This article is part of our NBA DFS Breakdown series.
Wednesday's six-game slate is an exciting one, with four games exceeding a 225 over/under. 76ers at Warriors leads the way at 240.5, though you may be able to extract more value out of Clippers/Lakers – a matchup that has a 229.0 over/under and plenty of injuries.
Let's dive into a breakdown of each game:
Mavericks at PistonsOver/Under: 205.5
Spread: DET (-5.0)
Cash Plays: Blake Griffin ($9,300); Andre Drummond ($9,200)
GPP Plays: Dennis Smith Jr. ($6,200); Wesley Matthews ($4,100)
DAL: Luka Doncic (ankle) - Doubtful; DeAndre Jordan (illness) - Questionable; J.J. Barea (Achilles) - OFS
DET: Reggie Bullock (ankle) - Questionable; Ish Smith (groin) - Out
With the Mavericks (5-5 over the past 10 games) coming off a back-to-back in New York and having just a 5-20 record on the road, oddsmakers have given the advantage to the Pistons, who are 13-12 in Little Caesars Arena, though have only won four of the past 10 contests. The main storyline here is the injuries to Dallas potentially opening up value in what would have otherwise been a game potentially void of significant value plays.
Dennis Smith Jr. and Luka Doncic have quietly evolved into a great tandem since Smith returned from an "illness" four games ago that coincided with heavy trade rumors. Over the past four, Smith is averaging 32.7 FP, including his second career triple-double Wednesday in Madison Square Garden. Doncic is averaging 46.9 FP over this stretch, though with word arriving that he's unlikely to play and that DeAndre Jordan is questionable, the dynamic of Dallas changes. Examining the production on Dallas when Doncic, Jordan and J.J Barea are off the court, we see a massive bump to Wesley Matthews (0.8 FP/min) and smaller improvements for Dennis Smith (0.4 FP/min), Jalen Brunson (0.2 FP/min) and Dwight Powell (0.1 FP/min). If the pair are ultimately held out, Matthews, Smith, Brunson and Powell all qualify as strong DFS options.
Reggie Bullock's absence Tuesday opened up the door for Luke Kennard (27.4 FP) and Stanley Johnson (28.0 FP) to see expanded roles, and that would probably be the case again if Bullock is ruled out Thursday. Aside from that situation and Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond's continued success, Reggie Jackson has played better lately. The point guard has seen 30-plus minutes in three straight games and is averaging 31.2 FP. He could be a low-owned GPP option hiding in plain sight.
Pacers at MagicOver/Under: 208.5
Spread: ORL (-2.5)
Cash Plays: Nikola Vucevic ($10,200); Myles Turner ($7,300)
GPP Plays: Aaron Gordon ($7,200); Jonathan Isaac ($5,300)
IND: Tyreke Evans (back) - Out; Victor Oladipo (knee) - Out
ORL: Jonathon Simmons (abdomen) - Questionable
This is another matchup that many DFS players will probably gloss over. Neither team checks in with a winning record over the past 10 games, and the low over/under suggests the squads could barely crack 100 points each. Still, Orlando (12-15 home) has been given the advantage over Indiana (14-11 away), seemingly due to home-court advantage and a cleaner injury report.
Without Tyreke Evans in the fold, the Pacers have lost the past two games by a combined 50 points, scoring a combined 189. Due to things getting out of hand, Nobody on the Pacers has seen over 28 minutes in either contest, drastically deflating fantasy value. The best fantasy output in either game was 35.7 FP by Myles Turner during the first matchup (a 32-point loss to the Warriors). Things could turn around Thursday, but Indiana is extremely risky from a DFS standpoint.
An absence for Jonathon Simmons could mean extra minutes for Wesley Iwundu and/or Isaiah Briscoe, though neither player projects as a meaningful fantasy contributor. Aside from that situation, five players on the Magic – Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon, Terrence Ross, Evan Fournier and Jonathan Isaac – have at least one 30 FP outing in the past three games. Isaac has achieved the feat in each of the past two games, which is a strong improvement over his season average of 21 FP.
Bucks at RaptorsOver/Under: 232.0
Spread: TOR (-3.0)
Cash Plays: Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,500); Kawhi Leonard ($10,100)
GPP Plays: Eric Bledsoe ($7,200); Brook Lopez ($5,700)
TOR: Jonas Valanciunas (thumb) - Out
In a highly-anticipated battle between the top two Eastern Conference teams, the Bucks (14-9 away) are in Toronto to face the Raptors, who are 21-4 in Scotiabank Arena. Each team has found success lately, with Milwaukee winning eight of the past 10 and Toronto winning seven of the past 10. A high over/under makes this game enticing for DFS owners, though with virtually everyone healthy, there are no obvious value plays.
A top MVP candidate, Giannis Antetokoumpo has averaged 61.7 FP over the past three games, including going 4-for-11 from beyond the arc. Ultimately, not much has changed for the surging Bucks, but it's worth noting that Brogdon was averaging 34.2 FP in the three games before his absence. Brook Lopez has also been playing above his average (27 FP) by posting 31.5 FP per game across his past five.
It's been business as usual for the Raptors as well, who have been led by Kawhi Leonard posting a combined 97.4 FP across the past two games. As expected, the three other players to post at least 30 FP in the past two are Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam and Serge Ibaka. Leonard, Ibaka and Lowry are the only players to have dropped 40-plus FP any time within the past three outings.
