This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
We have a nine-game main slate Wednesday night. And we should have a very balanced mix of elite, mid-tier and value plays available, considering the number of games and the fact Joel Embiid and Karl-Anthony Towns will return from their respective suspensions, while Russell Westbrook will be back in action after resting Monday.
Before delving into the slate, a reminder that FanDuel has reverted to its previous format of NOT dropping the lowest scoring in lineups after a one-year experiment with that feature. Therefore, it will be important to be prudent with each selection, as each player's total will count toward your final score.
Without further ado, let's take a more comprehensive look at Wednesday's slate!
Here's a closer look at the games with the three most elevated projected totals on Wednesday's slate:
Milwaukee Bucks at Los Angeles Clippers (Projected total: 227.5 points)
Even with Kawhi Leonard set to sit for the Clippers for rest purposes, this game still carries the highest projected total of the night. Milwaukee does lead the NBA in scoring (121.3 PPG), while the Clippers are also in the top half of the league with 112.9 per contest. And while Leonard's absence does reduce the offensive potency for the Clippers to an extent, it also significantly impacts their defense, hence the elevated total.
Minnesota Timberwolves at Memphis Grizzlies (Projected total: 226.0 points)
The Grizzlies continue to play at a significantly accelerated pace (112.0 possession per game, fourth most), while Minnesota leads the NBA altogether in that category (113.7 possessions per contest). The T-Wolves are also scoring the seventh-most points per game (116.0), including 118.5 per away contest, and they'll have Towns back in the fold Wednesday.
Chicago Bulls at Atlanta Hawks (Projected total: 221.0 points)
The Hawks are now without John Collins (suspension), but the Bulls are surrendering 111.2 points per game and both teams are fully stocked with their primary weapons otherwise now that Trae Young has overcome his recent ankle injury.
Despite some big names either confirmed or potentially set to miss Wednesday, each position is still reasonably well-stocked on the nine-game slate. Point guard suffers from some lack of depth in the mid-tier with the multiple absences at the position for the Pistons, as well as Jeff Teague's potential absence with an illness. The top shelf at shooting guard will also be down one big piece with D'Angelo Russell sitting again with his ankle issue, but there are a host of other viable options all the way down into the low-$4K range (Dillon Brooks, Donte DiVincenzo).
At small forward, Kawhi Leonard's planned load management day does lessen the star power up top, but Giannis Antetokounmpo's classification as a small forward this season helps spruce up what has always been one of the trickier positions to fill. The mid-tier at the position also has appealing options such as Tobias Harris, Jonathan Isaac and Marcus Morris, and there are strong value selections as well. Then, even though the high end at power forward could be wiped out if Domantas Sabonis misses with his calf injury, the position has solid depth in the mid-tier, while center is flush with options now that Joel Embiid and Karl-Anthony Towns are returning from their suspensions.
Injury Situations to Monitor
Returning from load management day: Russell Westbrook, HOU
Kawhi Leonard, LAC
Leonard will sit out Wednesday's game versus the Bucks for rest. In his stead, the likes of Maurice Harkless and Rodney McGruder should fill in at small forward, while the usage for the remainder of the Clippers' starting five and that of Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell off the bench should see an appreciable boost.
D'Angelo Russell, GSW
Russell is out for Wednesday's game against the Rockets with his ankle injury. Ky Bowman, who's been impressive in Russell's stead over the last two games, is in line for another start.
Draymond Green, GSW
Green will miss Wednesday's game against the Rockets with his index finger sprain. Eric Paschall, who has been a revelation while starting for Green over the last two games, will once again work as the starting power forward.
Kevon Looney, GSW
Looney will not play in Wednesday's game versus the Rockets with his hamstring injury. Willie Cauley-Stein will continue to hold down the fort as the starting center, with Omari Spellman and Marquese Chriss set for some minutes at the five as well.
Domantas Sabonis, IND
Sabonis will be listed as a game-time decision with his calf injury. JaKarr Sampson would likely draw another start at power forward if Sabonis can't go versus the Wizards.
Myles Turner, IND
Turner is likely to be a game-time decision at best Wednesday against the Wizards due to his ankle injury. Goga Bitadze would likely draw another start at center if Turner can't go.
Elfrid Payton, NYK
Dennis Smith, NYK
Derrick Rose, DET
Rose will miss Wednesday's game against the Knicks with his hamstring injury. With Reggie Jackson out for multiple weeks with his back injury as well, that leaves Bruce Brown poised for heavy minutes at PG again and Langston Galloway continuing to absorb some of Rose's minutes off the bench.
