This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
We have a six-game slate Wednesday night, one that's going to be a tricky one to navigate until there is final word on the multitude of injuries to several superstars. To add to the intrigue, we also have the expected season debut of Victor Oladipo for the Pacers, as well as Russell Westbrook's return from a load management day. Moreover, we have a total of five games with projected totals greater than 220 points.
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:
Houston Rockets at Portland Trail Blazers (Projected total: 238.5 points)
The Rockets continue to sport the top scoring average in the Western Conference (118.7 PPG) and have averaged 122.3 PPG over the last three overall. They could be down both James Harden (thigh) and Clint Capela (heel) again Wednesday, but as Eric Gordon proved with his 50-point performance Monday, Houston is capable of piling up the points even without their prolific shooting guard. The Trail Blazers are highly capable of contributing to the offensive fireworks as well, while both teams also rank in the bottom 10 in points allowed per game (114.9, POR; 114.3, HOU).
Detroit Pistons at Brooklyn Nets (Projected total: 228.0 points)
The Pistons and Nets both allow just over 110 points per game in the respective home/road splits that apply to them Wednesday. The two teams have also combined for 222 and 232 points, respectively, in their first two games this season. However, big-name injuries/potential absences linger over this game and could affect the final total, with Andre Drummond (wrist) and Kyrie Irving (personal) uncertain to suit up.
Memphis Grizzlies at New York Knicks (Projected total: 223.0 points)
The fast-paced Grizzlies continue to rank in the top-10 in possessions per game (106.5) and the bottom-10 in points per game allowed on the road (115.0 PPG). The Knicks are also allowing 109.8 points per game at home, and the bump in pace they'll get with Memphis' visit could lead to them exceeding their usual pedestrian offensive output (105.0 PPG scored at home).
Point guard is one of the positions that manages to mostly avoid the plethora of health-related question marks that plague Wednesday's slate. Kyrie Irving's uncertain status is the one concern of note in the elite level, while Malcolm Brogdon's questionable tag due to the concussion that's already cost him multiple games injects some doubt into the mid-tier. However, there's viable value into the high $3k range, making it a well-rounded position overall.
Shooting guard has a major potential absence again in the form of James Harden (thigh), but the position does benefit to an extent with the expected return of Victor Oladipo (knee), although the Pacers' wing will be on limited minutes. Otherwise, there's a near-clean bill of health and value down into the $4K price point, where Oladipo resides.
As was the case Monday, small forward is a position where you'll save plenty of money at both spots. Danilo Gallinari once again checks in as the most expensive option at just $6.2K, and there's no shortage of viable candidates between $4K and $6K. Jae Crowder's knee injury, which has him listed as questionable, is the one potential absence of note.
Power forward will have to endure the absences of LaMarcus Aldridge (thumb) and Marvin Bagley (foot) again, and there are other longer-term injuries further below that also blemish the depth of the position. There are some values that can be considered for large-field play almost all the way down to minimum, however, with Rodions Kurucs ($3.7K) and Taj Gibson ($3.6K) serving as good examples.
Center isn't in the best of shape either, with Andre Drummond (wrist), Clint Capela (heel) and Myles Turner (illness) all uncertain to play. Luckily, there are some solid mid-tier and value plays, with the latter level arguably viable down into the high $3K range.
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.
Returning from load management day: Russell Westbrook, HOU
James Harden, HOU
Harden is questionable with the thigh injury that cost him the last two games. Eric Gordon, who poured in a career-high 50 points in Harden's stead Monday, would draw another start if Harden can't go.
Clint Capela, HOU
Capela is considered questionable with the heel soreness that cost him Monday's game.
Kyrie Irving, BKN
Irving is uncertain to play Wednesday despite having put in a full practice Tuesday. Irving took a personal day off against the Knicks on Sunday due to the passing of close friend Kobe Bryant and coach Kenny Atkinson would not commit to Irving being available Wednesday despite the fact the star point guard is off the injury report.
Victor Oladipo, IND
Oladipo is expected to make his season debut after his extended absence due to the knee injury he suffered last January. Oladipo will be on a minutes restriction until after the All-Star break, so Jeremy Lamb should still handle a solid allotment of minutes at shooting guard for Indiana.
Malcolm Brogdon, IND
Brogdon is questionable with the concussion that has already cost him two games.
Myles Turner, IND
Turner is questionable with the illness that already cost him Sunday's game versus the Trail Blazers.
Andre Drummond, DET
Drummond is questionable with a wrist sprain.
Aldridge will remain out with the thumb sprain that's already cost him one game.
Sekou Doumbouya, DET
Doumbouya is probable with an ankle sprain.
