NBA DFS Breakdown: Everyone is Out for the Pelicans Again
NBA DFS Breakdown: Everyone is Out for the Pelicans Again

This article is part of our NBA DFS Breakdown series.

Similar to Tuesday's slate, two games headline Wednesday's action from a DFS perspective. Hawks at Kings has a great 236.5 over/under, while Nuggets at Pelicans also has an enticing over/under (227.0), but has potential for more value due to a plethora of injuries.

Below, I'll lay out a breakdown of each game and aim to give two suggestions for both cash and GPP contests. Occasionally, I'll give more suggestions when I feel it's absolutely needed.

Hornets at Celtics

Over/Under: 216.5
Spread: BOS (-7.5)
Cash Plays: Kemba Walker ($8,800); Al Horford ($7,800)
GPP Plays: Marcus Smart ($5,700); Jaylen Brown ($4,700)
Notable Injuries
CHA: Cody Zeller (hand) - Out
BOS: Kyrie Irving (hip) - Doubtful

Both of these teams come in with relatively similar levels of success lately, with the Hornets winning five of the past 10 and the Celtics emerging victorious in six of the past 10. However, a 20-6 home record in TD Garden, plus a better overall roster, gives the Celtics the 7.5-point advantage over the Hornets, who are 7-17 on the road. Kyrie Irving's absence creates value on the Boston side of the matchup, though the modest over/under doesn't make this contest a prime target in general.

It's been business as usual with the Hornets lately, with Kemba Walker leading the way and only a few other players that can be counted on for 20-plus fantasy points. Walker has topped 40 FP in two of the past four games, while Marvin Williams, Nicolas Batum and Jeremy Lamb are averaging between 22 and 27 FP during that same stretch. Lamb had the highest single-game total of the three, going for 36.3 FP during Charlotte's most recent contest. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Miles Bridges have also chipped in 30-plus FP efforts across the past four, but they both also have a single-digit FP outing mixed in.

A sore hip will prevent Kyrie Irving from playing for the third time in four contests. During his first absence in this stretch, which was Jan. 23 against Cleveland, Terry Rozier (45.6 FP) and Jaylen Brown (32.2 FP) led the way. During Irving's second absence Monday against Brooklyn, six players had at least 30 FP, while Al Horford and Marcus Smart eclipsed 50 FP. Rozier and Brown were the only players to go for 30-plus FP in both matchups.

Bulls at Heat

Over/Under: 207.5
Spread: MIA (-9.5)
Cash Plays: Lauri Markkanen ($7,400); Kris Dunn ($7,100)
GPP Plays: Jabari Parker ($4,000); Wayne Selden ($3,800)
Notable Injuries
CHI: Chandler Hutchison (toe) - Out; Wendell Carter (thumb) - Out; Zach LaVine (ankle) - Questionable
MIA: Dwyane Wade (knee) - Questionable; Tyler Johnson (calf) - Questionable; Goran Dragic (knee) - Out; Derrick Jones (knee) - Out

The Heat (11-13 home) got bad news Monday, with Derrick Jones Jr. ruled out for up to two months as a result of two right knee bone bruises. He had been playing a solid bench role for the team, and it seems likely those minutes will go to the likes of James Johnson, who garnered 30 minutes during the team's most recent outing. Miami (5-5 over the past 10) will look to shake Jones' absence off to defeat the Bulls (6-20 away), who have lost nine of the past 10 games.

Both Wendell Carter and Chandler Hutchison have been sidelined for two games at this point, and so it might be possible for us to project some trends for the new rotation. Lauri Markkanen has posted at least 40 FP in each of the past two games, while Zach LaVine has combined for 71.7 FP over that stretch. Kris Dunn has struggled, racking up only 47.5 FP. Notably, Jabari Parker had a huge game Tuesday, posting 48.3 FP in 23 minutes – his second-highest mark of the season. If LaVine ends up sidelined, Parker appears to be an even better play.

Miami remains one of the hardest teams to read for DFS, making heavy exposure risky. It's possible injuries clear some of the smoke, however, with both Dwyane Wade and Tyler Johnson 50/50 ahead of Wednesday's action. If one or both are sidelined, Dion Waiters and Wayne Ellington should garner more usage. Also of note, Hassan Whiteside has been more productive lately. The center is averaging 42.2 FP in 26.0 minutes across the past three games.

Mavericks at Knicks

Over/Under: 214.5
Spread: DAL (-6.5)
Cash Plays: Luka Doncic ($9,800); Dennis Smith ($6,200)
GPP Plays: DeAndre Jordan ($7,400); Trey Burke ($5,400)
Notable Injuries
DAL: J.J. Barea (Achilles) - Out for season
NYK: Frank Ntilikina (groin) - Out; Luke Kornet (ankle) - Out; Emmanuel Mudiay (shoulder) - Out; Kristaps Porzingis (knee) - Out

Luka Doncic is set to make his Madison Square Garden Debut on Wednesday. The Mavericks come in favored by a modest 6.5 points, likely fueled by the team's 4-20 record away from Dallas. Still, they've played alright lately, winning four of the past 10. That mark looks especially good next to the Knicks (4-17 home), who are in the middle of a 10-game losing streak.

