This article is part of our FantasyScore NBA series.
FantasyScore is an up-and-coming player in the world of daily fantasy sports, offering a trio of different game types on a website that's as user-friendly as they come.
You can check out my first article for a more comprehensive overview, but today we're going to focus on NBA salary-cap game player picks for Wednesday night.
Before we get to the best options at each position, let's quickly review some basics for the website's salary-cap contests. There is one semi-recent change, with the rosters now featuring two guards, two forwards, a center and three flex spots, as opposed to three guards, three forwards, a center and a flex.
Scoring, as follows, is fairly simple:
1 point = 1 point
1 rebound= 1.25 points
1 assist = 1.5 points
1 block = 2 points
1 steal = 2 points
1 turnover= -0.5 points
There's a $50,000 budget for eight roster spots, with two guards, two forwards, a center and three flex spots (any position). The lack of differentiation between point guards and shooting guards (or small and power forwards) is nice, as it allows for increased flexibility when building your lineup,
Further adding to flexibility, the cheapest players are priced at $2200, while the most expensive typically cost $9000-9500. The large price range makes it possible to load up a roster with three-to-five superstars, if you're willing to take a risk on some of those sub-$3000 guys.
I typically favor the so-called "stars-and-scrubs" approach on FantasyScore, but I'll probably use a more balanced lineup for this Wednesday (March 4th).
Here are some of my favorite players for Wednesday night.
Chris Paul, LAC (vs. POR), $8500 – With so many fantastic options at the guard spot for Wednesday, it was rather difficult to whittle things down to only three players. Paul made the cut over fellow high-priced stud Russell Westbrook (face), who will be wearing a mask in Wednesday's game against the 76ers, after suffering a facial fracture over the weekend. I'm really not too worried about the mask, so this is more of a testament to Paul's success in the absence of Blake Griffin (elbow) than anything else. In 10 games since Griffin suffered the injury, Paul has topped 50 fantasy points six times, with two more performances between 45-49 points.
Ricky Rubio, MIN (vs. DEN), $5700 – Not only is Rubio coming off the third triple-double of his career, but also he has six or more rebounds and seven or more assists in each of his last six games. He's consistently getting minutes in the high-30s and low-40s when the Timberwolves keep things close, which has happened far more often since Rubio started playing this way. Having topped 33 fantasy points in seven straight games, including six outings over 40 points, he's an absolute must-start against the downtrodden Nuggets. Inserting Rubio should be the first thing you do when setting your Wednesday lineup.
Mo Williams, MIN (at BKN), $5000 – Pass up Mo at your own risk, as his role since joining the Hornets has been rather lucrative, to say the absolute least. He's logged 37 or more minutes in five of his six appearances for Charlotte, topping 40 fantasy points four times, with a trio of 20-10 games. I really can't think of any reason to not use Williams at this price, and he should be owned in every single matchup for the foreseeable future, so long as the price tag stays south of $6200 or so. With both Williams and Rubio must-start players for Wednesday night, I'll use the flex spots to roster other guards.
Other Options: Russell Westbrook, OKC (vs. PHI), $9300; Gordon Hayward, BOS (at BOS), $6000; Reggie Jackson, DET (at NOR), $5400; Kevin Martin (illness)/Gary Neal, MIN (vs. DEN), $5100/$2500; Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL (at GSW), $5000; Lou Williams/Grievis Vasquez, TOR (vs. CLE), $3900/$2600
LeBron James, CLE (at TOR), $9100 – While I wouldn't go so far as to say that I don't like the Wednesday options at forward, there aren't the kind of obvious (non) decisions that we previously discussed with the guards. I think it makes sense to pay up for James, who is far-and-away the top forward option, prices being equal. The second-most expensive forward is James' teammate Kevin Love, who carries a price tag of just $7600.
Derrick Favors UTA (at BOS), $6200 – Facing a Boston team that has been vulnerable to opposing big men all season, Favors is my favorite play at forward for Wednesday night. He's gotten some extra minutes and touches since Enes Kanter left town, and he enters Wednesday's game with three straight outings of more than 40 fantasy points. It won't be surprising if he stretches that streak to four, as he's all but a lock to hit 30 fantasy points.
Markieff Morris, PHX (at ORL), $5000 – I've typically found enough value on FantasyScore to avoid risky selections, instead opting for lineups full of guys with both high ceilings and strong floors. However, I'll need to take a risk or two Wednesday night, as most of the top value plays are guards, and guys like Rubio, Williams and Paul all figure to be widely used. Morris is no sure thing in a matchup with an Orlando team that has slowed its pace over the last few weeks, but the better of Phoenix's two twins offers 40-plus fantasy point upside every time he takes the court. Also, Morris should be able to use the vast majority of his energy on the offensive end, as the power forward spot has been an offensive black hole for the Magic all season.
Other options: Kawhi Leonard, SAN (vs. SAC), $6000; Tobias Harris, ORL (vs. PHX), $5500; Andrew Wiggins, MIN (vs. DEN), $4600; Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, CHA (at BRK), $4200; Danilo Gallinari, DEN (at MIN), $3600; Patrick Patterson, TOR (vs. CLE), $2200; Dante Cunningham, NO (vs. DET), $2200
Nerlens Noel, PHI (at OKC), $4600 – I could've written about both DeAndre Jordan and Alex Len for the second week in a row, but that wouldn't have been much fun, and I also really like Noel, Hassan Whiteside and LaMarcus Aldridge. While it's impossible to miss what Jordan's done in the absence of Blake Griffin (ankle), Noel has quietly improved his own form while also benefiting from a slight boost in playing time. Limited to minutes in the high-20s or low-30s from most of this season, the former Kentucky Wildcat has recently been falling in the low-to-mid 30-minute range. It's the kind of change that can often go unnoticed, but when you combine the impact of a slight minutes boost with improved quality of play, Noel offers fantastic value for a mere $4600. He may have a tricky matchup, but he also has 33 or more fantasy points in each of his last three games.
Alex Len, PHX (at DEN), $3600 – Suddenly a solid bet to reach the 30-minute mark, Len is my favorite option at center for Wednesday, even though studs like Aldridge, Jordan and Whiteside are in good spots to put up big games. Given how awful the Denver frontcourt is, Len actually has upside approaching that of the high-priced studs, especially with Nuggets center Jusuf Nurkic (ankle) unlikely to play. As has been true for much of the past few years, Denver is a dream opponent for big men of all shapes and sizes. Len still isn't a huge scoring threat, but he's reached 20 fantasy points in six straight games and should come through with a double-double Wednesday night.
Other options: LaMarcus Aldridge, POR (at LAC), $8100; DeAndre Jordan, LAC (vs. POR), $8000; Hassan Whiteside, MIA (vs. LAL), $7400; Enes Kanter, OKC (vs. PHI), $5500; Alexis Ajinca, NO (vs. DET), $3000