This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
We have a big nine-game slate Wednesday night, one that once again has plenty of big names on its injury report. However, there is also plenty of value to be had, including some that rises to the forefront as a direct result of those key absences. There's also a healthy percentage of games with desirable projected totals, and more totals are slated to be released throughout the day as some injury situations to key players come into clearer focus.
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 on Wednesday's slate with the highest projected totals as of early Wednesday morning:
Atlanta Hawks and Minnesota Timberwolves (Projected total: 236.5 points)
This is a fine and unsurprising candidate for the game with the highest projected total on the slate, considering the significant defensive inefficiency of each squad. Atlanta and Minnesota have just one team between them in the bottom five of the league in terms of points allowed per game (Hawks, 118.3 PPG; Timberwolves, 115.3 PPG) and have allowed over 120 points per contest each over the last three. The two teams also combined for 238 points the first time they met, a 125-113 T-Wolves victory Nov. 25.
Memphis Grizzlies at Dallas Mavericks (Projected total: 229.0 points)
The Grizzlies continue to play at a top-10 pace (106.5 possessions per game) and rank in the bottom half of the league in defensive efficiency rating (1.080) as well. Dallas will still be missing Luka Doncic (ankle), but the Mavs have averaged 118.7 points per game over the first three contests the star guard has missed with the injury. The two squads also lit up the scoreboard for a combined 260 points the first time they met, a game that culminated in a 138-122 road win for Dallas on Nov. 9.
Miami Heat at Los Angeles Clippers (Projected total: 223.0 points)
The Heat haven't been anywhere near as prolific on the road (107.8 PPG, compared to 116.6 at home), but the Clippers are averaging the sixth-most points per game of any team on its home floor (116.8). Each squad is also yielding over 108 points per contest in the home/road splits that apply Wednesday, and each will come in with all of its major pieces healthy.
Point guard starts off in ragged fashion at the top with both Luka Doncic (ankle) and Kyrie Irving (knee) out of action. However, Trae Young (ankle) does carry a probable tag, while the likes of Chris Paul ($7.4K) and Kyle Lowry ($6.8K) come at a nice savings relative to upside. There's also some nice large-field tournament value down into the high $3K range (Michael Carter-Williams, T.J. McConnell).
Shooting guard enjoys a clean bill of health all the way down into the $6K range and below, where Marcus Smart (thigh), Kevin Huerter (hip) and Norman Powell (finger) all sport injury tags. Powell is projected to miss, while the other two have a chance to suit up. The good news is you won't have to break the bank for some of the top-shelf options, as Devin Booker ($8.5K) is the most expensive, with Jimmy Butler ($8.3K) and D'Angelo Russell ($7.7K) both sporting appealing prices.
Small forward's blemishes consist of Gordon Hayward's questionable designation due to a calf injury and TJ. Warren's confirmed absence due to concussion. However, the rest of the position is in solid shape until one delves into the mid-$4K range and below, as there some health-related question marks there as well. This is another spot where the top options won't cost you a bundle, as Pascal Siakam ($8.4K) and Paul George ($8.2K) are the priciest choices.
Power forward is in somewhat similar shape, as everything is going swimmingly until the $6.1K range, where Jerami Grant's (ankle) questionable designation begins an array of injury concerns that also includes Michael Porter, Jr., Paul Millsap, Daniel Theis, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Dario Saric. As mentioned earlier, Kristaps Porzingis ($8.7K) could be a particularly rewarding play Wednesday, and he's not even close to the price of top option Kawhi Leonard ($9.8K).
Center is in relatively strong shape as usual, with Nikola Jokic ($10.6K) up top and an excellent array of choices immediately below him in the form of Karl-Anthony Towns ($10.1K), Andre Drummond ($9.9K), Deandre Ayton ($8.6K), Nikola Vucevic ($8.4K) and Rudy Gobert ($8.2K). Jonas Valanciunas (knee) and Tristan Thompson ($4.9K) constitute the biggest injury-related uncertainties, while Marc Gasol (hamstring) remains out.
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.
