NBA DFS Breakdown: Is LeBron Worth the Price?

NBA DFS Breakdown: Is LeBron Worth the Price?

This article is part of our NBA DFS Breakdown series.

We have a loaded 11-game slate Wednesday, with four matchups exceeding a 230 over/under. The Pelicans-Lakers matchup has the highest expected total of the night, checking in at 239.5. On the other extreme, two games have below a 230 over/under -- Bulls-Grizzlies and Pacers-Mavericks. There is little expectation for blowouts, as no matchup features a double-digit spread.

Let's dive into each game:

Rockets at Hornets

Over/Under: 227.5
Spread: HOU (-5.0)
Notable Injuries
HOU: Nene Hilario (rest) - Questionable
CHA: Marvin Williams (toe) - Available

James Harden's streak of 30-point games has come to an end, and he'll attempt to start a new streak Wednesday, as the Rockets (14-16 away) look for their third straight win. The Hornets come in grasping at straws, having won just one of the past five games. Still, home-court advantage has oddsmakers pegging this as a close game, with Houston favored by just five points.

We should acknowledge that while Chris Paul has, at times, has looked over-the-hill this season, that his recent production suggests he's ready for a playoff push. He's averaging 18.8 points, 9.6 assists, 5.6 rebounds and 2.0 steals (44.4 FP) over the past eight games. Maybe even more interesting, at least from a DFS standpoint, is Kenneth Faried working in tandem with Clint Capela. In three games since returning from injury, Capela has seen 31.7 minutes per night. However, Faried has managed to share some time on the court with Capela, garnering 22.3 minutes per game over that stretch. And Faried is averaging 30.6 FP during those contests.

Kemba Walker, Cody Zeller, Nicolas Batum and Jeremy Lamb have been playing great basketball over the past four games, though it's only led to one victory. Each player has gone for 30-plus FP in two of those matchups, with Cody Zeller reaching the high point of 58.8 FP. And though Miles Bridges has been moved into the starting five, it hasn't made much of a difference in his production, as he's averaging 8.3 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.7 steals in 22.0 minutes since the change.

Timberwolves at Hawks

Over/Under: 236.5
Spread: MIN (-4.5)
Notable Injuries
MIN: Jeff Teague (knee) - Questionable; Robert Covington (knee) - Out
ATL: None

The Wolves (9-21 away) have been rolling lately, winning four of the past five games, losing only to Milwaukee. On the other hand, the Hawks (10-18 home) have won just two of the past five, but one of those was a quality victory over the Lakers. There aren't many injuries to take advantage of here, but a high over/under makes this an intriguing game to look at for DFS purposes.

The Wolves could be without the services of Jeff Teague for a second straight contest. Tyus Jones was the main beneficiary during Monday's win over the Kings, seeing 31 minutes and posting 39.2 FP. Also, Karl-Anthony Towns had one of the best games of the night, going for 68.7 FP. If Teague remains out, some deep, low-owned pivots include Luol Deng and Anthony Tolliver, but DFS users would probably have more success gambling on the potential of a great Andrew Wiggins performance.

Trae Young has been cooking over the past five games, averaging 25.4 points, 10.2 assists and 3.6 rebounds (44.2 FP), and he dropped a career-high 36 points against the Rockets on Monday. Though the Hawks have gone 2-3 over that stretch, Young's great play seems to have inspired quality outings from his teammates. Both John Collins and Dewayne Dedmon have multiple 30-plus FP outings over the past five, with Dedmon notably going for 51.6 FP against the Suns. Atlanta will also be getting Taurean Prince back following a one-game absence. He dropped 43.6 FP against the Suns, though has been spotty as of late.

Wizards at Nets

Over/Under: 238.0
Spread: BKN (-5.5)
Notable Injuries
WAS: Dwight Howard (back) - Out;
BKN: Spencer Dinwiddie (thumb) - Out

The Wizards (7-24 away) will attempt to turn things around Wednesday after losing four straight games, while the Nets (18-14 home) look to build upon their recent five-game record of 3-2. There are virtually no relevant injuries in this game, but a staggering over/under makes this matchup tough to ignore in DFS.

Bobby Portis started and played 17 minutes during Saturday's loss to the Pacers, which is the perfect metaphor for trying to find DFS value on the Wizards. Sure, we know Bradley Beal is a quality cash option, but he's nearly been priced out of contention for GPPs, and playing him on any given night is chalky. If you're a DFS user that invests in multiple lineups, you'll want some exposure to Wizards players. But if you play one lineup, you might want to stay away from the inconsistency. Ironically, your best bet for the Wizards for Wednesday's slate might be playing Portis, hoping people jumped ship after his previous performance.

