This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
We have a traditionally massive 14-game Thanksgiving Eve slate on tap Wednesday night. Needless to say, this is the type of ledger that virtually no amount of injuries can ruin, and that will give us countless ways to differentiate lineups in tournaments. By definition, ownership becomes much less of a concern on a slate of this size, and if you're building multiple rosters, you have the luxury of utilizing a variety of different styles of roster construction that can range from a "stars and scrubs" approach to more balanced configurations.
As usual, we'll proceed to break down the positional outlook below, along with possible chalk plays and some likely under-owned bargains that could help you round out your lineups with a couple of superstars.
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 three games with the highest elevated totals on Wednesday's slate:
Washington Wizards at Phoenix Suns (Projected total: 241.5 points)
Two of the more defensively deficient and fastest-paced teams on the slate face off out west, rightfully earning this game the highest projected total of the night. The Wizards (120.1 PPG allowed, 107.7 possessions per contest) and Suns (111.6 PPG allowed at home, 107.6 possessions per home contest) give up plenty of scoring and keep it moving up and down the court at a brisk pace. There's an abundance of DFS options here across the price scale, ranging from the elite (Bradley Beal, Devin Booker) to value plays (Isaiah Thomas, Dario Saric, Cheick Diallo).
Atlanta Hawks at Milwaukee Bucks (Projected total: 239.5 points)
This game rightfully checks in just behind Wizards-Suns in terms of scoring expectations. The Hawks have gotten progressively worse on defense as the season has unfolded, coming into this contest allowing the fourth-most points per game (118.1), including the most per road game (123.1). The Bucks come in yielding 114.3 per home contest themselves, and they're averaging an NBA-high 122.4 per home tilt. The pace box is checked off also, as Milwaukee generates the most possessions per game of any team on its home floor (110.2), while Atlanta is averaging 108.7 per road contest. As with Wizards-Suns, all the usual suspects are in play for both squads.
Los Angeles Lakers at New Orleans Pelicans (Projected total: 230.5 points)
The elevated total here is in large part due to the Pelicans' shoddy defense, one that's led to New Orleans allowing an NBA-high 120.4 points per game overall. Both squads also can light up the scoreboard, as the Pels average the fifth-most points per game (116.0) and the Lakers average a robust 114.8 per away contest. Then, consider the bump in pace New Orleans will bring to the more deliberate Lakers – New Orleans is averaging the third-most possessions per game (109.0), significantly more than Los Angeles' 103.9 per. Throw in the numerous "revenge game" narratives here with so many former Lakers on the Pelicans and Anthony Davis now in Los Angeles, and you have a combustible mix that offer fertile ground for DFS purposes.
PG: This is going to be a common refrain across all five positions with 28 teams in action, but we're in fine shape at point guard, even with some key injuries. Kyrie Irving (shoulder), De'Aaron Fox (ankle) and Kyle Lowry (thumb) remain sidelined, but Trae Young (probable w/ ankle injury), Damian Lillard, Ben Simmons and Russell Westbrook are a solid quartet up top. Kemba Walker's expected return from his neck strain/concussion also helps, and even with a couple of other injury questions (Ricky Rubio, Marcus Smart) we have options all the way down to the high $3K range.
SG: Shooting guard has even fewer health-related question marks attached to it, with the only major injuries of the long-term variety (Victor Oladipo, D'Angelo Russell). It doesn't get any better than having James Harden and Bradley Beal both available up top, and there's value to be had all the way down to the high $3K range here as well.
SF: Small forward may have the cleanest bill of health of all positions and is flush with choices that start with Giannis Antetokounmpo and LeBron James in two of the likeliest highest-scoring games of the night, and goes down to bargain choices at just $100 away from minimum in Markieff Morris and Kent Bazemore.
PF: Anthony Davis (shoulder) and Kevin Love (back) both carry injury designations here near the top, but Davis is considered probable while Love is a bit more iffy while sporting a questionable tag. Besides Derrick Favors (back) and Draymond Green (heel), the rest of the positional pool is relatively healthy in terms of prominent names and offers viable value into the high $3k range.
C: Center is a bit hampered by some injury questions and confirmed absences in the form of Clint Capela (illness- questionable), Rudy Gobert (ankle-questionable), Nikola Vucevic (ankle-out) and Aron Baynes (hip-out). However, there's still plenty to pay up for (Karl-Anthony Towns, Joel Embiid and Andre Drummond), a solid mid-tier (Wendell Carter, Montrezl Harrell, Tristan Thompson, Steven Adams, among others), and cost-savings options (Mo Bamba, Enes Kanter, Jahlil Okafor).