Luka Doncic, DAL
Doncic remains sidelined due to an ankle injury.
Trae Young, ATL
Young is probable due to an ankle injury.
Kyrie Irving, BKN
Irving is out with the MCL sprain that's expected to keep him out for at least a week.
Derrick Rose, DET
Rose will be out due to a hip injury.
Mykhailiuk will be out due to a hip injury.
Markieff Morris, DET
Morris is questionable due to a hip injury.
Kevin Huerter, ATL
Huerter is probable due to a hip injury.
Marc Gasol, TOR
Gasol remains out due to a hamstring injury.
Norman Powell, TOR
Powell will remain out due to a fractured finger.
Hollis-Jefferson is questionable due to an ankle injury.
Khem Birch, ORL
Birch is questionable with a back injury.
De'Andre Hunter, ATL
Hunter is questionable due to an ankle injury that cost him Monday's game.
Kemba Walker, BOS
Walker is questionable due to the knee injury that cost him the last two games.
Marcus Smart, BOS
Smart is questionable due to a thigh injury that cost him Monday's game.
Gordon Hayward, BOS
Hayward is probable due to a calf contusion.
Daniel Theis, BOS
Theis is out due to an ankle injury.
Enes Kanter, BOS
Kanter is probable due to a hip injury and is line for a spot start at center with Daniel Theis (ankle) sidelined.
Jonas Valanciunas, MEM
Valanciunas is questionable due to knee soreness.
Seth Curry, DAL
Curry is questionable due to a knee injury.
J.J. Barea, DAL
Barea is questionable due to an ankle injury.
T.J. Warren, IND
Warren will remain out due to a concussion.
Tristan Thompson, CLE
Thompson is questionable due to a quadriceps injury.
Michael Porter, DEN
Porter will not play due to an ankle injury.
Tyler Herro, MIA
Herro is out due to a foot injury.
Meyers Leonard, MIA
Leonard is out due to an ankle injury.
Tyler Johnson, PHO
Johnson will not play due to a knee injury.
Ty Jerome, PHO
Jerome will not play due to a lower leg injury.
Dario Saric, PHO
Saric will remain out due to an ankle injury.
Cameron Johnson, PHO
Johnson will remain out with a quadriceps injury.
Aron Baynes, PHO
Baynes will miss his ninth straight game due to a hip injury.
Bruno Fernando, ATL
Fernando is questionable due to a calf injury.
Cam Reddish, ATL
Reddish will remain out due to a concussion.
Alex Len, ATL
Len remains out due to a hip injury.
DeAndre' Bembry, ATL
Bembry is out due to a hand injury.
Allen Crabbe, MIN
Crabbe is doubtful due to a kneecap injury.
Notable Longer-Term Injuries/Absences: Jonathan Isaac, ORL; Al-Farouq Aminu, ORL; D.J. Augustin, ORL; Paul Millsap, DEN; Mason Plumlee, DEN; Stephen Curry, GSW; Klay Thompson, GSW; Ante Zizic, CLE; Justise Winslow, MIA; Jabari Parker, ATL; Chandler Parsons, ATL; Robert Williams, BOS; Grayson Allen, MEM; Andre Iguodala, MEM; Bruno Caboclo, MEM; Frank Kaminsky, PHO; Jake Layman, MIN; Luke Kennard, DET; Khyri Thomas, DET
We have a trio of players apiece in the $10K and $9K ranges, although Luka Doncic eliminates one candidate from the former group due to his ankle injury. Nikola Jokic ($10.6K) is the most expensive player on the slate overall, but it's a bit of buyer beware with the talented big Wednesday as far as his ability to deliver a true 5x-6x return on his steep price – he'll face Rudy Gobert and the Jazz.
As a result, cheaper options Karl-Anthony Towns ($10.1K) and Andre Drummond ($9.9K) could ultimately provide a better return per dollar of salary in favorable matchups versus the Hawks and Suns, respectively. Then, Trae Young ($9.6K) will also find himself in an advantageous situation in a matchup against the Timberwolves that's projected to be the highest scoring of the night.
