This article is part of our NBA DFS Breakdown series.
There is only one game with a spread tighter than 6.0 points, meaning we need to keep in mind blowout potential. Notably, Warriors at Grizzlies and Lakers at Jazz have double-digit spreads in favor of who you'd think they'd favor. An absurd -15.0 spread hovers over the Lakers-Jazz contest, as the Lakers are traveling to Utah on the second half of a back-to-back, creating a prime environment for LeBron to sit.
Every game is worth discussing, however, so let's dive in:
Trail Blazers at Bulls
Spread: POR (-7.5)
Both of these teams are in less-than-ideal positions. Portland just lost Jusuf Nurkic for the remainder of the season due to a gruesome leg injury, while the Bulls are on the second half of a back-to-back set and dealing with injuries of their own. These teams last played Jan. 9, and the Blazers won 124-112. Zach Collins, who should see an increased workload for Portland, dropped 16 points, nine rebounds, four assists, one steal and one block across 26 minutes in that game. Portland and Chicago both play around a league-average pace, which isn't ideal for DFS, but the various injuries should open up value.
The two main beneficiaries of Nurkic's absence should be Collins and Enes Kanter. With Nurkic and C.J. McCollum off the floor on the road, Kanter averages 39.8 FP per 36 minutes, while Collins averages 35.1 FP per 36 minutes. Meyers Leonard is closely behind at 29.4 FP per 36 minutes, but he's played around half of the total minutes of Collins under this condition. Damian Lillard remains a strong play, averaging 52.7 FP per 36 minutes in this situation.
For the Bulls, a worst-case scenario would involve Otto Porter, Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and Lauri Markkanen all sitting out. I'll just let this chart speak for itself in regards to how the available players might perform per 36 minutes:
Pacers at Thunder
Spread: OKC (-6.0)
These two teams faced off March 14, with the Pacers getting the win, 108-106. Paul George and Domantas Sabonis had great performances. The former put up 36 points, six rebounds, five assists and two steals, while the latter posted 26 points, seven rebounds, four assists and a block. From a pace perspective, the Pacers have the advantage Wednesday. The Thunder are the fifth-fastest team, while the Pacers check in as the eighth-slowest squad.
Darren Collison has been out for the past three games for the Pacers, but he's expected to make his return Wednesday. That will likely put an end to Tyreke Evans' viability as a DFS option. Since the beginning of March, four players on Indiana have 40-FP outings. They are Myles Turner, Darren Collison, Domantas Sabonis and Bojan Bogdanovic. Out of that group, Sabonis is the easiest to eliminate out of contention for Wednesday, despite his impressive play during his last meeting with OKC, as he sees the fewest minutes of the crew and has the least upside when everyone is healthy.
Over the past three games for OKC, we've seen Steven Adams and Dennis Schroder be viable DFS options, which hasn't always been the case. Both players have two 30-plus FP outings over this stretch, and Schroder went for 44.7 FP in a win over the Raptors. Aside from that pair, I'd consider buying low on Jerami Grant. He dropped just 7.4 FP during Monday's loss to the Grizzlies, but he has tangible 30 FP upside.
Warriors at Grizzlies
Spread: GS (-10.5)
|Avery Bradley||G||Lower Leg||Out||3/30/2019|
These teams haven't played since Dec. 17, and the Warriors were victorious in both prior matchups. Between the trade deadline and recent injuries, the Grizzlies have changed dramatically since. Understandably, the Warriors come into this matchup favored by double-digits. Considering the Grizzlies are the slowest team in the league and dealing with injuries, there should be plenty of value to be had going up against the Warriors, who check in as the 10th-fastest squad.
Delon Wright and Jonas Valanciunas are the easiest players to trust on the Grizzlies, especially if Mike Conley ends up on the shelf. Wright is averaging 38.8 FP over the past three, while Valanciunas is averaging 50.6 FP across that same period. You might be able to find value by taking dart throws at Justin Holiday, Bruno Caboclo, Tyler Dorsey and Chandler Parsons – each of whom have shown significant upside recently.
With everyone healthy on the Warriors and a potential blowout in store, I'm fine avoiding the team entirely for this DFS slate. Your chances of finding true upside with any play are relatively low. That said, there's a relatively high floor, and I could understand using a Golden State player in a cash format.
Wizards at Suns
Spread: WAS (-2.0)
The last time these two teams squared off, it ended in triple-overtime. The Wizards were able to pull of the 149-146 victory. There were great games all around, but Devin Booker notably posted 33 points, 14 assists, four rebounds, one block and one steal, while Bradley Beal recorded 40 points, 15 assists, 11 rebounds and one block. Wednesday's matchup has the highest over/under on the night by a 13-point margin, so it will undoubtedly be a popular DFS stack.
Bradley Beal's performances have wavered slightly as of late, but he's still a great option on any slate. Tomas Satoransky and Bobby Portis have shown consistency, with the former posting 30-plus FP in four straight contests, while the latter has at least 25 FP over that same stretch. Jabari Parker is also worth considering for some upside, but he presents the most risk.
Devin Booker has been on a great two-game stretch, racking up 119.2 FP. Other Suns players have contributed minimally, and even Deandre Ayton has been underwhelming. The big man hasn't posted more than 35.2 FP across the past three contests. However, on a relatively small slate, he could go too under-owned relative to his upside against this poor Wizards squad.
Lakers at Jazz
Spread: UTA (-15.0)
This series is split 1-1, with the Jazz winning 113-95 during the most recent matchup Jan. 11. Rudy Gobert, Joe Ingles and Derrick Favors all dropped double-doubles, while Donovan Mitchell posted 33 points, nine assists, four rebounds, two blocks and one steal. For Wednesday's game, the absurd spread indicates there are strong notions that LeBron will sit on what is the second half of a back-to-back set for the Lakers.
Over the past 15 days, with LeBron off the court, JaVale McGee leads the team in FP per 36 minutes (42.3). Four players fall within the 30-39 FP per 36 minutes range under that condition, and they are Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Alex Caruso, Rajon Rondo, and Kyle Kuzma. Any of those players are fair choices assuming LeBron sits this one out.
Back-to-back blowout wins has resulted in subpar performances for Donovan Mitchell, and the same situation could be in store Wednesday. Rudy Gobert's numbers have been the safest over this two-game stretch, however, as he posted 52.8 and 44.0 FP, respectively. Derrick Favors thrived Monday against the Suns, going for 41.1 FP. He could be a sneaky option against the Lakers here.