NBA DFS Breakdown: MVP Candidates Clash in Houston

NBA DFS Breakdown: MVP Candidates Clash in Houston

This article is part of our NBA DFS Breakdown series.

There are a solid 10 games Wednesday and multiple teams on the second half of back-to-backs. There are a handful of stars to choose from, with five players priced at or above $10,000. Let's take a look at some extremes from a game script perspective:

Highest over/under: PHI at WAS (228.0)
Lowest over/under: SAS at MEM (205.0)
Largest spread: CLE at NOP (-14.0)
Smallest spread: MIL (-1.0) at HOU

Time to dive into each contest:

Pacers at Celtics

Over/Under: 213.0
Spread: BOS (-6.5)
Cash Plays: Kyrie Irving ($8,400); Domantas Sabonis ($7,000); Al Horford ($6,500)
GPP Plays: Victor Oladipo ($8,300); Thaddeus Young ($5,700); Bojan Bogdanovic ($5,400)
Notable Injuries
IND: Myles Turner (shoulder) - Doubtful
BOS: Aron Baynes (hand) - Out

Both teams come into Wednesday's matchup having won four of the past five contests. However, Boston (14-5 at home) appears to have the advantage over Indiana (13-8 on the road), as the Pacers are on the second half of a back-to-back set and are expected to be without Myles Turner for a third straight game. Domantas Sabonis figures to start in his stead once again.

The Celtics are coming off a win over Brooklyn on Monday, where four players -- Kyrie Irving, Jayson Tatum, Al Horford and Marcus Smart -- racked up at least 30 fantasy points. Despite being on a minutes restriction of about 25, Monday marked Al Horford's third straight game with at least 32.0 FP. Overall, however, with essentially everyone back healthy for the Celtics, it's harder to predict who might have a big game for DFS purposes, as Boston's offense is so egalitarian.

Following a massive outing of 60.4 FP against the Bulls, Victor Oladipo has totaled 48.8 FP over the past two games. Other members of the Pacers have stepped up in a big way. Over the same two-game stretch, Thaddeus Young has totaled 74.8 FP, Domantas Sabonis has racked up 77.0 FP and Bojan Bogdanovic has tallied 76.1 FP. Darren Collison and Kyle O'Quinn each have 30-plus FP performances mixed in as well.

76ers at Wizards

Over/Under: 228.0
Spread: PHI (-2.5)
Cash Plays: Bradley Beal ($10,000); Ben Simmons ($9,300); Jimmy Butler ($7,800)
GPP Plays: Joel Embiid ($10,800); Ian Mahinmi ($3,700); Landry Shamet ($3,500)
Notable Injuries
PHI: Markelle Fultz (shoulder) - Out; J.J. Redick (back) - Questionable
WAS: Dwight Howard (back) - Out; Markieff Morris (neck) - Out; John Wall (heel) - Out for season; Otto Porter (thumb) - Questionable

These squads played each other Tuesday in Philadelphia, with the 76ers securing a 132-115 victory despite the absence of J.J. Redick. Even though the Wizards are 11-7 at home compared to the Sixers 9-11 mark on the road, it's curious that Philly is favored by only 2.5 points. It's possible there is some expectation of Joel Embiid resting. The Sixers have won four straight, while the Wizards are 4-6 over its past 10. Washington may be without Otto Porter, who injured his thumb Tuesday and should be considered questionable.

For the Sixers, Joel Embiid has three games of at least 60 FP over his past six appearances. Ben Simmons has gone for at least 40 FP in each of the past three games. Jimmy Butler has gone for at least 30 FP in six of his past seven appearances. The main storyline from Tuesday's win was the great performance by Landry Shamet in Redick's absence. Shamet went 8-of-14 from deep for 29 points, three rebounds, one assist and a steal in only 23 minutes.

Bradley Beal has racked up at least 40 FP in six of the past seven. Trevor Ariza has gone for at least 35 FP in two of the past five. Thomas Bryant has seen his minutes reduced, averaging only 21.3 FP in 20.7 minutes over the past three, while Ian Mahinmi has been given more run and is averaging 28.6 FP in 18.7 minutes over that stretch. Sam Dekker went for 29.6 FP on Tuesday after Otto Porter played just 19 minutes due to a thumb injury.