Tim Frazier, DET
Frazier will miss Wednesday's game against the Knicks with his shoulder injury. With Reggie Jackson out for multiple weeks with his back injury as well, that leaves Bruce Brown poised for heavy minutes at PG again.
Jeff Teague, MIN
Teague is considered questionable for Wednesday's game versus the Grizzlies with an illness. With primary backup Shabazz Napier carrying a doubtful designation with a hamstring injury, the T-Wolves would be thin at point guard if Teague misses. G Leaguers Jaylen Nowell and Jordan McLaughlin have been recalled and would be available to fill in, but it's likelier the more experienced Josh Okogie or Jarrett Culver could see the heaviest minutes at the position.
Jaren Jackson, MEM
Jackson is probable for Wednesday's game versus the Timberwolves after missing Monday's game with knee soreness. Brandon Clarke will be back to his usual reserve role if Jackson returns as planned.
Maxi Kleber, DAL
Emmanuel Mudiay, UTA
Mudiay will remain out Wednesday against the 76ers with his hamstring injury. Meanwhile, Dante Exum (knee) is almost ready for his season debut, but that's not likely to occur until Friday against the Bucks at the earliest.
Even when factoring out Leonard, there are seven players with five-figure salaries on Wednesday's slate, underscoring what a star-studded night it will be. All are naturally worthy of consideration, and with pretty strong depth across the board Wednesday due to the nine-game ledger, none are necessarily must-haves based on positional scarcity alone.
However, one player not quite in that lofty price range that does shape up as especially valuable given some concerns at his position is the Mavs' Kristaps Porzingis ($8,500). Porzingis is already averaging 40.2 FanDuel points per game and would be the only top-shelf power forward option should Domantas Sabonis (calf) sit out. The good news is Porzingis' price is reasonable enough where he could be paired with one of the strong mid-tier selections at the position – Lauri Markkanen, Al Horford and Jabari Parker come to mind – and still leave plenty of salary for other spots.
Ownership should be relatively spread out with so many games and a particularly high number of players with five-figure price points. The chalk could therefore mostly reside in value plays that will become options due to injuries and suspensions, and that will enable getting some of those superstars into lineups.
It's worth noting the salaries on the Warriors' young players that have been stepping up have climbed based on their recent strong performances, but the likes of Eric Paschall and Ky Bowman are still likely to be quite popular. Maurice Harkless could also see a fair share of clicks on his name if he's officially confirmed as the starter for Leonard, while the Hawks' Jabari Parker, the Pistons' Bruce Brown and whatever Timberwolves guard is named a starter at the point if Jeff Teague sits out should also be very popular options.
Key and Likely Underowned Values
Goga Bitadze, IND vs. WAS ($5,300):
Myles Turner is questionable for Wednesday's game, while frontcourt mate Domantas Sabonis (calf) could also sit. Bitadze has been solid despite fouling out in each of the last three games in Turner's stead, scoring 29.3 to 34.2 FanDuel points in those contests. The Wizards have also allowed the fifth-most FanDuel points (41.8) and fifth-most rebounds (13.0) to centers, furthering Bitadze's case at a price he's comfortably outpaced already in extended minutes.
Dillon Brooks, MEM vs. MIN ($4,400):
Brooks continues to hold down the starting shooting guard role and has logged at least 30 minutes in three of his last five games, making his price particularly appealing. He's also scored 20.3 to 33.8 FanDuel points in four consecutive contests, solid-to-excellent returns on his current price. Brooks offers exposure to second-highest projected scoring game on the slate, and the fact the T-Wolves check in allowing 56.8 FanDuel points per game to SGs, including 5.0 made threes per contest, helps Brooks' case as well.
Troy Brown, WAS at IND ($4,000):
Brown has encouragingly seen his minutes bump up in each game since making his season debut, and he double-doubled over 30 minutes in his most recent contest against the Pistons on Monday. Brown has 25 and 40 FanDuel points over the last two games, respectively, and he should continue enjoying a robust role even with C.J. Miles back in the fold from his foot injury. The Pacers have been tough against small forwards overall, but Brown's current minutes load and price put him firmly in play.
Moritz Wagner, WAS at IND ($3,900):
Wagner is another member of the Wizards who's been outpacing his current salary for multiple games. The big man has been excellent coming off the bench behind starting center Thomas Bryant, scoring double-digit points in five of six games and scoring 19.5 to 31.8 FanDuel points in his last four games. He's seen over 20 minutes in each of his last two contests as well, making his sub-$4K price all the more enticing against an injury-hampered Pacers frontcourt that's also tied with the Hawks for most FanDuel points per game allowed to centers (45.3), along with the sixth-highest offensive efficiency rating (33.9).
ALSO CONSIDER: Donte DiVincenzo, MIL