Speaking of Doncic, the rookie has been on a roll, racking up 120.0 FP over the past two games by averaging 33.5 points, 10.0 rebounds, 9.0 assists and 1.0 steal in 35.5 minutes. He and Dennis Smith have been pairing nicely since the latter returned. Smith has vaulted back into fantasy relevance, averaging 29.4 FP across the past three. Dorian Finney-Smith has also put together two impressive games in a row, totaling 56.9 FP despite averaging only 19.0 FP on the season.

With Frank Ntilikina, Luke Kornet and Emmanuel Mudiay all out Monday against Charlotte, three players – Noah Vonleh, Kevin Knox and Tim Hardaway Jr. – saw at least 30 minutes. Of those players, just Hardaway managed to crack 30 FP. Knox was the only one to rack up more than 25 FP in a game that saw the Knicks score 92 points, which marked the third straight contest in which New York failed to crack triple-digits. Calling the team a fantasy basketball wasteland might be dramatic, but there's not a single player on the roster I'd trust to get me 25 FP.

Pacers at Wizards

Over/Under: 218.5
Spread: EVEN
Cash Plays: Bradley Beal ($9,500); Myles Turner ($7,300)
GPP Plays: Tomas Satoransky ($6,700); Darren Collison ($6,500)
Notable Injuries
IND: Tyreke Evans (back) - Out; Victor Oladipo (knee) - Out for season
WAS: Markieff Morris (neck) - Out; Dwight Howard (back) - Out; John Wall (heel) - Out for season

Both of these squads are dealing with key injuries and have played similarly over the past ten games, with the Pacers (14-10 away) winning six of the past 10 and the Wizards (15-9 home) winning five of the past 10. The over/under is solid here, and there might be some places to find value in DFS.

Indiana played without Victor Oladipo or Tyreke Evans on Monday, losing 132-100 to the Warriors. The blowout loss makes it tough to extrapolate any data from that contest, so it makes more sense to look at the previous game, which was a 106-103 loss to Memphis, even though Tyreke Evans was available and played 24 minutes. In that game, both Darren Collison and Myles Turner went for at least 30 fantasy points, while Bojan Bogdanovic was the only other player over 25 FP. Bogdanovic, Collison and Domantas Sabonis were the only players to garner at least 30 minutes. Sabonis finished with 22.1 FP.

While there are plenty of injuries on Washington, the situation has essentially been static. Bradley Beal continues to lead the way, dropping at least 45 FP in three straight contests. Aside from him, the two other players seemingly worth chasing are Trevor Ariza and Tomas Satoransky. Ariza has struggled recently, though is still averaging 39.3 FP across the past five home games. The same can be said for Satoransky, who has averaged 34.8 FP across the past six games in Captial One Arena.

Grizzlies at Timberwolves

Over/Under: 208.5
Spread: MIN (-4.5)
Cash Plays: Karl-Anthony Towns ($11,200); Mike Conley ($8,300)
GPP Plays: Andrew Wiggins ($6,800); Jerryd Bayless ($5,000)
Notable Injuries
MEM: Jaren Jackson Jr. (illness) - Questionable; JaMychal Green (knee) - Questionable; Omri Casspi (knee) - Out; Garrett Temple (shoulder) - Out; Dillon Brooks (toe) - Out for season
MIN: Derrick Rose (ankle) - Questionable; Robert Covington (ankle) - Out; Tyus Jones (ankle) - Out; Jeff Teague (foot) - Out

The Timberwolves (16-9 home) will host the freefalling Grizzlies (8-17 away), who have emerged victorious from just one game over the past 10. There is no shortage of injuries in this Western Conference battle, which may be influencing the relatively tight spread. More sidelined players generally means more value to be had in DFS, though the over/under is not enticing.

Starting off with the potential absences: If one of either Jaren Jackson or JaMychal Green is sidelined, the other stands to get more minutes. If both are out, we could see more minutes go to Bruno Caboclo and Ivan Rabb. Aside from that situation, the only two players we're seeing consistency out of are Mike Conley and Marc Gasol – nothing has changed on that front. Conley has three straight games of at least 40 FP, while Gasol is averaging 41.2 FP over the past five.

Injuries to the Timberwolves' backcourt has resulted in a drastic change in rotation and production. Andrew Wiggins suddenly looks reliable, posting at least 39 FP in each of the past three games. Karl-Anthony Towns has also stepped up, going for 60-plus FP in three of the past five. The only other option that seems consistent is Jerryd Bayless, who has posted at least 30 FP in three of the past four.

