Defenses to Avoid
Orlando Magic at Charlotte Bobcats: Although the Eastern Conference has been dreadful, the Bobcats have drastically outplayed expectations, surrendering the second fewest points (92.4 opponent points per game) behind the league's third-ranked defense (100.75 defensive rating). Both teams will be fresh coming into Wednesday's tilt, but even without key perimeter stopper Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (hand), the Magic's fledgling attack (101.81 offensive rating) should struggle on the road, particularly with Victor Oladipo fighting to find his shot (35.4 FG% in his last five games), and big man Nikola Vucevic (ankle) not a guarantee to play.
Offenses to Use
Philadelphia 76ers at Minnesota Timberwolves: After reeling off three consecutive wins to start the season, the Sixers are just 4-15, with fast-paced play (99.1 pace) complemented by one of the league's worst defenses (107.4 defensive rating). Expect coach Brett Brown's first trip to the Target Center to be a show for the Wolves' high-powered attack (106.6 offensive rating), particularly with Kevin Love shooting 46.2 percent from deep in his last five games and Michael Carter-Williams (knee) out indefinitely.
Teams on a Back-to-Back Set
First game of a back-to-back: Los Angeles Clippers.
Second game of a back-to-back: Milwaukee Bucks, Chicago Bulls, Detroit Pistons, Minnesota Timberwolves, San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, New York Knicks.
DAILY PLAYER RECOMMENDATIONS
Isaiah Thomas (vs. UTA): No one stands to be a bigger fantasy beneficiary of the Kings' acquisition of Rudy Gay than Thomas. The Washington product is an explosive offensive talent with the ability to drive, dish and get to the charity stripe, and as the uncontested starter at the one in coach Mike Malone's system, he should greatly improve upon the 17.8 points and 4.9 assists he averaged off the bench. Expect Thomas to feast on the Jazz's fledgling defense (111.2 defensive rating), especially if Jeremy Evans takes the place of Derrick Favors (back).
Jordan Crawford (vs. LAC): Crawford is the epitome of a streaky shooter, but he has been dialed in over his last five tilts, averaging 20.6 points on 52.9 percent shooting from the field and 46.9 percent from three, in addition to 5.8 dimes per game. Expect him to continue the streak at home against the Clippers, losers of three of their last five.
Other options: Kemba Walker (vs. ORL)
Klay Thompson (vs. DAL): Half of Golden State's famed “splash brothers” duo, Thompson is hardly a fantasy secret at this point, growing out of the shadow of Stephen Curry to average 21 points per game so far this season, hitting a staggering 45.7 percent of his attempts from deep. The Mavericks have surrendered baskets at the fourth-worst rate in the league (102.3 opponent points per game), with the shaky backcourt of Monta Ellis (108 defensive rating) and Jose Calderon (111 defensive rating) the primary culprit.
Other options: Gordon Hayward (at SAC)
Arron Afflalo (at CHA): Most of the Magic's lineup shouldn't be counted on to produce against the Bobcats, but Afflalo is the exception to the rule. He has carried the bulk of the scoring load in coach Jacque Vaughn's offense, averaging 23.4 points on 47.3 FG percent and 91.7 FT percent in his last five. With Michael Kidd-Gilchrist out and Jeff Taylor questionable, expect Afflalo to get plenty of open looks.
Other options: Josh Smith (at NO), Harrison Barnes (vs. DAL)
Greg Monroe (at NO): The Pelicans never looked like a top-tier defensive team even before Anthony Davis (finger) went down, and have given up an average of 109 points per game since losing the Kentucky phenom. Although Monroe has struggled offensively in his last five (12.4 points per game), he retains a dizzying array of skills around the basket, and should dominate on the inside against Ryan Anderson (112 defensive rating) and Jason Smith (109 defensive rating), neither of whom offer much rim protection.
Other options: Thaddeus Young (at MIN), Tim Duncan (at MIL)
John Henson (vs. SAS): It may sound counter-intuitive, but don't be intimidated by the Spurs' formidable defense (97.8 defensive rating) in this one, especially with Tiago Splitter (calf) not a guarantee to play after missing Tuesday's tilt against Toronto. With the Bucks front line decimated by injuries to Larry Sanders (thumb) and Zaza Pachulia (foot), Henson has proven a fantasy force in his past five outings, averaging 17 points on 56.3 percent shooting while chipping in 10.4 boards, 2.6 assists, 2.4 blocks and a steal.
Other options: Enes Kanter (at SAC), Nikola Pekovic (vs. PHI)
Brandan Wright (shoulder) won't return to action Wednesday, but is considered questionable to play later in the week.
Marvin Williams (heel) took part in practice Tuesday but is poised to miss his fifth tilt in a row Wednesday against the Kings.
Jimmy Butler (toe) was held out of the lineup Tuesday against the Bucks and is still approaching a return to the court.
Michael Carter-Williams (knee) will travel with the team to Minnesota but was not seen on the practice court Tuesday.
Bismack Biyombo (ankle) was sidelined Monday against Golden State, and his status remains unknown for Wednesday's tilt.
Jeff Taylor (heel) returned to practice Tuesday but is not a lock to play after being held on the bench earlier this week.
Draymond Green (ankle) did not participate in Tuesday's practice after spraining his ankle on Monday but has not been ruled out against Dallas.
Jermaine O'Neal (wrist) did not practice Tuesday and is considered questionable for Wednesday's game.
Luol Deng (Achilles) missed Tuesday's tilt against the Bucks and is thought to be questionable for Wednesday's game in New York.
Derrick Favors (back) took part in practice and should be a game-time decision against the Kings.
Nikola Vucevic (ankle) has missed four straight contests and remains day-to-day.
Joakim Noah (thigh) will travel to New York for Wednesday's game but is not a lock to play with lingering soreness.
Rodney Stuckey (knee) has not been cleared to play by team doctors and remains day-to-day.
Thabo Sefolosha (knee) is a game-time call Wednesday.