Hawks at Nets

Over/Under: 227.0
Spread: BKN (-9.0)
Cash Plays: John Collins ($8,100); Jarrett Allen ($5,800); DeMarre Carroll ($5,400)
GPP Plays: D'Angelo Russell ($7,700); Trae Young ($6,700); Jeremy Lin ($4,400)
Notable Injuries
ATL: Kevin Huerter (calf) - Questionable; Kent Bazemore (ankle) - Out; Taurean Prince (ankle) - Out; Miles Plumlee (knee) - Out
BKN: DeMarre Carroll (knee) - Probable; Joe Harris (ankle) - Probable; Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (hip) - Out; Allen Crabbe (knee) - Out; Caris LeVert (foot) - Out

Since blowing a 23-point lead and losing to the Thunder on Dec. 5, the Nets are 12-4. Brooklyn will also be looking to be .500 at home, as the team currently sits 10-11 in Barclays Center. The Hawks come in having lost four of the past five outings and have secured only five road wins this season. DeMarre Carroll and Joe Harris are expected to make their returns for Brooklyn, while Kevin Huerter's status is up in the air for Atlanta.

A blowout loss Monday against Boston resulted in the Nets' starters seeing minimal run, essentially busting from a DFS perspective. Prior to that game, D'Angelo Russell, Jarrett Allen and DeMarre Carroll had found some rhythm. Russell had gone for 40-plus in four straight, Allen had gone for 30-plus FP in three straight and Carroll had gone for at least 30 FP in three of the prior five. Shabazz Napier has been intriguing lately -- he's totaled 58.1 FP over the past two.

John Collins continues to be solid for the Hawks, posting 35-plus FP in four of the past eight. Trae Young has started to play better, going for at least 30 FP in five of the past seven. DeAndre' Bembry most recently went for 33.7 FP in Huerter's absence and put up at least 20 FP in the six games prior. Jeremy Lin posted 34.4 FP on Monday and had gone for 20-plus FP in the three prior contests.

Cavaliers at Pelicans

Over/Under: 223.0
Spread: NOP (-14.0)
Cash Plays: Anthony Davis ($12,500); Jrue Holiday ($8,600); Julius Randle ($8,200)
GPP Plays: Tristan Thompson ($6,200); Jordan Clarkson ($5,000); Cameron Payne ($3,500)
Notable Injuries
CLE: Rodney Hood (Achilles) - Questionable; David Nwaba (ankle) - Out; Kevin Love (toe) - Out ; Larry Nance (knee) - Questionable
NOP: Nikola Mirotic (ankle) - Doubtful; E'Twaun Moore (quad) - Probable

The Pelicans (14-6 in Smooth King Center) are expected to blow out the Cavaliers, who are 3-16 on the road, have lost the past 10 games and are coming in with a couple key players potentially on the shelf. New Orleans has fared better, winning three of the past five and having a mostly clean injury report aside from Nikola Mirotic. From a DFS perspective, it could be risky to use Pelicans players, as there's a strong chance they won't need to play their usual minutes.

For the Pelicans, Anthony Davis has continued his MVP-esque play, though Jrue Holiday has fallen into a small slump, failing to crack 40 FP in three of the past four contests. Julius Randle struggled Monday against Memphis, but posted 40-plus FP in three of his prior four outings. Contributions have been spotty for the remainder of the team.

The past two games have been favorable for Tristan Thompson (75.3 FP), Jordan Clarkson (71.2 FP) and Alec Burks (55.0 FP) in the absence of Rodney Hood, though Hood's potential return complicates Clarkson and Burks as DFS options. Collin Sexton has been slumping, and he's posted fewer than 20 FP in three straight matchups. Cameron Payne made his team debut Tuesday, racking up 16.9 FP in 22.0 minutes.

Bucks at Rockets

Over/Under: 225.5
Spread: MIL (-1.0)
Cash Plays: James Harden ($12,600); Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,800); Clint Capela ($9,100)
GPP Plays: Eric Bledsoe ($6,700); Brook Lopez ($5,800); P.J. Tucker ($4,900)
Notable Injuries
MIL: D.J. Wilson (hip) - Doubtful; Donte DiVincenzo (ankle) - Doubtful
HOU: Eric Gordon (knee) - Out; Chris Paul (hamstring) - Out

In a clash between arguably the two MVP frontrunners, Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks (9-7 Away) will travel to face James Harden and the Rockets (14-5 in Toyota Center). Each team has won eight of its past 10 games. The Bucks are coming off a six-game homestand, while the Rockets will be playing their third game at home over its past six. Possibly due to health, the Bucks enter as 1.0-point favorites with virtually no injuries, while the Rockets continue to miss the likes of Eric Gordon and Chris Paul.

Harden and Clint Capela have been pacing the Rockets, with Harden posting 112.5 combined fantasy points over the past two games, while Capela has racked up 97.0 FP over the pair of contests. P.J. Tucker had arguably his best game of the campaign Monday against the Nuggets, dropping a season-high 39.5 FP on the back of 21 points, four steals, two blocks and one assist -- strangely, no rebounds.

Giannis has surpassed Harden's production over his past two games, totaling 120.6 FP. The Bucks have a more balanced attack of role players, however. Both Khris Middleton and Malcolm Brogdon have racked up 30-plus FP in the past two games, and Eric Bledsoe has gone for 30-plus in three of the past four. Brook Lopez is also a candidate to get hot. He has three 30-plus FP performances over the past five.

