Things kick into full gear on Wednesday as the NBA hands us a potpourri of options in a busy, 11-game slate. Below are some games to target and avoid, as well as the top value plays at each position.
HOU vs. SAC: the Vegas Over/Under here is 218. Houston will have a field day and Rockets stacks are a worthy consideration.
POR vs. PHO: Two porous defenses with prolific scorers. The O/U here is 220 and it should be a fast-paced matchup.
ATL vs. DAL: Sure, you can find value here, but it could end up being a clumsy low-scoring affair with an O/U of 198. There may be some GPP gold here, but temper your expectations.
Letís move on to picks by position. Weíll identify top spending options followed by value plays. Remember, always double-check your rosters for last-minute rest decisions.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL BOS ($10,300): Kevin Durant is right Ė The Greek Freak might very well be the best player in the NBA, and at this early juncture Iím willing to spend up. Heís facing a Boston team thatís coming of a double whammy of losses. The loss of Gordon Hayward and a narrow loss to the Cavs make this team vulnerable. Another spend-up option worth noting is Damian Lillard ($10,400), who should be firing on all cylinders against Phoenix.
Ben Simmons, PHI@WAS ($7,100): There are so many mid-level options on this slate, itís difficult to pick just one. I equally like Ricky Rubio ($7,000) against a weak defense and Devin Booker ($7,000) in what could be a high-scoring affair, but Simmons stands out as one of the strongest rookies leading into the regular season. He sets up well against a weak defense that may also be without John Wall, and I think Simmons has an excellent chance to meet or exceed value in this spot.
Jeremy Lamb, CHA@DET ($5,700): As we dig deeper into value plays, Jeremy Lamb emerges as an intriguing option. While itís yet to be determined who the primary beneficiary will be in Nicolas Batumís absence, Lamb is a safer bet than Malik Monk to get the boost. While I would fade him in cash lineups, he has value in GPP formats. Another player that has been totally overlooked of late is Avery Bradley ($5,500), who has found a new home in Detroit. If the preseason is any indication, heís ready to prove that heís not just a defensive dynamo. He scored 26 points in his final preseason matchup.
You can also roster Giannis, Jeremy Lamb and Ben Simmons down here. You also have some intriguing PF/C hybrids to choose from.
Nikola Jokic, DEN@UTA ($9,100): When healthy and starting, it was hard to find a more dominant player than Jokic. He will be an everyday starter in Denver, and though he faces a tough Utah defense, it takes a lot to contain him.
LaMarcus Aldridge, MIN@SA ($7,300): With Kawhi Leonard out, itís time for someone to step up. Aldridge just signed a big contract, so now itís time for him to earn it. Rudy Gay ($5,500) is another Spur who will get an opportunity in Leonardís absence, although he is more of a GPP play.
Tobias Harris, CHA@DET ($5,600): A fixture in Detroitís starting lineup last year, the 25-year-old could be ready for a breakout year. A suspect Charlotte defense that has problems rebounding the ball could be a boon for Harris, and at $5,500 he may be the best candidate to meet his value among forwards.
Rudy Gobert, DEN@UTA ($9, 100): You certainly wouldnít want to roster Gobert with Jokic, as one of them will be the clear victor in this battle, but I mention them both because they are just that good. Gobert can easily be in a cash game lineup as he is a lock for a few blocked shots and a good number of boards every game.
Hassan Whiteside, MIA@ORL ($8,400): Nikola Vucevic has seen limited action so far, and hasnít been his 2016 self when heís suited up in the preseason. Aside from Miami just being too strong for the Magic, Whiteside is the clear victor in this battle, and well worth the price.
Marc Gasol, NO@MEM ($7,800): Good olí dependable Marc Gasol. Heís looked great In the preseason, and it looks like he may only have to deal with DeMarcus Cousins in this one. The Pelicans have missing pieces that Gasol can exploit, and heís a great candidate to exceed his value.
Thatís it for Wednesday. You might notice that I left some big-name players out of the conversation today Ė Paul, the Harden, Cousins and the like. Those are all reasonable choices, but their ownership will be through the roof and the slate today is filled with a lot of great lower-priced options. Happy hunting!