This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
We have a six-game slate Wednesday night, but for a change, it's one in which projected high-scoring games are a premium. Only two of the six contests on the docket have projected totals that are over 220 points as of Wednesday morning. Key absences aren't really at play more than usual, either, as the injury report isn't overly extensive and some of the more notable names on it are expected to play.
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 two games with the highest projected totals on Wednesday's slate:
New Orleans Pelicans at Sacramento Kings (Projected total: 235.0 points)
These two squads combined for 232 points in their one prior meeting this season, and the Pelicans check in allowing 116.8 points per road game, while also averaging 114.0 points scored per contest when traveling. The Kings have Richaun Holmes back in the fold after a long absence – which helps bump up their offensive capability somewhat – and they rank in the bottom half of the league with 111.4 points surrendered per home game. The bump in pace New Orleans brings is also worth noting when evaluating the offensive potential of this game, as the Pelicans average the most possessions per contest (108.7) coming into Wednesday's action.
New York Knicks at Atlanta Hawks (Projected total: 232.5 points)
The fact the Hawks are one of the two squads in this game says everything about why it checks in with the second-highest projected total of the night. Atlanta is allowing the second-most points per game (119.5) and is currently playing at the fourth-fastest pace (107.6 possessions per contest). New York hasn't exactly been a lock-down defense, either, especially on the road, where they surrender 113.5 points per contest. And then there's the matter of these two teams lighting up the scoreboard in each of their two prior meetings. They first combined for a whopping 263 points – in regulation, no less – in a 143-120 win for New York back in December, and they proceeded to rack up 275 combined points in a 140-135 overtime win for the Hawks last month.
Point guard will have both Ben Simmons (back) and Derrick Rose (ankle) missing from its player pool, but the fact there are 12 teams in action still leaves us with plenty of choices. The top tier boasts Luka Doncic and Trae Young, while the mid-tier level is absolutely stacked with the likes of De'Aaron Fox, Chris Paul, Lonzo Ball and Jamal Murray among the selections.
Shooting guard is a mixed bag Wednesday, with the injury status of Jimmy Butler (toe) the one big question mark. The good news is Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is expected back from a one-game absence due to a hip injury, and Kevin Huerter is also expected to continue playing through his groin issue. The Pistons' Bruce Brown, set for a bigger role during Derrick Rose's ongoing absence, is questionable with ankle soreness, which does ding the depth of the value tier; however, there are still viable bargains into the low $4K range.
Small forward has plenty of good news, beginning with the fact that the most expensive option, Brandon Ingram, will only set you back $7.7K. Then, Tobias Harris could prove to be a bargain right below him at $7.5K if Joel Embiid (shoulder) continues to join Ben Simmons on the bench. As with point guard, there's an appealing mid-tier level here as well that includes Danilo Gallinari, Tim Hardaway, Will Barton, Bojan Bogdanovic and Miles Bridges, as well as $5K-and-under values in the form of Cam Reddish, Harrison Barnes, Joe Ingles and De'Andre Hunter.
Power forward has only one short-term injury of note in the form of John Collins, but he's listed as probable with his ankle injury. Otherwise, there's good balance throughout the player pool in terms of salaries and viable options all the way down into the $4K range, including what could be one of the best fantasy-point-per-dollar values of the night in the Kings' Richaun Holmes ($4.5K).
At center, we could actually see the return of Joel Embiid (shoulder) to action, although that probably won't be known until very close to tip-off. There are no other short-term injuries besides the 76ers' big man, so even if he's forced to miss another game, those looking to pay up still have Nikola Jokic and Rudy Gobert to choose from, while those looking to save a bit more still have Steven Adams, Mitchell Robinson, Derrick Favors and Dewayne Dedmon to choose from between $5.9K and $5K. Cody Zeller ($4.3K) and Bobby Portis ($4.2K) also check in as intriguing value plays.
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.
Joel Embiid, PHI
Embiid is questionable due to a shoulder injury. Embiid was cleared to practice Tuesday but had yet to receive full clearance to play as of Wednesday morning. If he is forced to sit out another contest, Mike Scott would draw another start, while Tobias Harris' usage would especially continue to benefit from increased usage.
Jimmy Butler, MIA
Butler is considered questionable with a toe injury.
Gilgeous-Alexander is probable with a hip injury that cost him Sunday's game.
Seth Curry, DAL
Curry is likely to be listed as questionable at best with the ankle injury that's already cost him the last two games.
Kendrick Nunn, MIA
Nunn is questionable due to an illness.
Jae Crowder, MIA
Crowder is probable with a concussion.
Tyler Herro, MIA
Herro is considered questionable with the foot injury that's kept him out since Feb. 3. Herro was able to go through a full practice Tuesday and would potentially be on a minutes limit were he to play.
Bruce Brown, DET
Brown is questionable with an ankle sprain.
John Henson, DET
Henson is out with an ankle injury.
John Collins, ATL
Collins is probable with ankle soreness.
Kevin Huerter, ATL
Huerter is probable with a groin injury.
DeAndre' Bembry, ATL
Bembry remains out with an abdomen injury.
Treveon Graham, ATL
Graham is questionable due to a personal matter.
Keita Bates-Diop, DEN
Bates-Diop is likely to be listed as questionable at best due to a knee bruise.
Willie Cauley-Stein, DAL
Cauley-Stein is likely to be considered no better than questionable with an illness.
