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NBA DFS: Best plays for Wednesday, January 26th

LaMelo Ball seemingly loves to face the Indiana Pacers this season, making him a strong pay-up option at either guard spot on Wednesday night.

Charlotte Hornets v Toronto Raptors Photo by Vaughn Ridley/NBAE via Getty Images

It’s always a perfect time to take part in some NBA DFS and we have a nice 10-game main slate on tap for Wednesday night. We have the reigning champions in the Milwaukee Bucks traveling to face the resilient Cleveland Cavaliers and a matchup of a shorthanded Utah Jazz team versus a Deandre Ayton-less Phoenix Suns squad for the second time in the past three days.

Nothing has changed in the sense of us needing to pay close attention to the news around the NBA until lineups lock on Wednesday night. There are plenty of notable names dealing with injuries and there are other players that could be out due to rest on Wednesday. While you need something to do to pass some time in the morning, here are my favorite pay-up and value options on DraftKings’ main slate on Wednesday night.

Point Guard

Pay-up option: Luka Doncic ($11,100)

There are plenty of directions we can go at the top at the point guard position. James Harden is a great option with Kevin Durant sidelined and Kyrie Irving unable to play home games for the Brooklyn Nets. As I believe Harden could be a popular choice — unless the Nets rest him on a back-to-back — I’ll save a few hundred dollars in salary to use Luka Doncic. Doncic has been spectacular of late, scoring 67+ DraftKings points in three out of his last four games entering Tuesday night’s contest with the Golden State Warriors. The Dallas Mavericks are asking a lot of Doncic like previous seasons and he continues to show why he’s one of the most exciting players to watch. The Portland Trail Blazers play at a much faster pace than the Mavericks, so Doncic could benefit from more possessions and rebound chances on Wednesday night.

Value option: De’Anthony Melton ($4,700)

It has been announced that Desmond Bane has cleared health and safety protocols for the Memphis Grizzlies. Despiting clearing the protocols, the Grizzlies are listing Bane as questionable for Wednesday night’s game against the San Antonio Spurs due to his conditioning. If Bane needs another game to get back into the swing of things, then De’Anthony Melton is still a nice value at $4,700. Melton has contributed 35+ DraftKings points in back-to-back contests at under $5,000 salary in the absence of Bane. In the event that Bane returns on Wednesday, then you can go with Kevin Huerter at the same salary as Melton or down to Davion Mitchell at $4,400 if you’re uncomfortable with using Melton.

Shooting Guard

Pay-up option: LaMelo Ball ($8,100)

LaMelo Ball has unquestionably struggled with his outside shot in his last two games, converting only two of his 14 three-point attempts. As a result, the second-year guard has scored 35 or fewer DraftKings in back-to-back games. Despite his recent struggles, Ball gets to face a team in the Indiana Pacers that he’s excelled against this season. I tend not to use game logs against a certain team as a factor in my decision-making — as it can be skewed with a limited sample size — but it’s hard to ignore the success he’s had versus the Pacers this season. In his previous three outings against Indiana, Ball scored 51+ DraftKings points in all of them. The Charlotte Hornets play at the second-fastest pace in the league and the Pacers are without Malcolm Brogdon at the point guard position, which should make it easier for Ball to produce on the offensive end.

Value option: Lance Stephenson ($3,700)

On the other side of the court as Ball, Lance Stephenson is looking to make a name for himself once again. Stephenson signed with the Pacers earlier this season amid injury woes and COVID-19 issues on Indiana’s roster. While Stephenson isn’t getting starter minutes, he’s making the most of the minutes he’s receiving every night. Stephenson has eclipsed 20 DraftKings points in back-to-back games despite playing 17-18 minutes in each contest. With Brogdon still out for the Pacers, I expect Stephenson to get 15-20 minutes on Wednesday, which is more than enough time to do some damage against one of his former teams.

