After a one-game Tuesday slate, the NBA brings us a mammoth 14-game schedule on Thanksgiving Eve. It’s a true red-carpet night, with stars the likes of James Harden, LeBron James, DeMarcus Cousins, Russell Westbrook and Stephen Curry all in action. With no shortage of expensive options to choose from, let’s break down some of the most appealing choices across the salary scale:
James Harden, HOU vs. DEN ($21,200): Harden saw a streak of three straight 60-fantasy-point outings come to an end in his last contest, but he still compiled 53.25 fantasy points against the Grizzlies. The Beard will have a much easier defensive matchup overall Wednesday, as the Nuggets check in allowing the second most fantasy points (59.6) on the season to point guards, along with the fifth most points (24.5) and most assists (10.4). Harden sports a team-high 35.8 percent usage rate and averages a whopping 1.56 fantasy points per minute, and it's worth noting that he averaged 32.5 points, 10.0 assists and 7.8 rebounds in four games versus Denver last season.
DeMar DeRozan, TOR at NY ($14,900): DeRozan lit up the Knicks for 41.50 fantasy points two games ago and is coming off a season-high 58.00 fantasy points against the Wizards on Sunday afternoon. He’s been particularly productive over the last four games, posting a 31.3 percent usage rate, averaging 1.37 fantasy points per minute and shooting a stellar 57.3 percent. Meanwhile, the Knicks have been vulnerable to shooting guards all season, but especially over the last five games, a stretch during which they’ve allowed 68.1 fantasy points per contest to the position.
Mario Chalmers, MEM vs. DAL ($9,900): Chalmers’ four-figure price is a bargain considering he’s scored between 29.25 and 40.00 fantasy points in three of his last four games. He could hardly draw a better matchup Wednesday, as the Mavericks have allowed the most fantasy points per game to point guards (54.2) on the season, along with the most points (27.0), most steals (2.8), second most made three-pointers (2.9) and third highest shooting percentage (44.0) to the position. He’s also averaging nearly a fantasy point per minute (0.98) while logging 28.5 minutes per contest over the aforementioned four-game span, leaving him poised to return solid value again Wednesday.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL at PHO ($20,900): Antetokounmpo has been a lock for 40-plus fantasy points at a minimum this season, and has flashed an upside well north of 60 on multiple occasions. The Suns are ill-equipped to slow him down, as their frontcourt has been a proverbial sieve. They’ve been getting progressively worse in recent games, as they’ve allowed the sixth most fantasy points (51.8) per game to power forwards over the last five, along with the fourth most points (22.6) to the position on the season. Antetokounmpo remains the focal point of the Bucks’ offense, as evidenced by his 33.2 percent usage rate and career-high 20.6 shot attempts per contest.
Kevin Love, CLE vs. BKN ($14,600): Love has a pair of double-doubles over the last three and has scored between 39.50 and 45.00 fantasy points over that stretch. He also accomplished the feat against the Nets in his one previous meeting this season, posting 15 points and 12 rebounds over 32 minutes on Oct. 25. He’s seen an uptick in involvement lately, posting a 26.6 percent usage rate that’s a full two points higher than his season figure. Additionally, Brooklyn has allowed 43.4 fantasy points per game to power forwards, along with 18.4 points, 11.9 rebounds and a 48.0 percent success rate from the field.
Dirk Nowitzki, DAL at MEM ($8,700): The Grizzlies have been generous to fours all season, with the most recent example coming in the form of the Blazers’ Noah Vonleh’s 11-point, 18-rebound double-double on Monday night. Nowitzki is therefore priced right for the matchup, particularly considering he’s scored between 23.75 and 35.00 fantasy points in five of his last six games. Memphis checks in allowing the most fantasy points per game to power forwards (48.4), along with the most rebounds (14.5), 1.7 made three-pointers and a 48.0 percent success rate. Nowitzki has had the hot hand recently as well, shooting 52.5 percent over his last seven contests.
Bradley Beal, WAS at CHA ($14,000): Beal is set up for one of his more explosive outings Wednesday, considering the Hornets have allowed the second most fantasy points (59.6) per game to two-guards, along with the third most points (33.1), rebounds (9.4) and assists (6.8). Meanwhile, they’ve also yielded the fourth most made three-pointers (4.1) to the position, while Beal is shooting an impressive 40.6 percent from long distance over the last four contests, a stretch during which he’s scored between 33.50 and 50.00 fantasy points.
Eric Bledsoe, MIL at PHO ($14,000): Bledsoe has had a couple of down games since joining the Bucks, but he’s also scored between 29.50 and 43.50 fantasy points in his four other contests with his new club. A matchup against his defensively challenged former teammates should certainly have his motivation sky-high Wednesday, and the fact the Suns check in allowing the third most fantasy points (53.1) and points (25.2) per game to point guards – along with the second most rebounds (7.8) and third highest shooting percentage – only furthers his case. Bledsoe has mostly jumped right into his role as one of the offense’s primary ball handlers, as he sports a 25.7 percent usage rate over his first six games in Milwaukee.