Nuggets at Pelicans

Over/Under: 227.0
Spread: DEN (-9.0)
Cash Plays: Nikola Jokic ($11,200); Jrue Holiday ($9,600)
GPP Plays: Jahlil Okafor ($7,400); Darius Miller ($4,200); Kenrich Williams ($3,600); Frank Jackson ($3,600)
Notable Injuries
DEN: Jamal Murray (ankle) - Out; Garris Harris (groin) - Questionable
NOP: E'Twaun Moore (rest) - Out; Julius Randle (ankle) - Out; Elfrid Payton (ankle) - Out; Anthony Davis (finger) - Out; Nikola Mirotic (calf) - Out

Though the Pelicans (15-8 home) at 4-6 over the past 10 games, the squad secured a statement victory over the Rockets on Tuesday despite a massive injury report. The same players will be absent Wednesday against the Nuggets (12-11 away), who enter Smoothie King Center having won four of the past five games. A myriad of injuries and a high over/under make this a game to target in DFS.

Gary Harris' status is worth monitoring. If he's sidelined, Malik Beasley, Torrey Craig and Monte Morris could each benefit. With Jamal Murray out the past two games, Nikola Jokic has looked like one of the Nuggets only reliable players, totaling 113.1 FP. The only other players to reach the 30 FP threshold in one of those games are Will Barton (30.0 FP) and Mason Plumlee (32.2 FP).

Breaking down how Tuesday's victory against the Rockets happened for the Pelicans might help us figure out who to play against the Nuggets. Three players – Darius Miller, Jrue Holiday and Jahlil Okafor – saw at least 37 minutes. Each of those players posted 30-plus FP, with Jahlil Okafor (46.4 FP) and Jrue Holiday (55.2 FP) leading the charge. The only other players to post at least 25 FP were Tim Frazier (29.8 FP), who played just 20 minutes compared to starter Frank Jackson's 23 minutes, and Kenrich Williams (30.7 FP), who garnered 30 minutes. Williams grabbed 16 rebounds and, though it could be a fluke, it's hard not to deploy him in DFS when his price is so low ($3,600 on FanDuel).

Hawks at Kings

Over/Under: 236.5
Spread: SAC (-5.5)
Cash Plays: Trae Young ($7,300); Dewayne Dedmon ($6,300)
GPP Plays: Bogdan Bogdanovic ($6,600); Alex Len ($4,600);
Notable Injuries
ATL: Miles Plumlee (knee) - Out
SAC: None

With a massive 235.5 over/under, DFS owners are bound to flock to this matchup despite there being virtually no injuries creating value. The Hawks (8-20 away) and the Kings (14-10) at home both enter Wednesday's matchup losers of three of the past five games.

It seems Trae Young has found some consistency, posting back-to-back 40-plus FP efforts, and he's averaging 34.3 FP on the road this month. Surprisingly, John Collins, Alex Len and Dewayne Dedmon have all found success together lately despite no one being sidelined. Collins went for 51.6 FP three games prior to Wednesday, Len has posted 30-plus in two of the past three, and Dedmon has been above 30 FP in each of the past four. Kent Bazemore has also been cleared to return and play 20 minutes, which could eat into the minutes of DeAndre' Bembry and Kevin Huerter.

De'Aaron Fox, Iman Shumpert and Nemanja Bjelica have both been back for two games following a collective absence Jan. 22 against Toronto. Since then, Fox has totaled 62 FP, Bjelica has totaled 57 FP, and Shumpert has totaled 47.5 FP. Ultimately, the offense has been balanced, with seven players posting one game with at least 30 FP in the past two tries. That makes the Kings tough to read Wednesday, even though the high over/under makes them an enticing team to look at.

Jazz at Trail Blazers

Over/Under: 217.0
Spread: POR (-1.5)
Cash Plays: Rudy Gobert ($9,400); Donovan Mitchell ($9,000)
GPP Plays: Donovan Mitchell ($9,000); Ricky Rubio ($6,400)
Notable Injuries
UTA: Raul Neto (groin) - Out; Thabo Sefolosha (hamstring) - Out; Dante Exum (ankle) - Out
POR: Jusuf Nurkic (knee) - QuestionableNik Stauskas (knee) - Out

The Jazz (14-13 away) have bounced back in a big way lately, winning nine of the past 10 games. The Trail Blazers (21-7 home), who have won seven of the past 10, will look to stop the surging Jazz. As exciting as this game might be from a Western Conference playoff race perspective, a middle-of-the-pack over/under and lack of injuries makes this "just another game" from a DFS perspective, unless Nurkic happens to sit out.

Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell have both been hot over the past three games, with the former averaging 46.2 FP and the latter averaging 51.1 FP. Aside from that pair, three players – Derrick Favors, Joe Ingles and Ricky Rubio – have one game of at least 30 FP under their belt in the past three matchups. That handful of players represents the core of the Jazz and are the main players to focus on from the team for DFS.

Damian Lillard is back after a one-game absence, making value plays on Portland disappear. Lillard is someone to look at in this matchup, however, as he's posted at least 40 FP in his past six appearances. A blowout win saw Jake Layman and Seth Curry get extra time against the Suns two games ago, so their impressive outings in that contest can essentially be discounted. Jusuf Nurkic has looked great lately, going for 50-plus FP in two of the past six. C.J. McCollum remains in constant contention, and Al-Farouq Aminu remains as inconsistent as always. If Nurkic ends up sidelined, Zach Collins could draw a start and may make for an interesting value play.

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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