This article is part of our NBA DFS Breakdown series.
This is one of those days where you'll need to keep a sharp eye as tipoffs approach, as there are a ton of potential absences. As a result, certain games like Jazz-Knicks and Heat-Spurs with low over/unders and few missing players could go ignored almost entirely.
Let's dive into a breakdown of each game on the slate:
Bucks at Cavaliers
Spread: MIL (-9.5)
|J.R. Smith||G||Not Injury Related||OFS||6/15/2019|
The Bucks have won both prior games in this season series by a combined total of 28 points. In the most recent matchup, Giannis Antetokounmpo was dominant, dropping 44 points, 14 rebounds, eight assists and two blocks in 38 minutes.
The Bucks have won five of the past seven, while the Cavaliers have won two of the past five. Cleveland will be paced up in this matchup, and the Bucks could be missing Giannis (plus many others), so value may be available on both sides of this contest.
With Giannis potentially out, let's take a look at what happened when he missed Tuesday's win over the Lakers. Tons of value emerged, as Brook Lopez posted 60.3 FP, while Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe both went for 40-plus FP. Nikola Mirotic (31.7 FP) and Pat Connaughton (28.6 FP) were some value options that stepped up. However, with Mirotic suffering a broken thumb and expected to miss two-to-four weeks, D.J. Wilson and Ersan Ilyasova could be the ones stepping up Wednesday.
With Kevin Love (back) out during the Cavaliers' most recent game, five players – Cedi Osman, Collin Sexton, Marquese Chriss, Brandon Knight and David Nwaba – all posted 30-plus FP. Osman and Sexton have been the ones finding consistency lately, however. Over the past five games, the pair has only two combined performances below 30 FP. Even if Love returns Tuesday, Osman and Sexton make for acceptable DFS options.
Pelicans at Magic
Spread: ORL -9.0
|Mo Bamba||C||Lower Leg||Out||3/27/2019|
Wednesday marks the second and final time these two teams will square off. Orlando secured a 118-88 victory in the first matchup, with Nikola Vucevic, Evan Fournier, Aaron Gordon and Jonathan Isaac all scoring 20-plus points. Vucevic's effort was especially dominant, as he posted 25 points, 17 rebounds, three assists and two steals across 27 minutes.
The Pelicans snapped a six-game losing streak with their most recent win over the Mavericks. The Magic are 3-2 over the past five. Orlando will be paced up significantly in this matchup, which should allow value on that side of the rock. The absence of Anthony Davis potentially opens up some options for the Pelicans as well.
Since Jrue Holiday has been sidelined, the story on the Pelicans has been Elfrid Payton. He's dropped triple-doubles in five straight games, averaging 15.6 points, 12.8 assists, 12.0 rebounds and 1.0 steal (51.0 FP) in 36.0 minutes. Also, Kenrich Williams and Frank Jackson snapped streaks of underwhelming play, each posting 30-plus FP in the Pels' most recent game. Anthony Davis being ruled out opens up the door for Julius Randle to see more usage.
In addition to the steady play of Vucevic and Gordon, D.J. Augustin has rounded into form lately. The veteran point guard, over the past three games, is averaging 15.7 points, 7.7 assists, 2.0 rebounds and 1.3 steals (33.2 FP) in 30.3 minutes. He makes for an interesting value play in this fast-paced matchup against a struggling New Orleans squad.
Celtics at 76ers
Spread: PHI (-3.0)
The Celtics will try to sweep this season series Wednesday. They won the most recent matchup 112-109 despite the absence of Kyrie Irving. Jayson Tatum had a field day, going for 20 points, 10 rebounds, two steals, two blocks and one assist in 35 minutes.
The Celtics are 6-3 over the past nine, while the 76ers have won five in a row. Philly will be pacing up Boston in this matchup, but the 76ers are on the second half of a back-to-back set, so it's possible they'll be sluggish.
Kyrie Irving has caught fire across the past three games, averaging 30.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, 8.3 assists and a combined 3.3 steals/blocks (61.2 FP) across 36.7 minutes. Contributions have otherwise been spotty on the Celtics, but Tatum has played well over the past two, totaling 65 FP.
The 76ers rested Joel Embiid for Tuesday's game, so he'll be one of the few fresh players on the second half of this back-to-back set. He's posted at least 50 FP in each of the past four games, including going for 78.0 FP against the Bucks in his most recent appearance. His return ultimately hurts the value of Ben Simmons, Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris. J.J. Redick posted the first double-double (and nearly a triple-double) of his career Tuesday, and it resulted in 50.0 FP.
Jazz at Knicks
Spread: UTA (-12.0)
The Jazz handily won the first matchup in this season series by 32 points. Rudy Gobert couldn't be stopped, as the big man racked up 25 points, 16 rebounds and one block across 25 minutes.
Utah is feeling it lately, having won each of the past four contests. Meanwhile, the Knicks have just three wins since the All-Star break. Both of these teams are middle-of-the-road in terms of pace, so there will be no inherent advantages there.
Ricky Rubio seems to have rounded back into form after coming back from an injury, and he's totaled 20 points, 16 assists, eight rebounds and five steals across 50 minutes over the past two contests. Meanwhile, Derrick Favors cooled off in the wake of a hamstring injury, posting just 14.8 FP in Utah's most recent outing. He had scored at least 35 FP in each of the prior three tilts.
Is Mario Hezonja back? He blocked LeBron's potential game-winning shot two games ago, and he's averaging 28.8 FP across the past pair of games. Unfortunately, I don't have an answer. Overall, the Knicks' rotation remains a mystery, and putting your money on them is the DFS equivalent of throwing your money on one number in roulette.
