This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
We have a 10-game slate on tap Wednesday night, a typically robust mid-week ledger that sets us up well for either cash games or tournaments with plenty of choices. We'll have plenty of elite star power to pick from, with a whopping seven players sporting five-figure salaries, and injuries around the league will also once again offer us a solid number of mid-tier and value options that are seeing a degree of playing time which outpaces their current salary.
As usual, we'll proceed to break down the positional outlook below, along with possible chalk plays and some likely under-owned bargains that could help you round out your lineups with a couple of superstars.
Before delving into the slate, a reminder that FanDuel has reverted to its previous format of NOT dropping the lowest scoring in lineups after a one-year experiment with that feature. Therefore, it will be important to be prudent with each selection, as each player's total will count toward your final score.
Without further ado, let's take a more comprehensive look at Wednesday's slate!
Here's a closer look at the three games with the highest elevated totals on Wednesday's slate:
Minnesota Timberwolves at Dallas Mavericks (Projected total: 228.5 points)
This matchup of two of the most offensively potent teams in the league unsurprisingly carries the slate's highest projected total. The Mavericks are naturally helmed by MVP candidate Luka Doncic, while the Timberwolves are getting career years from stars Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. Minnesota is also playing at the fastest pace in the league (109.8 possessions per game), while each squad is ranked in the bottom half of the league in points allowed (Mavs-109.2 PPG/Timberwolves-114.4 PPG). All of the big names will obviously be worth considering in this likely shootout, although complementary pieces such as Tim Hardaway, Jr., Seth Curry and Jeff Teague, among others, hold plenty of appeal as well.
Brooklyn Nets at Atlanta Hawks (Projected total: 226.5 points)
This contest between two other fast-paced and often defensively-challenged clubs comes in a close second to the Timberwolves-Mavericks tilt. Atlanta is currently allowing the third-most points per game (117.2), while Brooklyn isn't far behind while yielding 113.7 per road tilt. Each also plays at a top-10 pace, with the Nets' 107.6 possessions per game slightly outpacing the Hawks' 106.9 per contest. The potential for the projected total to be reached or exceeded here is certainly high, and the opposing point-guard tandem of Spencer Dinwiddie and Trae Young particularly carry appeal considering each squad's issues defending that position.
Milwaukee Bucks at Detroit Pistons (Projected total: 224.5 points)
The Bucks and their high-powered offense (Eastern Conference-high 120.8 points per game) once again help carry a game to one of the highest projected totals of the night. The Pistons average a solid 112.6 points per home contest themselves, and although they're also surrendering a respectable 105.8 points per Little Caesars Arena tilt, Milwaukee has essentially proven matchup-proof this season. The Bucks only see a slight dip in their scoring average when hitting the road (118.2 points per road tilt) and will have their big three of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe in especially good spots here. What's more, the Bucks (108.8 possessions per road game) will bring a significant bump in pace for the much more deliberate Pistons (101.2 possessions per home contest), which ups the fantasy prospects of Detroit's players as well.
PG: Even with Kyrie Irving (shoulder) and Ja Morant (back) still out, the position is replete with solid choices across the board, beginning with Luka Doncic, Trae Young and Damian Lillard up top. That's followed by a strong mid-tier that includes Spencer Dinwiddie, Kemba Walker and Terry Rozier, and there's value options all the way into the high $3k range.
SG: D'Angelo Russell (thumb) remains sidelined Wednesday, and he's the highest priced player at the position with a cost of $8,600. That means you don't have to break the bank to get your hands on the top options (Jimmy Butler, Zach LaVine, Devonte' Graham, Andrew Wiggins, Devin Booker), while sub-$7K choices such as C.J. McCollum, Khris Middleton, Evan Fournier and Jeremy Lamb could turn out to be excellent fantasy-point-per-dollar values.
SF: Two of the five-figure salaries on the slate, Giannis Antetokounmpo and LeBron James, head up the position, while sub-$8K options such as Jonathan Isaac, Jaylen Brown and Kelly Oubre, Jr. all stand a chance of delivering nicely on their salaries. There's also viable value all the way into the high $3K range with the likes of Justin Holiday residing in that vicinity.
PF: Anthony Davis sits alone at the top of the heap here with a $10.8K price tag, but there's a strong mid-tier that includes choices like Domantas Sabonis, Jayson Tatum, Bam Adebayo and Blake Griffin in an up-in-pace matchup. You can also roll with strong bargain plays all the way down near minimum, with D.J. Wilson serving as a good example at just $3.7K.
C: The confirmed absences of Nikola Vucevic (ankle) and Aron Baynes (calf) and the potential one for Jonas Valanciunas (illness) dilutes things a bit here Wednesday. However, the trio of Karl-Anthony Towns, Andre Drummond and Hassan Whiteside make for a fine group if you want to pay up, and Baynes' absence opens up another chance to jump on Frank Kaminsky at $4.3K, a price he'll likely outpace with starter's minutes, as he did Monday.
Notable Injury Situations to Monitor
Brook Lopez, MIL
Lopez is considered probable for Wednesday's game with the back injury that's cost him the last pair of contests. His return would send his brother Robin back to a bench role.
Aron Baynes, PHO
Baynes will not play in Wednesday's game due to his calf injury. Frank Kaminsky will be set up for another start in Baynes' stead.
