This article is part of our Daily Games Cheat Sheet series.
Wondering if you should trust my advice? Check out my latest Trust Tracker blog post analyzing how my recommendations from last Thursday's games fared.
Defenses to Avoid
Detroit Pistons at Washington Wizards: Four of the NBA's five least productive offenses are in action Wednesday, but only one of those four has the privilege of playing against a top 10 scoring defense. The Pistons are dead last in field goal percentage, while ehe Wizards are seventh in opponent field goal percentage. The Wizards allow the fifth fewest points per possession, and they allow a second-fewest 18.0 assists per game. But, for all the Wizards' strengths and the Pistons' struggles, this pick is heavily influence by the Pistons players themselves.
As individuals, the Pistons have been wildly inconsistent so far this season: Josh Smith followed a 31.75 performance on Sunday with a 45.25 outing Monday; Andre Drummond went for 37.5 and then 19.5 during those two games; Greg Monroe's last four games have gone for 31.5, 38.75, 21.25, and 53 points; and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has produced two games below 16 points, and three above 24; only Brandon Jennings has approached night-to-night consistency. If you feel like gambling, try picking which Piston you think is most likely to go off Wednesday – there is value available for picking correctly. But Daily Fantasy Games are legal because they are supposed to be games of skill, and this starting lineup has been too erratic to be trusted, especially against these strong Wizards.
Offenses to Use
Brooklyn Nets at Phoenix Suns: The best thing about this recommendation is that, in addition to getting to play the Suns, the Nets have several underpriced options taking action Wednesday. The Suns are the fifth worst team in the league, according to opponent points per game. Suns opponents get to the free throw line fourth most often. The Nets boast the 10th best rebounding rate in the league, while the Suns sport the sixth worst. Both the Suns and the Nets are in the top seven scoring teams in the league, and both are in the bottom half for opponent three-point field goal percentage, which should help to keep this a high-scoring affair. Most surprising fact I stumbled upon researching teams for Wednesday's game: the Nets enter Wednesday with the second highest team field goal percentage in the league, at 48.8 percent.
Teams on a Back-to-Back Set
First game of a back-to-back: Brooklyn Nets
Second game of a back-to-back: Los Angeles Lakers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Portland Trail Blazers
DraftKings.com DAILY PLAYER RECOMMENDATIONS
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Reggie Jackson, OKC (at BOS), PG, ($6,500): Jackson should cost more than this. It's that simple. I could point out Boston's failures in defending (fifth worst in opponent field goal percentage, second worst in opponent three point shooting percentage), or I could point out that Jackson is averaging more minutes per game than any other player in action Wednesday night. I could talk about how this is a contract year for Jackson, and how these couple weeks without Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant are his best chance to increase next summer's payday. Or I could focus on how much the Thunder's postseason aspiration may depend on Jackson's ability to secure these wins against below average opponents (like the Celtics on Wednesday). But what really matters is that Jackson should just cost a lot more than this. Jackson is averaging 39.4 points per night. No other player averaging more than 34 points per game this season costs less than $7,000 Wednesday.
Ronnie Price, LAL (at NO), PG, ($3,000):Ronnie Price was terrible in his last game, recording only four points, three assists, and 7.5 total fantasy points. But that is the risk you take with a minimum salary player. You don't pick those guys to lead your team, you pick them cause minimal harm while enabling you to afford the more expensive guys. And Price has something almost no other minimum value player has: minutes. Through seven games, he is averaging 21 minutes per night, and has only once (in his third game) played fewer than 18. There are few, if any, minimum salary guys with that amount of opportunity. And while he could throw up another 7.5, he could also reproduce his output from the game before that, when he totaled 27 fantasy points.
Other suggestions: A.J. Price, IND (at MIA), PG, ($3,000)
Jeremy Lamb, OKC (at BOS), SG, ($3,900): Lamb's price has been rising, but DraftKings has not yet reached the cost point that Lamb deserves – in fact, DraftKings is probably still be off by several hundred. Lamb has only been in action for three games, and his worst game so far has been 22.75 fantasy points. As long as seemingly half of the Thunders' wing and guard unit remains sidelined, they will continue to rely upon Lamb for well over 30 minutes per night. Even when he shot a meager 2-13 from the field on Tuesday, coach Scott Brooks still left him in for 34 minutes, and Lamb still found a way to grind out 23 fantasy points. Imagine the kind of night Lamb could produce with that much court time and even a Ricky Rubio-level of shooting efficiency (which really is the least anyone can ask of an NBA player).