Spurs at Grizzlies

Over/Under: 203.5
Spread: SA (-3.0)
Cash Plays: Mike Conley ($8,400); Marc Gasol ($7,600); Derrick White ($5,300)
GPP Plays: DeMar DeRozan ($8,500); Kyle Anderson ($6,600); Derrick White ($5,300)
Notable Injuries
SA: Rudy Gay (wrist) - Out
MEM: Dillon Brooks (toe) - Out; JaMychal Green (shoulder) - Questionable; Jevon Carter (knee) - Probable

These two squads are trending in opposite directions, with the Spurs winning eight of its past 10 games and the Grizzlies winning only two of its past 10. That said, the Spurs are favored by just 3.0 considering a 7-12 record on the road and the significant absence of Rudy Gay. The Grizzlies (10-9 at FedExForum) have four players on the injury report, though only Dillon Brooks is out for certain. The potential absence of JaMychal Green may open up time for the likes of Omri Casspi.

DeMar DeRozan has been hot for the Spurs, going for at least 50 FP in five of his past eight games. LaMarcus Aldridge has also reached that threshold twice in the past five games. Derrick White has become more comfortable in his starting point guard role, posting at least 20 FP in each of the past eight contests, which includes two games over 35 FP.

Fantasy production has been scattered on Memphis across the six-game losing streak. Conley has two 40-plus FP performances in the last three games, but Marc Gasol hasn't reached the benchmark in any of the past four outings. Kyle Anderson has a pair of games with at least 40 FP over the past five contests, while Jaren Jackson posted 34.9 FP on Jan. 5 and 39.0 FP on Jan 2.

Suns at Mavericks

Over/Under: 219.5
Spread: DAL (-9.5)
Cash Plays: Devin Booker ($8,700) if he's available; Luka Doncic ($8,100) if he and Smith Jr. are in; Deandre Ayton ($7,600)
GPP Plays: Devin Booker ($8,700) if he's available; Luka Doncic ($8,100) if he is in and Smith Jr. is out; DeAndre Jordan ($7,800); T.J. Warren ($6,700); Josh Jackson ($4,800) if Booker is out; De'Anthony Melton ($4,200) if Booker is out; Richaun Holmes ($3,800); Kelly Oubre ($3,700) if Booker is out
Notable Injuries
PHO: Devin Booker (back) - Questionable
DAL: Dennis Smith (back) - Questionable; Luka Doncic (back) - Questionable

The Mavericks (15-4 at home) check in as significant favorites over the Suns (4-15 on the road), though the line has potential to change with three starters questionable. Neither team has found success recently, both losing four of the past five contests.

Without Devin Booker in the lineup Tuesday against the Kings, two players (Kelly Oubre and De'Anthony Melton) dropped 40-plus FP, while three players (Deandre Ayton, Richaun Holmes and Josh Jackson) posted in the 30s. Across Booker's past three healthy games, he's averaged 35.5 FP, Ayton averaged 46.7 FP and T.J. Warren posted two games over 35 FP.

During Monday's loss to the Lakers, Luka Doncic posted 40-plus FP for the first time since Dennis Smith's return on Dec. 28. DeAndre Jordan has crossed that threshold twice in the past three. Harrison Barnes and Smith have struggled lately, with the former averaging 19.6 FP over the past three and the latter averaging 16.2 FP. Dwight Powell has come to life, with performances of 27.3 FP and 35.6 FP over the past four.

Magic at Jazz

Over/Under: 206.5
Spread: UTA (-9.0)
Cash Plays: Nikola Vucevic ($9,600); Rudy Gobert ($8,400); Derrick Favors ($6,000)
GPP Plays: Nikola Vucevic ($9,600); Donovan Mitchell ($7,900); Aaron Gordon ($7,100)
Notable Injuries
ORL: None
UTA: Grayson Allen (ankle) - Questionable; Thabo Sefolosha (hamstring) - Out; Dante Exum (ankle) - Out; Ricky Rubio (hamstring) - Out

Despite injuries to a trio of players and having a modest 8-8 home record, the Jazz are favored by 9.0 points over the Magic, who are 7-12 on the road and have lost four of the past five. The Jazz will look to make do without Ricky Rubio, who is lost for about two weeks after suffering a hamstring injury during Monday's loss in Milwaukee at the end of a four-game road trip. With reserve point guard Dante Exum also out, Utah will presumably look to Donovan Mitchell (40 minutes Monday), Kyle Korver (25 minutes) and Raul Neto (29 minutes) to pick up the slack.

