This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
Wednesday's nine-game slate will require some close attention as we get closer to 7:00 p.m. ET due to several game-time calls for multiple players. This is also when starting lineups start to get a little funky, as teams in playoff contention tend to rest players, and teams out of the playoff hunt start to kick the tires on lesser-used players.
(Odds and lines are best available USA numbers and are subject to change)
Games to Target in BOLD
Games to Fade in ITALIC
BOS @ ORL (+10.5) O/U: 219
POR @ CLE (+11) O/U: 225.5
PHO @ ATL (+1.5) O/U: 227.5
PHI @ HOU (+15) O/U: 226
SAC @ IND (-5.5) O/U: 239.5
MEM @ MIN (+4.5) O/U: 236.5
WAS @ MIL (-6.5) O/U: 241.5
SAS @ UTA (-7) O/U: 222.5
NYK @ DEN (-3) O/U: 214
BACK-TO-BACK GAMES: Cleveland, Sacramento, Phoenix, Milwaukee
BOS Jaylen Brown (ankle) - OUT
BOS Tristan Thompson (pectoral) - QUESTIONABLE
After that nasty collision with Jayson Tatum in their last game, Brown will be out after being carried off the floor. Tatum came out fine and is a full go. We will discuss him in a minute. I will take a short trip to Valuetown and put out my budget pick of the night with Aaron Nesmith ($5,000). The rookie out of Vanderbilt has seen his minutes spike over the past three games and has provided solid rebound numbers. He's currently next up on the depth chart behind Brown, so there should be 30 minutes from him tonight. Robert Williams ($5,400) is back to full health and should start over Thompson tonight.
ORL Terrence Ross (back) - OUT
ORL Chuma Okeke (ankle) - OUT
ORL James Ennis (calf) - OUT
ORL Michael Carter-Williams - OUT
Both Boston and Orlando are snake-bit with injuries, so this game could be closer than advertised. I will give you my SECOND ultra-budget pick, and that's Ignas Brazdeikis ($4,000). The one-and-done Michigan standout has found himself some opportunity on an injury-riddled team with no playoff prospects, so expect the Magic to use his 10-day contract to maximum effect. Otherwise, you could do a lot worse than Cole Anthony ($5,800) with multiple playmakers absent.
CLE Darius Garland (ankle) - QUESTIONABLE
For some reason, Cleveland is a spooky spot for me, as instinct tells me that we might see massive rest and some great budget calls as a result. Right now, the only consequential player we have with a tag is Garland, and Isaac Okoro ($4,200) will likely handle those duties.
PHO Jae Crowder (ankle) - QUESTIONABLE
PHI Furkan Korkmaz (ankle) - OUT
Expect slightly better output from Shake Milton ($4,600) tonight with Korkmaz out.
HOU - MULTIPLE ABSENCES
For the remainder of the season, the Rockets will play with an extremely tight rotation, so you can expect big minutes from all of their starters. We'll give some favorites a mention later in the article.
SAC De'Aaron Fox (COVID-19 protocols) - QUESTIONABLE
SAC Tyrese Haliburton (knee) - OUT FOR SEASON
SAC Harrison Barnes (groin) - QUESTIONABLE
The big story here is Delon Wright ($5,200). He put up 60 FP as a replacement for Haliburton and came just shy of a triple-double. We saw his upside during his tenure with Detroit, and he couldn't find a better spot to show off than this scenario. Even though this is a back-to-back, there aren't many other options available, although we will see a bit more of Terence Davis ($3,800) as well. Both of these guys are in excellent spots. If Barnes remains out, Marvin Bagley ($6,500) will once again log more time at power forward.
IND Malcolm Brogdon (hamstring) - QUESTIONABLE
IND Myles Turner (toe) - OUT
IND Edmond Sumner (knee) - QUESTIONABLE
IND Jeremy Lamb (knee) - QUESTIONABLE
IND Goga Bitadze (ankle) - QUESTIONABLE
IND JaKarr Sampson (concussion) - OUT
Despite the excellent spot against the Kings, the Pacers seem entirely too volatile, save one or two guys that we'll touch on later. It's a fool's errand to predict Brogdon's status and even more foolhardy to prognosticate what T.J. McConnell might do if Brogdon sits. There are so many more reliable values on this site, and it's better to stay away from anything risky on this team tonight.
MIL - POSSIBLE REST CANDIDATES
Back-to-backs this close to the playoffs can be dangerous. Keep a very close eye on the Bucks because we may see multiple absences, with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday as the top two candidates. On the chance that this happens, Bryn Forbes ($4,900) and Bobby Portis ($6,300) would be valuable pivots.
SAS Derrick White, SAS (ankle) - OUT FOR SEASON
Right now, it seems like the team is willing to allow Devin Vassell ($4,000) to show his stuff, so he will be the likely starter for White once again. Vassel's salary is just low enough to warrant consideration despite the potential for volatility.
UTA Donovan Mitchell (ankle) - OUT
UTA Mike Conley (hamstring) - OUT
We're already well-versed on this situation, but Jordan Clarkson ($6,500) has endured some recent shooting struggles, and while he's fine, I like Bojan Bogdanovic's ($5,700) upside much more. While he is heavily shot-dependent, he's heaving up an immense number of attempts, and many of them are falling. He's averaged 27 points over his past three games.
NYK Nerlens Noel (ankle) - QUESTIONABLE
Although Taj Gibson ($4,600) had a poor shooting night as Noel's replacement, he somehow managed to get to 37 FP thanks to 12 rebounds and five blocks. His PF eligibility makes him a decent value play if Noel sits again.
