoenix hasn't missed a beat without Eric Bledsoe, as Goran Dragic and Gerald Green have seamlessly taken over control of the backcourt. The Suns are 5-2 over their last seven games and are averaging 112 points per contest.

Teams on a Back-to-Back Set
First game of a back-to-back: Los Angeles Clippers, Phoenix Suns.
Second game of a back-to-back: Boston Celtics, Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets, Memphis Grizzlies, New Orleans Pelicans, Orlando Magic, San Antonio Spurs, Washington Wizards.

DraftKings.com DAILY PLAYER RECOMMENDATIONS
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Point Guard
Goran Dragic (at MIL) PG/SG ($7,800): Dragic has the fifth-highest point guard salary at DraftKings for Wednesday, but he's been playing well lately and has a solid matchup against the Bucks, who are dead last in defensive efficiency overall. He's averaging slightly less than 20 points per game and nine assists over his last three games, and he's been even better overall in January, averaging 21.4 points, 6.6 assists, and 4.4 rebounds, which truly puts him on the level of any other point guard in the league this month.

Reggie Jackson (at MIA), PG ($6,100): Pretty good value here, even if it is against the Heat. Jackson doesn't necessarily fill the stat sheet, but he's still the clear-cut No. 2 guy in this offense without Russell Westbrook. Granted, the main guy is fairly hot lately more on him later but Jackson is still getting plenty of shots. He's got some upside in a game the Thunder will certainly need him in.

Other suggestions: Kyle Lowry, (vs. ORL), PG ($7,900), Ricky Rubio (vs. NOP) PG ($7,200), D.J. Augustin (at SA) PG ($6,200), Rajon Rondo (vs. PHI) PG ($6,600).

Shooting Guard
Gerald Green (at MIL) SG/SF ($5,500): Although he runs a little hot and cold, Green burst out for 30 points against one of the league's worst defense in the Sixers on Monday night. Of course, one of the few defenses worse than Philly's is Milwaukee, which should have a tough time against Phoenix's up-tempo offense. The Bucks don't really defend anything well, but they're 29th in opponents field goal percentage against the long three (free-throw line extended), which is where Green actually takes almost 40 percent of his shots (39.7 to be exact).

Jamal Crawford (vs. WAS) PG/SG ($6,600): He's scored at least 20 points in seven of his last 10 games, highlighted by a 37-point, 11-assist game Saturday night. While the Wizards road record is actually respectable, it's a bit inflated this year with plenty of those games coming against the East. On Wednesday, they'll be at the end of a three-game trip out West.

Other suggestions: Tyreke Evans (at MIN) SG/SF ($5,900), Arron Afflalo (at TOR) SG/SF ($6,900), Terrence Ross (vs. ORL) SG ($4,500).

Small Forward
Jeff Green (vs. PHI) SG/SF ($6,600): Since his 39-point, nine-rebound game a week ago, Green basically hasn't done anything in three games. But welcoming the Sixers into town is usually a nice remedy for everyone. They allow the most points in the league, are 25th in defensive efficiency overall and 29th in opponents field goal percentage in the mid-range. Green, who figures to have a nice matchup against either Evan Turner or James Anderson, should be a good candidate to find his shooting stroke. Plus, there just aren't a lot of other likable matchups at this position on Wednesday.

Kevin Durant (at MIA) SF/PF ($11,800): If you take a step back, there's really no reason to play Durant at this salary, especially against the Heat. After all, at some point, he has to have a bit of a clunker relatively speaking at least. And although stars typically elevate their play in games like this, can the ceiling really go any higher? In any event, it's hard to argue against a guy who has scored at least 30 points in 11 straight games. Plus, he's really been doing a little bit of everything else, too, even besides the triple-double against Philly on Saturday. Typically, this salary should always be advised against, but he's playing at a historic level right now. It's worth a thought if you can reasonably mix and match elsewhere.

Other suggestions: Trevor Ariza (at LAC) SG/SF ($6,300), Kevin Martin (vs. NOP) SG/SF ($6,400).

Power Forward
Paul Millsap (vs. DET) PF/C ($8,600): As usual, the power forward position is loaded up front with the likes of Kevin Love, Anthony Davis, and Blake Griffin, but Millsap has been playing as well as any of them lately. And true to real life, he's wildly undervalued in fantasy, too. He's averaging 21.6 points and 7.4 rebounds over his last five games (2.2 steals and 1.8 blocks, too) and was recently named Eastern Conference Player of the Week. The Pistons aren't the greatest matchup in the world, but they're not as good defending inside five feet as you might think ranking 18th in opponents field goal percentage. In any event, there's plenty of value at this position tonight.

Other suggestions: Zach Randolph (at SAC) PF/C ($7,500), Thad Young (at BOS) SF/PF ($7,300), Tobias Harris (at TOR) SF/PF ($6,600), Derrick Williams (vs. MEM) SF/PF ($5,500).

Center
Jonas Valanciunas (vs. ORL) C ($5,500) He's got three double-doubles in his last four games, and with DeMar DeRozan likely out again, Toronto is going to need scoring from somebody. The Magic, still playing without Nikola Vucevic, have really struggled without him, but especially on the interior this month. In defending both the restricted area and the paint (non-restricted) they have statistically gotten worse by about two percentage points in both areas since Vucevic went down.

Other suggestions: Jared Sullinger (vs. PHI) PF/C ($5,700), Markieff Morris (vs. MIL) PF/C ($5,900), Andre Drummond (at ATL) PF/C ($7,500).

INJURY REPORT

Out
Jeff Teague (ankle) didn't travel with the team on the recent road trip, but could play with Atlanta back home Wednesday night.
Avery Bradley (ankle) should be out for at least another week.
Kirk Hinrich (hamstring) did not play Monday for the fourth straight game.
Kemba Walker (ankle) has missed four straight and should miss another week at least.
Omer Asik (thigh) hasn't played since Dec. 2 but appears real close to being ready to go.
Chris Paul (shoulder) worked out Monday and wants to try and return before the All-Star Game.
Larry Sanders (illness) did not practice Tuesday.
Nikola Pekovic (Achilles) should miss the next 1-2 weeks.
Ryan Anderson (back) is out until mid-March at the earliest.
Jrue Holiday (leg) is still without a timetable.
Russell Westbrook (knee) probably won't return until after the All-Star break.
Nikola Vucevic (concussion) is travelling with the team, but sat out Tuesday and likely won't play Wednesday.
Eric Bledsoe (knee) could return some time after the all-star break.
DeMarcus Cousins (ankle) is day-to-day, but could be back Wednesday night.
Danny Green (finger) was examined Monday and should be about four more weeks.
Kawhi Leonard (finger) should be out until after the all-star break.
Tiago Splitter (shoulder) should be ready to return with the next week.
DeMar DeRozan (foot) did not play Monday and is day-to-day.

Game-Time Decision
Joakim Noah (illness) was sent home Monday and is day-to-day.
Ty Lawson (shoulder) did not practice Tuesday, although coach Brian Shaw said it was a precaution.
Tony Allen (hand) did not play Tuesday for 11th game in a row.
Dwyane Wade (soreness) should return back to the lineup Wednesday.
O.J. Mayo (illness) did not practice Tuesday.
Isaiah Thomas (stomach) did not finish Monday's game after an illness.
Rudy Gay (Achilles) took part in warm-ups Monday, but sat out the game.