Zach LaVine, CHI
LaVine is considered probable with ankle and knee soreness.
Chandler Hutchison, CHI
Hutchison is considered probable with hip and shoulder soreness.
Tomas Satoransky, CHI
Satoransky is considered probable with ankle soreness.
Ryan Arcidiacono, CHI
Arcidiacono is considered probable with elbow soreness.
Denzel Valentine, CHI
Valentine is considered probable with a hip strain.
Luke Kornet, CHI
Kornet is considered probable with a sprained right ankle.
Luwawu-Cabarrot is probable with an illness.
Jae Crowder, MEM
Crowder is likely to be listed as questionable at best with the knee injury that's already cost him two games.
De'Anthony Melton, MEM
Melton is likely to be considered questionable at best with the left hand soreness that cost him Tuesday's game.
Marvin Bagley, SAC
Bagley is out due to a foot injury that's cost him the last three games.
Terrance Ferguson, OKC
Ferguson will remain out with the personal matter that's cost him the last six games.
Abdel Nader, OKC
Nader is questionable with the ankle injury that's cost him the last eight games.
Notable Longer-Term Injuries/Absences: Jusuf Nurkic, POR: Zach Collins, POR; Skal Labissiere, POR; Richaun Holmes, SAC; RJ Barrett, NYK; Wendell Carter Jr., CHI; Daniel Gafford, CHI; Lauri Markkanen, CHI; Blake Griffin, DET; Luke Kennard, DET; Khyri Thomas, DET; Andre Roberson, OKC; Gerald Green, HOU; Nene Hilario, HOU; Andre Iguodala, MEM; Bruno Caboclo, MEM; Grayson Allen, MEM
The elite pool has plenty of question marks attached, with James Harden ($10.7K), Andre Drummond ($10.2K) and Kyrie Irving ($9.3K) all questionable due to thigh, wrist and personal issues, respectively. Russell Westbrook does make his return from a load management day, however, and could see a significant boost in his already robust popularity if Harden misses. Meanwhile, Damian Lillard, priced just below the five-figure range at $9.8K, could be very popular as well given his marquee matchup and 50-point game last time out.
As just alluded to, Westbrook and Lillard could be near the top of the ownership numbers Wednesday due to their respective situations. Given their respective eye-popping performances as fill-ins Monday, both Eric Gordon and Jakob Poeltl could see plenty of clicks on their names as well at their discounted prices.
As customary, I've also compiled a list of multiple sub-$6K value plays – Gordon and Poeltl included – that should be particularly popular and have listed them underneath the next section.
Key and Likely Underowned Values
Royce O'Neale UTA at SA ($3,900)
O'Neale isn't going to blow you out of the water with his production, but his price certainly reflects it and he's highly capable of outpacing his current salary in particular. O'Neale has scored over 20 FanDuel points in four of his last six contests, a span during which his well-rounded contributions have been on full display to the tune of 5.8 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.2 assists. The Spurs are also a good positional target for O'Neale, as they've allowed the fourth-highest offensive efficiency rating (23.9), second-highest shooting percentage (47.4) and highest three-point percentage (42.3) to small forwards.
Thon Maker, DET at BKN ($3,800)
Maker has been making good use of starting opportunities in recent games, scoring 25.2 to 29.5 FanDuel points over his last three. Andre Drummond is questionable with a wrist injury for Wednesday's contest, offering Maker another potential opportunity with the starting five. The Nets could be appealing targets for the big man as well, considering they're ranked in the bottom-10 in offensive efficiency rating surrendered to centers (32.9) and the sixth-most FanDuel points per game to centers (39.0).
Doug McDermott, CHI at IND ($3,600)
McDermott gets a crack at his old Bulls teammates Wednesday and comes in having scored over 20 FanDuel points in five of the last seven games. That makes his current salary particularly eye-opening, and it's also worth noting he's seen over 20 minutes in six straight contests. The Bulls are also ranked in the bottom half of the league in offensive efficiency rating allowed to both small forward or second-unit players, while also allowing the most FanDuel points per game (48.8) to threes on the season.
Other likely higher-owned value plays to consider: Kris Dunn, CHI ($5,900); Carmelo Anthony, POR ($5,900); Marcus Morris, NYK ($5,800); T.J. Warren, IND ($5,700); Bojan Bogdanovic, UTA ($5,700); Dillon Brooks, MEM ($5,600); Jakob Poeltl, SA ($4,400); Bogdan Bogdanovic, SAC ($4,400); P.J. Tucker, HOU ($4,300); Victor Oladipo, IND ($4,000)