We're extremely top-heavy tonight with six players at 10k or above. While Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,400) is in an excellent pace-up spot against the Wizards, we mentioned the rest possibility for the Bucks, so he's more of a game-time call. He's difficult to swap due to his hefty price.
For the umpteenth time, you can't go wrong with Russell Westbrook ($11,200), who continues to put up video-game numbers. He posted a ridiculous 24 assists and 21 rebounds against the Pacers Monday night, and I don't see the needle going down on the production meter, especially when you consider possible rest for Milwaukee and Washington's chance at a playoff spot.
Another guy who's crushing it is Domantas Sabonis ($10,300). He's put up totals of 68 and 71 FP since his return from injury and is the only hope for the injury-riddled Pacers as they limp toward an uncertain playoff future. Jayson Tatum ($10,100) and Karl-Anthony Towns ($10,000) are fine plays, but we can go cheaper than Towns and reap decent value without him. The same is true for Nikola Jokic ($10,900), who will do his usual standout work but is a pace-down against the Knicks and could find himself frequently resting as the playoffs approach. Tatum should get moderate MME exposure due to the absence of Jaylen Brown, although he's a little cost-prohibitive at five figures. For the top options, I would go with Sabonis and Westbrook.
The 9k range is a little lighter than usual. Joel Embiid ($9,600) stands out at this salary against a hapless Houston squad. To a lesser extent, Julius Randle ($9,700). He fared well against the Nuggets, with a 29/10 game against them earlier in the season, so while the price is a little high, he's definitely in the MME pool. I'm not compelled to go Damian Lillard or Christian Wood's direction tonight, and Bradley Beal's shot dependence remains too difficult to nail down. I predict low roster rates for this trio, so there is some merit to sprinkling them into a few tournaments.
Rudy Gobert, UTA ($8,4000) vs. SAS
Gobert remains too inexpensive, and we already saw what he could do against the Spurs two days ago with a monstrous 55 FP performance. There's no doubt that Gregg Popovich will devise some scheme to contain him, but there are few ways to combat his defensive prowess. Another double-double is a fairly safe bet against the Spurs tonight, and anything above 42 FP would be an upside bonus.
Caris LeVert, IND ($8,400) vs. SAC
LeVert is worth an independent mention, but he becomes a virtual lock if Brogdon sits again. LeVert and Sabonis will have to carry the load and pull this game out to keep themselves in the playoff conversation, and you can count on LeVert to put the ball up early and often. He managed 33 points on a prolific 28 shot attempts two days ago against the Wizards, and Brogdon's absence will almost guarantee similar shot volume. He's a force to be reckoned with on his own, but reduce his exposure by a few percentage points if Brogdon suits up.
Anthony Edwards, MIN ($8,000) vs. MEM
After hitting a rookie wall, Edwards has found his shooting stroke once again. The rookie is an exciting addition to any DFS roster because he's so fun to watch, but the recent numbers support an addition as well. The game total against Memphis is high, and he's exceeded 40 FP in three of his last five games, which is the target number we are looking for at this price.
Tobias Harris, PHI ($7,500) @ HOU
Harris has taken his time to rev back up to his usual production, but a nice 39 FP showing against the Bulls is ample evidence that he can beat value at his current price. He's usually a cheap way to get involved with the Sixers in an exploitable game, although his return from a three-game absence was tepid at best. His minutes and production are trending up now, making him a much safer bet.
Kevin Porter, HOU ($6.900) vs. PHI
I had the opportunity to watch some of Sunday's game against the Knicks, and it is remarkable how Porter can get involved in almost every play with this short-handed rotation. This is a tough matchup against Philly, but the team is coming off multiple days of rest, and Porter is good for at least 35 minutes on a nightly basis. He's appropriately priced and a bargain if he can hit his ceiling.
As usual, we have numerous value calls in the injury section, with Nesmith, Brazdeikis, Davis and Wright as my top four from that part of the column. We have several other players at or below FanDuel's median price, so let's keep going with some other selections.
Kyle Anderson, MEM ($6,200) @ MIN
Anderson can often be a low-rostered afterthought, but the veteran is doggedly consistent in a usually difficult spot to fill on FanDuel. He's quietly exceeded 30 FP for three consecutive games, and he does it with a solid contribution in almost every category. Unfortunately, we've had to temper our expectations for the Grizzlies this season, but the game total is sky-high and should be a good opportunity for Anderson relative to his salary. Dillon Brooks ($5,500) would be a lower-priced way to go, and there's a shot that they'll have similar production in this pace-up game.
Marcus Smart, BOS ($6,200) @ ORL
Unlike Nesmith, who is a bit of a dart throw, Smart is a much more reliable producer when Brown is absent. He's a better pivot for Brown in cash games, and he's been on a bit of a tear after getting booted for one game last week. Even with Brown in the lineup, Smart gets over 30 minutes regularly. But look for enhanced shot volume from him tonight.
Moritz Wagner, ORL ($4,900) vs. BOS
This is a hard one because you'd expect a guy who plays 41 minutes to do a lot more than Wagner did Monday. Although the Orlando roster is all muddled up, and it's a crapshoot as to whether Wagner will get a similar minute allotment, you'd have to expect a better outcome for him, because frankly, it couldn't get any worse. Shot volume wasn't really the problem – he just wasn't hitting many of them. The door is still open for him due to injuries, but I'd almost prefer to go with Brazdeikis here because it's an equal risk for a lower price.
Raul Neto, WAS ($4,400) @ MIL
Some may scoff at this call, but relative to his salary, Neto is not a bad way to go. They've pretty much committed to Beal at the three now, and Neto is overlooked as the other half of the Wizards' backcourt. He's now beaten 5x value in three consecutive games, and if the Bucks sit multiple players (especially Holiday), Neto could find himself in an exploitable spot.