This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
We have a two-game schedule once again Wednesday, and each battle is particularly intriguing. In the first contest, we'll have a chance to see if the Bucks can once again accomplish a Game 2 reset against the Heat after having done so versus the Magic in the prior round, a feat that will require they come up with an answer for Jimmy Butler after his prolific series-opening performance. The nightcap then features what could be a classic elimination game battle between the Rockets and Thunder with a trio of mega-stars on the floor in James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul.
We'll begin by diving into the projected total for the two games, followed by an examination of the general state of each position, a review of key injuries and a look at expected chalk plays and both under-the-radar and popular value plays to consider.
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 get into Wednesday's slate!
Here's a further look at the two games on Wednesday's slate:
Miami Heat vs. Milwaukee Bucks (Projected total: 221.0 points)
The Bucks stumbled for a second straight Game 1, and their 104 points was their lowest tally in six playoff games thus far. Milwaukee could certainly bounce back in a manner akin to their 15-point win against the Magic in Game 2 of the quarterfinal-round series, but this increasingly looks like a matchup that gives coach Mike Budenholzer's squad trouble. The Heat has now beaten the Bucks in three of four tries since the start of the regular season, although Milwaukee does have 126- and 130-point tallies against them. Another likely wire-to-wire battle may lead to a total approximating the projected number after the two squads put up a combined 219 in Game 1 even with Eric Bledsoe (hamstring) out.
Houston Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (Projected total: 219.0 points)
As was mostly expected, the Thunder put together a much better performance in Game 6 after wrapping up Game 5 scoring all of 35 points over the final 24 minutes. The two clubs now face off for all the marbles Wednesday and we could therefore be treated to a classic. The totals in this series have been a bit hard to predict, however, as there were tallies of 231, 226 and 231 points in Games 1, 3 and 4, and 209, 194 and 204 in Games 2, 5 and 6. Ironically, the higher numbers came when Russell Westbrook was still out for the Rockets, so we may get another close and lower-scoring contest Wednesday.
PG: A potential absence on the part of Eric Bledsoe (hamstring) puts the availability of a key mid-priced option in doubt, but the position still features Russell Westbrook up top and both Chris Paul and Goran Dragic as strong alternatives if you're looking to save some cash. George Hill could also once again be a value play to consider if Bledsoe does sit out.
SG: There's much better depth at SG, beginning with James Harden and the impressive trio of Jimmy Butler (who's coming off scoring 53.8 FD points in Game 1), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Khris Middleton below him as less expensive options. Then, Dennis Schroder, Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson form a third tier of viable plays.
SF: Giannis Antetokounmpo will be looking to help the Bucks bounce back in Game 2, so he could be set to vault back over the 50 fantasy-point mark after falling short in Game 1. As with Monday, there's then a significant drop-off to the likes of Eric Gordon and Danilo Gallinari as arguably the next two highest-upside pieces. However, Danuel House, Jae Crowder and Darius Bazley are all under consideration as value plays.
PF: Bam Adebayo continues at the top of the pool and is followed by Robert Covington and Jeff Green. There's not much below them, however, with Nerlens Noel and Marvin Williams once again about the only two other choices that could play any appreciable minutes.
C: Brook Lopez, Steven Adams and P.J. Tucker are your three options at this spot that have what can be described as secure roles, with Tucker having seen a slight price bump after posting 32.2 FD points in Game 6. Lopez (33.2 FD points in Game 1) could ultimately be the best play of the bunch again if Bledsoe does indeed sit out.
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.
Eric Bledsoe, MIL (hamstring)
Bledsoe remains questionable with the hamstring injury he picked up in the Game 5 win over the Magic on Saturday. George Hill drew the spot start for Bledsoe in Game 1 and finished with eight points, four assists and one rebound across 36 minutes, while Donte DiVincenzo logged just 14 minutes off the bench. Coach Mike Budenholzer could well opt for the same arrangement if Bledsoe sits.
Other injuries to monitor:
Luc Mbah a Moute, HOU (knee)- QUESTIONABLE
Deonte Burton, OKC (illness)- QUESTIONABLE
Gabe Vincent, MIA (shoulder)- QUESTIONABLE
Chris Silva, MIA (pelvis)- OUT
We have once again have Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11.5K) and James Harden ($11.4K) as the only two five-figure salary players Wednesday. Each should be in for their typically robust workload, with Harden potentially set for one of his top-end games in what could certainly be a wild Game 7. Then, it's also worth noting Antetokounmpo posted his lowest fantasy-point tally of the postseason yet in Game 1, as he compiled 43.5 FD points over 36 minutes. While the 18 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists that got him there would normally be considered an excellent performance for many players, it didn't come close to paying off the big man's salary.
Below that top duo, Jimmy Butler ($9K) has seen a $500 price bump after recording 53.8 FD points in a magnificent Game 1 effort that included a career playoff-best 40 points. Russell Westbrook ($8.8K) saw a $600 price drop after failing to hit 30 FD points in his first two games back from a quad injury, but a surge could be on the horizon. Like Harden, Westbrook could be in for a big Game 7, and he did put together a much better 8-for-15 shooting effort in Game 6 after draining just three of 13 attempts in Game 5. Chris Paul ($8.2K) also sports the same price as he did Monday, and the high stakes of Game 7 could also lead him to significantly outpace his salary again after he furnished 49.9 FD points in Game 6.
All of the players just listed in the prior section are certainly going to be on plenty of rosters, along with many of the talented mid-priced players with secure roles such as Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Khris Middleton, Goran Dragic and Dennis Schroder. With Bledsoe as the only potential absence of note, there won't be any injury-influenced chalk with possible exception of George Hill if he draws a second straight start in his place.
As usual, I've also compiled the names of some sub-$6K value plays that should also find themselves on plenty of rosters and listed them under the next section.
Jae Crowder, MIA vs. MIL ($4,700)
I'm sticking with both of my value picks from Monday, even though Crowder was a bit of a disappointment due in large part to his four turnovers. Otherwise, he was serviceable in a complementary role with nine points and nine rebounds across 34 minutes, and although I would have ideally liked to see his price come down some, Crowder certainly has the ability to vault over his Game 1 tally. The versatile wing delivered at least a 5x return on his current salary on 36 occasions, including in two of the four games of the just-concluded first-round series against the Pacers.
Darius Bazley, OKC vs. HOU ($3,600)
Bazley's price also remains locked in from Monday, but in his case, it's a welcome sight after the rookie provided a strong 22.3 FD points over 22 minutes in Game 6. Bazley has now encouragingly logged over 20 minutes in each of the last two games, and he could once again enjoy a solid role off the bench Wednesday in a favorable matchup against a Rockets squad allowing the fifth-highest offensive efficiency rating (26.7) and seventh-highest three-point shooting percentage (36.6) to power forwards, and that's tied with two other teams for most rebounds per game surrendered to opposing second units (17.8).
Popular value plays to consider: Danilo Gallinari, OKC ($5,800); Brook Lopez, MIL ($5,700); Steven Adams, OKC ($5,500); Danilo Gallinari, OKC ($5,500); Tyler Herro, MIA ($5,200); Jeff Green, HOU ($5,100); Danuel House, HOU ($5,000); P.J. Tucker, HOU ($4,800); Duncan Robinson, MIA ($4,500); George Hill, MIL ($4,400)