James Harden, HOU (at MIN), SG, ($10,300): Harden is a player I've mentioned here before, but usually when I do so I am focusing on his high average production (49 fantasy points per game this season) and his low nightly floor (he totaled 41 points in his worst game this season). But Wednesday Harden has two added advantages, and both of them are hugely significant: first, Harden faces one of the worst defensive backcourts in the league, a Ricky-Rubio*-less Timberwolves squad. Second, and potentially more importantly, Harden's salary Wednesday is $900 cheaper than it was just two games earlier, due to the phenomenon I've dubbed the "sweet spot off night" – when a player has an unusually bad performance in his second-most recent game, which is a game DraftKings overemphasizes in their price-setting algorithm. He's still expensive, but probably worth it.
*I clearly miss Ricky Rubio. Get well soon, Ricky!
Mirza Teletovic, BKN (at PHO), SF, ($4,100): A three-point specialist facing off against one of the league's worst three-point defending teams. Earlier this week Teletovic would have cost you a neat five grand. Granted, his discount is because he has failed to break 20 points in three of his last four outings, but all three of those games were against above-average three-point defenses, and the price drop basically amounts to a market correction. He is still played more than 20 minutes in every single game. If Teletovic can hit his season average of 22.5 fantasy points per game against this below average defense, he will provide a profit to daily players who use him.
Other suggestions: Solomon Hill, IND (at MIA), SF, ($4,600)
Channing Frye, ORL (at NYK), PF, ($5,200): On the season, I'm more down on Frye' than most. But this is daily games, and the Knicks do not have the personnel to defend a stretch-4 as talented or as efficient as Frye. The price is fair – not a discount, to be sure – but the idea of Amare Stoudemire or Samuel Dalembert trying to jump out to cover Frye at the three-point line has me salivating.
Other suggestions: This position looks wildly overpriced Wednesday. There is no one else I am confident will perform up to their salary. Certainly, many PFs will outperform their salaries Wednesday, but I do not have confidence that I can predict which ones those will be.
Chris Kaman, POR (at DEN), C, ($3,500): Kaman is on a roll lately, and his price has not yet jumped accordingly. Despite playing only 18 or 19 minutes per night, Kaman has 12 points in three of his last four games, and seven or more rebounds in a different three of his last four. The low minutes put a ceiling on his fantasy value – one that he hit in Sunday's game against these same Nuggets, with 31.5 fantasy points. Don't let Ken "The Manimal" Faried scare you, this Denver frontcourt is one of the most favorable to fantasy opponents.
Other suggestions: Nikola Vucevic, ORL (at NYK), C, ($8,400)
Marcus Smart (ankle)
Marcus Thornton (ankle)
Vitor Faverani (knee)
Jodie Meeks (back)
Paul George (leg)
George Hill (knee)
David West (ankle)
Rodney Stuckey (foot)
CJ Miles (head)
Steve Nash (back)
Julius Randle (leg)
Wayne Ellington (non-injury)
Nick Young (thumb)
Nick Calathes (suspension)
Justin Hamilton (groin)
Ricky Rubio (ankle)
Jose Calderon (calf)
Kevin Durant (foot)
Russell Westbrook (hand)
Mitch McGary (foot)
Kyle O'Quinn (ankle)
Victor Oladipo (face)
Nicolas Batum (knee)
Bradley Beal (wrist)
Martell Webster (back)
DeMarre Carroll (groin) is out for Wednesday's game.
Adreian Payne (foot) is probably for Wednesday's game.
Mike Scott (back) is out for Wednesday's game.
James Young (personal) is expected to be available for Wednesday's game.
Cartier Martin (foot) remains day-to-day, but is unlikely to play. He has been medically cleared to return, but is in too much pain to return to practice still, and was in street clothes for Monday's game.
Patrick Beverley (hamstring) is a game-time decision for Wednesday's game.
Francisco Garcia (illness) is a game-time decision for Wednesday's game.
Terrence Jones (leg) is a game-time decision for Wednesday's game. Last week, Wednesday was listed as his estimated date of return, but no official update has been made.
Ryan Kelly (hamstring) has not yet been ruled out for Wednesday's game. He missed Tuesday's game, and seems unlikely to play on Wednesday, but no official announcement has been made.
Chris Anderson (ribs) is expected to play in Wednesday's game.
Danny Granger (hamstring) is not expected to play in Wednesday's game. He is expected to dress for the game, however.
Anthony Bennett (knee) is questionable for Wednesday's game.
Luke Babbitt (finger) is questionable for Wednesday's game.
Andrea Bargnani (hamstring) is unlikely to play in Wednesday's game.
Devyn Marble (shoulder) is a game-time decision for Wednesday's game.
is out for Wednesday's game.
Perry Jones (knee) is out for Wednesday's Game.
Andre Roberson (foot) is out for Wednesday's game.
Grant Jerrett (ankle) is questionable for Wednesday's game.
Rodney Hood (foot) is out for Wednesday's game.