FanDuel DFS NBA Strategy Advice: Wednesday (4/7)
It’s happening. Kevin Durant will make his return for the Brooklyn Nets tonight — although James Harden’s injury means that we’ll have to keep waiting to see the Big Three in action again. I’m sure the rest of the league isn’t complaining about that.
Each week, I’ll be here to profile some strong value plays, studs, and duds for Wednesday’s FanDuel slate. I’ll do my best to point you in the right direction, and if you have any questions, you can hit me up on Twitter at @is_sirois. All matchup data is pulled from our defense versus position tool.
Most Value Per Dollar
The betting totals on tonight’s slate point to a pair of high-scoring games that we’ll target below: NOR/BKN (231.5) and MIN/IND (230.5). Of the slate’s other seven games, two have totals that we’d usually avoid: NYK/BOS (209.5) and CHA/OKC (213.5). However, I’m breaking that rule because of injuries.
The injury report points to a boatload of value across the slate. First, the Hornets and Thunder will remain without multiple starters, and the salaries for their reserves haven’t been adequately adjusted. Second, the Pacers have listed Myles Turner, Malcolm Brogdon, and Domantas Sabonis as questionable — but the latter two players sat last night, and the new injury to Turner could force Indiana’s hand to thrust one (or both) of them back into the lineup. Oh, and Ja Morant got hurt last night, which may force the Grizzlies to feature some reserve players at guard.
Below is a list of the top-10 players of the day expected to generate the most value relative to their salary, ranked in order of how much they’ll cost you.
Wendell Carter Jr. (ORL) $7,300
Carter has looked great over his last three starts for the Magic. He averaged 40.7 FanDuel points per game (FDPPG) through that stretch (5.6x value), and he’ll take on the NBA’s worst defense against centers this evening. Khem Birch’s impending return may cap his upside, but I suspect that the Magic will trust the hot hand tonight.
Malcolm Brogdon (IND) $6,700
Pay close attention to Indiana’s injury report tonight. The Pacers held Brogdon out of last night’s game because of a hip injury, but he was able to practice on Monday. I suspect that the Pacers were just being careful with their star point guard, and if he returns to the lineup tonight, he should easily hit 5x value against a salary this low. He averages 37.3 FDPPG (5.6x value), and the T’Wolves give up the fourth-most FDPPG to point guards.
Devonte’ Graham (CHA) $6,500
The Hornets are now without LaMelo Ball, Malik Monk, and Gordon Hayward. That leaves a lot of slack for their remaining starters to pick up, yet you can get most of them at quite affordable salaries. The Hornets have looked toward the end of this six-game road trip, but they’ve had multiple days off to get some rest, and they’ll take on a depleted Thunder team tonight. I prefer Graham to Terry Rozier ($7,400) simply because of the price differential.
R.J. Barrett (NYK) $6,000
Why is Barrett this cheap? Sure, he’ll play the Celtics in what should be a low-scoring game. But Barrett lit up Boston for 19 points, three assists, and 11 rebounds back in January, so we can’t write him off. He may not repeat that performance, but he should easily post enough points to hit value. He averages 29.8 FDPPG (5x value) on the year.
Aleksej Pokusevski (OKC) $5,500
With Isaiah Roby, Luguentz Dort, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Darius Bazley all still out for the Thunder, the team’s reserves will have to keep stepping up. Pokusevski will be a key contributor at power forward, especially since the Hornets surrender the most FDPPG to the position. He has averaged 27.4 FDPPG (5x value) over his last four outings.
P.J. Washington (CHA) $5,200
Washington is my favorite player to target in Charlotte’s offense. The Thunder give up the second-most FDPPG to power forwards, and Washington’s salary reflects an overreaction to his road-trip slump. Also, the Thunder allow the second-most FDPPG to opposing power forwards. Look for him to rebound after some time off.
Josh Richardson (DAL) $5,000
The Houston Rockets allow the most FDPPG to shooting guards, where Richardson spends 82% of his minutes despite his small forward designation. Richardson hit 5x value against this price in his last appearance, and this is the perfect opponent for him to start building some momentum.
Joe Harris (BKN) $5,000
I’ll admit that the logic behind this pick is very simple: made threes. The Pelicans allow the most of them per game (15.1), and Harris averages 3.2 made threes per game. Kevin Durant should make his return tonight, but since James Harden will have to miss time with a hamstring injury, Harris should still have plenty of chances to hit value.
Goga Bitadze (IND) $3,900
Bitadze, Indiana’s backup center, might be chalk if Turner gets ruled out. The second-year pro has averaged 7.8 points, 1.4 assists, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game over his last eight appearances. He played just 12.8 minutes per game through that stretch. At this price, Bitadze should easily surpass 5x value should Turner have to miss time.
Ish Smith (WAS) $3,500
Smith is back! He played 20-plus minutes in his first two games back for the Wizards (of course, Bradley Beal has been out), but he should be in line for a stable rotational role behind even if they both play; he had been averaging 20.6 minutes per game before his injury. He should easily clear 5x value with an average share of minutes tonight, as the Magic give up the second-most FDPPG to point guards.
Studs Worth Their Salary
- Russell Westbrook (WAS) $11,000: Westbrook has seen a ton of usage with Bradley Beal sidelined, and he’ll be well-worth his salary against the depleted Magic if Beal has to sit again tonight.
- Luka Doncic (DAL) $10,300: I love Doncic here. Basketball-Reference scores him at shooting guard for 40% of his minutes, and the Rockets give up the most FDPPG to that position. More importantly, however, is that his salary is much more affordable than usual.
- Nikola Jokic (DEN) $10,200: Jokic and the Nuggets will take on the Spurs this evening, and even though San Antonio boasts an above-average defense against centers, it’s virtually impossible to fade Jokic this season — especially at a salary this cheap.
- Jayson Tatum (BOS) $8,800: Tatum missed Boston’s first game against the Knicks, but our projections have him as a top-eight scorer at a relatively affordable salary.
Notable Players to Fade
- Kyrie Irving (BKN) $10,400: With Harden out and Durant back, there’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding Brooklyn’s matchup with the Pelicans tonight. I recommend that you pass on Irving for this sky-high price.
- Clint Capela (ATL) $10,400: Capela’s salary is out of control. He’ll take on Jonas Valancuinas and the Grizzlies tonight, and I don’t think the matchup warrants dishing this much cap space out for Capela.
- Kevin Durant (BKN) $8,800: I don’t know how limited Durant will be tonight, so I don’t intend to feature him in any lineups on this slate. Let other users take the risk.
- Donovan Mitchell (UTA) $8,200: The Suns give up the fewest FDPPG to shooting guards, so don’t drop this much cap space on Mitchell.
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