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Daily Games Cheat Sheet: Wednesday

Alex Rikleen

Rikleen writes the NBA column "Numbers Game," which decodes the math that underpins fantasy basketball. A certified math teacher, Rikleen decided the field of education pays too well, so he left it for writing. He is a Boston College graduate living in Delaware.


Defenses to Avoid
Utah Jazz at Memphis Grizzlies: Over their past 10 games, the Grizzlies have allowed the second least rebounds and the third least points in the association. During this stretch, the Grizz have been just middle-of-the-pack in terms of opponent field goal and three point percentage, but that is at least in part due to allowing very few attempts they are allowing the second least field goal and three point attempts per game. As for unquantifiable motivation as of this past weekend, less than one month remains until the start of the playoffs, and the Grizzlies are right in the middle of the race for the West's final playoff spots. Games like these against the lottery-bound Jazz are must-wins if the Grizz want to make their playoff dreams a reality.

Offenses to Use
Chicago Bulls at Philadelphia 76ers and San Antonio Spurs at Los Angeles Lakers: Everyone's favorite punching bags have been even more punchable of late. Over the past 10 games, only three teams have allowed more rebounds than the 76ers' 46.4 the Pistons and the Timberwolves, who allow 0.2 and 0.4 more per game, respectively, and the Lakers, who allow a completely unreasonable 53.3 rebounds per night. During that same span the Lakers also lead the league in assists allowed per game, again by an overwhelming margin, and again the 76ers are in the lead chase pack. These teams are one and two in steals surrendered. Where the 76ers lead all by themselves is in opponents free throw attempts per game the Lakers are decidedly middle of the pack in that category. "Target the 76ers and the Lakers" is hardly inspired advice, but these two teams are so above-and-beyond the usual standard for "bad" that it's hard to talk about targeting anyone else on a night when both teams are in action.

Teams on a Back-to-Back Set
First game of a back-to-back: Minnesota Timberwolves.
Second game of a back-to-back: Miami Heat, Toronto Raptors, Orlando Magic. DAILY PLAYER RECOMMENDATIONS

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Point Guard
Kendall Marshall, LAL (vs SA), PG, ($4,800): Jordan Farmar may only have averaged less than 24 minutes per game over the past month, but his emergence in the Lakers backcourt directly coincided with the decline of Marshall's fantasy value. In the month before the All Star break, when Farmar appeared in only one game, Marshall played 35 minutes or more in 13 of 16 contests. Since Farmar returned, the two have been stuck in a time-share, cannibalizing one another's value. But starting Wednesday night, Farmar returns to the bench (this time with a groin injury). At least for tonight, Marshall will have a full-time point guard role, but can be acquired for a time-share price tag.

Other suggestions: DJ Augustin, CHI (at PHI), PG, ($4,500); Patty Mills, SA (at LAL), PG ($3,400); Mike Conley, MEM (vs UTA), PG, ($7,200)

Shooting Guard
Eric Bledsoe, PHO (vs ORL), PG/SG, ($7,300): Compared to Bledsoe's season averages, $7,300 against a "lose-now" Magic squad is an incredible bargain. Phoenix plays fast, and Orlando recently announced that they wanted to be more careful with Oladipo's (a solid defender and Bledsoe's likely matchup) minutes. The downside, if one exists, is that DraftKings' pricing algorithm heavily weights the performances from three and four games prior games when Bledsoe exceeded 35 points. While those performances have raised Bledsoe's prices a little, they also demonstrate what he is capable of.

Other suggestions: Paul George, IND (at NY), SG/SF, ($9,000); Vince Carter, DAL (vs MIN), SG/SF, ($4,900)

Small Forward
Jimmy Butler, CHI (at PHI), SG/SF, ($6,100): There is nothing like the 76ers to help a guy get out of a slump. Butler's price is down slightly right now, in part because of some shaky shooting performances in four of his past six games though he shot 50 percent in back-to-back games against the Spurs and the Rockets last week, he shot below 33% in the two games before and after. Butler is not the slam-dunk staple that I'd usually target with a small forward this costly, but the matchup against the woeful "NBA team" from Philadelphia is too tempting to ignore.

Danny Green, SA (at LAL), SG/SF, ($4,500): The ghost of Danny Green's 2012-13 campaign still haunts me he keeps tricking me into expecting more than Green version 2013-14 can provide. The last two months have been particularly difficult, as Green has vacillated back and forth between breakthrough stud and meaningless sub. Overall, however, Green's season has been trending undeniably upward. Green has had three 30 fantasy point performances since the All-Star break, including Friday's game against Wednesday's opponent the Lakers. Green is a similar play to Butler tonight the opponent is a fantasy goldmine, and the player comes at a slight discount, but Green, like Butler, is far from a predictable performer.

