This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
Although we strive to give you our best endorsements daily, there is a worthwhile strategy to follow when approaching these late-season slates. It's almost always better to choose players who have something to play for, even if the game totals or spreads aren't ideal. There will be more volatility in rotations for teams out of the playoffs, and the only exception to the above rule is a potential minutes reduction for an elite player. Thankfully, that kind of news will almost always be reported, so you'll be able to identify elites that will play their full complement of minutes. Let's begin with today's odds and lines.
WAS @ ATL (-7.5) O/U: 236
IND @ CLE (+8.5) O/U: 230.5
NOR @ MEM (-9) O/U: 229
MIL @ SAS (+7) O/U: 233.5
UTA @ GSW (+3) O/U: 227
HOU @ POR (-15) O/U: 238.5
(odds and lines are best available USA numbers and are subject to change)
Games To Target in BOLD
Games to Fade in ITALIC
WAS Bradley Beal (hamstring) - OUT
IND Malcolm Brogdon (hamstring) - QUESTIONABLE
Brogdon's injury is still out there. Aaron Holiday ($4,600) appears to be a slight favorite as a pivot over T.J. McConnell, who has gotten a bit too expensive. We'll discuss our favorite Indiana plays shortly.
CLE Darius Garland (ankle) - QUESTIONABLE
CLE Cedi Osman (ankle) - QUESTIONABLE
NOR Zion Williamson (finger) - OUT
NOR Brandon Ingram (ankle) - QUESTIONABLE
The Pelicans won't make the playoffs at this point, so it seems unlikely that the team would force Ingram out there. I like Jaxson Hayes ($5,600), James Johnson ($4,400) and Naji Marshall ($4,800) as pivots in this matchup.
UTA Donovan Mitchell (ankle) - OUT
UTA Mike Conley (hamstring) - OUT
We're already all too familiar with this situation by now. I still favor Bogdan Bogdanovic ($6,100) as the best upside player, but Jordan Clarkson ($7,400) and Joe Ingles ($6,200) also deserve serious consideration.
GSW Kelly Oubre (wrist) - OUT
HOU Christian Wood (ankle) - QUESTIONABLE
HOU Kelly Olynyk (ankle) - QUESTIONABLE
HOU Kevin Porter (ankle) - OUT
Give Kenyon Martin ($7,100) more run in the frontcourt, and utilize Khyri Thomas ($4,800) for Porter. Houston will again be on a tight rotation, so even guys like Armoni Brooks ($4,500) will receive significant minutes.
Russell Westbrook ($12,500) continues to see his salary rise, and it looks like he's in yet another exploitable spot against Atlanta. The game checks all the boxes: a high projected total, a reasonable spread and prime motivation to win for the Wizards all point toward another triple-double for Westbrook. He's joined at the $10k threshold by three of the usual suspects. Stephen Curry ($10,300) has the toughest matchup against the Jazz, but the Warriors need every win to seal their entry to the playoffs, and Utah is still struggling without Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley. Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,300) plays a role in what should be one of the most competitive games on the slate, and although he normally shows up in that game script, the Bucks will be looking for spots to sit their All-Star, and it might make his salary point untenable. Domantas Sabonis ($10,700) has done nothing but smash over the past few games, with a triple-double average over the past five contests. He's in an excellent spot against the Cavaliers. Of the $10k group, I'll rank Sabonis at the top, followed by Westbrook, Curry and Giannis.
Due to the size of the slate, we'll extend down into the $8k range for this section. Two players stick out right away in this range. Damian Lillard ($9,500) will look to solidify his team's place in the playoffs against the lowly Rockets, and if you want to go cheaper for a piece of this game, CJ McCollum ($7,600) should be able to reach value. The second player that stands out is Caris LeVert ($8,800), who is at an incredible salary relative to his recent production. Over the past couple weeks, few players have made more shot attempts than LeVert, and the slashing sharpshooter should have wide-open lanes against Cleveland. The final player I favor in this range is DeMar DeRozan ($8,200), who needs to put up a massive total to keep the Spurs on target for a playoff berth.
Also consider: Trae Young, ATL ($8,400) vs. WAS
Draymond Green, GSW ($7,900) vs. UTA
Green plays at his best when a lot is on the line, and this is a great opportunity for the Warriors to put playoff teams on notice. While Curry is the big difference-maker, Green makes the defense's heart pump and can deliver the ball effectively, and a value-breaking total of 40 FP is all he needs to be worthwhile.
Bogdan Bogdanovic, ATL ($7,300) vs. WAS
You're good with either Bogdanovic (Utah's Bojan being the other), and several of my builds have both of them in what's definitely the weakest position on FanDuel tonight. The Hawks could end up anywhere between fourth and sixth in the conference, and the team would probably prefer a matchup against the Heat. If that's true, then they are definitely motivated to win, and Bogdanovic will be critical in that effort. He's put up 34 or more FP in four consecutive games.
Jae'Sean Tate, HOU ($6,200) @ POR
Although this will probably be another notch in the L column for Houston, the boosted usage in the Rockets' incredibly slim rotation gives every Houston player the potential for value. Tate has one of the more reliable floors of anyone on the roster. He'll have a better total if Christian Wood stays out of the lineup, but he'll make things happen independent of Wood's status.
Also consider: Rudy Gobert, UTA ($7,900) @ GSW
As the season nears its end, value will open up more frequency during the day due to rest scenarios and lineup experiments for lottery teams. We provided some great value spots in the Injuries section, but here are a few more options to fill out your lineups.
Eric Bledsoe, NOR ($5,700) @ MEM
The Pelicans are a tough team to nail down since they have little to play for, but they've been giving Bledsoe every opportunity to post hefty numbers. His 24/11/4 line against the Hornets marked one of his better totals of the season, and although the team may opt to give Nickeil Alexander-Walker more playing time, the youngster is a bit too expensive. Bledsoe could surge well above 5x value at this salary level.
Jaren Jackson, MEM ($5,500) vs. NOR
The Grizzlies need a win to solidify their berth in the play-in tourney, and they also need Jackson to make some waves if they actually gain one of the lower seeds in the playoff bracket. Jackson is still adjusting to playing a full complement of minutes, and his touch should improve with every game. We've already seen glimpses of his upside, and his current salary makes him a great tournament target.
Doug McDermott, IND ($4,000) @ CLE
You shouldn't stick McDermott and Sabonis together in a lineup, but McDermott looks a lot more attractive if the game gets out of hand, as expected. Recency bias should keep his roster rate way down because his totals over the past week aren't great, but clicking on a player who is starting on a team that's motivated to win is hard to pass up, especially at this price.