From a DFS perspective, the Nets actually aren't too different from the Wizards -- there's one clear-cut option and a bunch of dart throws. Other than D'Angelo Russell, only one player has seen 30-plus minutes in two of the three games since the All-Star Break, and that's Joe Harris. But Harris has only averaged 24.3 FP during this stretch. Your best chances of value are probably Jarrett Allen or Caris LeVert, but I wouldn't feel safe putting either into my lineup.

Warriors at Heat

Over/Under: 223.0
Spread: GS (-9.5)
Notable Injuries
GSW: DeMarcus Cousins (rest) - Out; Jordan Bell (illness) - Probable
MIA: Derrick Jones (illness) - Probable; Justise Winslow (knee) - Probable; James Johnson (shoulder) - Questionable; Rodney McGruder (knee) - Questionable

The Warriors (20-9 away) check into Wednesday's action winners of seven of the past 10, but Golden State will be missing DeMarcus Cousins, which has caused the spread to tighten. On the other side of the matchup, the Heat (11-18 home) have lost eight of the past 10 and are quickly slipping out of the Eastern Conference playoff picture. There are a few injuries to monitor on the Heat's side, which could open up DFS value.

Cousins will sit this one out for rest, as it comes on the first half of a back-to-back set, and he just played 30-plus minutes for the first time all season Monday. When Cousins took his first rest day this season, Kevon Looney drew the start, and he posted two points, eight rebounds, three assists and two blocks in 24 minutes. Both Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant dropped 30-plus points, while Klay Thompson struggled, going 2-for-16 in one of his worst showings of the year.

None of the players on Miami's injury report played Monday against the Suns, but Miami is expected to get Derrick Jones and Justise Winslow back. The result will probably mark a reduction in minutes for Kelly Olynyk (41) and Duncan Robinson (22), and it's possible we see Hassan Whiteside -- 40-plus FP over the past two games -- slip back into a reduced role. Injuries aside, we should note that Dwyane Wade and Dion Waiters have both put together some quality performances, with each player going for 30-plus FP in two of the past four games.

Bulls at Grizzlies

Over/Under: 216.0
Spread: MEM (-3.5)
Notable Injuries
CHI: Otto Porter (lower leg) - Probable; Kris Dunn (head) - Probable; Chandler Hutchison (toe) - Out; Wendell Carter (thumb) - Out
MEM: C.J. Miles (hip) - Questionable; Avery Bradley (ankle) - Probable; Ivan Rabb (heel) - Doubtful; Kyle Anderson (shoulder) - Out; Jaren Jackson (thigh) - Out

The Bulls (9-21 away), who have managed to split the past 10 games, have a pair of injuries worth keeping an eye on that could significantly affect value. Same goes for the Grizzlies (15-16 home), who are dealing with injuries of their own. Memphis has had less luck lately in terms of wins and losses, however, losing four of the past five contests. Despite the low over/under, injuries make this game enticing from a DFS perspective.

Neither Kris Dunn nor Otto Porter appeared in Monday's loss to the Bucks, prompting Lauri Markkanen, Zach LaVine and Robin Lopez to continue their hot streaks. Markkanen is averaging 47.8 FP over the past seven games, LaVine is at 43.0 FP over the same time period, and Lopez is averaging 34.0 FP across the past four. It's difficult to recommend any other options on the Bulls, and if Porter and/or Dunn return, the aforementioned trio all lose upside.

You know things have gotten weird in the NBA season when Avery Bradley and Joakim Noah are enticing DFS options -- Bradley has cooled off since his absurd Grizzlies debut, but I wanted to make a point. Jaren Jackson and Ivan Rabb's absences should lead to plenty of frontcourt usage from Noah (no fewer than 35 FP in the past three games) and Jonas Valanciunas (at least 39 FP in each of the past two). We also should sleep on the upside of Delon Wright, who has gone for 25-plus FP in three of the past five.

Trail Blazers at Celtics

Over/Under: 226.5
Spread: BOS (-2.5)
Notable Injuries
POR: Evan Turner (knee) - Out
BOS: Aron Baynes (foot) - Out

The Trail Blazers (13-15) have quickly risen up the Western Conference standings by winning seven of the past 10 games. They'll face a Celtics (23-8 home) team that is 5-5 over the past 10 and coming off a blowout loss Tuesday against the Raptors. While this game might be interesting from a real-life perspective, there isn't too much here in DFS that catches the eye.

The presence of Enes Kanter has all but obliterated the roles of Zach Collins and Meyers Leonard. The newly-acquired center is averaging 14.3 points, 7.7 boards and 2.0 assists (26.2 FP) across 20.0 minutes since joining the Blazers. Collins has played a total of 17 minutes in those three games. Aside from that situation, both C.J. McCollum and Maurice Harkless have come out of the All-Star break looking refreshed, with the former averaging 39.4 FP and the latter averaging 31.6 FP. With Evan Turner sidelined, both could continue seeing upticks in usage.