Nets at SpursOver/Under: 226.5
Spread: SA (-8.0)
Cash Plays: LaMarcus Aldridge ($9,600); Derrick White ($5,900)
GPP Plays: D'Angelo Russell ($8,800); Rondae Hollis-Jefferson ($4,500)
BKN: Jared Dudley (hamstring) - Out; Allen Crabbe (knee) - Out; Caris LeVert (foot) - Out; Spencer Dinwiddie (thumb) - Out
SAS: DeMar DeRozan (knee) - Probable
This matchup being so heavily in the Spurs' (20-7 home) favor doesn't suggest the Nets (12-13 away) have won eight of the past 10 games. However, both teams have significantly outperformed expectations, with Brooklyn 29-23-0 against the spread and San Antonio 31-21-0 against the spread. Notably, the Spurs will be getting DeMar DeRozan back after a three-game absence.
The Nets are coming off a fast-paced win in Chicago – the final score reading 122-117. D'Angelo Russell (54.3 FP) and Shabazz Napier (41.6 FP) led the way, though it hasn't been just them picking things up lately. With Spencer Dinwiddie sidelined over the past three outings, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Ed Davis have pitched in one 30-FP effort, while Joe Harris barely missed that threshold, posting 29.5 FP against the Bulls. Still, production has been a bit spotty for the Nets overall over the past trio of matchups, and it's hard to have great confidence in any option to hit value.
LaMarcus Aldridge has excelled over the past two games, posting 50-plus FP in each, but his usage is expected to take a dip with DeMar DeRozan back. The same can probably be said for Davis Bertans, who has racked up 65.3 FP over the past two games. Rudy Gay and Derrick White have both had quality six-game stretches that extend before DeRozan's absence, so their recent uptick in production could stick. Gay has averaged 33.7 FP over the past six, while White is at 30.1 FP.
76ers at WarriorsOver/Under: 240.5
Spread: GS (-9.5)
Cash Plays: Joel Embiid ($11,600); Kevin Durant ($9,400)
GPP Plays: Klay Thompson ($6,900); Draymond Green ($7,200)
PHI: Amir Johnson (personal) - Out; Markelle Fultz (shoulder) - Out
GSW: Jonas Jerebko (personal) - Questionable; Damian Jones (pectoral) - Out
Joel Embiid and DeMarcus Cousins, who is making his home debut, will go head-to-head for just the second time in their careers Thursday night. Zooming out, the 76ers (12-13 away) as a whole are expected to be on the losing end of this matchup. They've won six of the past 10 and enter Oracle Arena to face the Warriors (18-6 home), who have one 11 straight games. Relatively clean injury reports for both teams makes this matchup great from a watchability perspective, but it makes it tough for DFS owners to find easy value plays. Still, a 240.5 over/under figures to create value somewhere.
Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and Jimmy Butler were all healthy for Tuesday's 121-105 win over the Lakers, which was the first time the trio was available since Jan. 19. Butler led the way with 52.0 FP, which marked his third 50-plus FP outing in three tries. Simmons posted 47.6 FP, marking his sixth time going for at least 45 FP in the past nine contests. Embiid registered 47.2 FP, which was his first time dropping below 60 FP in the past three matchups. Everyone else on the team is essentially a dart throw.
The big story for the Warriors is DeMarcus Cousins' return, and he's played well. The big man has gone for at least 30 FP in three of his five appearances, with a high of 38.1 FP against the Celtics. Blowouts are always a concern for the Warriors, who beat the Pacers by 32 on Monday. It's not much for analysis, but, this is still Golden State. Here are the tallies of 50-plus FP outings for each player within the past 15 games: Steph Curry (6); Kevin Durant (5); Klay Thompson (3); Draymond Green (1).
Lakers at ClippersOver/Under: 229.0
Spread: LAC (-4.0)
Cash Plays: Tobias Harris ($8,100); Lou Williams ($7,300)
GPP Plays: Patrick Beverley ($6,000); Ivica Zubac ($5,200)
LAL: Kyle Kuzma (hip) - Questionable; Josh Hart (knee) - Questionable; LeBron James (groin) - Doubtful; Lonzo Ball (ankle) - Out
LAC: Luc Mbah a Moute (knee) - Doubtful; Avery Bradley (knee) - Questionable; Danilo Gallinari (back) - Out
I'll refrain from using home/away splits here, considering both these teams call Staples Center home. Both teams are dealing with meaningful injuries, though the absence of LeBron James for the Lakers looms largest. Both squads are 4-6 over the past 10 games. DFS owners are expected to turn to this game as a source of value considering the amount of 'questionable' and 'out' tags, plus a sizeable over/under.
Kyle Kuzma's availability needs to be monitored. He's missed the past two games and, in his absence, Brandon Ingram has totaled 87.9 FP. Ingram's contibutions have been the most steady, but other players on the Lakers have had big games. However, those have often been one-offs. Aside from Ingram, five players – JaVale McGee, Rajon Rondo, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Michael Beasley and Ivica Zubac – have posted at least 30 FP once in the past three tries. If Josh Hart ends up sidelined, Caldwell Pope and Lance Stephenson are intriguing value options.
With Danilo Gallinari out for the past six games, Tobias Harris, Patrick Beverley and Lou Williams have been the trio stepping up. Tobias Harris has posted at least 45 FP three times, including an outburst of 63.3 FP against the Spurs. Beverley has totaled 87.0 FP over the past two games and recorded 53.9 FP during the same game Harris popped off. Williams has had at least 35 FP in each of the past two outings and went for 61.0 FP against Chicago. Aside from those three, Montrezl Harrell has been solid, combining for 66.2 FP over the past two games. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander also racked up 34.3 FP two games ago. If Avery Bradley also ends up sidelined, Harris looks like an even better play. The forward sees a bump of 10.6 FP per 36 minutes with both Bradley and Gallinari off the court.