This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
We have a big 12-game slate Wednesday, which once again presents us with a smorgasbord of choices at every position. Then, the expected and long-awaited regular-season debut of first overall pick Zion Williamson is also on tap and he's priced at just $4.5K, making an already intriguing ledger all the more appealing. We also have the expected return to action of Anthony Davis, offering us yet another elite player to try and fit in during roster construction.
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 four games with the highest projected totals on Wednesday's slate:
San Antonio Spurs at New Orleans Pelicans (Projected total: 237.0 points)
Both teams should come in at close to full health and are ranked in the bottom-five in scoring allowed per contest. Then, both also check in the top-10 in points scored per game, and Zion Williamson is expected to add to New Orleans' already extensive firepower by making his regular-season professional debut Wednesday.
Los Angeles Clippers at Atlanta Hawks (Projected total: 232.5 points)
Any time the Hawks are in action, the opposition's offensive expectations are elevated. That's especially true when they're facing an opponent the caliber of the Clippers. Even if Paul George misses another game for Los Angeles with a hamstring injury, there is still plenty of reason to believe in an elevated offensive performance for the Clips, considering they put up a jaw-dropping 150 points in a regulation game the first time these two teams met this season.
Memphis Grizzlies at Boston Celtics (Projected total: 231.0 points)
The old, half-court, grind-it-out Grizzlies are a thing of the past, with this year's edition averaging 113.6 points per game and allowing 116.0 per contest. The Celtics are averaging the fifth-highest amount of points per game (115.8) at home as well, and Memphis will bring them a nice bump in pace.
Washington Wizards at Miami Heat (Projected total: 229.5 points)
The Wizards and Heat combined for 228 points the last time they met, and Washington continues to be the worst defensive squad in the league on a points-per-game-allowed basis (119.8). They're particularly vulnerable on the road (122.2 PPG allowed) and are facing a Miami squad that's lost just once at home all season while averaging 115.7 PPG at American Airlines Arena.
Other Notable High Projected Scoring Total: Denver Nuggets at Houston Rockets (Projected total: 228.5 points)
On a slate of this size, there is no position that is worth fretting over in terms of a lack of depth, as every spot is well-stocked top to bottom. That's true even when considering potential prominent absences on the part of Paul George (hamstring), Andre Drummond (lip) and Gary Harris (groin), as well as the confirmed ones for Joel Embiid (finger) and Jamal Murray (ankle).
If we were to label one position as thinner than the rest, it technically could be center, as it's possible Drummond joins Embiid on the inactive list, which naturally lessens the elite level of the pool at the position. The Thunder's Steven Adams is also questionable with an ankle issue, which affects the mid-tier.
And, if we were focusing on the position with the cleanest bill of health, power forward could well earn that distinction. Anthony Davis is expected to return Wednesday from his back injury, and outside of Derrick Favors' questionable status, there are no other shorter-term injuries to starters of note. Additionally, Zion Williamson's expected availability also gives a nice boost to the position, especially considering he's priced at just $4.5K.
Notable Injury Situations to Monitor
NOTE: Injury reporting is especially fluid in the NBA, where the status of multiple players can change during the course of a day. Therefore, although the following serves as a foundation for the latest injury report as of the time the article is written (usually late morning Eastern time), check back throughout the course of the day with RotoWire for the latest news regarding the status of all players on that night's slate.
Zion Williamson, NOP
Williamson is expected to make his professional debut Wednesday despite officially being listed as questionable with a knee injury. While a minutes limit is naturally to be expected, previous reports have specified that Williamson is expected to make his debut on the first unit.
Anthony Davis, LAL
Davis is expected to play despite his back/glute injury. LeBron James' usage will take a hit of unknown degree with Davis back in action.
Paul George, LAC
George is likely to be considered questionable at best with the hamstring injury that's cost him six games. Kawhi Leonard should continue enjoying elevated usage if George misses again.
Patrick Beverley, LAC
Beverley is likely to be considered questionable at best with the groin injury that forced him to leave Tuesday's game against the Mavericks early.
Steven Adams, OKC
Adams is questionable with an ankle injury.
