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DraftKings NBA: Wednesday Cheat Sheet

We have a typically massive 13-game slate on tap Wednesday night – one that includes a few big names on the injury report, although not an inordinate amount considering the number of teams in action. If oddsmakers are relatively within range on their prognostications, we'll be in for a very competitive night of basketball, as only two games have spreads higher than 7.5 points, as of Wednesday morning.

Slate Overview

Chicago Bulls at Cleveland Cavaliers (-3) (O/U: 210.5 points)

Philadelphia 76ers (-6.5) at Charlotte Hornets (O/U: 217.5 points)

Washington Wizards (-6) at Detroit Pistons (O/U: 208.0 points)

New York Knicks at Indiana Pacers (-4.5) (O/U: 212.5 points)

Milwaukee Bucks (-7) at Miami Heat (O/U: 216.5 points)

Oklahoma City Thunder at Toronto Raptors (-7) (O/U: 208.0 points)

Utah Jazz (-9) at Minnesota Timberwolves (O/U: 220.5 points)

Denver Nuggets (-2) at New Orleans Pelicans (O/U: 214.5 points)

Brooklyn Nets (-7) at Houston Rockets (O/U: 224.5 points)

Dallas Mavericks at Memphis Grizzlies (-4.5) (O/U: 215.5 points)

Portland Trail Blazers at Golden State Warriors (-14) (O/U: 217.5 points)

Orlando Magic at Sacramento Kings (-7.5) (O/U: 220.5 points)

Boston Celtics at Los Angeles Clippers (-3) (O/U: 212.5 points)

There are no true marquee matchups on the slate when one factors in projected key absences, but some of those injuries and illnesses do serve to make games potentially more competitive than they would be otherwise.

For example, the Cavaliers are favorites over the Bulls in part because of DeMar DeRozan's placement in COVID-19 protocols. The Bucks are relatively comfortable road favorites over the Heat in large part because of the absences of Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. And while the Warriors would undoubtedly be favored under any circumstance against the visiting Trail Blazers, the fact both Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum are out for Portland certainly plays a huge part in Golden State being the heaviest favorite of the night by far.

There are also a couple of games that are intriguing because of recent play on the part of the participants. The Nets-Rockets contest surprisingly sees Brooklyn as "only" seven-point favorites because, odd as it may be to write and read this, the Rockets are one of the NBA's hottest teams with six straight wins.

Likewise, the Grizzlies are actually solid favorites over a Mavs team that will have both Luka Doncicand Kristaps Porzingis available in large part because Memphis is actually an unblemished 5-0 since Ja Morant went down with a knee sprain Nov. 26.

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, check back throughout the course of the day for the latest news regarding the status of all players on that night's slate.

Nikola Jokic, DEN (forearm) – PROBABLE

Jokic is expected to take the floor without any restrictions Wednesday.

Karl-Anthony Towns, MIN (tailbone) – QUESTIONABLE

Towns played through the injury Monday against the Hawks on Monday and logged 41 minutes. However, if he's out Wednesday, Naz Reid would likely draw a start at center, while Anthony Edwards' usage would particularly see a big boost with D'Angelo Russell (ankle) also out.

LaMelo Ball, CHA (COVID-19 protocols) – OUT

With Ball and backup Ish Smith both projected to be out, Cody Martin could draw the start at point guard.

Damian Lillard, POR (abdomen). – OUT

In Lillard's ongoing absence, Anfernee Simons is likely to draw the start at point guard if he can overcome his ankle injury, with Dennis Smith set to step in if Simons can't go.

CJ McCollum, POR (lung) – OUT

Tony Snell is likely to draw the start at two-guard in McCollum's absence.

DeMar DeRozan, CHI (COVID-19 protocols) – OUT

With DeRozan out, Derrick Jones is likely to draw another start at small forward.

Jimmy Butler, MIA (tailbone) – OUT

In Butler's absence, Caleb Martin (knee) and Max Strus should be the biggest direct beneficiaries, while the remainder of the starting five should continue to see elevated usage.