Rudy Gobert continues to anchor the Jazz, dropping at least 35 FP in seven of the past eight games, which is a stretch that includes one outing of 55.8 FP against Portland. Donovan Mitchell's inconsistency has continued, as he's gone for fewer than 30 FP five times in the past nine matchups, posting 40-plus FP just once over that stretch. Derrick Favors has posted at least 30 FP in four of the past five games. Joe Ingles and Jae Crowder haven't dipped below 20 FP in any of the past four. Raul Neto is a GPP flier, as he's posting fewer than 1.0 fantasy points per minute.

Aside from Nikola Vucevic, who has gone for 50-plus FP twice in the past four games, it's been mostly tough luck for fantasy owners who have put faith in Orlando. Over the past three matchups, Aaron Gordon hasn't eclipsed 30 FP, Evan Fournier has two games under 20 FP, D.J. Augustin most recently went for 11.9 FP and Terrance Ross has a 16.9 FP dud.

Bulls at Trail Blazers

Over/Under: 207.5
Spread: POR (-9.5)
Cash Plays: Damian Lillard ($9,200); Kris Dunn ($7,000); Al-Farouq Aminu ($5,700)
GPP Plays: Jusuf Nurkic ($9,400); C.J. McCollum ($6,800); Evan Turner ($4,600)
Notable Injuries
CHI: None
POR: Maurice Harkless (knee) - Out

The Trail Blazers -- 16-7 at home and have won four of the past five -- will be facing its second bottom-tier Eastern Conference team in a row Wednesday after defeating the Knicks 111-101 Monday night. The Bulls, coming off a three-game homestand, enter Moda Center with a 5-14 road record and have lost four of the past five contests. Only one player is expected to miss Wednesday's contest, that being Maurice Harkless. Evan Turner is expected to start in his absence.

Portland has been finding success lately through a balanced attack, though that means fewer big games for Damian Lillard, who has topped 40 FP just once over the past five outings. Jusuf Nurkic is set to be four games removed from his incredible 88.1 FP outburst, and he's averaged 39.1 FP in the three games since then. C.J. McCollum's up-and-down play has continued, as his past five outings have netted 28.6 FP, 37.8 FP, 18.9 FP, 22.2 FP and 43.1 FP. Al-Farouq Aminu seems to have found a nice floor, racking up at least 30 FP in three of his past four. During Mo Harkless' most recent absence Saturday against the Rockets, Evan Turner went for 29.6 FP.

Chicago's young core is still trying to find chemistry, though Kris Dunn has been able to weather most situations, having posted at least 30 FP in nine straight outings. Lauri Markkanen's play has been more volatile, having posted 25.2 FP, 37.8 FP, 27.7 FP and 34.5 FP across his past four. Zach LaVine has seen his numbers take a massive dip since Dunn's return and the firing of Fred Hoiberg, and the guard has three sub-30 FP outings in the past five. Bobby Portis just returned from a seven-game absence to post 22.0 FP in 20 minutes. Wendell Carter Jr.'s production is all over the place, but he's gone for at least 40 FP twice in the past five.

Pistons at Lakers

Over/Under: 217.0
Spread: LAL (-1.5)
Cash Plays: Blake Griffin ($9,200); Kyle Kuzma ($7,100); Brandon Ingram ($6,900)
GPP Plays: Andre Drummond ($9,500); Lonzo Ball ($7,100); Josh Hart ($5,900)
Notable Injuries
DET: Zaza Pachulia (lower leg) - Doubtful; Ish Smith (groin) - Doubtful
LAL: LeBron James (groin) - Out; Rajon Rondo (hand) - Out

The Lakers (13-8 in Staples Center), still missing LeBron James and Rajon Rondo, check in as just 1.5-point favorites against the Pistons, who are 6-11 on the road and losers of four of the past five. Over LA's past five contests, they've secured victories over Sacramento and Dallas. Two key pieces of Detroit's bench -- Ish Smith and Zaza Pachulia -- are not expected to make their returns Wednesday.

Since LeBron's absence, it's truly been night-to-night for the Lakers in terms of who steps up. During Monday's win over Dallas, both Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram went for 40-plus FP, while Josh Hart posted a monster 50.4 FP game on the back of 14 points, 12 rebounds, six assists and five steals in 44 minutes. Kyle Kuzma will be playing in his second game back from injury, and he went just 4-for-20 from the field Monday but should continue to take tons of shots for LA.

The story has been the same for Detroit all year, as Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond have anchored the team while a couple role players occasionally step up. Griffin has gone for 45 FP in back-to-back games, while Drummond hasn't dipped below 45 FP in the past four. During that four-game stretch, Reggie Jackson has one 36.9 FP outing, but he's otherwise averaging fewer than 20 FP, and Reggie Bullock has surpassed 20 FP just once. Luke Kennard, Bruce Brown and Jon Leuer have each gone for 20 FP once, but also dipped into single-digits at least once during that span.

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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