Wizards at Bulls
Spread: WAS (-3.5)
Wednesday's matchup marks the third of four outings for these teams, and the series is currently tied. During the most recent meeting, Washington secured a 134-125 victory. Bradley Beal dropped 31 points, four assists, four steals and two rebounds in 34 minutes.
The Wizards have won three of the past five games, while the Bulls just snapped a five-game losing streak by beating the Suns by 15 points. Chicago will be paced up and missing Otto Porter, so there should be some value opportunities in this matchup.
During Washington's most recent game, a 116-95 loss to Utah, Beal had one of his worst performances in recent memory, collecting just 18.4 FP. Across his previous five outings, he had been averaging 57.3 FP. Aside from Beal's contributions, Jabari Parker has looked comfortable lately. Over the past four games, the forward is averaging 18.8 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.3 steals in 30.8 minutes.
Only three players – Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen and Robin Lopez – have at least one 30-plus FP performance across the past three contests. During this three-game stretch, additional contributions have come from Kris Dunn (28.9 FP last game) and Shaquille Harrison (25.3 FP two games ago). Neither player invokes confidence, however. With Otto Porter out, Markkanen is especially enticing.
Rockets at Grizzlies
Spread: HOU (-5.0)
|Avery Bradley||G||Lower Leg||Out||3/27/2019|
The Rockets are on the verge of sweeping this four-game series. Houston won the most recent matchup 112-94, and James Harden went for 57 points, nine rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block across 34 minutes.
The Rockets have continued their winning ways, and they've lost just two games since the All-Star break. Meanwhile, the Grizzlies have surprisingly won four of the past seven. Both of these squads are bottom three in pace, so inherent value may be tough to come by.
Memphis' consistent contributor of late has been Mike Conley, who has posted at least 45 FP in four of the past five contests. Over that span, six other Grizzlies players – Jonas Valanciunas, Joakim Noah, Avery Bradley, Delon Wright, C.J. Miles and Chandler Parsons – have at least one performance of 30-plus FP. However, there is plenty of up-and-down play in between, and it's tough to feel safe with any option. However, with Avery Bradley and C.J. Miles out, Delon Wright could be someone to turn to Wednesday.
James Harden and Clint Capela have been consistent, with Harden posting 50-plus FP in four of the past five games, while Capela hasn't slipped below 30 FP across the past eight. With Eric Gordon sidelined, Austin Rivers and Gerald Green could see more run, though neither of them are especially enticing DFS plays.
Heat at Spurs
Spread: SA (-6.0)
The Heat took the first game of this season series, winning 95-88 back in early November. Hassan Whiteside had one of the best games of his career, recording 29 points, 20 rebounds, nine blocks and two assists in 32 minutes.
The Heat have played well lately, winning seven of the past nine games. The Spurs are hotter, however, and are on a nine-game winning streak. Both of these squads are solidly in the bottom half of the league in terms of pace, so it's not exactly an ideal DFS matchup to target.
With Justise Winslow out over the past two games, Dwyane Wade and Goran Dragic have been standouts. Wade has totaled 72.9 FP, while Dragic has totaled 80.9 FP. Kelly Olynyk, Bam Adebayo and James Johnson also have at least one performance of 30-plus FP over the past two.
The Spurs have been up to their usual tricks lately, getting contributions from a variety of players outside of their two nominal stars in DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge. Derrick White has actually cooled down, however, as he hasn't crossed the 30 FP threshold in three games.
Raptors at Thunder
Spread: OKC (-5.0)
This is the first matchup of the season between these two squads, and they'll play again as soon as Friday. Toronto has continued to play well, winning four of the past six games. Meanwhile, the Thunder are on a bit of a slide, losing their past three tilts.
Toronto has been playing at less than full strength lately, as Kawhi Leonard, Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka have all missed at least one game over the past three. Ibaka will be making his return from a three-game suspension Wednesday, though he's been a subpar DFS option since the Raptors acquired Marc Gasol. Fred VanVleet has also made his return, and it looks like he'll be of DFS use Wednesday with Lowry sidelined.
Russell Westbrook will be making his return following a one-game absence due to a suspension. He had a poor outing the last time he played, posting just 32.1 FP in a blowout loss to the Warriors. The performance snapped a four-game streak of at least 50 FP. Paul George has also rounded back into form, posting 50-plus FP in three of the past four contests.
Mavericks at Trail Blazers
Spread: POR (-10.0)
Surprisingly, Dallas has gotten the best of Portland this season, winning two of the teams' prior three matchups. The Mavericks secured a 102-101 victory in the most recent game, and Luka Doncic put on a show by posting 28 points, nine rebounds, six assists and a block in 38 minutes.
The Mavericks have just two wins since the the All-Star break, while the Blazers have won four of the past five. Both teams are in the bottom half of the NBA in terms of pace, so there's little inherent advantage in terms of possessions.
Doncic has been playing well, posting at least 50 FP in four of his past six appearances. Tim Hardaway has also found some success lately, going for at least 29 FP in each of the past two games after failing to reach that mark since Feb. 27. Dwight Powell and Jalen Brunson have been steady presences, with the former posting at least 24 FP in every game since Feb. 22 and the latter reaching that threshold in each of the past seven outings.
With C.J. McCollum out Monday, Damian Lillard showed out, dropping 60.9 FP in the victory over Indiana. The two other players to collect at least 30 FP were Jusuf Nurkic and Maurice Harkless. From a minutes perspective, Seth Curry saw the most noticeable jump, playing 25 minutes and posting 11 points on eight shots, plus one rebound, one assist and one steal.