This was supposed to be an exciting time of the year. Even though there’s no more NFL to watch until August, we were supposed to have an opportunity to have the MLB and NBA seasons coincide, along with March Madness. However, thanks to the greediness of the owners and Rob Manfred, the MLB season won’t be getting underway at the end of March.
Despite the lack of baseball that will be happening in the coming weeks, we still have the NBA and college basketball to lean on. At the same time, I’ll continue to produce NBA DFS articles until the time comes for the MLB season to begin. While the situation involving baseball is unfortunate, let’s try to take our minds off of things by taking part in Wednesday’s NBA main slate on DraftKings.
Pay-up option: James Harden ($11,200)
It’s just a small sample size, but the decision to trade for James Harden looks like a magnificent one for the Philadelphia 76ers. In his first two outings for the 76ers, Harden has produced 58 and 80 DraftKings points respectively. His 80-point performance came on Sunday versus the New York Knicks, who happen to be the team that Philadelphia faces on Wednesday night. It’s tough to expect 80 DraftKings points again from Harden (though, it’s certainly possible), but the presence of Joel Embiid does give Harden more opportunities to contribute in multiple areas. New York’s defense has declined as the season has progressed and I believe Harden has one of the best ceilings of any player on Wednesday night. De’Aaron Fox is another high-salary point guard I like if you aren’t able to afford Harden.
Value option: Gabe Vincent ($4,200)
The Miami Heat have already ruled out Kyle Lowry for Wednesday’s showdown with the Milwaukee Bucks. With Lowry sidelined again, Gabe Vincent should remain in the starting lineup for the second straight game. We’ve seen Vincent be effective for the Heat this season, and in the absence of Lowry in Miami’s last game against the Chicago Bulls, Vincent posted 29 DraftKings points. Seeing that Vincent should have an increased role against the Bucks, he’s still too cheap on the green site. Also, Milwaukee allows a league-high 3.57 three-pointers per game to point guards this season, further cementing Vincent’s case as a top-notch value option on Wednesday. For those that love taking risks, Theo Maledon has been getting more run as of late with Josh Giddey sidelined and is only $3,200 on DraftKings.
Pay-up option: Devin Booker ($9,700)
It’s only a matter of time before Devin Booker sees his salary increased to $10,000 on DraftKings. With Chris Paul out for over a month, Booker is taking on an even larger role for the Phoenix Suns. In Phoenix’s last two games, the All-Star guard has seen his usage balloon to 38.4% and 34.1% respectively. On top of that, Booker has averaged eight assists in his last four games and has logged multiple steals in four out of his last five appearances. As long as Booker continues to contribute more in other areas outside of scoring, it’s hard to argue that he isn’t one of the top options in DFS, especially against the Portland Trail Blazers. If you’re looking to save a little salary from Booker, Tyler Herro and Tre Mann are guys that are intriguing in the $5,000-$6,500 range.
Value option: Immanuel Quickley ($4,200)
The Knicks are an absolute mess right now and their decision to bring in Kemba Walker this season was a complete failure. Due to Walker’s inability to show any signs of being the guard he once was, he’s now been shut down for the rest of the season. With the news of Walker not playing another minute for New York, Immanuel Quickley should finally get an opportunity to get a consistent role in Tom Thibodeau’s rotation (maybe). During Sunday’s loss to the 76ers, Quickley saw 26 minutes of action, where he recorded 30.75 DraftKings points. Quickley should be the first player off of the bench for the Knicks moving forward or even join the starting lineup soon, making him quite the bargain at $4,200.
Pay-up option: Brandon Ingram ($7,900)
The addition of CJ McCollum is beginning to work wonders for the other members of the New Orleans Pelicans, especially Brandon Ingram. While he’s still operating around a 25-30% usage, Ingram has someone else that can score and facilitate on the offensive end. Some people thought that McCollum could hurt Ingram’s value, but the one player that’s suffered the most with McCollum’s arrival is Devonte’ Graham. Full disclosure, I likely won’t be paying up at the small forward position on Wednesday night. However, if I had to choose someone, Ingram would be my first choice in a pace-up game versus the Sacramento Kings. For the most part, I’ll be selecting from players priced $5,000 or below at small forward on Wednesday, allowing me to pay up elsewhere.
