This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
We have a big nine-game slate Wednesday night, and even though the injury report is littered with several big names already confirmed as out, there should be more than enough depth due to the number of teams in action. As usual, the prominent absences will also open up plenty of opportunities for other players all across the price scale on those respective teams. There are also an inordinately high number of games with projected totals over 230 points, adding to the appeal from a DFS perspective.
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 total on Wednesday's slate:
Memphis Grizzlies at Houston Rockets (Projected total: 238.0 points)
This fast-paced matchup unsurprisingly heads up what is projected to be a very high-scoring slate. The Grizzlies and Rockets have combined for 231 points the last time they met, and Memphis is pushing for a postseason spot. Both teams are also averaging over 107 possessions per game – placing them in the top 10 – and each also gives up over 114 points per contest. Then, Houston is currently averaging a Western Conference-high 118.6 points, including 119.3 points.
Brooklyn Nets at Washington Wizards (Projected total: 234.0 points)
The two teams connected for 220 points the first time they played, but each team's defense is capable of giving up much more. Washington is allowing an NBA-high 120.1 points per game overall, while Brooklyn his yielding 112.5 points per road contest. Pace will also be a favorable factor for offense here, as each team is ranked in the top 10 in that category.
Minnesota Timberwolves at Miami Heat (Projected total: 233.0 points)
The Timberwolves have essentially been the Western Conference version of the Wizards, allowing 116.8 points per game, including 118.5 per road tilt. Minnesota is also tied with the Pelicans for the second-most possessions per game (107.9), and the two squads combined for 225 points the first time they played this season. There's a chance Jimmy Butler (personal) continues out for Miami, but the Heat has plenty of firepower even in his absence and is averaging an impressive 116.9 points per home game.
Other games with high projected totals: Dallas Mavericks at San Antonio Spurs (Projected total: 232.5 points); Los Angeles Clippers at Phoenix Suns (Projected total: 232.5 points)
Point guard remains without Ben Simmons (back) and Kemba Walker (knee) near the top of the pool, which thins out the depth to an extent. Additionally, the late addition of Trae Young (illness) to the injury report leaves him in danger of also missing Wednesday. The expected return of Elfrid Payton (probable, ankle) does help to an extent, and the position is otherwise in near-perfect health.
Shooting guard only has area of true concern in terms of big-name players, that being Jimmy Butler's questionable status due to personal reasons. Otherwise, there's a clean bill of health at the position for all practical purposes and the red-hot duo of James Harden and Bradley Beal up top.
Small forward will see Kelly Oubre (knee) sit out Wednesday, but there's excellent health elsewhere and savings to be had as well – Paul George ($7.8K) is the most expensive option and it's another $1K drop to the next priciest player in Gordon Hayward, meaning it's very much conceivable to roster two strong options.
Power forward will be missing a couple of big names in LaMarcus Aldridge (shoulder) and Jaren Jackson (knee), while Bam Adebayo (head) is carrying a questionable tag. Therefore, this could be one of the night's thinner positions, but there are still plenty of choices. That starts with an impressive top quartet of Kawhi Leonard, Jayson Tatum, Kristaps Porzingis and John Collins, the latter who could be in an especially advantageous position if Trae Young (illness) misses.
Finally, center will continue to be without the services of Clint Capela (heel) and Karl-Anthony Towns (wrist), draining the top-tier pool. However, we're in good shape the rest of the way, with Joel Embiid ($10.2K) coming off a huge performance and set to continue playing without Ben Simmons, and value all the way down into the high $3K range.
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.
Trae Young, ATL
Young is considered questionable with an illness. If he were to miss, the usage of the remainder of the Hawks' starting five, especially that of John Collins, would naturally bump up significantly.
Kemba Walker, BOS
Walker is projected to remain out Wednesday, which should continue to bump up the usage of the remainder of the Celtics' starting five. Marcus Smart should continue to serve as his direct replacement.
Jimmy Butler, MIA
Butler is questionable due to personal reasons.
Bam Adebayo, MIA
Adebayo is likely to be listed as questionable due to a head injury.
LaMarcus Aldridge, SAN
Aldridge is out due to a shoulder injury.Jakob Poeltl is slated to draw a spot start at center.
Kelly Oubre, PHO
Oubre is out due to a knee injury. Dario Saric should see a spot start at power forward.
Wilson Chandler, BKN
Chandler is questionable due to personal reasons.
Davis Bertans, WAS
Bertans is questionable due to a knee injury.
Patrick Beverley, LAC
Beverley is questionable with the groin injury that's cost him the last five games.
Eric Gordon, HOU
Gordon is considered questionable but is expected to play according to Wednesday morning reports.
Brandon Clarke, MEM
Clarke is out with a quadriceps injury.
Tyler Herro, MIA
Herro remains out with a foot injury.
Meyers Leonard, MIA
Leonard remains out with an ankle injury.
De'Andre Hunter, ATL
Hunter is probable due to an ankle injury.
Dewayne Dedmon, ATL
Dedmon is probable due to an elbow injury.
DeAndre' Bembry, ATL
Bembry remains out due to an abdominal injury.
Alfonzo McKinnie, CLE
McKinnie will not play due to a foot injury.
Dante Exum, CLE
Exum will not play due to an ankle injury.
Allen Crabbe, MIN
Crabbe is likely to be listed as out due to personal reasons.