The Celtics come into this game following a devastating 118-95 loss to the Raptors on Tuesday. As a result of the blowout, no one on the team played more than 28 minutes, and Jaylen Brown led the way with 34.6 FP. At the very least, the team should be fresh for Wednesday's contest, so the fact that this contest marks the second half of a back-to-back doesn't mean as much as it normally would. Taking Tuesday's loss out of the equation, things have essentially been business as usual for the Celtics, so big value plays in DFS won't be easy to come by.

Pistons at Spurs

Over/Under: 220.5
Spread: SA (-4.0)
Notable Injuries
DET: None
SAS: None

With no notable injuries and a modest over/under, this game feels like it could be the most ignored of the night. That said, we should acknowledge the Pistons (11-17 home) winning eight of the past 10 games, making a push for the Eastern Conference playoffs. The opposite has been the case for the Spurs (22-7 home), who have lost seven of the past 10.

Andre Drummond's improved play as of late has helped vault the Pistons higher into the Eastern Conference standings. Over the past eight games, the center is averaging 23.8 points, 16.6 rebounds, 2.5 blocks, 2.3 steals and 1.0 assist (57.9 FP). Aside from Drummond's success, the story for the Pistons is mostly the same, with Blake Griffin functioning as the hub on offense, while everyone else provides inconsistent production. Luke Kennard's play over the past two games is worth highlighting, however, as he's totaled 65.3 FP across the pair of contests.

The Spurs are just 1-7 over the past eight games, and that's reflected in the up-and-down play of everyone on the roster. The assumption should be that the team will snap out of it eventually, but it's tough to invest in San Antonio players until that happens. Obviously, the entire team will be full of low-ownership, contrarian plays, but it's difficult to come out and endorse any specific players. If I had to bite the bullet, I'd go with DeMar DeRozan, as he's demonstrated that he has the highest upside on the team.

Pacers at Mavericks

Over/Under: 215.5
Spread: IND (-1.0)
Notable Injuries
IND: Tyreke Evans (illness) - Questionable; Domantas Sabonis (ankle) - Out
DAL: None

The Pacers (17-13 away) have brushed off the loss of Victor Oladipo, winning eight of the past 10 games. They'll look to push Dallas (20-10 home), who have lost seven of the past 10, farther down in the standings. Domantas Sabonis' absence makes things interesting here for DFS in what would otherwise be a gloss-over game.

For the Pacers, this game will be about overcoming Domantas Sabonis' absence, and dealing with the potential for Tyreke Evans to miss the game as well. The scenario sets up Bojan Bogdanovic and Kyle O'Quinn to have above-average outings. Bogdanovic has played the most minutes on the team without Sabonis (and Victor Oladipo) on the floor, and he sees a usage bump of 3.4 percent, along with a bump of 2.9 FP per 36 minutes. However, Kyle O'Quinn has a chance at a much bigger payoff. He's seen a bump of 16.1 minutes in the two prior games that Sabonis has missed, and he's averaged 36.0 FP in those outings. Regarding Evans, he hasn't crossed the 20-minute threshold over the past four games, so his absence probably won't open up a significant amount of fantasy value elsewhere, and it's possible the minutes get split between a variety of backcourt/wing players.

The new-look Mavericks played their first healthy post-All-Star-break game Monday, losing 121-112 to the Clippers. We got a dominant effort from Dwight Powell, however, as the center drew his first start of the season and posted 24 points, eight boards, four assists, two steals and two blocks (51.6 FP) across 37 minutes -- keeping hope alive for fantasy owners who have been wanting Powell to see more minutes since 2016. Luka Doncic did his best to keep up, but he could only muster a triple-double worth 49.0 FP. I don't think there's much value to be had on Dallas right now aside from that pair. You could throw darts at Dorian Finney-Smith and Tim Hardaway Jr., but those aren't hills I'd die on.

Clippers at Jazz

Over/Under: 227.5
Spread: UTA (-9.5)
Notable Injuries
LAC: Wilson Chandler (quad) - Out
UTA: Dante Exum (ankle) - Out

There are real implications at stake in this contest. A victory for the Jazz (19-10 home) would clinch a series win, giving the team a tiebreaker as the two teams battle for playoff positioning. Both squads are 6-4 over their past 10 games, and the Clippers check in with a 17-16 record on the road. Even with a medium-to-high over/under and few injuries, this game might be worth targeting, as it should be a highly-charged matchup.

The Clippers have four players with tangible 30-plus FP upside right now, and they are Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell, Danilo Gallinari and Patrick Beverley. The decision to trade Tobias Harris has left Williams and Gallinari as LA's undisputed scoring tandem, while Harrell and Beverley scrap together fantasy points as top-tier role players. That said, I'm beginning to question if I really consider Harrell a role player, as he just dropped a career-high 32 points in 29 minutes, and he's averaging 35.0 FP over the past 13 games. Since Beverley became a starter 17 games ago, he's averaging 9.7 points, 7.1 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.3 steals (30.3 FP) in 32.6 minutes.

