This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
Wednesday's massive 12-game slate will be one of our last opportunities to tackle a player pool of this size, and the variables are as high as ever. You'll need to pay close attention to the latest news to avoid any load-management calls, and also take a gander at the standings and identify teams like the Magic and the Heat, who are fighting mightily for the last playoff spot in the East.
Vegas gives the CHA/NO and PHI/ATL games the highest O/U numbers of the night, but I think the 229 number for the HOU/LAC makes for a sound wager for the over and is another game to target. No love is given to the IND/DET game, and I would tend to agree, save one or two spots.
The following injuries are not a complete list, as there are several ongoing injury situations that you can continue to take advantage of. On such a huge slate, the chances for load management scratches are almost a certainty as we get closer to game lock. I might fiddle with a lineup or two in the morning, but I'll probably wait until closer to game time to finish my builds.
Joel Embiid (rest) OUT: We won't see Embiid again until the Sixers face the Bucks tomorrow. It's a smart move or Philly to rest their best player before they shift into playoff mode. The best pivot play never really materialized; neither Jonah Bolden nor Boban Marjanovic separated themselves as an obvious choice. I'm more inclined to give additional consideration to Philly's other starters, with the exception of Jimmy Butler (back), who may miss another game tonight.
Luka Doncic (thigh) QUESTIONABLE: Status for Doncic will likely come down to the wire tonight. Trey Burke ($4,900) will see the most significant boost once again if Doncic is out, but Justin Jackson ($4,300) emerged as a decent pivot in Luka's absence as well.
Blake Griffin (knee) QUESTIONABLE: It wouldn't be a huge surprise to see the Pistons play it safe with Griffin once again, but in this playoff-level game against the Pacers, I'm sure he will give it a go if he is able. Obviously, Drummond's usage goes up with Griffin out, and Thon Maker ($4,300) would draw the start in this scenario.
Mike Conley (ankle) DOUBTFUL: The value of Delon Wright ($6,500) and Tyler Dorsey ($4,800) will likely continue tonight, and while Bruno Caboclo ($6,500) hit the skids in their last game, he should also benefit from the injury-riddled backcourt.
Deandre Ayton (ankle) OUT: Both Richaun Holmes ($5,200) and Dragan Bender ($4,600) benefitted from the Ayton injury. Bender saw 27 minutes, while Holmes logged 24. Despite the lower usage number, I like Holmes a bit better in this spot.
Darren Collison (groin) OUT: The injury should technically be good news for Cory Joseph ($3,800), but things didn't work out that way in Collison's first game out. I prefer another Indy starter instead, who I will highlight below.
Derrick Favors (back) OUT and Jae Crowder (quad) Probable: Don't be surprised to see Thabo Sefolosha ($3,300) make a significant impact tonight, as the Jazz will likely play it as safe as possible with these two leading up to the playoffs. The starters will absorb a lot of the load as well.
Ben Simmons, PHI at ATL ($9,500): I fear that Simmons' price might be a little high for me, but you have to give him some serious consideration if both Embiid and Butler are out tonight. The Hawks are terrible defenders against the point, and Simmons' history against them is a stellar example of that metric, as he's averaged 57 DKFP over three games.
Chris Paul, HOU at LAC ($7,200): I was stunned to see Paul fall this far on DraftKings, so I'm delighted to find a spot for him tonight. He only played 27 minutes last night so barring a late scratch for rest, I think he'll see plenty of minutes against the Clippers. He experienced a cold shooting night when he last met L.A., but I wouldn't be too concerned about that stat. Houston's humming in prime playoff form right now, so while Harden will likely have a big night, you should get value-beating numbers from Paul.
Walter Lemon Jr., CHI at WAS ($4,700): Lemon's ownership was almost laughable on Monday as I think I saw him at 98% in a few of my contests. There will be a considerable drop-off after a somewhat disappointing fall to earth, but the value is still there with LaVine and Dunn still sidelined. Wright and Dorsey will be the popular value guards tonight, and while they are excellent for cash, I like Lemon for a lower ownership number.
Danilo Gallinari, LAC vs. HOU ($7,400): Gallinari is probably the most significant reason why the Clippers squeaked into the postseason, and he's arguably one of the most consistent performers in the West. The potential for explosiveness is there with the second-highest O/U on the slate, and while Houston is an offensive powerhouse, they've got some defensive shortcomings. The forward is getting 6x value over his past four games, and I predict a similar number tonight.
Joe Ingles, UTA at PHO ($6,600): Ingles will be a guy who should benefit from Derrick Favors' absence, as his stat lines show some dependency on decent rebounding totals. Rudy Gobert can't grab all of them, and the same holds for Ricky Rubio's assist numbers. Ingles makes substantial contributions in both categories, and as Utah pushes for a fourth seed, I expect Ingles to satisfy at this price level.
Christian Wood, NO vs. CHA ($6,300): Even if Davis plays, Wood will continue to get significant playing time. In short order, Wood has demonstrated big-time playability and is ringing the bell for a future with the team in the front office. Davis' imminent departure puts the Pelicans squarely in mini-rebuild mode, and Wood figures to play a significant role after this late-season run. His price has risen to a less-desirable level, but I think he's still a solid play against a short-handed Charlotte frontcourt.
That Collison pivot I mentioned? It's Bojan Bogdanovic ($6,500). I almost left him out, but I should slide him in here while he's still eligible. He popped for 43 DKFP in Collison's absence, and the six assists were a big help. If he can drop a similar number of dimes, we should see a big total for him against Detroit.
Nikola Vucevic, ORL vs. NY ($9,600): Let's slide past the obvious top two and take a look at Vucevic. He's crushed the Knicks over three contests, averaging a solid 25/11 line and two blocked shots per game. His numbers took a bit of a dip last week, but the matchup might be too good to pass up. The Magic are playing inspired ball as they make a last-ditch effort to unseat the Heat from the #8 seed, so there's little doubt Vucevic will be encouraged to put up a big number.
Thomas Bryant, WAS vs. CHI ($7,000): With so many elite centers, Bryant will likely be overlooked, but the Wizards' big man has quietly racked up three consecutive double-doubles against the likes of Jokic, Gobert and Ayton, so you have to assume the opportunity is there against Chicago's injury-plagued frontcourt. I think subjective bias creeps in for Bryant as players tend to lean more toward Bobby Portis, so I like taking the lower-ownership play here, especially in a GPP or two.
I'll end my center endorsements by discussing the 'big four' here, which are Towns, Drummond, Jokic and Gobert. If Griffin suits up, I am confident in striking Drummond from high exposure. I'm also a bit less confident in Jokic versus the Spurs, as he's only mustered 38 DKFP over three games against San Antonio this season. This leaves me with Towns and Gobert as the best bets, and with Gobert at a reasonable ($8,500), I'm inclined to go there based on a good history against Phoenix, and the absence of Ayton, Favors, and potentially Crowder tonight.