Notable Injury Situations to Monitor
Kemba Walker, BOS
Walker no longer carries an injury designation for Wednesday's game and is expected to start at point guard versus Brooklyn.
Kyrie Irving, BKN
Irving continues out with his shoulder injury Wednesday. Spencer Dinwiddie will continue manning the point for Brooklyn in his stead.
Anthony Davis, LAL
Davis is considered probable for Wednesday's game with his ongoing shoulder injury. If Davis were to suffer a setback, LeBron James' usage would naturally bump up even further, while Kyle Kuzma would potentially draw a start at power forward.
DeAndre Jordan, BKN
Jordan is considered questionable for Wednesday's game with an ankle injury. Jarrett Allen would be in line for even more opportunity should Jordan miss.
Clint Capela, HOU
Capela is considered questionable for Wednesday's game due to illness. Tyson Chandler would be in line for a start should Capela miss, while the already massive usage of James Harden and Russell Westbrook would potentially bump up another notch.
Aaron Gordon, ORL
Kevin Love, CLE
Love is considered questionable for Wednesday's game with a back injury. Larry Nance would presumably draw the start in Love's stead should the latter miss, and Tristan Thompson's usage down low would also bump up.
Trae Young, ATL
Young is considered probable for Wednesday's game due to a right ankle sprain. With DeAndre' Bembry (hip) and Cam Reddish (knee) also questionable for the game, the Hawks could potentially be down to Evan Turner at PG should Young suffer a setback.
Marcus Smart, BOS
Smart is considered questionable for Wednesday's game with hand injury after jamming his knuckle in Monday's contest against the Kings. Javonte Green could be in for extra minutes if Smart were to miss.
Ja Morant, MEM
Morant is questionable for Wednesday's game due to back soreness. Tyus Jones would presumably draw the start at point guard should Morant miss.
Tony Snell, DET
Snell is considered questionable for Wednesday's game due to his hip injury. Bruce Brown will be set for another start at small forward in his stead.
Derrick Favors, NOP
Josh Hart, NOP
George Hill, MIL
Hill is considered questionable for Wednesday's game due to his back injury. Donte DiVincenzo stands to benefit if Hill misses.
Kyle Anderson, MEM
Serge Ibaka, TOR
Ibaka remains doubtful for Wednesday's game with his ankle injury, meaning Rondae Hollis-Jefferson should continue to see plenty of run.
De'Andre Hunter, ATL
Hunter is probable for Wednesday's game with a knee contusion.
DeAndre' Bembry, ATL
Cam Reddish, ATL
Malik Monk, CHA
Monk is considered probable for Wednesday's game with a finger sprain.
Cody Zeller, CHA
Zeller is considered probable for Wednesday's game with a hip strain.
Rudy Gobert, UTA
Gobert is considered questionable for Wednesday's game with an ankle injury. Tony Bradley would be in line for a start should Gobert miss.
Bogdan Bogdanovic, SAC
Bogdanovic is considered probable for Wednesday's game with a hamstring strain.
RJ Barrett, NYK
Barrett is considered probable for Wednesday's game with an illness.
Ricky Rubio, PHO
Rubio is considered probable for Wednesday's game with a back injury.
Cameron Johnson, PHO
Johnson is considered probable for Wednesday's game with a knee injury.
Aron Baynes, PHO
Draymond Green, GSW
Green is considered questionable for Wednesday's game with heel soreness. Eric Paschall would be in line to fill in at power forward should Green miss.
Shabazz Napier, MIN
Josh Okogie, MIN
Okogie is probable for Wednesday's game due to knee soreness.
Treveon Graham, MIN
Graham is probable for Wednesday's game with a forearm injury.