Kidd-Gilchrist is likely to be considered no better than questionable with an illness.
Notable Longer-Term Injuries/Absences: Ben Simmons, PHI; Derrick Rose, DET; Clint Capela, ATL; Skal Labissiere, ATL; JJ Redick, NOP; Nickeil Alexander-Walker, NOP; Malik Monk, CHA; Marvin Bagley, SAC; Justin Jones, SAC; Meyers Leonard, MIA; Jalen Brunson, DAL; Luke Kennard, DET; Darius Bazley, OKC; Andre Roberson, OKC
With a relatively modest six games on the ledger, we have only a pair of five-figure salaries – Luka Doncic ($11.2K) and Trae Young ($10K). The two stars are the only options at point guard anywhere near their price range, as Lonzo Ball is the next most expensive selection at the position at $7.9K. In the $9K range, it's worth noting Kristaps Porzingis ($9.5K) sports a price not exactly warranted by his production the last two games – he's scored just 23.6 and 31.9 FanDuel points, respectively.
There could also be elite-level production offered at a discount by some sub-$9K players, with Jrue Holiday ($8.7K), Bam Adebayo ($8.5K), Ball, De'Aaron Fox ($7.8K), Julius Randle ($7.6K) and Tobias Harris ($7.5K) in good game environments and/or positional matchups that could help generate strong returns.
Just as they do when it comes to salary, Luka Doncic and Trae Young should head up the ownership Wednesday as well with both at full health. In terms of injury-related chalk, Tobias Harris should remain very popular, especially if Joel Embiid misses another game with his shoulder injury. Additionally, if Jimmy Butler (toe) is ruled out, the remaining members of the Heat's starting five could be in for some extra clicks on their names. Goran Dragic could be one of the prime examples at a price of just $5.1K if Kendrick Nunn is also relegated to the bench due to his illness.
As customary, I've also put together a specific list of sub-$6K value plays that should find themselves in plenty of lineups – some due to injury situations on their respective teams – and have included those below the next section.
Key and Likely Underowned Values
Nemanja Bjelica, SAC vs. NO ($4,800)
Bjelica has certainly had periods of elevated ownership this season, but a couple of recent stumbles may help keep his popularity suppressed a bit on the six-game slate. Bjelica did bounce back nicely with 32 FanDuel points in his most recent contest versus the Raptors on Sunday, but he'd scored just 16.5 and 13.6 FanDuel points, respectively, in the two games prior. Nevertheless, the big man continues to hold down the starting power forward job, and he'll face a Pelicans team that he compiled 25.5 FanDuel points against over just 22 minutes in his one prior meeting with this season, and that's allowing the fourth-highest offensive efficiency rating (27.3) to power forwards on the campaign. New Orleans is also yielding the sixth-highest shooting percentage (47.8) to fours, and the second-most FanDuel points per game (41.6) to the position as well. Finally, consider Bjelica has offered at least a 5x return on his current salary in 36 games this season, certainly making him worthy of consideration in the favorable, likely high-scoring matchup.
Bobby Portis, NY at ATL ($4,200)
After a considerably sluggish start to his Knicks career, Portis finally seems to be clicking within the team's system as the season winds down. The floor-stretching big man has scored 27.8 to 36.7 FanDuel points in four of the last five games, and he's exceeded 20 FanDuel points in seven of the last 10 contests overall. Portis has also averaged 24.3 FanDuel points in his two prior games versus the Hawks this season, and Atlanta checks in allowing the most points (40.6), rebounds (17.8), steals (3.8) and blocks (2.4) per game to opposing second-unit players, along with the highest offensive efficiency rating (48.7) to benches. Then, Atlanta is also surrendering the fifth-highest offensive efficiency rating (26.2) to power forwards, furthering Portis' case at a salary he's already offered a 5x return on in 33 games this season.
Frank Ntilikina, NY at ATL ($3,600)
Ntilikina has been all over the place with his contributions recently, and the Knicks' point guard rotation behind Elfrid Payton isn't exactly predictable either. That makes Ntilikina strictly a large-field tournament punt play, but one that could pay off handsomely at his salary. The third-year guard just went off for 41.4 FanDuel points in a similarly appealing matchup against the Wizards on Tuesday, a game which backcourt mate and fellow reserve Dennis Smith was available for but didn't play in. It's anyone's guess what coach Mike Miller will opt to do Wednesday in terms of a playing time split, but if Ntilikina sees enough minutes, he could potentially offer something along the lines of the 28.4 FanDuel points he scored against the Hawks in their most recent encounter Feb. 9 – Atlanta's considerable deficiencies against second-unit players were just detailed in Portis' entry, and the Hawks are also surrendering the sixth-highest offensive efficiency rating (27.5) to point guards.
Other likely higher-owned value plays to consider: Shake Milton, PHI ($5,800); Mitchell Robinson, NY ($5,700); Will Barton, DEN ($5,700); Buddy Hield, SAC ($5,600); Bogdan Bogdanovic, SAC ($5,200); Goran Dragic, MIA ($5,100); Cam Reddish, ATL ($5,000): Harrison Barnes, SAC ($4,900); Duncan Robinson, MIA ($4,900; R.J. Barrett, NYK ($4,800); De'Andre Hunter, ATL ($4,700); Gary Harris, DEN ($4,600); Cody Martin, CAH ($4,500); Richaun Holmes, SAC ($4,500); Mike Scott, PHI ($4,300)