This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Basketball series.
Wednesday brings us a solid 10-game slate that offers us no shortage of options at both ends of the pricing spectrum. There are multiple high-priced players to consider, including the seemingly unstoppable James Harden, Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic. Luckily, there's also some very enticing prices on players that either suddenly find themselves in expanded roles, or that simply have been outperforming their current salaries recently. Without further ado, let's dive into some potentially appealing candidates at each position, along with one player that's best to steer clear of:
James Harden, HOU at NY ($62): By his impossible standards, Harden "disappointed" in the blowout loss to the Sixers on Monday by scoring "only" 51.7 fantasy points. However, he accomplished the feat in just 31 minutes, meaning that his absurd efficiency was essentially as good as it's been in some of his other recent prolific performances. The Knicks come in ranked just outside the bottom 10 in the league in fantasy points allowed per game to point guards (42.3), and they're also yielding the third-most assists (8.8) per contest to the position. Just as important, the Knicks are allowing the highest shooting percentage (47.0) to ones, along with the third-highest three-point shooting percentage (36.6) overall of any team on its home floor. Needless to say given his elite scoring acumen, those figures are especially relevant when considering Harden.
Tyreke Evans, IND vs. TOR ($10): Evans' price remains at bare minimum despite his suddenly improved play, making him an intriguing, cost-saving GPP target Wednesday. After largely disappointing the majority of the season, the veteran wing has scored over 20 fantasy points in five of his last six games – excellent returns on his current minuscule price. Moreover, Evans has ripped off double-digit scoring tallies in all six of those contests, with increased usage a key. After multiple multi-game stretches of single-digit shot attempts this season, Evans has put up between 10 and 16 attempts in five of the aforementioned six-game span, leading to his increased output. Finally, it's worth noting that in his bench role, Evans should mostly be able to avoid Danny Green's stingy defense, which should also enable him to offer a solid return on his extremely modest price.
Guard to Avoid
Ricky Rubio, UTA vs. DEN ($19): Rubio just returned to action Monday after a multi-game absence due to a hamstring injury. The veteran point guard logged only 14 minutes of court time and is expected to remain on a minutes restriction Wednesday. That uncertainty alone makes other candidates more attractive, and the matchup versus the Nuggets isn't exactly the most appealing either – Denver is allowing the sixth-fewest fantasy points per game to point guards (38.8).
Blake Griffin, DET at NO ($45): Griffin's frontcourt mate, Andre Drummond, remains very questionable for Wednesday's game due to the lingering effects of his recent concussion. That certainly enhances Griffin's already strong value – considering his team-high 36.4 percent usage rate with his teammate off the floor – although he's a fine play regardless of Drummond's status. His matchup Wednesday has a significant part to play in that assessment, considering the Pelicans are allowing the sixth-most fantasy points per game (42.9) to power forwards, along with the most points (23.4) and sixth-highest shooting percentage (48.0) to the position. New Orleans is also surrendering the fifth-highest three-point shooting percentage (36.3) of any home team, which is especially relevant in Griffin's case – the big man currently boasts the second-highest three-point percentage of his career (36.3) and is taking a career-high 6.6 attempts per game from behind the arc. Finally, the nice bump in pace New Orleans (105.8 possessions per game) will bring and the fact Griffin already totaled 47.0 fantasy points over 38 minutes in his one prior contest against the Pels this season are two other factors in Griffin's favor.
Derrick Jones, Jr., MIA vs. LAC ($11): Like Evans, Jones is another player with a consistent role who's often outpacing his bargain basement price by a considerable margin. The emerging wing is coming off a 34.8 fantasy-point effort versus the Celtics on Monday, and he's also eclipsed 20 fantasy points in three other games over his last seven overall. Jones has flashed that 30-fantasy-point ceiling on multiple occasions this season, and Wednesday's matchup could well serve to coax that same caliber of performance out of him. The Clippers come in allowing the seventh-most fantasy points per game (36.0) to small forwards, along with the 10th-most points (18.9), third-most assists (3.8) and seventh-most steals (1.5) per contest to threes. Finally the fact Los Angeles allows the fifth-most points in the paint per road game (52.0) is another factor in Jones' favor – he logs 61.5 percent of his scoring in that area of the floor.
Forward to Avoid
Marvin Williams, CHA at MEM ($20): Williams is coming off a 3-for-13 shooting clunker versus the Pacers on Sunday, and he's currently shooting a career-low 41.8 percent overall. He'll face a stingy matchup Wednesday as well, considering the Grizzlies come in allowing the seventh-fewest fantasy points (37.8) and third-fewest points (18.0) per game to power forwards, along with the lowest shooting percentage (40.0) surrendered to the position. Given that Williams is $10 above minimum and in what figures to be a slow-paced, grind-it-out affair, there are better ways to invest at forward Wednesday.
Nikola Vucevic, ORL at BKN ($43): Vucevic took the Nets to task to the tune of 48.4 fantasy points over 33 minutes three games ago, his one other meeting with them this season. The matchup for centers against Brooklyn has been appealing all season, as the Nets allow the sixth-most fantasy points (49.1) per game to the position, along with the fifth-most points (22.6), seventh-most rebounds (14.9) and fourth-highest shooting percentage (55.0) to the position. The fact the Nets also yielding the fifth-most points in the paint per game (51.4) bodes well for Vucevic, considering he's logging 55 percent of his scoring (equivalent to 11.3 PPG) in that area of the floor. Finally, it's also worth noting that as good as Vucevic has been overall this season, he's actually been at his best offensively off his home floor – the big man is draining 52.5 percent of his road attempts, including an especially impressive 42.3 percent from three-point range.
Enes Kanter, NY vs. HOU ($19): Kanter will retake the reins of the starting center job with Luke Kornet (ankle) now sidelined for multiple games. That makes the veteran big man a very viable cash or tournament play Wednesday at his highly affordable price tag. Kanter's upside is no mystery, as he's averaging an impressive 31.0 fantasy points per contest despite having played reduced minutes on a frequent basis lately. Most recently, he's scored 34.2 to 46.5 fantasy points and generated double-doubles in four of his last five games, despite playing under 30 minutes in all of them. Meanwhile, the Rockets are depleted at center without Clint Capela (thumb) and check in ranked in the bottom half of the NBA in fantasy points allowed per game to centers (46.9). Houston is also allowing a robust 13.8 rebounds per game (11th most) and the third-highest shooting percentage (56.0) to fives, along with the most points in the paint per game (53.6) in the NBA. Kanter is highly capable of exploiting all three weaknesses, considering he's averaging 10.8 RPG, shooting an impressive 54.1 percent and logging 75.6 percent of his scoring (equivalent to 10.9 PPG) near the basket.
Center to Avoid
Serge Ibaka, TOR at IND ($22): Ibaka isn't overly expensive, but he's no bargain-bin deal either at $22. While his price isn't necessarily prohibitive, there are likely better ways to spend that amount of money Wednesday considering the veteran big man will be locked into what is currently the toughest statistical matchup for centers in the NBA. The Pacers are allowing a league-low 39.8 fantasy points per game to fives. Additionally, Ibaka has scored under 30 fantasy points in six of the last eight games, including one tally under 20. That level of production would be acceptable if he was priced about $8-$10 cheaper, but not as much at his current cost. With the likes of Hassan Whiteside ($21) and Kanter ($19) both priced just underneath him and in drastically better matchups, Ibaka is a stay-away candidate Wednesday.