Other suggestions: Mike Dunleavy, CHI (at PHI), SG/SF, ($4,600); PJ Tucker, PHO (vs ORL), SG/SF, ($4,600)

Power Forward
Joakim Noah, CHI (at PHI), PF/C, ($8,800): My fantasy security blanket against the league's easiest fantasy opponent? Yes please. Philadelphia is bad, but they have been even worse recently, and it's not just their franchise record losing streak. Over their past 10 games, they have been dead last in the league in scoring, despite being 11th in field goals attempted, and 3rd in pace. That's a lot of available rebounds of which they are pulling down the 5th worst percentage in the league. All together, that means that the rebounds will be there in abundance for Noah. Despite his reputation as a team-first hustle player, Noah has been known to chase some statistics late in games whose outcomes have already been determined. On that topic, Noah is currently in a three-way tie for second for most triple doubles this season, only one behind Lance Stephenson.

Josh McRoberts, CHA (at BKN), PF/C, ($4,600): Strictly by the numbers, there is not a lot to love about this recommendation Brooklyn ranks as the 2nd toughest opponent against PF/Cs, and McRoberts' cost is pretty much exactly what it is most nights (if not slightly more expensive, as he has gone for either $4,400 or $4,500 in each of the past eight games). But this recommendation has less to do with numbers than it does with style of play. McRoberts is less flashy than Kevin Love or Spencer Hawes, but he serves the same function a big man (McRoberts and Love are 6'10", Hawes is 7'1") who is a legitimate threat from long range and an above average passer. The Nets frontcourt may be talented, but it is also relatively old and slow. There are a lot of strong options at power forward tonight, but if you are looking to save money at the position, McRoberts might be your guy.

Other suggestions: Kyle O'Quinn, ORL (at PHO), PF/C, ($4,500); Taj Gibson, CHI (at PHI), PF/C, ($5,500)

Pau Gasol, LAL (vs SA), PF/C, ($8,000): As I alluded to above when discussing Bledsoe, DraftKings' pricing algorithm heavily weights next-to-most-recent games, especially the second-most recent game. Gasol is coming off a sweet-spot bad game: in his last ten outings, Gasol has exceeded 36 fantasy points all but twice, yet his only sub-30 point outing was two games ago. The poor outing easily written off (an away game at Oklahoma City) has depressed Gasol's price by nearly $500. San Antonio is not usually a fantasy opponent to target, but the Spurs have been playing unusually fast paced lately over their current ten game win streak, they lead the league in per game scoring and are eighth in pace.

Tyson Chandler, NY (at IND), C, ($5,300): My cheat sheet would feel incomplete if I didn't highlight at least one player returning from an absence whose price has yet to rebound accordingly. Speaking of rebounds, before Saturday's contest against the Bucks, you would have to go back to the middle of February to find a game when Chandler recorded single-digit rebounds. Chandler missed two games due to a personal matter, and was completely ineffective in his return Saturday (though he played seven minutes fewer than his average over the past month, the game was against the dreadful Bucks). Before those absences, however, Chandler scored 30 or more fantasy points in eight of nine games, twice exceeding 40. This could easily be the cheapest Chandler will be available for the rest of the season.

Other suggestions: Nikola Vucevic, ORL (vs PHO) PF/C, ($7,600); Kris Humphries, BOS (vs MIA) PF/C, C, ($5,400)


Andre Drummond (neck) has been ruled out for Wednesday's tilt in Denver but is questionable for Friday's at Phoenix.
Andrew Bynum (knee) did not make the trip to New York for Wednesday's tilt with the Knicks.
Jordan Farmar (groin) may miss the remainder of the season.
Wilson Chandler (hip) won't take the court Wednesday versus the Pistons.
Larry Sanders (eye) won't play again this season.
Ronny Turiaf (knee) is still without an update on his status.
Greg Oden (knee) is unlikely to play in Wednesday's second game of a back-to-back.
Jordan Hill (knee) participated in Tuesday's practice but won't take the court Wednesday against the Spurs.
Nick Young (knee) took part in Tuesday's practice but won't suit up Wednesday versus the Spurs.
Kevin Garnett (back) will be shut down until Saturday, when he'll undergo an evaluation.

Game-Time Decision
Nikola Pekovic (ankle) is a game-time call for Wednesday's contest at Dallas.
Jonas Valanciunas will receive treatment on his sprained back Wednesday, after which he'll be evaluated.
Ty Lawson (illness) is a game-time call for Wednesday's contest versus the Pistons.
Dwyane Wade (maintenance rest) did not play Tuesday but is likely probable for Wednesday.
Andrei Kirilenko (toe) will be a game-time decision for Wednesday's game.
Danny Green's MRI on his sore wrist revealed no physical damage. He is expected to play Wednesday.
C.J. Watson is doubtful for Wednesday's contest due to a strained right hamstring.
Tyson Chandler missed Monday's practice in order to deal with his personal concern but will be back for Wednesday's contest against the Pacers.
James Anderson (thigh) is a game-time decision Wednesday.
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.