NBA DFS Breakdown: Is Karl-Anthony Towns Too Hot to Fade?
NBA DFS Breakdown: Is Karl-Anthony Towns Too Hot to Fade?

This article is part of our NBA DFS Breakdown series.

We have a nine-game slate Wednesday, and there's no shortage of injury news. I'll spare listing everyone here, but we already know that LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and a trio of Timberwolves are sidelined, making those games highly targetable for value.

In terms of over/unders and spreads, here are the extremes:

Highest over/under: NOP at BKN (230.0)
Lowest over/under: DET at MEM (198.0)
Largest spread: BOS (-6.5) vs. MIN
Smallest spread: NO at BKN (EVEN)

Let's jump into a quick overview of each game, using FanDuel's pricing and scoring:

Heat at Cavaliers

Over/Under: 203.0
Spread: MIA (-5.5)
Cash Plays: Josh Richardson ($7,700); Larry Nance Jr. ($7,400); Alec Burks ($5,400)
GPP Plays: Larry Nance Jr. ($7,400); Justise Winslow ($7,100); Jordan Clarkson ($5,700); Dwyane Wade ($5,100); Tyler Johnson ($4,700); Jaron Blossomgame ($3,500)
Notable Injuries
Heat: Dion Waiters (Ankle) - Questionable; Goran Dragic (Knee) - Out; Dwyane Wade (Illness) - Questionable
Cavaliers: Kevin Love (Toe) - Out; Tristan Thompson (Foot) - Probable; Rodney Hood (Achilles) - Questionable; Ante Zizic (Knee) - Questionable; David Nwaba (Ankle) - Questionable

There are a plethora of injuries in this matchup. Notably, Dion Waiters could make his season debut and Tristan Thompson may be able to return from a 10-game absence. Both players would presumably be limited if available, so their respective returns would probably only serve to hurt other players' fantasy values. For the Heat, Tyler Johnson and Dwyane Wade could see a reduction in workload, while Larry Nance could be a victim on Cleveland.

Both of these squads are underperforming, and there are few cash options available. Josh Richardson (34.0 fantasy points over the past eight games) and Nance (39.5 FP over the past 12) are the most appealing. Nance also makes for an intriguing GPP option given his 50-60 FP upside. Nearly the same thing can be said about Winslow, though with a 40-50 FP ceiling.

Hawks at Wizards

Over/Under: 229.5
Spread: WAS (-6.0)
Cash Plays: Bradley Beal ($9,800); John Collins ($8,400); Thomas Bryant ($6,600)
GPP Plays: Bradley Beal ($9,800); Thomas Bryant ($6,600); Trevor Ariza ($6,600); Jeff Green ($5,600); Alex Len ($5,200) if Dedmon is out; Vince Carter ($3,600)
Notable Injuries
Hawks: Dewayne Dedmon (Knee) - Probable; Taurean Prince (Ankle) - Out; Kent Bazemore (Ankle) - Out
Wizards: Markieff Morris (Back) - Out; Dwight Howard (Back) - Out; John Wall (Heel) - Out for season

The statuses of Dewayne Dedmon and Otto Porter are worth noting in this battle for the bottom of the Eastern Conference. Dedmon's return would effectively put an end to Alex Len's status as a GPP flier, and Porter's return should mean fewer minutes for the likes of Jeff Green and Sam Dekker. Still, on the Washington side, I'd expect Porter to see fewer than 30 minutes and the team is so thin that most of the usual suspects will still be in play.

Bradley Beal and John Collins stick out like sore thumbs in this matchup when it comes to consistent members of these rosters, with each having a floor of around 40 FP. Beal, in his expanded role with John Wall out, is also worth exploring for GPPs. Thomas Bryant's increased production is also worth mentioning. Over the past two games, he's averaging 38.5 fantasy points on the back of 16.5 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.0 blocks across 33.0 minutes. Trevor Ariza has two games below 20 FP over his past four, but his upside of 40 FP remains and he could see low ownership if Porter returns.