Nerlens Noel, OKC
Noel is questionable with an ankle injury.
Tim Frazier, DET
Frazier will not play due to an illness.
Andre Drummond, DET
Markieff Morris, DET
Morris is probable with a toe injury.
Alex Len, ATL
Len is questionable with a back injury.
Lauri Markkanen, CHI
Markkanen is probable with an ankle injury.
Chandler Hutchison, CHI
Hutchison is probable with shoulder soreness.
Ryan Arcidiacono, CHI
Arcidiacono is probable with elbow discomfort.
Aaron Holiday, IND
Holiday is questionable with right thumb soreness.
Jrue Holiday, NOP
Holiday is probable with a left elbow strain.
JJ Redick, NOP
Redick is probable with a hamstring strain.
Josh Hart, NOP
Hart is questionable due to ankle soreness.
Derrick Favors, NOP
Favors is questionable with lower back soreness.
Jahlil Okafor, NOP
Okafor is likely to be considered questionable at best with a back injury that's already cost him the last three games.
RJ Barrett, NYK
Barrett will not play due to an ankle injury.
Marcus Morris, NYK
Morris is questionable with an ankle sprain.
Terrance Ferguson, OKC
Ferguson will not play due to a personal matter.
Abdel Nader, OKC
Nader is out due to an ankle injury.
Kemba Walker, BOS
Walker is probable with knee soreness.
Jaylen Brown, BOS
Brown is questionable with an ankle sprain.
Jimmy Butler, MIA
Butler is probable with a hip injury.
Duncan Robinson, MIA
Robinson is questionable with an ankle sprain.
Goran Dragic, MIA
Dragic is probable with a knee bruise.
Anzejs Pasecniks, WAS
Pasecniks is questionable with an ankle sprain.
Rajon Rondo, LAL
Rondo is considered probable with a finger injury.
Jamal Murray, DEN
Murray is out with an ankle injury that's already cost him three games.
Gary Harris, DEN
Harris is doubtful with the groin injury that's already cost him four games.
Paul Millsap, DEN
Millsap is likely to be considered questionable at best with the knee injury that's already cost him six games.
Rudy Gay, SAN
Gay is probable with an illness that's cost him the last three games.
Cameron Johnson, PHO
Johnson is questionable due to a quadriceps bruise.
Aron Baynes, PHO
Baynes is considered doubtful due to a hip bruise.
Austin Rivers, HOU
Rivers is questionable due to a thumb sprain. Chris Clemons could see a bump in opportunity as a backup point guard.
Jacob Evans, GSW
Evans is questionable due to a concussion that's cost him the last three games.
Glenn Robinson III, GSW
Robinson is probable with an ankle sprain that's cost him the last two games.
Notable Longer-Term Injuries/Absences: Joel Embiid, PHI; Blake Griffin, DET; Stephen Curry, GSW; Klay Thompson, GSW; Justise Winslow, MIA; Victor Oladipo, IND; Jonathan Isaac, ORL; Al-Farouq Aminu, ORL; D.J. Augustin, ORL; Robert Williams III, BOS; Dennis Smith Jr., NYK; Frank Kaminsky, PHO; Kevon Looney, GSW; Wendell Carter Jr., CHI; Daniel Gafford, CHI; Otto Porter Jr., CHI; Jabari Parker, ATL; Richaun Holmes, SAC; Gerald Green, HOU; Jake Layman, MIN; Bruno Caboclo, MEM; Andre Iguodala, MEM; Andre Roberson, OKC; Mason Plumlee, DEN; Moritz Wagner, WAS; Rui Hachimura, WAS; Garrison Mathews, WAS; Darius Miller, NOP; Kenrich Williams, NOP; Luke Kennard, DET; Reggie Jackson, DET
If you're a DFS spendthrift, this slate is for you. There are a whopping nine players sporting five-figure salaries Wednesday – James Harden ($11.4K), LeBron James ($11.2K), Anthony Davis ($10.9K), Kawhi Leonard ($10.6K), Nikola Jokic ($10.6K), Andre Drummond ($10.3K), Trae Young ($10.2K), Karl-Anthony Towns ($10.1K) and Rudy Gobert ($10K). You can throw positional scarcity out the window Wednesday in terms of it playing a factor in making any one of these players more valuable than the other, but there are a couple of factors to be mindful of.
