This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
We've got a massive 11-game slate to tackle today. Let's get right to it!
(Odds provided by FanDuel Sportsbook and are subject to change)
Games/Teams to Target in BOLD
Games/Teams to Fade in ITALIC
HOU @ IND (-2), O/U: 226.5
CLE @ ORL (-6), O/U: 213
WAS @ PHI (-6.5), O/U: 231
CHA @ ATL (-6), O/U: 232
BOS @ MIA (-2.5), O/U: 218
UTA @ NYK (+6), O/U: 214.5
DET @ MIL (-13.5), O/U: 226.5
OKC @ NOR (-8.5), O/U: 212.5
TOR @ PHO (-3.5), O/U: 217
LAC @ GSW (+5), O/U: 232
CHI @ SAC (-6.5), O/U: 231.5
BACK-TO BACK TEAMS: Clippers, Jazz, Bulls
With large slates, you have a lot more room for uniqueness in your lineups, and it's an ideal time to fire up several multi-entry contests if you're new to a MME strategy. Our lineup optimizer is a great place to start. As you can see, I'm targeting the faster games on the slate, and it's usually better to use a Vegas metric to narrow down your focus when 11 games are out there.
Kawhi Leonard (possible rest) - QUESTIONABLE
Paul George (ankle) - QUESTIONABLE
The designation isn't listed anywhere yet, but considering that Kawhi played on the front end of this back-to-back while Paul George ($9,000) sat, he may take a seat. That outcome is exponentially more likely if George is good to go. If George is in and Kawhi is out, George becomes a huge core play. I am also a fan of Lou Williams ($4,000) as a value play in Kawhi's place.
Marcus Smart (thumb) - QUESTIONABLE
If Smart is out again, I'm more likely to pivot to the remaining starters. There are a couple of deep values worth considering if you are loading up on elites, however. Payton Pritchard ($4,700) played 32 minutes and netted 34 FDFP in Smart's absence and is worth a roster spot if Smart is sidelined again.
Lauri Markkanen (COVID-19) - OUT
With Markannen locked out of the building, they've opted for Otto Porter ($5,600), and he's put up 30-plus FDFP in two straight games. A lot of the Bulls are overpriced on this back-to-back, but Porter's salary is nicely placed.
Evan Fournier (back) - QUESTIONABLE
Michael Carter-Williams (foot) OUT
ELITE PLAYERS ($9,000-plus)
The blowout risk is real for Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,400) and the Bucks tonight against Detroit. I never like Giannis in lopsided games, as his usage in these games eliminates almost any possibility to realize value with his salary. He's a fade for me on Wednesday. I'm also not too crazy about James Harden ($11,200), but I will definitely have some shares of his former teammate, Russell Westbrook ($10,700). The Wizards and Sixers combine for fast-paced potential on the slate, and grabbing Westbrook is my favorite guy above 10k. Bradley Beal ($10,000) is also acceptable, but his salary has risen to an almost prohibitive level. His floor is very dependable, but it won't beat 5x value at this salary level.
As we move down, Joel Embiid ($9,800) pops out as a potential core play, and once again, the pace of this game is the lure. Also, Thomas Bryant and the Wizards have struggled mightily against opposing centers so far, making Embiid an even stronger center option. Finally, Trae Young ($9,400) is another blue-chip play against Charlotte. He tore up the Knicks for almost 50 FDFP two days ago and is primed for a similar number.
Fred VanVleet, TOR ($8,000) @ PHO
VanVleet is currently on a merciless three-game tear, averaging 29 points, seven rebounds, and five assists over that span. He and Kyle Lowry ($7,500) were practically interchangeable to begin the season, but VanVleet has widened that gap with his superb play. I think you'll lose more value by dropping $500 to Lowry, especially tonight in what should be a speedy-paced affair.
De'Aaron Fox, SAC ($7,800) vs. CHI
There's a logjam at this salary range tonight, and it's also where a lot of the chalk plays reside. Fox is impossible to avoid given his salary and expected production, and it won't be long before he's living in the 8k range full-time. For now, I'm thrilled with his output at 7.8k. He's crushed value in three of his last four games and combined for 87 FDFP in the two-game series against Houston over the weekend.
Victor Oladipo, IND ($7,200) vs. HOU
His popularity is bound to rise after six quality games to begin the season. For whatever reason, he hasn't caught on with a higher salary despite a usage rate that hovers around 28 percent on a nightly basis. He's also beaten 5x value in five out of six games. Oladipo is back and is still an excellent value right now.
LaMelo Ball, CHA ($6,900) @ ATL
I knew I would hit someone on the Hornets roster in this fast-paced game against the Hawks. It was merely a matter of which guard I'd choose, and I ultimately put a preference on Ball over Terry Rozier this evening. Ball is faring much better than Rozier over the past week, and he's put up a four-game average of 38.5 FDFP, which translates to 5.6 value relative to his salary. That's good enough for me.
VALUE PLAYS ($6,667 and below)
The vast majority of the pristine value lies in the injury section, but here are a few more target spots.
Clint Capela, ATL ($6,500) vs. CHA
I'm jumping on this play against the Hornets, and I rank Capela is my best pivot off of Embiid if you need the extra cash elsewhere. Bismack Biyombo has proven to be too inconsistent as an every-night center. Although PJ Washington is there to shore up the interior, I think the one-two punch of Capela and John Collins ($6,800) will overwhelm Charlotte's defense.
Mikal Bridges, PHO ($5,500) vs. TOR
If Chris Paul, Devin Booker or Deandre Ayton evade me, I want to get a piece of this game, and Bridges' salary allows for that. Although reaching value has been a bit of a problem, he's come close in almost every game, and in Phoenix's current offensive scheme, he sees around 35 minutes per game. His usage is a little low for my taste, but this game is paced well enough for Bridges to excel.
Buddy Hield, SAC ($5,200) vs. CHI
The Bulls have been very generous to opposing shooting guards, so Hield is in a prime position to shine. His salary has plummeted due to a few lackluster performances, but there's no telling when this sharpshooter will go off and pop a significant number. It's an excellent opportunity tonight at home.