Mavericks at Hornets

Over/Under: 222.0
Spread: CHA (-1.5)
Cash Plays: Kemba Walker ($9,400); Luka Doncic ($7,800); Harrison Barnes ($5,900)
GPP Plays: Kemba Walker ($9,400); Luka Doncic ($7,800); DeAndre Jordan ($6,700); Willy Hernangomez ($5,400); Malik Monk ($4,600); J.J. Barea ($4,500); Devonte' Graham ($3,900); Michael Kidd-Gilchrist ($3,700) Frank Kaminsky ($3,500); Tony Parker ($3,500)
Notable Injuries
Mavericks: Dirk Nowitzki (Rest) - Questionable
Hornets: Jeremy Lamb (Hamstring) - Out; Cody Zeller (Hand) - Out

There are two notable injuries in this contest, with both Jeremy Lamb and Cody Zeller expected to be on the shelf. Zeller's absence opens up the door for Willy Hernangomez to start at center and for Frank Kaminsky to see extra time. With both Lamb and Zeller off the court, Hernangomez averages 1.4 FP/min and Kaminsky averages 0.9 FP/min. Kaminsky's number isn't nearly as enticing, but he comes at minimum salary. Under the same conditions, Malik Monk is at 1.0 FP/min, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist posts 1.1 FP/min, Devonte' Graham records 0.9 FP/min and Tony Parker checks in at 0.9 FP/min. There's tons of potential value to be had in this matchup.

Kemba Walker and Luka Doncic are both worth looks for GPPs and cash games as the workhorses of their respective teams. Harrison Barnes has been consistent lately, posting above 20 FP in each of the past six games and averaging 29.5 FP during that stretch. DeAndre Jordan is inconsistent but makes sense for GPP as a mid-tier center with 40-50 FP upside.

Pelicans at Nets

Over/Under: 230.0
Spread: EVEN
Cash Plays: Anthony Davis ($12,700); Jrue Holiday ($8,600)
GPP Plays: Anthony Davis ($12,700); Julius Randle ($8,500) if Davis is out; D'Angelo Russell ($7,000); Spencer Dinwiddie ($6,800); Elfrid Payton ($5,600)
Notable Injuries
Pelicans: Anthony Davis (Illness) - Questionable; Nikola Mirotic (Ankle) - Out
Nets: Ed Davis (Rest) - Probable; Allen Crabbe (Knee) - Out; Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (Hip) - Out

The main thing to keep an eye on here is Anthony Davis' status. He missed the Pelicans' last outing due to an illness and his availability is unclear Wednesday. You can play him if he's cleared, assuming you aren't worried about his illness, but Julius Randle vaults into relevance if Davis is sidelined. Jrue Holiday makes for a solid cash play regardless of the situation.

For GPPs, the usual suspects are in play with D'Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie both sporting upsides of about 40 FP, though Russell has potential for 50-plus. Elfrid Payton is also worth considering in his second game back from injury. He needed just 24 minutes to post 18.2 FP during his return and averaged 34.9 FP during his only other healthy games this season.

Timberwolves at Celtics

Over/Under: 219.5
Spread: BOS (-6.5)
Cash Plays: Karl-Anthony Towns ($10,500); Kyrie Irving ($9,000); Marcus Morris ($5,500)
GPP Plays: Karl-Anthony Towns ($10,500); Kyrie Irving ($9,000); Tyus Jones ($6,300) if Teague and Rose are out; Marcus Morris ($5,500); Jaylen Brown ($4,500); Terry Rozier ($4,300); Josh Okogie ($3,900)
Notable Injuries
Timberwolves: Derrick Rose (Ankle) - Out; Jeff Teague (Ankle) - Out; Robert Covington (Ankle) - Out
Celtics: Kyrie Irving (Eye) - Out; Robert Williams (Groin) - Out; Aron Baynes (Hand) - Out

Another matchup to keep an eye on due to injuries, Timberwolves at Celtics could be a source of value. With the trio of Derrick Rose, Jeff Teague and Robert Covington out, Tyus Jones and Josh Okogie are worth considering in GPPs. Kyrie Irving's absence opens up the point guard position for Terry Rozier, though other high-usage options on the Celtics are also worth exploring. For example, with Irving off the floor this season, Marcus Morris, Al Horford, Gordon Hayward, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum all fall between 0.9 FP/min and 1.2 FP/min.

Regardless of the injuries situations, it's worth taking a long look at Karl-Anthony Towns. He's been shattering expectations of late, averaging 76.6 FP over the past three games on the back of 31.0 points, 18.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 4.7 blocks and 1.3 steals. This type of production won't last forever, but it's hard to resist deploying him when he's this hot.

Magic at Bulls

Over/Under: 199.0
Spread: CHI (-1.5)
Cash Plays: Kris Dunn ($7,800); Justin Holiday ($5,600)
GPP Plays: Nikola Vucevic ($9,800); Aaron Gordon ($7,800); Lauri Markkanen ($7,400); Evan Fournier ($5,400); Jonathan Isaac ($4,300); Robin Lopez ($3,600)
Notable Injuries
Magic: D.J. Augustin (Ankle) - Probable; Jonathon Simmons (Ankle) - Doubtful
Bulls: Bobby Ports (Ankle) - Out

Considering there are no significant absences in this game opening up value, plus a low total, this could be a contest to avoid for the most part. From a cash game perspective, this game is a nightmare. Only Kris Dunn and Justin Holiday currently represent consistent options for either squad.

