This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
We have another big nine-game slate on tap Wednesday night, although only three check in with projected totals of greater than 220 points as of early afternoon. There are some notable confirmed absences already as well, along with some other big names sporting questionable tags. Nevertheless, the fact 18 teams are in action still afford us plenty of flexibility and selection in terms of lineup construction.
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 projected totals on Wednesday's slate:
Houston Rockets at Atlanta Hawks (Projected total: 238.0 points)
Even with Russell Westbrook already confirmed out for rest, the Rockets retain plenty of the oddsmakers' and public's confidence against the defensively deficient Hawks. The likes of James Harden, Clint Capela and Eric Gordon should be in especially good spots here, although Atlanta's Trae Young and Kevin Huerter also have appealing matchups against a Houston squad allowing 116.8 points per road game.
Chicago Bulls at New Orleans Pelicans (Projected total: 224.0 points)
The Bulls will be without Wendell Carter Jr. (ankle) and the Pelicans will see Jrue Holiday (elbow) miss another game, but there's still belief these two teams can put up some points. New Orleans checks in surrendering the third-most points per game (116.9) and plays at the sixth-fastest pace (107.0 possessions per game), raising expectations in this spot.
Denver Nuggets at Dallas Mavericks (Projected total: 220.5 points)
Any time players such as Jamal Murray, Luka Doncic and Nikola Jokic are on the floor together, the potential for a solid point total is high. Such is the case Wednesday, and with both squads allowing more points than usual recently (Denver – 119.7 PPG allowed over last three; Dallas – 114.7 PPG allowed over same span), the oddsmakers expect a higher-scoring game than they might otherwise.
The confirmed absence of Russell Westbrook (rest) and the potential one for Kemba Walker (illness) thin out the top end of the point guard pool, but the rest of the position is mostly in good shape. Malcolm Brogdon (back) does have a questionable designation, but if he were to play, he'd be a potential bargain at $5,200. Meanwhile, shooting guard could be in the worst shape of any spot Wednesday, as Jrue Holiday (elbow), Fred VanVleet (hamstring) and D'Angelo Russell (shoulder) are all confirmed as out, while Bradley Beal (lower leg) could well miss another game. That should make upper-tier selections like James Harden (who'll also be extremely popular with Russell Westbrook out for rest), Jimmy Butler, Donovan Mitchell and Zach LaVine even more valuable than usual.
Small forward has notable absences in the form of Pascal Siakam (groin) and Will Barton (personal) as well, along with a potential one in Marcus Morris (neck). Meanwhile, power forward is already down Kristaps Porzingis (knee) and could also see Domantas Sabonis miss with his own knee issue, but the sheer volume of the slate still leaves plenty of options across the price scale. Finally, outside of Wendell Carter Jr.'s confirmed absence because of an ankle injury, center is in solid shape in terms of short-term injuries, and is helmed by a very strong quartet of Nikola Jokic, Nikola Vucevic, Rudy Gobert and Clint Capela, the latter which may easily outpace his $7.6K salary Wednesday with Russell Westbrook (rest) out of the lineup for the Rockets.
Notable Injury Situations to Monitor
NOTE: Injury reporting is especially fluid in the NBA, where the status of multiple players can change during the course of a day. Therefore, although the following serves as a foundation for the latest injury report as of the time the article is written (usually late morning Eastern time), check back throughout the course of the day with RotoWire for the latest news regarding the status of all players on that night's slate.
Jimmy Butler, MIA
Butler is probable with a back injury.
Russell Westbrook, HOU
Westbrook will sit out Wednesday's game for rest. James Harden's already robust usage should rise even further, as should that of Clint Capela's. Eric Gordon projects as Westbrook's direct replacement in the starting five.
Justise Winslow, MIA
Winslow is questionable to return from a 15-game absence due to a back injury.
Antetokounmpo is considered probable with back soreness and an illness and is expected to play.
Kemba Walker, BOS
Walker is questionable to an illness that's already cost him three games. Marcus Smart and Brad Wanamaker should be the primary beneficiaries if Walker misses again, while the rest of the starting five would continue seeing an uptick in usage.
Daniel Theis, BOS
Theis is questionable due to knee soreness. Enes Kanter would draw the start at center if Theis misses.
Jabari Parker, ATL
Parker is out with a shoulder injury. Vince Carter could see an uptick in minutes in the power forward rotation as a result.
Bruno Fernando, ATL
Fernando will be out due to a personal matter. Alex Len projects for extra minutes at backup center as a result.
Marvin Williams, CHA
Bradley Beal, WAS
Garrison Mathews, WAS
Will Barton, DEN
Barton is out due to a personal matter. Michael Porter, Jr. and Torrey Craig stand to benefit the most from Barton's absence by splitting up the minutes at small forward.
Paul Millsap, DEN
Millsap is probable with a knee contusion.
Wendell Carter Jr., CHI
Carter will not play due to an ankle injury. Rookie Daniel Gafford, who's probable in his own right with an ankle issue, could be in line to draw a start in Carter's place, with Luke Kornet and Cristiano Felicio backing him up.
Daniel Gafford, CHI
Gafford is probable with an ankle injury. He projects for a potential spot start in place of Wendell Carter Jr. (ankle), who's already ruled out.
Marcus Morris, NYK
Morris is likely to be considered questionable at best with the neck injury that cost him Tuesday's game versus the Lakers. Kevin Knox would likely draw the start in Morris' place should the latter miss.
Dennis Smith Jr., NYK
Smith is likely to be considered questionable at best with an oblique injury.
D'Angelo Russell, GSW
Malcolm Brogdon, IND
Brogdon is questionable due to a back injury that's cost him the last three games. Aaron Holiday would be the biggest direct beneficiary of a Brogdon absence if the latter sits again.