As far as James is concerned, bear in mind Davis is expected to make his return, which would naturally eat into LeBron's usage. Leonard could also be affected by a possible Paul George (hamstring) return, while Drummond is questionable with a lip injury as of midday Wednesday. Then, Harden is facing a team in the Nuggets that's effectively double- and triple-teamed him in the past, a strategy that if deployed once again Wednesday could make Russell Westbrook a veritable bargain at $9.9K.
We should see Zion Williamson get plenty of clicks Wednesday given his price and the anticipation regarding his debut, but otherwise, with 24 teams in action, there's little doubt ownership should be fairly flat across the board. It also helps that two of the mega-stars that typically command the highest ownership regardless of slate size – Giannis Antetokounmpo and Luka Doncic – are not in action.
As customary, I've also compiled a list of multiple sub-$6K value plays that should be particularly popular – many of them also due to injuries on their team – and have listed them underneath the next section.
Key and Likely Underowned Values
Jordan Clarkson, UTA at GSW ($4,400)
Clarkson is typically underowned, and even more so on a slate of this size. However, he holds down a steady role in the Jazz's backcourt rotation, and Wednesday, he gets a crack at a Warriors team that's given up 46.2 percent shooting and the sixth-highest offensive efficiency rating (45.9) to opposing second units, as well as the second-highest three-point percentage (37.6) overall. Clarkson has also exceeded 22 FanDuel points in four of his last six games, a sample that includes three tallies of 29.5 FanDuel points or more. Given his price and a role that's seeing him log minutes in the mid-20s on average thus far in Utah, he's certainly worthy of consideration for savings at one guard spot.
Tyler Herro, MIA vs. WAS ($4,200)
Herro is essentially guaranteed to have very low ownership Wednesday, due both to the size of the slate and his recent body of work. The rookie recently missed some time with a knee bruise, and he's posted just 2.7 and 16.0 FanDuel points in his first two games back, respectively. However, Herro had compiled 21.3 to 28.4 FanDuel points in the four games prior to the injury, and he already posted 38.4 FanDuel points in one prior meeting against the Wizards this season. Meanwhile, Washington checks in ranked in the bottom-10 in offensive efficiency rating surrendered to opposing second units (45.0), a figure that's partly the byproduct of the Wizards tying with the Hornets for the highest shooting percentage (47.8) allowed to bench players. Then, Washington is also allowing the highest offensive efficiency rating (25.1) to two-guards, along with 53.3 FanDuel points per game to the position.
Mike Conley, UTA at GSW ($4,100)
This will likely be about the only time you'll see Conley at this price and classified as an "underowned" value play. Given his matchup versus the Warriors and the fact his minutes could hit or exceed the 20-mark in his third game back from a hamstring injury, he's certainly worthy of a look. Golden State's vulnerability to opposing second units was just covered in Clarkson's entry, and it's also worth noting the Warriors allow the highest offensive efficiency rating (29.5) and the third-most FanDuel points per game (49.0) to point guards, including the most (71.2) over the last five contests. Conley has shot a solid 7-for-11 (including 3-for-6 from three-point range) in his first two games back, so rust doesn't seem to be a factor, either.
Other likely higher-owned value plays to consider: Bojan Bogdanovic, UTA ($5,700); Marcus Smart, BOS ($5,600); Jarrett Culver, MIN ($5,600); Dillon Brooks, MEM ($5,600); Josh Richardson, PHI ($5,600); Myles Turner, IND ($5,600); Joe Ingles, UTA ($5,500); Nemanja Bjelica, SAC ($5,400); Kendrick Nunn, MIA ($5,400): Michael Porter Jr., DEN ($5,300); Norman Powell, TOR ($5,300); Evan Fournier, ORL ($5,200); Marvin Bagley III, SAC ($5,100): Brandon Clarke, MEM ($4,800); Zion Williamson, NOP ($4,500)