D'Angelo Russell, MIN (ankle) – DOUBTFUL

In Russell's likely absence, Leandro Bolmaro could draw another start at two-guard, but Malik Beasley could be the biggest beneficiary off the bench.

Terry Rozier, CHA (COVID-19 protocols) – OUT

In Rozier's ongoing absence, Kelly Oubre is expected to draw another start at two-guard.

Jaylen Brown, BOS (hamstring) – GTD

If Brown is unable to suit up again Wednesday, Dennis Schroder should be a direct beneficiary in the form of another start.

Other notable injuries:

Kevin Porter, HOU (thigh) – OUT

Anfernee Simons, POR (ankle) – QUESTIONABLE

Josh Hart, NOP (knee) – QUESTIONABLE

Tyrese Maxey, PHI (illness) – QUESTIONABLE

Joe Harris, BRO (ankle) – OUT

Kyrie Irving, BRO (personal) – OUT

Jalen Green, HOU (hamstring) – OUT

OG Anunoby, TOR (hip) – OUT

Ja Morant, MEM (knee) – OUT

Bam Adebayo, MIA (thumb) – OUT

Jalen Suggs, ORL (thumb) – OUT

Zion Williamson, NOP (foot) – OUT

Alex Caruso, CHI (hamstring) – OUT

Nicolas Batum, LAC (conditioning) – QUESTIONABLE

Kyle Anderson, MEM (back) – DOUBTFUL

Mason Plumlee, CHA (COVID-19 protocols/calf) – OUT

Justin Holiday, IND (COVID-19 protocols) – OUT

Caleb Martin, MIA (knee) – QUESTIONABLE

Ish Smith, CHA (COVID-19 protocols) – OUT

Brandon Clarke, MEM (knee) – OUT

Elite Players

We have 13 players with five-figure salaries that have a chance for active status on Wednesday's slate: Nikola Jokic ($11,900), Joel Embiid ($11,700), Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,600), Luka Doncic ($11,500), Stephen Curry ($11,400), Kevin Durant ($11,300), James Harden ($11,200), Karl-Anthony Towns ($10,800), Paul George ($10,700), Jayson Tatum ($10,600), Zach LaVine($10,500), Domantas Sabonis ($10,300) and Julius Randle ($10,000).

Jokic is expected to play through his forearm issue and is coming off having scored 62 DK points against the Bulls on Monday. He's averaging a whopping 57.4 DK points per game for the season and as Denver's best source of offense by a mile, he has proven worth the investment many times, even at salaries as high as Wednesday's.

Embiid has been on fire since returning from COVID-19 protocols and racked up 74.8 DK points against this same Hornets team in Monday's OT win, putting him on par with Jokic for Wednesday's slate in terms of potential ceiling.

Antetokounmpo scored just under 70 DK points two games ago against Charlotte and could certainly thrive against a depleted Heat squad playing without Butler and Adebayo.

Doncic scored 50 DK points Tuesday against the Nets in his return from a one-game absence and should be in for another heavy workload despite the back-to-back scenario in a game the Mavs are underdogs to the Grizzlies in.

Curry should be able to exploit a depleted Blazers backcourt and already scored 56.3 DK points across 38 minutes versus a healthier Portland team earlier this season.

Durant and Harden went for 40.3 and 54.8 DK points Tuesday against the Mavericks while logging 40-plus minutes, which does prompt some concern on the second night of a back-to-back set. The Rockets are missing their starting backcourt but have been playing much better of late, however, so the duo could be in for a normal allotment of playing time due to circumstance.

Towns' status will have to be monitored throughout the day, but it's worth noting he managed to score 65.5 DK points across 41.1 minutes against the Hawks on Monday while playing through the injury.

George has been over 40 DK points in three straight, but his salary seems a bit elevated for recent production and considering he's only been able to deliver at least 5x on it on five occasions this season.

