This article is part of our FantasyDraft NBA series.
Wednesday brings a late-season six-game slate that features Celtics-Raptors as its main event. There are several other postseason contenders in action, with some still looking to secure final playoff positioning. With only one player priced over $20K, there's also ample opportunity to build a balanced lineup. With many solid selections at each price tier, let's dive into the task of putting together a winning roster:
Ben Simmons, PHI at DET ($17,400): Simmons is averaging a solid 15.0 points, 8.7 rebounds, 8.3 assists and 1.3 blocks across 32.0 minutes in three games against the Pistons this season, and Detroit comes in allowing the most fantasy points to point guards on the season (44.6), including 53.1 over the last five games. Simmons been a pretty sure proposition in terms of the double-double bonus lately as well, accomplishing the feat in 11 of his last 12 games, with five of those efforts actually qualifying as triple-doubles. Simmons has eclipsed 40 fantasy points on five occasions, 50 on another four, and the 60-mark once during that stretch. Plus, he's now averaging 1.23 fantasy points per minute without Joel Embiid (orbital) on the floor, furthering his already strong case.
DeMar DeRozan, TOR vs. BOS ($13,900): DeRozan just lit up the Celtics for 52.25 fantasy points last Saturday, and he's averaging 23.7 points, 5.7 assists and 4.3 rebounds across 33.7 minutes in three games versus Boston this season. The All-Star has admittedly seen some fluctuations in his production in recent contests, but he's priced reasonably for a player that's eclipsed 30 fantasy points on four occasions and the 40-mark in two outings over the last nine contests. Meanwhile, the Celtics have unsurprisingly been much more vulnerable to shooting guards since Marcus Smart went down with his thumb injury, as they've allowed 53.3 fantasy points to the position over the last 10, including the fourth most (58.0) over the last five. In what should be a wire-to-wire battle, DeRozan should see more than enough minutes to provide another strong return on his price against the Raptors' rival for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
J.J. Barea, DAL at ORL ($10,400): Dennis Smith has already been ruled out for Wednesday's contest with knee soreness, bringing both Barea and teammate Yogi Ferrell ($10,100) into play. Although Barea is a few hundred more expensive than Ferrell, he's been the steadier of the two recently in terms of fantasy production and could draw the start. Barea has scored no less than 21.00 and as many as 40.0 fantasy points over the last 10 games – a stretch during which he's draining an impressive 49.1 percent of his 11.0 shot attempts per contest. He's been even sharper recently (56.1 percent shooting over the last five), while the Magic come in allowing the seventh-most fantasy points to point guards over the last 10 (54.8), along with the fourth-most assists (10.2) during that stretch and fifth highest offensive efficiency rating (26.8) to the position on the season.
Andre Drummond, DET vs. PHI ($18,100): Drummond managed to still compile 33.00 fantasy points over just 24 minutes against the Nets on Sunday despite getting the early hook for fighting with Quincy Acy. After two additional days of rest, he should be raring to go in another must-win for the still-playoff-hopeful Pistons. He won't have Embiid to contend with down low, either, leaving him poised to exploit a Sixers frontcourt defense that's already proven much more vulnerable without the big man in the lineup. Philadelphia comes in allowing 48.7 fantasy points to centers over the last five (with Embiid having missed almost four full games during that span) – a notable uptick over their 35.9 season figure. Drummond had also been on a tear prior to his Sunday ejection, scoring 42.50 to 63.50 fantasy points in the four prior games.
Robert Covington, PHI at DET ($12,300): Jonas Valanciunas ($12,900) and Hassan Whiteside ($12,500) are two other viable options at this level, but what Covington has done over the last two games is worthy of attention. The wing has blown his price out of the water in both contests, scoring 50.75 and 38.00 fantasy points against the Nets and Hornets, respectively. He'd also scored 31.25 to 34.00 fantasy points in four of the prior seven games – all solid returns as well on his current price tag. Part of the boost in production has come from excellent steal numbers, so it's worth noting that the Pistons are allowing the fourth-most steals (1.5) per game to small forwards on the season, along with the sixth-most fantasy points (37.3). With Embiid out, Covington's overall usage has also gone up, as the 14.8 shot attempts he's averaging over the last four represents a nice bump over his 10.6 season figure.
Jarell Martin, MEM at NO ($8,900): Justise Winslow ($9,900) is also intriguing at this level despite his dud against the Hawks in his most recent game, but Martin comes in a full $1K cheaper and should be in for another start with JaMychal Green (knee) already ruled out. The Pelicans have been vulnerable to power forwards all season, allowing the third-most fantasy points (41.6) to the position, along with the seventh-highest offensive efficiency rating (26.4). Martin's production has been a bit volatile, making him more of a tournament play, but he's shown some nice upside relative to current price by scoring 20.00 to 36.50 fantasy points in six of his last 12 games.
Goran Dragic, MIA at ATL ($13,300): Dragic lit up the Hawks for a 22-point, 10-rebound double-double on Tuesday, and he should be poised for another strong effort in the second game of the home-and-home back-to-back set. The Hawks have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to point guards over the last 10 (57.4), along with the third-highest offensive efficiency rating (27.2) to the position on the season. Dragic has shot 53.3 percent overall in two prior games against Atlanta, and he's scored 27.00 to Tuesday's 46.50 fantasy points in eight of the last 10 games. With Miami having clinched a playoff berth but still looking to secure final seeding, he should see enough time to pay off what remains a reasonable price.
Al Horford, BOS at TOR ($12,200): It's crunch time for the Celtics, as despite their slew of key injuries, they still have a chance to claim the top spot in the Eastern Conference. Naturally, an immediate way to cut their current two-game deficit for first place in half is by defeating the current owner of the No. 1 seed: the Raptors. Horford should, therefore, be heavily involved against a team that he's already shot 58.3 percent against over three games this season. Plus, Toronto has allowed 52.2 fantasy points to power forwards over the last five – a sharp jump up from their 37.9 season figure. Horford has scored 34.25 to 45.75 fantasy points in three of his past four games, and with Terry Rozier potentially out again Wednesday with an ankle injury, Horford could be poised for the type of run that allowed him to score 34.75 fantasy points against the Bucks on Tuesday.