This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
Defense To Avoid
San Antonio Spurs at Toronto Raptors
Apparently allowing a miserly (and top-ranked) 88.3 points per game just wasn't good enough for Coach Pop and company. The Spurs shook off the absences of Kawhi Leonard (illness) and Tim Duncan (rest) on Monday to achieve an absurd new defensive milestone: holding a team under 70 points. In surrendering only 68 to the Sixers – in Philadelphia, no less – San Antonio has now kept opponents below 89 points in eight out of the last 10 games. While Toronto certainly represents a stiffer challenge Wednesday, they still come in ranked a rather ordinary 18th in points per game (100.7). The Spurs are 3-1 over their last four road games, and in addition to their suffocation of the Sixers, they also shut down Denver (80 points) and Memphis (83 points).
Offense To Use
Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Los Angeles Lakers
This one need not be overthought. Minnesota is on their home court and the Lakers have been ranked near the bottom of the league defensively all season, surrendering an average of 105.5 points per game. The T-Wolves have demonstrated some consistency on the offensive side of the ball recently and received some resurgent performances over the last two games from a pair of their most important offensive pieces, Ricky Rubio and Karl-Anthony Towns. Both players just happen to also draw very exploitable individual matchups Wednesday, which are detailed below.
Teams on a Back-to-Back Set
First game: Clippers, Hawks, Knicks, Bulls
Second game: Rockets, Grizzlies, Jazz, Magic
DraftKings.com DAILY PLAYER RECOMMENDATIONS
Ricky Rubio, LAL at MIN ($6,700): Rubio represents the perfect fantasy storm of increasingly strong play and a tantalizing matchup. The Lakers come in ranked dead-last in fantasy points allowed to point guards and actually appear to be getting worse. They've yielded an average of 58.4 fantasy points to the position, but a particularly putrid 61.9 per game over the last 10. Meanwhile, Rubio appears to finally be over his recent ankle injury, tallying 38.0 and 37.75 fantasy points over his last two games, respectively.
James Harden, HOU at WAS ($10,600): Harden is a textbook example of the Pay-Up-To-Be-Contrarian principle for tournaments Wednesday. The perennial All-Star surely left plenty of folks steaming with his worst performance of the season Tuesday, against what was an exploitable matchup versus the Nets. That, along with being the slate's highest-priced option, should drive a good amount of the masses off him. However, forsaking a prideful and talented player with a plum matchup after one outlier performance is usually a bad idea in DFS. Wednesday, Harden draws the defensive sieve that Bradley Beal has surprisingly become so far this season. The Wizards shooting guard is largely responsible for Washington being ranked in the bottom half of the league in both actual and fantasy points surrendered to the position. Washington is giving up an average of 47.5 fantasy points to opposing shooting guards over the last 10, with Dwyane Wade (26 points) and Wesley Matthews (season-high 36 points) serving as their latest victimizers. With a higher ceiling than both of them, the sky could is the limit for a motivated Harden.
Otto Porter, WAS vs. CHI ($5,800): Like Rubio, Porter is another case of an upward-trending commodity stepping into a situation ripe for fantasy goodness. The Wizards small forward has scored 25.25, 35.25 and 43.5 fantasy points over his last three, respectively. He's also amassed double-digit actual points in all three games, along with an impressive 25 boards over the last two. Porter was already set for an appealing matchup against a Rockets defense giving up an average of 46.6 fantasy points per game to small forwards over their last five, and now will draw either a limited Trevor Ariza (lower back bruise) or Corey Brewer, if Ariza is sidelined.
Other options:Carmelo Anthony, NYK vs. UTA ($7,600); Nicolas Batum, CHA vs. MIA ($7,500), Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL vs. LAC ($6,600); Marcus Morris, DET vs. MEM ($6,100); Jae Crowder, BOS vs. CHI ($5,700)
LaMarcus Aldridge, SAS at TOR ($7,000): Aldridge has had a handful of down games so far in a Spurs uniform with respect to minutes and points, but the veteran forward appears to be hitting his stride. He's certainly been on the upswing over the last six games, averaging 32.3 fantasy points during that span, and posting 38.75 (with a season-high 26 actual points) with Leonard (illness) out of the lineup Monday. The Raptors' defense comes into Wednesday giving up 53.7 fantasy points per game to power forwards over the last five as well, and Aldridge's production is actually slightly better on the road, where he is averaging 32.6 fantasy points per game over 11 appearacnes. There's also the added possibility that Leonard is sidelined again, placing some additional offensive responsibility on Aldridge's shoulders.
Karl-Anthony Towns, MIN vs. LAL ($6,800): Towns is the second Timberwolves player who should have a particularly fertile environment in which to excel Wednesday. Like his teammate Rubio, Towns' play has been particularly impressive lately, with fantasy point totals of 35.0, 49.5 and 31.75 in three of his last four. He's also been shooting well over his last two, hitting 66.6 percent (20-for-30) of his shots from the field. Meanwhile, the Lakers have been a proverbial swinging gate for opposing centers all season, and are giving up an average of 57.5 fantasy points to the position over their last five, which is fourth-worst in the league over that span.
Marcus Smart (leg)
R.J. Hunter (hip)
David Lee (heel)
Amar'e Stoudemire (rest)
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (shoulder)
Al Jefferson (calf)
Alan Anderson (ankle)
Nene Hilario (knee)
Jordan Adams (knee)
Brandan Wright (knee)
Jarell Martin (foot)
Brandon Jennings (Achilles)
Jodie Meeks (foot)
DeMarre Carroll (knee)
Jonas Valanciunas (hand)
Jerryd Bayless (ankle)
Greivis Vasquez (ankle)
Nikola Pekovic (Achilles)
C.J. Watson (calf)
Aaron Gordon (ankle)
Tyson Chandler (hamstring)
Rudy Gobert (knee)
Jonas Valanciunas (hand)
Tiago Splitter (hip)
Devin Harris (ribs)
Sam Dekker (back)