CHA P.J. Washington (foot) - QUESTIONABLE Gordon Hayward ($6,700) had 35 FDFPs without Washington in Monday's game and is a borderline pivot if this tag carries over to Wednesday. DET Isaiah Stewart (hip) - OUT DET Jalen Duren (ankle) - OUT Marvin Bagley ($5,600) and James Wiseman ($6,800) benefitted from the shorthanded situation Monday evening. Wiseman started for a second time, and his salary exploded as a result. OKC Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (ankle) - OUT Instead of Josh Giddey, Jalen Williams ($6,200) is seeing the production surge in SGA's absence. He's enjoyed three straight games with 35-plus FDFPs and dropped 50 FDFPs on the Kings on Monday night. LAL Anthony Davis (foot) - OUT LAL LeBron James (foot) - OUT LAL D'Angelo Russell (ankle) - OUT The funeral bells are ringing for the Lakers as James' injury will likely torpedo any hope of a late rally to reach the playoff bubble. Dennis Schroder ($5,900) will have added value if Russell misses, but there isn't a pivot on the planet to account for James. Malik Beasley ($5,300) and Austin Reaves ($4,600) should continue to see added usage in his absence.
ELITE PLAYERS Joel Embiid ($12,000) has the highest salary on Wednesday's slate but has averaged 58.3 FDFPs over his last seven appearances and is a decent pivot for anyone looking for an elite center after Anthony Davis was ruled out. A revenge dynamic is afoot Wednesday as CJ McCollum ($7,800) visits his former team. I think Damian Lillard ($11,000) will have a field day against the Pelicans while squaring off against his old teammate. The other elite backcourt option that interests me is Ja Morant ($10,000), who has a soft matchup against the Rockets. I'll slide past some top talent and the likely return of Kevin Durant. Brandon Ingram ($8,300) and Jaren Jackson ($8,200) have favorable salary points and round out the selections above 8k.
EXPECTED CHALK AND OTHER TARGETS Mark Williams, CHA ($6,800) vs. PHO Williams has a tall order in squaring off against Deandre Ayton ($9,100), but the salary difference between the two centers makes Williams the more valuable frontman in the matchup. Williams played only six minutes against the Suns back in January, so we have no real metrics to compare, but on a night where you need to choose your frontcourt wisely, I think you'll see many pivot to Willams after building a Davis-centered lineup, only to discover that they are compromised elsewhere. Jerami Grant, POR ($6,600) vs. NOR Perhaps I am a glutton for punishment, but there's no reason why Grant can't beat value here as he gets back up to speed. Grant's 35-FDFP performance against the Warriors is a good sign that he's getting past his concussion, and I expect continued improvement against the Pelicans. Killian Hayes, DET ($6,200) vs. CHI If you've been fading Hayes, it might be time to stop. He dropped 40 FDFP on the Hornets Monday night. Although his results have been rocky, there's a golden opportunity to rack up a good assist total against a questionable Chicago defense. Also consider: Jonas Valanciunas, NOR ($6,200) @ POR (if he plays)
VALUE PLAYS Keep the injury pivots from the previous section at the forefront. Here are some additional budget picks to consider for the slate. Cameron Johnson, BKN ($5,600) @ NYK Johnson is thriving with his new team, as the versatile youngster is finally proving himself in a consistent starting role. He's undervalued at $5,600, and although there will be some variance here and there, Johnson has been lights-out in his past two games. He's averaged 39 FDFPs over the two-game span, more than enough to match 5x value. Dillon Brooks, MEM ($5,000) @ HOU Brooks hasn't been lighting up the boards, but I can stomach the potential variance when he's only 5k. He's averaged just over 20 FDFPs over his past five games, which is short of what we need to make him viable, but when you consider the quality of the opponent, it's reasonable to expect a bit more from a game-changer like Brooks. We'll be delighted if he can get close to 30 FDFPs. Matisse Thybulle, POR ($4,200) vs. NOR Thybulle has started every game since the trade to Portland, mainly due to Anfernee Simons' injury. The production boost has centered around his defensive numbers. He's collected 10 steals over his last five games, and he's also been good for a few rebounds every night. A higher shot volume would do a world of good for his bottom line, but with a 24-FDFP average over his past five, it's easy to justify an add at this salary. Also consider: Luguentz Dort, OKC ($6,000) vs. LAL