Wednesday night’s six-game slate includes a Cavs-Nuggets rematch, a gritty Eastern Conference battle between the Raptors and Pistons, and a potential shootout to cap off the night in Magic-Lakers. The Kings and Pelicans also square off in what could be a high-scoring affair, with Anthony Davis’ condition following his rib contusion Tuesday something to monitor heading towards tip-off. Without further ado, let’s tackle the task of rounding up some strong plays at each price tier:
Chris Paul, HOU at MIL ($15,500): Paul racked up 45.00 fantasy points against the Thunder on Tuesday and is set up for a successful encore Wednesday. The All-Star point guard compiled 25 points (on 53.8 percent shooting), six assists, five rebounds and one steal across 36 minutes in his one prior meeting with the Bucks this season, and Milwaukee comes in allowing 51.5 fantasy points to point guards over the last 10, a notable increase over their 39.5 season figure. The former number is partly comprised of allowing the sixth-most assists (10.0) and steals (2.6) over that span, two particularly relevant figures when considering Paul, who tends to thrive in both categories. Also at least worth noting is the fact that backcourt mate James Harden will draw a relatively tough positional matchup -- considering the Bucks have been ranked in the top half in terms of fantasy production allowed to two-guards all season -- which could funnel a few additional scoring opportunities Paul’s way.
Bogdan Bogdanovic, SAC vs. NO ($12,400): There’s a number of appealing mid-tier guard options that include Jrue Holiday ($14,900), Gary Harris ($12,700) and Jamal Murray ($12,300) on Wednesday, but Bogdanovic is enticing in his own right at a reasonable cost. He’s outpaced his price on multiple occasions recently, racking up 37.25, 39.50 and 40.00 fantasy points in three of his past six games, and scoring 30.75 to 37.50 fantasy points in three others over the last 10 overall. The sharpshooting Serbian is sporting a 22.3 percent usage rate during that span and draws a favorable matchup Wednesday against a Pelicans squad that’s bled fantasy points to two-guards all season. New Orleans comes in allowing the most fantasy points to the position on the campaign (45.0), including the most (75.3) over the last five. They’re allowing a whopping 38.2 points on 45.0 percent shooting to twos over the latter span, and their league-high pace of play (105.2 possessions per game) should also work in favor of Bogdanovic, who’s already taking an elevated 12.7 attempts over the last three (and draining 55.3 percent, including 57.1 percent from distance).
Kobi Simmons, MEM at CHI ($8,000): The Grizzlies’ cavalcade of guard injuries continues Wednesday, as Andrew Harrison (wrist), Tyreke Evans (ribs) and Mario Chalmers (hamstring) will all be out once again. That sets up Simmons for another extended workload, the likes of which he was already able to parlay into 26.50 fantasy points against the normally stalwart Spurs defense on Monday. Simmons has posted back-to-back double-digit scoring efforts as well, and he’ll be up against a Bulls squad that’s allowed the fourth-most fantasy points (42.8) to point guards, including 58.0 over the last five. They’re allowing the third-most assists (11.8), fifth-most steals (3.0) and second-most made three-pointers (4.6) to the position over the latter span – and will force Memphis into a more up-tempo style with their eighth-fastest pace of play (102.0 possessions per game) -- giving the versatile Simmons a multitude of paths to fantasy success at a very modest price.
Andre Drummond, DET vs. TOR ($17,500): For those that can’t afford Giannis Antetokounmpo ($19,900) or Anthony Davis ($19,500), Drummond makes for an appealing consolation pivot. The elite rebounder has dominated the Raptors and Jonas Valanciunas on two previous occasions this season, averaging 21.5 points, 17.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 4.0 steals and 1.5 blocks across 36.5 minutes. Moreover, only the Bulls have allowed more production to centers over the last five than Toronto, which has surrendered the second-most fantasy points (52.3) and rebounds (17.2) to the position over that span. The Raptors have also been noticeably more vulnerable in the paint on the road -- allowing 46.6 points in that area of the floor away from Air Canada Centre (as compared to 43.2) – while Drummond has scored 78.7 percent of his points near the basket.
Julius Randle, LAL vs. ORL ($14,900): Both Larry Nance ($12,400) and JaMychal Green ($12,200) are also certainly worthy of consideration if you need the savings, but Randle continues to roll on, as he’s now scored over 30 fantasy points in nine straight while generating a 25.8 percent usage rate and averaging 1.20 fantasy points per minute. The rapidly emerging big man already generated 20 points (on 77.8 percent shooting), nine rebounds and one assist across a modest 27 minutes in his one prior meeting with the Magic this season as well, and Orlando comes into Wednesday’s contest allowing 52.3 fantasy points to power forwards over the last five, as compared to a much stingier 35.6 on the season. They’re also surrendering the highest shooting percentage (51.0) to the position on the campaign and over the last five (61.0 percent), while Randle is shooting an impressive 58.7 percent over his last 10. Orlando’s league-high amount of points in the paint allowed (49.1) – including 50.5 on the road – also works heavily in Randle’s favor, as a career-high 72.2 percent of his scoring emanates from that area of the floor.
C.J. Miles, TOR at DET ($7,200): You could go a number of different ways in the affordable tier at forward/center Wednesday, with the likes of Trevor Ariza ($9,600), Jabari Parker ($9,000) and Emeka Okafor ($7,400) also worthy of consideration. However, Miles is cheaper than all three, and although he’s hard to trust outside of tournaments, the upside he brings at his cost makes him viable if you need the savings. The veteran has been solid against the Pistons this season as well, averaging 15.0 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.0 assists across 20.5 minutes in two games. Moreover, he’s exceeded 20 fantasy points in two of his last three contests, and on five occasions overall in his last 11 games. Detroit is also allowing the third-highest percentage of scoring from three-pointers (32.2), while Miles is draining an impressive 43.8 percent of his 7.3 attempts from distance over the aforementioned 11-game sample.
Lonzo Ball, LAL vs. ORL ($13,900): Ball is now averaging 34.6 fantasy points per game after scoring 35.75 to 52.75 fantasy points in three of his last four contests. The improvement in the rookie’s shot recently as compared to earlier this season has been drastic, and Ball is sporting a 50.0 percent success rate from the field over the last five, including a blistering 58.6 percent from three-point range on an average of 5.8 attempts from distance during that span. Those numbers bode well against an Orlando squad that’s allowed 50.8 fantasy points to ones over the last 10, along with the highest shooting percentage (50.0) to the position over that span.
Will Barton, DEN vs. CLE ($13,500): Barton’s move to the bench upon Paul Millsap’s return to the starting five has done nothing to dull his fantasy luster. In fact, he’s actually seen an uptick in production while often facing lesser resistance against other second-unit players. The veteran wing has scored 40.00 to 49.75 fantasy points in four of his last five, with his penchant for checking off every box on the stat sheet greatly helping round out his totals. One of the games in the aforementioned sample was a 45.00 fantasy-point outing against the same Cavaliers squad he’ll face Wednesday, and Cleveland notably comes into the contest allowing the third-highest offensive efficiency rating (22.3) to small forwards on the campaign. With Barton often outperforming his current price recently and Cleveland also allowing the second-highest percentage of scoring from three-pointers (32.4), he shapes up as a strong value mid-tier option.