Small Forward

Pay-up option: Jimmy Butler ($8,500)

The Miami Heat have already shared that Kyle Lowry will be sidelined for his fifth straight game on Wednesday due to a personal matter. We hope everything is okay with Lowry and that he takes care of what he needs to before he returns to the court. Tyler Herro is expected to return from the health and safety protocols for the Heat on Wednesday, but Jimmy Butler should continue shouldering a massive workload. With Lowry out, Butler has operated as the primary facilitator, which has made him extremely valuable in NBA DFS. Butler has notched 8+ assists in five of his last six appearances and he’s earned two triple-doubles in those six games. Despite playing a slow-paced team in the New York Knicks on Wednesday, Butler should have no trouble stuffing the stat sheet.

Value option: Cameron Johnson ($4,300)

Another player we are already aware of the status of for Wednesday is Jae Crowder. Crowder will miss his second straight game for the Suns with a wrist injury, allowing Cameron Johnson to remain in the starting lineup. We saw Johnson start for Phoenix on Monday against the same Utah team he’ll see on Wednesday night, where he posted 35 DraftKings points at $3,900. While his price was raised to $4,300 on Wednesday, he’s still a massive value with his ability to knock down threes and contribute rebounds, steals, and blocks. It’s hard to ignore a player that is $4,300 and could see 35+ minutes on the floor.

Power Forward

Pay-up option: Kristaps Porzingis ($7,600)

Kristaps Porzingis can be a frustrating player to roster in NBA DFS at times. There are nights when he looks like the “unicorn” that players like Kevin Durant have dubbed him as. And then there are other nights where he looks disinterested where he finishes with 12 points and four rebounds. As of late, Porzingis has been extremely active on both ends of the floor for the Mavericks and has been a large reason why Dallas has become a defensive juggernaut in January. Porzingis has scored 40+ DraftKings points in five of his last 10 appearances entering Tuesday night’s matchup with the Warriors. There’s a chance we see Porzingis rested by the Mavericks on Wednesday with Dallas playing a back-to-back set, so DeMar DeRozan and Wendell Carter Jr. are other guys I like in the same price range as Porzingis.

Value option: Danilo Gallinari ($4,400)

We’ll have to wait for some news pertaining to the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday before making decisions on our lineups. Bogdan Bogdanovic is probable to play versus the Sacramento Kings while De’Andre Hunter carries a questionable tag into the contest. Regardless of Hunter’s status, Danilo Gallinari has been finding his groove off of the bench for the Hawks in recent games. The veteran forward has returned 5x value in each of his last five outings. If Hunter is unable to go for Atlanta, then that would give Gallinari even more of a boost. The Kings surrender the third-most DraftKings points per game to small forwards and the second-most DraftKings points per game to power forwards in their past 30 games, so Gallinari is one of my favorite value options on Wednesday.

Center

Pay-up option: Nikola Jokic ($12,400)

I shouldn’t need to tire my hands in writing anything to explain why Nikola Jokic is a smash play on Wednesday night. Nikola Jokic is the most expensive player at $12,400 and it’s hard to argue using him when he has a legitimate floor of 50+ points and a ceiling of 75+. Even with Jokic on a back-to-back on Wednesday, he just played in a back-to-back for the Denver Nuggets on January 15th/January 16th where he accrued 57 DraftKings points against the Los Angeles Lakers, then proceeded to erupt for 72.75 points versus the Jazz. If you’re someone that can’t afford Jokic or are a lunatic that is against using him, then Pascal Siakam and Jusuf Nurkic are other pay-up options.

Value option: Richaun Holmes ($4,500)

Richaun Holmes appears to be getting his usual allotment of minutes in recent games after having his minutes restricted following a stint in the league’s health and safety protocols. In his past two games for the Kings, Holmes has logged 23+ DraftKings points while playing 24+ minutes in each contest. Even though he’s a bit undersized at the center position, Holmes still contributes on the board and he can rack up enough blocks and steals to make him a viable option on DraftKings. Holmes gets a chance to face the Hawks on Wednesday, who have allowed 58.57 DraftKings points per game to the center position in their last 30 games (sixth-worst in the NBA).