Finally, keep an eye on both Kristaps Porzingis ($8.7K vs. Grizzlies) and Deandre Ayton ($8.6K vs. Pistons), who are both marked down from the top-shelf options but offer as much upside, particularly in their respective Wednesday matchups.
Injuries will certainly play some role in creating chalk plays Wednesday, as the medical report is extensive and there are some key names on it. Another absence by Kemba Walker (knee) would lead to some of his teammates seeing an uptick in popularity, while Kristaps Porzingis should see plenty of clicks on his name in the ongoing absence of Luka Doncic (ankle), especially considering he has back-to-back 54.4 FanDuel-point tallies. In addition to those examples, several of the key pieces from the Hawks-Timberwolves, Grizzlies-Mavs and Nets-Warriors games are likely to see elevated ownership due to game environment expectations.
As customary, I've also put together a specific list of sub-$6K value plays that should find themselves in plenty of lineups and have included those below the next section.
Key and Likely Underowned Values
Marquese Chriss, GSW at BKN ($5,000)
There's some concern with Chriss not seeing as many minutes as other front-line centers, but the big man has proven adept at making good use of relatively modest swaths of playing time. Chriss has scored 22.1 to 36.9 FanDuel points in seven straight games, despite logging 26 minutes or fewer in six of those contests. His matchup Wednesday offers some promising prospects, considering the Nets are tied with the Bulls for fourth-most fantasy points per game allowed to centers (39.3) on the season, including 42.0 over the last five games. Brooklyn is also allowing the fifth-highest offensive efficiency rating (33.1) to fives, along with the most rebounds (16.6) per contest to the position.
Victor Oladipo, IND at TOR ($4,800)
Oladipo isn't necessarily a name you'll associate with low ownership, but his game log since making his season debut three games ago is far from inspiring. The typically sharpshooting two-guard has been understandably rusty after missing an entire calendar year, as he's scored 12.9 to 15.4 FanDuel points while shooting an abysmal 20.5 percent over his first three games back. Wednesday, he should be back in the 28-minute range as per latest reports, and he'll face a Raptors team that's yielded 48.6 FanDuel points per game to twos for the season, including the fourth-most steals (2.2). Swipes have traditionally been a big part of Oladipo's fantasy production, and with additional playing time Wednesday and too much talent to continue shooting the way he has, he could pay off nicely at lower ownership than one might expect.
Kyle Anderson, MEM at DAL ($3,800)
Anderson's production will have its fair share of fluctuations, so he qualifies as much more of a large-field tournament punt play. However, that's not to say the versatile wing doesn't have his moments, as he just accumulated 32.7 FanDuel points two games ago versus the Pelicans and has tallies of 23.3 and 27.4 FanDuel points, respectively, over two other games in his last five. Anderson has eclipsed the 30-fantasy-point mark thrice and scored between 20.5 and 28.5 FPs on nine occasions overall this season, proving his ability to blow past his current price. The Mavericks haven't exactly been a lockdown unit against threes, either, with Dallas allowing the eighth-highest offensive efficiency rating (23.1) to the position, as well as 43.3 FanDuel points per game to the position. Anderson's price naturally doesn't require a mammoth return to make rostering him worthwhile, and the lower ownership numbers are essentially guaranteed with him.
Other likely low-owned value play to consider: Cheick Diallo, PHO at DET ($3,600)
Other likely higher-owned value plays to consider: Serge Ibaka, TOR ($5,900); Dillon Brooks, MEM ($5,800); Robert Covington, MIN ($5,700); Dorian Finney-Smith, DAL ($5,600); Alec Burks, GSW ($5,300); Glenn Robinson III, GSW ($5,300); Larry Nance, CLE ($5,100); Jeff Teague, ATL ($5,100); DeAndre Jordan, BKN ($5,000); Joe Harris, BKN ($4,800); Nerlens Noel, OKC ($4,600); Caris LeVert, BKN ($4,500); Maxi Kleber, DAL ($4,300); Enes Kanter, BOS ($4,200)