Brook Lopez, MIL
Lopez will not play due to a back injury.
Kyle Korver, MIL
Korver is likely to be listed no better than questionable with a back injury.
Elfrid Payton, NYK
Payton is probable with an ankle injury.
Frank Ntilikina, NYK
Ntilikina is out due to a groin injury.
Wayne Ellington, NYK
Ellington is probable with an illness.
Devonte' Graham, CHA
Graham is slated to return from a load management day Wednesday.
Willie Cauley-Stein, DAL
Cauley-Stein is listed as questionable due to personal reasons.
Jalen Brunson, DAL
Brunson remains out due to a shoulder injury.
Evan Turner, MIN
Turner is projected to remain out while he and the Timberwolves explore a buyout.
Notable Longer-Term Injuries/Absences: Ben Simmons, PHI; Karl-Anthony Towns, MIN; Clint Capela, ATL; Skal Labissiere, ATL; Jaren Jackson, MEM; Grayson Allen, MEM; Justise Winslow, MEM; Al-Farouq Aminu, ORL; Frank Kaminsky, PHO
We have a quartet of five-figure players on the big Wednesday slate, with James Harden ($11.7K), Russell Westbrook ($10.4K), Joel Embiid ($10.2K) and Luka Doncic ($10K) fitting the bill. The $9K range boasts the likes of Kawhi Leonard ($9.8K), Bradley Beal ($9.4K) and Nikola Vucevic ($9.3K) all set up to potentially outproduce their current salaries based on matchup and expected game environment.
In terms of which of the highest-priced players particularly stand out due to matchup/injuries, Harden and Westbrook are in a premium matchup/game environment versus the equally fast-paced Grizzlies, while Embiid should once again be a highly popular and potentially rewarding selection versus the Cavaliers with Ben Simmons (back) out. However, it's worth keeping in mind Andre Drummond has given him trouble in the past.
With some big names on the injury report Monday, we're going to see some corresponding chalk on the 76ers (Josh Richardson, Al Horford, Joel Embiid), the Timberwolves (D'Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley, Naz Reid), the Celtics (Marcus Smart, Gordon Hayward, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum), and if Jimmy Butler (personal) misses, the Heat (Bam Adebayo, Kendrick Nunn, Goran Dragic, Jae Crowder).
The usual star players not mentioned in that list will also draw plenty of ownership, especially the Rockets' duo of Harden and Westbrook in a matchup against the Grizzlies, as well as Luka Doncic in an expected high-scoring game versus the Spurs.
As customary, I've also put together a specific list of sub-$6K value plays that should find themselves in plenty of lineups – some due to injury situations on their respective teams – and have included those below the next section.
Key and Likely Underowned Values
Duncan Robinson, MIA vs MIN ($4,500)
Robinson continues to remain impressively consistent with his scoring, but on such a large slate and with bigger names around him, he's likely to still have modest ownership. The rookie checks into Wednesday's game having scored 20 FanDuel points or more in seven of the last nine games. What's more, when it comes to small forwards, the Timberwolves have allowed a bottom-five offensive efficiency rating (24.7), a Western Conference-high 41.8 percent success rate from three-point range and the most FanDuel points per game (67.4) over the last five contests to the position. The vulnerability from distance dovetails perfectly with Robinson's offensive profile, considering he's draining an impressive 43.4 percent of his 8.2 three-point attempts per contest.
Garrett Temple, BKN at WAS ($4,500)
Temple has seen a nice spike in production over the last two games, scoring at least 30 FanDuel points while shooting an impressive 54.5 percent from the field, including 50.0 percent from distance. However, Temple had only exceeded 20 FanDuel points once in the four games prior, so it's not as if he's been on an extended hot streak that's going to drive up ownership. The Wizards continue to be the worst team in the league in terms of points per game allowed and saw Temple already rack up 29.5 FanDuel points over 36 minutes against them on Feb. 1. What's more, Washington is yielding a 47.4 percent success rate from the floor and bottom-five offensive efficiency rating (45.2) to opposing second units, furthering Temple's case.
J.J. Barea, DAL at SA ($4,200)
Barea has recently missed some games due to an ankle issue, but he's played in back-to-back games and scored over 20 FanDuel points in each. The veteran point guard has encouragingly averaged 20.5 minutes in those two contests as well, and he's priced nicely for a favorable matchup Wednesday. The Spurs check in allowing the sixth-highest offensive efficiency rating to point guards (27.8), and they've allowed 44.5 FanDuel points per game to ones over the last five, a noticeable bump of more than five FD points per contest over their season figure.
Other likely higher-owned value plays to consider: Malik Beasley, MIN ($5,800); Evan Fournier, ORL ($5,800); Dejounte Murray, SA ($5,800); Goran Dragic, MIA ($5,500); Jarrett Allen, BKN ($5,400); Ish Smith, WAS ($5,300); Mitchell Robinson, NYK (5,300); Lou Williams ($5,300); P.J. Washington, CHA ($5,200); Jae Crowder, MIA ($5,100); DeAndre Jordan, BKN ($5,000); Kendrick Nunn, MIA ($4,900); Seth Curry, DAL ($4,800); RJ Barrett, NYK ($4,800); Kevin Porter, CLE ($4,700); Gorgui Dieng, MEM ($4,500); Shabazz Napier, WAS ($4,300); Thomas Bryant, WAS ($3,900)