Tonight is a reminder to use Vegas to your advantage. Vegas has the over/under at a whopping 230.5 when the Cavs head to Denver on ESPN, expecting a 117-114 shootout. That’s a far cry from their 101-100 expectation in the Jazz-Pacers game, and it’s a reminder that all those extra points matter. Let’s play some stars in the Cavs-Nuggets shootout and make sure we get a key player in the other two late games without much defense, Pelicans-Kings and Magic-Lakers.
SF/PF LeBron James CLE $11.4K vs Denver
If we’re building our strategy around getting guys into the Cavs-Nuggets game, then LeBron has to be the headliner. He’s over 53 fantasy points in each of his past ten, averaging a triple-double in that stretch with 28 points, 10 boards, and 11 assists a game. Denver is a sieve defensively and Paul Millsap has never been able to stay with LeBron, so he’s a strong triple-double threat with a high floor and a huge ceiling. 50 would be disappointing, 60 seems likely, and he could lead the night.
PF/C Anthony Davis NOP $11.3K vs Sacramento
Davis continues to make a late run at the MVP, and the Pelicans are on fire. They’re on a nine-game winning streak, and the Brow is averaging 38 points, 15 rebounds, and 3 blocks during that stretch with five 40+ point scoring games and a 71-point fantasy average during that stretch. The only thing that could slow him down against a bad Kings defense is if the Pelicans run away with things and Davis rests after a rib contusion Tuesday night, but he should keep the good times rolling.
SG/SF Will Barton DEN $7.0K vs Cleveland
Barton has become a lineup staple because DraftKings still hasn’t caught up to his value. He’s averaging 40+ fantasy points over his last five outings and continues to fill up the box score. He’s had six to eight rebounds in each of those games and frequently gets that many assists along with around 20 points. He’s the Nugget you have to have in your lineup in the Denver-Cleveland shootout.
PG Isaiah Thomas LAL $6.0K vs Orlando
The Lakers are a bit banged up right now with Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and others sidelined, and that should mean more minutes and more shots for Isaiah Thomas. He’s suddenly playing 30 minutes a game over the past three Lakers games, and he’s averaging 23 points, 7 assists, and 35 fantasy points during that stretch. Orlando is one of the worst in the league against point guards, and Thomas is playing for that Brinks truck for a team with no reason to tank. He should have another big game.
SG/SF Garrett Temple SAC $3.7K vs New Orleans
Temple is nursing a bit of a back issue but looks good to go and should be in line for his usual minutes, even with Sacramento beginning to play its younger players more. Even when he doesn’t score many points, Temple adds assists and steals and typically hits the 20-point fantasy mark when he’s out there, and the Pelicans are one of the worst in the league against wings.
PG/SG Xavier Rathan-Mayes MEM $3.7K vs Chicago
WHO?! The 23-year-old from Florida State got the G-League call-up and played his first game Monday night against the Spurs, and he responded with 8 points, 5 assists, 2 steals, and 20.5 fantasy points. Memphis is paper thin at guard right now with Conley, Evans, Chalmers, and Harrison all out, so XRM should split point guard duties with Kobi Simmons and could be a sneaky play against a Bulls defense that has bled point guard fantasy points all season.
SF/PF P.J. Tucker HOU $3.5K vs Milwaukee
Houston is still all sorts of banged up, though you’d never know it by their never-ending winning streak. Ryan Anderson, Joe Johnson, and Brendan Wright are all questionable Wednesday night, and all three of those guys normally play minutes that may go to Tucker instead. He typically gets double-digit points and around 20 fantasy points when he sees a minutes uptick, and there’s always upside for any Rocket in your lineup.
PF Travis Wear LAL $3.3K vs Orlando
Wear is our second recent G-League call-up. These guys are playing for their NBA lives and only have a 10-day contract to prove themselves, so the upside is there and the playing time should be too for Wear with Ingram sidelined. Wear is a fine rebounder and a good shooter – think poor man’s Ryan Anderson. That sort of player has fared well against the Magic this season, so Wear is a long shot with real upside.