There are some GPP options, however, with Vucevic functioning as a possible pivot off Karl-Anthony Towns. Aaron Gordon and Lauri Markkanen have the upside to reach 45-plus FP too. Fantasy owners interesting in punting one spot could look towards the low-priced Jonathan Isaac or even Robin Lopez ($3,600), though either option is far from ideal.

Pistons at Grizzlies

Over/Under: 198.0
Spread: MEM (-6.0)
Cash Plays: Blake Griffin ($8,800); Mike Conley ($8,700); Marc Gasol ($8,700); Reggie Jackson ($5,400); Garrett Temple ($3,800)
GPP Plays: Andre Drummond ($9,500);
Notable Injuries
Pistons: Ish Smith (Groin) - Out
Grizzlies: Chandler Parsons (Coach's Decision) - Out

Ironically, one of the only games without injuries to monitor is one of the least enticing on the slate, at least from a GPP perspective. Each team is established in their identity, allowing for a myriad of mid-to-upper tier cash options with expected floors of about 35-40 FP. You can even through Reggie Jackson's 20 FP floor into the mix if you want to save some cash.

I wouldn't be doing everything I could to get Andre Drummond in my lineup, but he represents a high-upside GPP pivot away from Karl-Anthony Towns, and he should have low ownership given that the Pistons are on the second half of a back-to-back and the Grizzlies are a slow-paced opponent. He's simply a GPP option every night, as he's routinely priced under $10,000 and has reached 60 FP five times.

76ers at Suns

Over/Under: 228.0
Spread: PHI (-5.0)
Cash Plays: Devin Booker ($8,600); Jimmy Butler ($8,000); Deandre Ayton ($7,900); J.J. Redick ($5,200); T.J. McConnell ($4,300)
GPP Plays: Joel Embiid ($11,000); Ben Simmons ($9,500); Devin Booker ($8,600); Deandre Ayton ($7,900); T.J. Warren ($7,100); Mikal Bridges ($4,400); Richaun Holmes ($3,900)
Notable Injuries
76ers: None
Suns: Richaun Holmes (Illness) - Questionable

When considering contests with few injuries, 76ers at Suns is certainly more fun than Pistons at Grizzlies. There are a myriad of cash and GPP targets, as it seems many players in this game come in at reasonable prices. Notably, Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton are playable in both cash and GPPs. Booker is averaging 47.5 FP in the nine games since returning from injury, with just one performance below 35.0 FP and a high of 60.8 FP. Across the same stretch, Ayton is averaging 44.9 FP with a low point of 32.9 FP and two games above 60 FP.

For GPPs, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are the top-tier options that remain on the table, while T.J. Warren can be fit into most lineups at just $7,100 with upside of 40-plus FP. We should also highlight Mikal Bridges' increased production, as the rookie has two outings of above 30 FP in the past five games.

Thunder at Lakers

Over/Under: 228.0
Spread: OKC (-6.0)
Cash Plays: Russell Westbrook ($12,000); Paul George ($10,000); Kyle Kuzma ($7,400); Steven Adams ($7,000); Jerami Grant ($5,800)
GPP Plays: Paul George ($10,000); Kyle Kuzma ($7,400); Brandon Ingram ($6,800); Josh Hart ($6,500); Lonzo Ball ($6,500); Jerami Grant ($5,800); JaVale McGee ($5,700); Dennis Schroder ($5,100); Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ($3,800)
Notable Injuries
Thunder: Alex Abrines (Personal) - Out
Lakers: LeBron James (Groin) - Out; Rajon Rondo (Hand) - Out; Michael Beasley (Personal) - Questionable

This game is full of potential value with LeBron James and Rondo out, plus the usual suspects from OKC. Notably, for cash games, Kyle Kuzma has been the most consistent member of the Lakers in LeBron's absence. Jerami Grant's increased production is worth highlighting – 31.2 FP over the past six games – and he functions as a cash and GPP option.

Paul George has reached new highs in terms of price, but I remain confident in his ability to top 50 FP, as he's done it 12 times, including four performances of 60-plus FP. There is tons of potential value for Los Angeles, but it's tough to tell who to play, as the offense has turned more egalitarian in the absence of LeBron. Most of the GPP options for the Lakers mentioned above have soared above value at least once and produced a dud at least once.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alex Barutha
Alex writes primarily about the NBA for RotoWire. His work has appeared on CBS Sports, Bleacher Report and other sites. He enjoys both year-long and daily fantasy. Vince Carter and Alex both first dunked during their respective sophomore years of high school.
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