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It’s getting later in the season, which means there will be more and more injury situations to deal with nightly. Luckily, a lot of the news for tonight has already dropped, with numerous star players out across the league. All of Luka Doncic, Julius Randle, De’Aaron Fox, Domantas Sabonis, Ja Morant and Klay Thompson are out in addition to the usual players who have been out for a while now like Steph Curry, Chris Paul and Anthony Davis. We also have some key Q tags here, with Karl-Anthony Towns, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, LeBron James, Jimmy Butler and Tyrese Haliburton uncertain to play. I’ll dive in below how all this news shakes out, but it will be important to react timely to the news when it drops for the questionable players.
Guard is riddled with top plays tonight due to these injuries — with all of Davion Mitchell, Spencer Dinwiddie, Jalen Brunson and Tyus Jones sticking out as core-level plays for me. All of these guys get significant boosts with starters out. Mitchell has completely taken over this offense with Fox/Sabonis out and he is probably my favorite play on the slate. He’s coming off a game where he put up over 20 drives — only three players have averaged over 20 per game this season. There will be nothing stopping him from putting up another 20+ shots here against the Pacers.
With Luka Doncic out, most will flock to Jalen Brunson. Brunson is a good play, but Spencer Dinwiddie has actually been better with Doncic off the floor since joining the Mavericks. Jones has ran the offense effectively in Morant’s absence this season, and he will be awarded another chance to do so on Wednesday night. Usually, we have one of these situations on a given night but tonight we were handed three! This is going to allow us to spend up on whoever we want. I think Joel Embiid (see below) is the best play tonight, but we have some quality stud-level guys at Guard as well — such as Dejounte Murray and Kyrie Irving.
UPDATE: Indiana just ruled out Malcolm Brogdon which bumps up Buddy Hield and a really nice bump to Haliburton if he is ruled in.
Forward is dominated by the mid-tier for me tonight, with quality plays across the board starting with the Knicks. Yesterday I wrote about how the big winners for New York minus Julius Randle were RJ Barrett and Alec Burks. They responded by posting 54 and 35 DK points respectively. Barrett sees a massive 9% usage increase with Randle off the floor, while Burks gets a solid 6% boost himself. These guys have a strong match-up tonight against the Charlotte Hornets, in what is a massive pace-up spot. Barrett is a must-play for me in cash games tonight, while Burks is viable in all formats.
We also have strong plays from the Kings in Harrison Barnes and Chimezie Metu. Both can be used in all formats, but the Knicks likely have the top value play here as well in Obi Tobbin. Tobbin logged 24 minutes in a start for Randle last night posting a fantasy point per minute. I would of like to see more minutes, but we can keep him in the cash game conversation if starting. If his ownership gets crazy, I would be fine with a fade here in tournaments while still playing Barrett.
As I mentioned above, Joel Embiid is my number one play on this slate and I will be making him a priority in my lineups with the value we’ve been awarded. This is an incredible spot, against the Lakers who have struggled mightily defensively since the break. For the season, LAL are bottom-five in opponent rebounds allowed per game. They have been a terrible rebounding team, and they have no big man with a prayer of stopping Embiid tonight. Since the All-Star break, they’re bottom-six in opponent points in the paint allowed per game as well — while Embiid is the 76ers leader in paint touches. This is a ceiling spot, and I want to be overweight.
We have some potential value here as well depending on who starts for Sabonis, Damian Jones is catching early ownership from the Kings.
Written by Ben Hossler (Follow @BenHossler on Twitter)