Jake Layman, MIN
Notable Long-Term Injuries/Absences: Stephen Curry, GSW; Klay Thompson, GSW; D'Angelo Russell, GSW; Kevon Looney, GSW; Caris LeVert, BKN; Wilson Chandler, BKN; Jusuf Nurkic, POR; Zach Collins, POR; Khris Middleton, MIL; Gordon Hayward, BOS; John Wall, WAS; Landry Shamet, LAC; Deandre Ayton, PHO; Zion Williamson, NOP; Ed Davis, UTA; Otto Porter Jr., CHI; Kevin Huerter, ATL; John Collins, ATL; Derrick Jones, Jr. MIA; Dion Waiters, MIA; Andre Iguodala, MEM; Victor Oladipo, IND; Edmond Sumner, IND; Reggie Jackson, DET; Kyle Lowry, TOR; Nikola Vucevic, ORL; Marvin Bagley, SAC, De'Aaron Fox, SAC; Trevor Ariza, SAC; Avery Bradley, LAL; Elfrid Payton, NYK; Reggie Bullock, NYK; Reggie Jackson, DET; Eric Gordon, HOU; Gerald Green, HOU; Andre Roberson, OKC
We have six players with five-figure salaries on the big 14-game slate, and only one has an injury question attached. That would be Anthony Davis ($11,100), but he's probable with his shoulder issue that he's already been playing through. Otherwise, there are plenty of healthy options as one would expect on a slate of this size, and needless to say, none are absolute must-haves based on positional scarcity alone.
One could theoretically argue that the aforementioned trio of Towns, Embiid and Drummond should be a bit more popular if you want to pay up at center if Capela and Gobert are announced as out. Otherwise, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Trae Young, Bradley Beal, Devin Booker, LeBron James, Davis and Brandon Ingram are even more appealing than usual due to their respective participation in games with some astronomical projected totals.
I'll keep this section short and sweet Wednesday, as we've already established ownership should be significantly spread out with so many games and choices. We've just examined some possible ownership trends on the elite players based on some injuries at center and projected high-scoring games, so keep those considerations in mind.
Otherwise, we could have some popular cheaper plays develop as a result of some of the numerous injuries that still hang in the balance as of Wednesday morning. As usual, I've attempted to cover some of those in a list of sub-$6K options below the next section. These are names that I do feel will trend toward garnering some decent ownership, but with so many games Wednesday, make sure to check frequently with RotoWire throughout the day for the latest news on which players with injury question marks might be sitting and who'll be seeing expanded opportunity as a result.
Key and Likely Underowned Values
Nerlens Noel, OKC at POR ($5,400):
Noel is going to go less owned than usual with so many choices Wednesday, and because his price is a bit higher than some other players that could have similar outlooks/expectations. However, I like the idea of taking a roll of the dice on the big man in tournaments Wednesday, given his upside and matchup against a Trail Blazers team that's one of the poorest rebounding squads in the NBA. Portland checks in tied for the third-lowest rebounding rate (48.3 percent) in the league, and they're also allowing the ninth-most FanDuel points per game to centers over the last five contests (39.9). The Blazers also allow the seventh-highest offensive efficiency rate in the paint (58.0), while Noel is scoring 69 percent of his points in that area of the floor.
Isaiah Thomas, WAS at PHO ($4,800):
Thomas has seen his price take a tumble due to a string of underwhelming performances, which makes it an opportune time to jump on him for tournaments. The veteran guard returns to one of his former playing cities looking to bounce back from having scored under 20 FanDuel points in three of the last four contests. He'll find himself in the game with the highest-projected total of the night as well, and he faces a Suns squad allowing nearly eight more FanDuel points per game to point guards over the last five than they have for the season (52.4, compared to 44.9), and that's yielded the ninth-most assists (8.9) per game to the position on the campaign.
Cheick Diallo, PHO vs. WAS ($3,800):
Diallo is still likely to fly under the radar a bit, even with his 22-point performance against the Nuggets last Sunday, which netted 31.7 FanDuel points. The big man should see a solid chunk of playing time once again versus the Wizards with Aron Baynes (hip) already ruled out. I was on Diallo in this section a bit early last week when I anticipated he'd see an expanded role, and that bump in opportunity finally came in the aforementioned game against Denver in the form of 36 minutes. The Wizards come in with an NBA-low 47.4 percent rebounding rate, and they're yielding the third-most FanDuel points per game to centers over the last five (42.0), as well as the third-most rebounds (12.4). Diallo clearly has the upside to outpace his current salary by a significant amount if given the playing time, and like Thomas, he's part of the Wizards-Suns tilt that expected to bust the scoreboard Wednesday.
Other likely much higher-owned value plays to consider: Carmelo Anthony ($5,800); Luke Kennard ($5,800); Taurean Prince ($5,500); Dennis Schroder ($5,500); Dario Saric ($5,400); Marquese Chriss ($5,300): T.J. Warren ($5,300); Bruce Brown ($4,900); Rajon Rondo ($4,800); Enes Kanter ($4,500); Mo Bamba ($4,500)