Six players on the Jazz have gone for 35-plus FP over the past two games, which hardly seems possible until you consider one of those games was a double-OT thriller against the Thunder. Ultimately, I don't have any new takes on the Jazz for DFS purposes. They are who we thought they were, aside from maybe Joe Ingles' regression. In this matchup specifically, I'm interested in Rudy Gobert, as the Clippers allow the third-most blocks and seventh-most total rebounds to opposing teams, while giving the 11th-most field-goal attempts at the rim.

Bucks at Kings

Over/Under: 235.0
Spread: MIL (-6.0)
Notable Injuries
MIL: Giannis Antetokounmpo (knee) - Probable; Sterling Brown (wrist) - Questionable; George Hill (groin) - Out
SAC: None

The Kings (19-11 home), who are 6-4 over the past 10, will look to defend home court against the Bucks (21-9 away), who check in having lost just one game over the past 10 outings. Giannis is expected to make his return after just a one-game absence, though the tight spread suggests oddsmakers might have some doubts. Regardless, a sizeable over/under makes this game worth exploring in DFS.

Sans Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks forged a 117-106 win over the Bulls on Monday, playing nobody more than 28 minutes (Pat Connaughton). It would be surprising if Antetokounmpo sat for a second straight game, but we should lightly prepare for the scenario, as the Bucks probably wouldn't bowl over Sacramento as easily as they did Chicago. We do run into a slight problem, though, as the Bucks have played just one competitive game in Giannis' five absences. Milwaukee lost one game by 20, won three by 11-plus, and lost by seven to Washington -- the competitive game. As expected, in that contest, Khris Middleton (25 points, eight rebounds, three assists and one steal), Eric Bledsoe (18 points, nine assists, eight rebounds and three steals) and Malcolm Brogdon (15 points, eight assists, six rebounds and a block) led the charge.

Sacramento caught their fair share of flak when drafting Marvin Bagley, namely for doing so over Luka Doncic. But Bagley has shown steady improvement as the season has gone along. He's gone for at least 40 FP in four of the past five games, averaging 23.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 1.4 assists and a combined 2.2 blocks/steals over that stretch. Buddy Hield and De'Aaron Fox have also had some standout performances over the past four games, with the former averaging 36.9 FP and the latter averaging 38.1 FP. In looking for upside on the Kings side of this matchup, that trio seems to be your safest bet.

Pelicans at Lakers

Over/Under: 239.5
Spread: LAL (-5.5)
Notable Injuries
NOP: Darius Miller (ankle) - Probable
LAL: Lonzo Ball (ankle) - Out

This rematch will be a little different than the last time these two teams played just last week, as Anthony Davis will be available. Neither team has found success lately, with the Lakers (17-12 home) winning four of the past 10, and the Pelicans (9-23 away) winning three of the past 10. There are virtually no injuries to take advantage of here, but a sky-high over/under means someone is bound to exceed value.

Anthony Davis didn't play during these teams' previous meeting Saturday, but all signs are pointing to him participating in Tuesday's matchup in Los Angeles, which will surely go unnoticed in the news cycle. Despite seeing just 19.0 minutes per game across his past three appearances, AD is averaging 33.5 FP. That's clearly great production on a per-minute basis, but his upside is too low for me to consider at the price most DFS sites are asking. In the three games since the All-Star break, five other players -- Jrue Holiday, Julius Randle, Elfrid Payton, Kenrich Williams and Cheick Diallo -- have gone for 30-plus FP at least once. In cases like this, DFS owners focused on GPP upside could take a chance on the lowest-priced option of the group.

Should LeBron be playing 40-plus minutes per night? No. But should we exploit it for DFS profit? Yes. Over the past four games, LeBron is garnering 40.5 minutes per night, averaging 27.0 points, 11.3 assists, 10.5 rebounds and 2.8 steals (63.2 FP). And it appears Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma have settled into comfort zones alongside LeBron. Since the All-Star break, the former is averaging 41.3 FP, while the latter is averaging 33.2 FP. Two gut-punch losses to New Orleans and Memphis aside, we may finally be able to trust someone outside of LeBron on the Lakers in DFS, even if team success hasn't followed.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Alex Barutha plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel Username: unclestosh99, DraftKings Username: Roto_Alex.
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Alex Barutha
Alex is RotoWire's Chief NBA Editor. He writes articles about daily fantasy, year-long fantasy and sports betting. You can hear him on the RotoWire NBA Podcast, Sirius XM, VSiN and other platforms. He firmly believes Robert Covington is the most underrated fantasy player of the past decade.
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