Value option: CJ Elleby ($4,100)
Outside of Josh Hart and Anfernee Simons, the Trail Blazers are rolling out an unproven lineup that features rookies or other young players. Justise Winslow has been running with the starters since being traded to Portland, however, he’s been ruled out for Wednesday’s clash with the Suns. Therefore, CJ Elleby and Keon Johnson should remain in the starting lineup together for the second consecutive game. I’m more interested in Elleby than Johnson as Elleby produced 23.75 DraftKings points while Johnson scored only 14 DraftKings points in Portland’s last game without Winslow. I’m also fine going up to Jae Crowder or Cedi Osman (if Darius Garland is ruled out) instead of Elleby.
Pay-up option: Wendell Carter Jr. ($7,700)
One of my most rostered players in NBA DFS this season has been Wendell Carter Jr. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jimmy Butler are going to be popular options at power forward, but I like Carter’s value a bit more than those two. Carter continues to be a bright spot for the Orlando Magic this season, recording 35+ DraftKings points in 10 of his last 13 games. He’s also posted a double-double in five straight games, including against the same Indiana Pacers team he’ll face on Wednesday. The Pacers have allowed the eighth-most DraftKings points per game (49.30) to power forwards in their last seven games. Evan Mobley is a player I’d like a bit more in a pace-up game versus the Charlotte Hornets if Garland returns as Mobley’s numbers are better when the All-Star guard plays.
Value option: Trey Lyles ($3,300)
In Sacramento’s last game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, they elected to switch up their starting lineup a bit. While Domantas Sabonis remained at the center position, the Kings replaced Moe Harkless with Trey Lyles, who made the most of his opportunity. Lyles would record 31 minutes of action, which would lead to him supplying 34.5 DraftKings points. If Lyles remains in the starting lineup on Wednesday, he’s a free square on DraftKings at the cheap salary of $3,300. Besides his enticing salary, Lyles gets to square off with a Denver Nuggets team that surrenders the fifth-most DraftKings points per game (48.12) to power forwards this season.
Pay-up option: Joel Embiid ($11,600)
There’s a decent chance that Harden and Joel Embiid both make my main lineup on Wednesday night. Harden is making his home debut for the 76ers, making it the first time we’ll see Harden/Embiid play together at the Wells Fargo Center. While Harden has been fantastic in his first two games with Philadelphia, Embiid remains near the top of the NBA MVP conversation. Embiid has notched 61+ DraftKings points in 11 of his last 16 outings and he just produced 61.75 DraftKings points on Sunday against the same Knicks squad he’ll face on Wednesday night. New York has allowed the second-most DraftKings points per game (66.07) to centers in their last seven games, and with Mitchell Robinson unable to stay out of foul trouble for the Knicks, Embiid is in for another outstanding performance on Wednesday. Deandre Ayton and Jarrett Allen are centers I’d consider in the $6,500-$7,500 range.
Value option: Drew Eubanks ($4,300)
The Trail Blazers are going to be without Jusuf Nurkic for an uncertain amount of time, forcing them to give minutes to rookies Trendon Watford and Greg Brown. While Watford and Brown continue to get minutes, Portland recently signed Drew Eubanks to a 10-day deal. Eubanks started for the Trail Blazers in their last game, logging 29 minutes while finishing with 29.5 DraftKings points. Given Nurkic’s current status, Eubanks should remain in the starting lineup until Nurkic can return. Eubanks has produced a solid 1.1 fantasy points per minute this season, making him an intriguing value option as long as he draws another start versus the Suns on Wednesday night.