Ricky Rubio, PHO
Chandler Hutchison, CHI
Hutchison is considered a game-time decision for Wednesday's contest due to a shoulder injury. Another absence would continue to open up opportunity for Shaquille Harrison.
Marcus Smart, BOS
Jonas Valanciunas, MEM
Brandon Clarke, MEM
Kyle Anderson, MEM
De'Andre Hunter, ATL
Allen Crabbe, ATL
Nicolas Batum, CHA
Batum is considered probable for Wednesday's contest due to a hand injury.
Bogdan Bogdanovic, SAC
Kyle Kuzma, LAL
Kuzma will likely carry a probable designation for Wednesday's game due to an ankle injury.
Jake Layman, MIN
Shabazz Napier, MIN
Napier is considered probable for Wednesday's game due to a hamstring injury.
Sterling Brown, MIL
Notable Long-Term Injuries/Absences: Kyrie Irving, BRO; Caris LeVert, BRO; Wilson Chandler, BRO; Gordon Hayward, BOS; D'Angelo Russell, GSW; Stephen Curry, GSW; Klay Thompson, GSW; Damion Lee, GSW; Ja Morant, MEM; Marvin Bagley, SAC; Kevin Huerter, ATL; John Collins, ATL; Victor Oladipo, IND; Edmond Sumner, IND; Otto Porter Jr., CHI; Edmond Sumner, IND; Deandre Ayton, PHO; Damion Lee, GSW
As mentioned earlier, we have a total of seven players with five-figure salaries on the slate, giving us no shortage of options if you're looking to pay up. Those players are distributed among the point guard (Luka Doncic, Trae Young), small forward (Giannis Antetokounmpo and LeBron James), power forward (Anthony Davis) and center (Karl-Anthony Towns, Andre Drummond). Interestingly, we have only one $9K player (Damian Lillard) that's healthy before we go into the $8K range and below.
As noted in our positional breakdown earlier, each spot is fairly well-stocked Wednesday with 20 teams in action. However, if we had to pick one of the elite who holds a bit more priority due to some positional scarcity, it could arguable be Davis, who is the only true elite option at his position. Then, Doncic and Towns do hold even more appeal than usual due to their participation in the game with the highest projected score of the night.
We'll hopefully see ownership fairly flat with the 10-game slate, but as just alluded to, the typically popular Mavericks and Timberwolves players could certainly enjoy even more attention than normal. Otherwise, we should see the stars each get their typically solid percentage of clicks, and there should also be a solid amount of injury-influenced value chalk in the form of Frank Kaminsky, and to a lesser extent, Brad Wanamaker with Marcus Smart out for the Celtics.
Key and Likely Underowned Values
George Hill, MIL at DET ($4,200):
Hill should have his usual steady role off the bench in what currently projects as the third-highest scoring game of the night. The veteran has his efficiency at career-best levels at the moment, shooting a career-high 53.7 percent, including a jaw-dropping 52.5 percent from three-point range (3.2 three-point attempts per contest). Hill is averaging a solid 21.7 minutes per contest as well, and he's scored 19.0 to 26.4 FanDuel points in his last four games. What's more, the Pistons check in allowing the third-most FanDuel points per game to point guards (56.1), along with 2.7 made threes per game to the position.
Keita Bates-Diop, MIN at DAL ($4,000):
Bates-Diop is highly likely to fly under the radar on such a large slate, but he makes for a solid large-field tournament value play in another game during which he should see a bump in minutes due to the ongoing absence of Jake Layman (toe). Bates-Diop has logged 24 to 37 minutes in each of his last four games, scoring 23.8 to 28.8 FanDuel points in three of those contests. The 2018 second-round pick is doing an excellent job stretching the floor as well, shooting 56.3 percent, including 50.0 percent from behind the arc on an average of 3.3 three-point attempts per game. The Mavericks and Timbewolves project to produce the highest combined score of the night, and Dallas comes in allowing 46.7 percent shooting to power forwards, including 34.3 percent from three-point range. They've also been a bit more generous than usual with fantasy production allowed to fours recently, surrendering 46.6 FanDuel points per game to the position over the last five.
D.J. Wilson, MIL at DET ($3,700):
Wilson's price really stands out when considering he's scored 19.1 and 24.0 FanDuel points in his last two games, respectively. The third-year forward has seen 24 minutes apiece in those contests and seems to be making a strong case to continue siphoning some playing time away from veteran Ersan Ilyasova behind Giannis Antetokounmpo. While Wilson's bump in opportunity over the last couple of games is partly due to the absence of Brook Lopez (back) in the frontcourt, he should still see enough time between PF and center Wednesday to offer a solid return on his minuscule price, especially when considering the Pistons check in ranked in the bottom half of the league in offensive efficiency rating (79.6), overall shooting percentage (50.2) and three-point shooting percentage (40.0) allowed to opposing frontcourt players.
Other likely higher-owned value plays to consider: Derrick Rose ($6,000); Carmelo Anthony ($6,000); Khem Birch ($5,900); Markelle Fultz ($5,900); Joe Harris ($5,900); Miles Bridges ($5,800); Taurean Prince ($5,500); Tim Hardaway ($5,000); Solomon Hill ($4,500); Frank Kaminsky ($4,300)