This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
We've got a lot of action to cover on Wednesday, but our elite decisions will prove to be easier than usual. We'll start top-heavy and then make a quest for value with the help of some great injury pivots.
BOS (-5.5) vs. SA, O/U: 219
IND (-1) vs. MIA, O/U: 211
TOR (-2.5) @ CHA, O/U: 207.5
ORL (-10.5) vs. WAS, O/U: 219.5
DAL (-3) vs. DEN, O/U: 221
HOU (-8) @ ATL, O/U: 237.5
NO (-4) vs. CHI, O/U:223.5
UTA (-12.5) vs. NY, O/U: 216.5
MIL (-13.5) @ GS, O/U: 219
I like HOU/ATL a lot, and as you'll see, I'll make this game the core of my build. Because of the amount I'll spend there, no other game comes close in terms of salary utilization.
INJURY SITUATIONS TO MONITOR
Russell Westbrook (rest) OUT
This puts a certain bearded wonder out in front of our elite endorsements, but more on that in a moment. Eric Gordon ($4,400) will start for Westbrook and could be an excellent value pivot.
Bradley Beal (leg) QUESTIONABLE
Beal could miss yet another game tonight, which will allow a trio of potential pivots to make an impact. Gary Payton II ($4,000) will start, but Jordan McRae ($6,600), Ish Smith ($5,800) and Troy Brown Jr. ($5,400) will all get a piece of the pie here.
Kemba Walker (illness) QUESTIONABLE
I think we will see Walker back tonight, but I'd give all starters an extra boost if he's out, with a special nod to Marcus Smart ($5,600).
Fred VanVleet (hamstring) OUT
Bad news for VanVleet owners, as it looks like he'll be out a while. Patrick McCaw ($3,900) appears to be the starter here, but I'm more inclined to look at Kyle Lowry ($8,600) with a little more interest despite the inflated price.
Kristaps Porzingis (knee) OUT
Porzingis will miss another game tonight, giving Maxi Kleber ($5,500) another starting opportunity.
Jrue Holiday (elbow) OUT
Will Barton (personal) OUT
There's no timetable for this absence but the Nuggets don't play until Saturday, so this will likely be a one-game thing. Michael Porter Jr. ($3,800) is a wise pivot here, and Gary Harris ($4,000) usually sees a little boost when Barton is off the court.
Wendell Carter Jr. (ankle) OUT
Daniel Gafford ($4,800) is an interesting tournament pivot as I doubt he'll glean much ownership from this opportunity.
Due to the lopsided matchup and a nagging injury, I'm recommending a fade for Giannis Antetokounmpo tonight.
Based on a season-worst performance out of Luka Doncic against the Nuggets earlier this season, I'm endeavoring to simplify my decision-making and slashing him off my list as well. I think he'll out-do the paltry 27 DKFP sum he produced the first time around, but beating value is going to be tough.
James Harden, HOU ($12,800) @ ATL
You fade Harden at your own peril tonight. He went off for 83 DKFP against Atlanta in their last matchup, and without Russell Westbrook, Harden will take over the game. You pay a hefty price and are only left with an average of $5,314 per player after you slot him in, but I think it's doable due to the ample value available on the slate.
Trae Young, ATL ($9,700) vs. HOU
I might as well advertise it - you're left with $4,583 if you stack Harden AND Young here. This play could end up representing anywhere from 100-150 points for your roster, but I'd expect it to fall somewhere in the middle. If we assume 130 DKFP, the duo comes in at a little over $170 per DKFP, which isn't bad at all. Young posted 52 DKFP in their last matchup, so that 130 DKFP is certainly plausible.
EXPECTED CHALK AND OTHER TARGETS
Nikola Vucevic, ORL ($9,000) vs. WAS
Vucevic is a better value than Nikola Jokic tonight, even with Jokic facing a Dallas team without Porzingis. The Wizards are banged up everywhere, and Vucevic has already demonstrated his ability to lay down the hammer on Washington (52 DKFP average over two games). It's tricky territory when contemplating stacks up top here, but when you consider what's available for value, you could save some cash by putting him in as your second-best player.
Clint Capela, HOU ($7,800) @ ATL
You could go even lower at center and take advantage of this fast-paced matchup. Capela is $1,200 cheaper than Vucevic and could easily match his output, although I think Vucevic's floor is higher. The high O/U and a weak Atlanta interior game give credence to making a play for Capela's ceiling here, however.
Khris Middleton, MIL ($7,100) @ GS
It's customary for Middleton to do cleanup work in these lopsided games, and he only needs to hit 35 DKFP to have 5x value here. He's eclipsed 40 DKFP in game scripts like this one, where they're heavily favored, and his usage is still at 30 minutes or more in these matchups.
Joe Ingles, UTA ($6,200) vs. NY
This is an interesting price point on the slate as you've got a fleet of guys who could conceivably beat value. I don't mind T.J. Warren ($6,500) or Bojan Bogdanovic ($6,400), but Ingles has shown to be the most consistent and has reaped maximum benefit from Mike Conley's absence. Ingles is also running hot from long-range, which he demonstrated in a superb game against Indiana two nights ago.
Jeremy Lamb, IND ($6,100) vs. MIA
Lamb is more of a GPP play for me, as he'll occasionally slip below 30 DKFP and fail to meet value. Although he's less prone to completely wreck you with a score in the teens. If he can grab enough boards, he should come in with a decent total, but I won't give him more than 20% exposure.
Elfrid Payton, NY ($5,700) @ UTA
Payton has found new life with the Knicks, and with David Fizdale no longer giving us fits with his backcourt options, we can go here with a lot more reliability. This is a tough matchup against the Jazz, but Payton is still at a price where he can meet or beat value. RJ Barrett would need to have an off night for Payton to really explode, though.
Mitchell Robinson, NY ($5,000) @ UTA
I'm sticking with the Knicks and Robinson due to one glaring statistic that stands out to me. While Gobert is an excellent rebounder overall, he represents a frontcourt that ranks a dreadful 30th in offensive rebound percentage. If Utah has a lukewarm shooting night, it could mean good news for Robinson, who will be the primary guy on the boards for New York.
Kendrick Nunn, MIA ($4,600) @ IND
If Nunn can replicate the 29.5 DKFP score he tallied against the Pacers in their previous game, Nunn would hit 7k value. The crowded Miami backcourt presents us with a lot of variance, but Nunn has proven his mettle against Indiana's tough defense and I think the team will remember his outstanding game and give him ample opportunity to capitalize once again.
Beyond these three value picks, I think you have all the tools to go lower with the injury pivots we've already provided. Of that group, I like Eric Gordon and Michael Porter Jr.'s potential the most. I would begin your build with these values combined with your favorites, and you'll find that you can pretty much do whatever you want at the top, including a Harden/Young stack.