Domantas Sabonis, IND
Jrue Holiday, NOP
Holiday is questionable due to an elbow bruise. E'Twaun Moore and J.J. Redick could be the primary beneficiaries if Holiday misses, while the rest of the Pelicans starting five should see a significant bump in usage.
Lauri Markkanen, CHI
Markkanen is probable with an ankle sprain.
George Hill, MIL
Hill is out due to an illness. Donte DiVincenzo could see some extra backup point guard minutes as a result.
Kristaps Porzingis, DAL
Porzingis will miss a fifth straight game due to knee soreness. Dorian Finney-Smith, Justin Jackson and Maxi Kleber should continue to benefit from another Porzingis absence, while the already robust usage of Luka Doncic should rise even further..
Ryan Arcidiacono, CHI
Arcidiacono is considered probable with an elbow injury.
Notable Longer-Term Injuries/Absences: Stephen Curry, GSW; Klay Thompson, GSW; Victor Oladipo, IND; Zion Williamson, NOP; Fred VanVleet, TOR; Marc Gasol, TOR; Pascal Siakam, TOR; Norman Powell, TOR; Darius Miller, NOP; Otto Porter Jr., CHI; Mike Conley, UTA; Jonathan Isaac, ORL; Al-Farouq Aminu, ORL; Michael Carter-Williams, ORL; Robert Williams III, BOS; Thomas Bryant, WAS; Moritz Wagner, WAS; Rui Hachimura, WAS; C.J. Miles, WAS; Davis Bertans, WAS; Ryan Broekhoff, DAL; Kevon Looney, GSW
We have a trio of the most explosive players in the league at the top of the pool Wednesday in the form of Luka Doncic ($11.5K), Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11.4K) and James Harden ($11.2K). Harden should be especially popular and valuable with Russell Westbrook already ruled out for rest, while the other two naturally remain highly worthy of consideration as well with strong matchups on tap.
Then, the $9K range also has a couple of interesting possibilities that could outpace their salaries. Brandon Ingram ($9.3K) will play another game without Jrue Holiday (elbow), and he's coming off having scored 55 FanDuel points in his first game without his teammate Monday. Trae Young ($9K) is also in a potentially advantageous position with Westbrook out of his way Wednesday.
There are a few potential chalk spots Wednesday despite the big slate, with James Harden and Eric Gordon likely leading the way due to the absence of Russell Westbrook. Enes Kanter may also see a nice spike in popularity if Daniel Theis is ruled out, while the likes of Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown are both likely to see higher ownership if Kemba Walker (illness) sits out another contest. T.J. Warren should also get some extra clicks if Malcolm Brogdon (back) sits out once again, especially considering he just racked up 36 points against the Hornets on Monday night in Warren's absence.
On that subject, as customary, I've compiled a list of some likely popular sub-$6K value plays and placed them below the next section, with some of those names deriving their likely elevated ownership due to those confirmed/expected injury absences and resulting expanded roles.
Key and Likely Underowned Values
Terrence Ross, ORL vs. WAS ($4,500)
Ross continues to be a reliable source of offense for the Magic off the bench, most recently scoring in double digits in four straight. The veteran wing has posted 20 to 33.4 FanDuel points in those contests, and he's met or eclipsed the 20-threshold in six of his last eight contests overall. The Wizards present as one of the most appealing matchups in the league, as they've allowed the second-highest offensive efficiency rating to two-guards (24.9) and the highest shooting percentage (48.1) to opposing bench players. Washington is also surrendering the fourth-most FanDuel points per game to twos (56.1), furthering Ross' case at a price he's well capable of providing a 6x-7x return on.
Chris Boucher, TOR at CHA ($4,200)
Boucher continues to see steady opportunity off the bench due to the Raptors' multiple frontcourt injuries. The third-year big nearly double-doubled in just 16 minutes versus the Trail Blazers on Tuesday night, and he's flashed a ceiling north of 40 FanDuel points already this season. Boucher is excellent on the glass and will therefore be well-equipped to capitalize on a matchup versus a Hornets squad that checks in with the fifth-lowest rebounding rate (48.7 percent) in the league and that's tied for the fifth-highest offensive efficiency rating surrendered to centers (32.9) and yielding the highest (48.3) to opposing second-unit players. What's more, Charlotte is also allowing the third-most points (47.0) and highest offensive efficiency rating in the paint (63.4), an area of the floor Boucher is scoring over half (50.5 percent) his points in.
Trey Lyles, SA at BOS ($4,100)
Lyles may be finally starting to hit his stride in San Antonio, as he's scored 23.9 to 35.6 FanDuel points in four of his last seven games. However, he still carries a healthy amount of risk primarily because of his inconsistent usage on offense, which also should help keep his ownership down Wednesday. The matchup against the Celtics is an appealing one, however, as Boston checks in allowing 43.4 FanDuel points per game to power forwards – including 48.3 over the last five – and the fourth-most rebounds (12.2) per contest to the position on the season. Lyles has double-digit boards in back-to-back contests and doesn't carry an inordinate amount of price-related risk, making him worthy of consideration for large-field tournament play.
Other likely under-owned value play to consider: Wes Iwundu, ORL vs. WAS ($4,100)
Other likely higher-owned value plays to consider: Bojan Bogdanovic ($5,900); Markelle Fultz ($5,800); Kevin Huerter ($5,700); Joe Ingles ($5,700); Marcus Smart ($5,300); Enes Kanter ($5,300); D.J. Augustin ($5,300); Dwight Powell ($5,300); Goran Dragic ($5,300); Brook Lopez ($5,100); Aaron Holiday ($4,900); Donte DiVincenzo ($4,300); Eric Gordon ($4,200)