Tatum has been over 50 DK points in four straight games, pushing his season average to 45.9. He is on the second night of a back-to-back after having played 34 minutes versus the Lakers on Tuesday, but he checks in with a hot hand after having shot between 45.0 and 59.1 percent in his last four.

LaVine has at least 40 DK points in four straight and has a 34.7 percent usage rate with DeMar DeRozan off the floor this season, putting him firmly in play despite a $1K bump in salary over his last contest.

Sabonis has scored 41.5 to 66.8 DK points in his last four games and is averaging 35 DK points in two games against the Knicks thus far this season.

Randle is averaging 37.9 DK points in two prior games against the Pacers this season and 45.3 to 56 DK points in three of his last four contests, although it's at least worth keeping in mind he's seen a $900 salary increase over the $9.1K figure he sported Tuesday against the Wizards.

Expected Chalk

In addition to the players just mentioned in the prior section, other likely chalk plays include:

Christian Wood, HOU ($9,800)

Wood is averaging 37.7 DK points per contest and has pair of 60-point-plus tallies in the last five games, which should keep him popular despite the elevated salary.

Nikola Vucevic, CHI ($9,500)

Vucevic is averaging 46.3 DK points per 36 minutes with DeRozan off the floor this season and is averaging 39.1 DK points per contest for the season, which should help place him in plenty of lineups.

Brandon Ingram, NOP ($9,100)

Ingram has tallies of 57.0 and 57.8 DK points in his last two games, which should help keep his popularity robust Wednesday.

Anthony Edwards, MIN ($8,400)

Edwards could be taking the court without both Russell and Towns, a scenario in which he owns a 36.9 percent usage rate and averages 55.5 DK points per 36 minutes.

Kelly Oubre, CHA ($7,500)

Oubre has thrived with the starting opportunity afforded by Rozier's placement in COVID-19 protocols, posting 37.6 and 59.5 DK points in his first two starts.

Key Values

Franz Wagner, ORL at SAC ($5,800)

Wagner gets more impressive the more he plays, and he checks into Wednesday having scored no fewer than 32.5 and as many as 43.5 DK points in his last five games. Those are excellent returns on his current salary, which he's already delivered over 5x on in 10 of 25 games already. Wagner is also shooting 47.5 percent, including 38.1 percent from distance, in the seven games since going 0-for-9 against the Bucks back on Nov. 22, and the opposing Kings come in ranked in the bottom half of the league in offensive efficiency allowed to small forwards (21.6 percent).

Steven Adams, MEM vs. DAL ($4,900)

Adams has shown some life on the offensive end over the last two games, scoring 11 and 17 points as part of tallies of 34.3 and 44.5 DK points. The big man has also secured the double-double bonus in each of those contests, the first of which came against the same Mavericks team he'll face Wednesday. Dallas has been vulnerable to centers throughout the season and enters the rematch allowing the fifth-highest offensive efficiency (34.9 percent) to centers, along with the third-most points (25.0) and fifth-most rebounds (17.3) per game to the position. Dallas is also yielding the ninth-most points in the paint per game (46.9), an area of the floor where Adams is scoring just under 75.0 percent of his points this season.

Norman Powell, POR at GSW ($4,800)

Powell owns a 33.2 percent usage rate and averages 30.6 DK points per 36 minutes without Lillard and McCollum on the floor this season, instantly putting him in play at his current salary. The veteran wing scored 36.3 DK points in his first game with the backcourt duo Monday, taking a season-high 24 shots in the process. The offensive involvement should be heavy once again Wednesday, and despite the tough overall matchup against the Warriors on paper, it's worth noting Golden State is only ranked in the middle of the league in offensive efficiency allowed to small forwards (20.5 percent). Powell was also highly efficient in his one prior meeting with the Dubs this season, shooting 66.7 percent on nine attempts on his way to scoring 19.3 DK points over 26 minutes on Nov. 26.

ALSO CONSIDER: Derrick Jones, CHI at CLE ($4,300); Malik Beasley, MIN at UTA ($4,200)

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