This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
After a massive 11-game slate Wednesday, we take it down a notch with a much calmer five-game affair on FanDuel tonight.
PHI (-6.5) @ DET O/U: 208.5
UTA (-1.5) @ ATL O/U: 220.5
MIA (-7) vs. BOS I O/U: 215.5
PHO (-10.5) vs. HOU O/U: 217.5
LAL (-12.5) vs. OKC O/U: 217.5
BACK-TO-BACK TEAMS: Sixers, Celtics, Hawks
PHI Joel Embiid - POSSIBLE REST
PHI Tobias Harris (COVID protocols) - OUT
Since the Sixers are on a back-to-back, there's always a small possibility that Embiid could sit. If that's the case, fire up Andre Drummond ($5,800) against his former team. The pivot situation for Harris crystallized a bit Wednesday, and while I still think Furkan Korkmaz ($4,200) is viable, Matisse Thybulle ($4,400) Played 38 minutes and contributed heavily in secondary categories. If Embiid ($9,600) plays, I like him against Detroit.
UTA Donovan Mitchell (ankle) - QUESTIONABLE
UTA Royce O'Neale (ankle) - QUESTIONABLE
BOS Al Horford - POSSIBLE REST
The Celtics could rest Horford on the back-to-back, although there is nothing to confirm that guess at the time of publishing. Although a bit expensive, Robert Williams ($6,100) is the pivot here.
HOU Daniel Theis (toe) - QUESTIONABLE
I like Theis if he plays, but Alperen Sengun ($5,100) would be the guy to benefit in the event of an absence.
Deandre Ayton (leg) - QUESTIONABLE
Ayton could be a scratch after he was held out of Tuesday's game. I hesitate to give a pivot here because it assumes a lot of risk. The Suns don't quite know what to do in this spot, especially in the second half. The last time we had an absence here, JaVale McGee ($4,300) sat for most of the second half, making way for Frank Kaminsky ($3,500). Due to the considerable discount, I think Kaminsky is the better play, but I'm only going in this direction in tournament lineups.
LAL LeBron James (ankle) - QUESTIONABLE
Anthony Davis has a tag as well, but he will be available to play. Thankfully, this is the late game, so we can late swap, but there's a possibility that one or both of these guys could sit against a weaker opponent. That being said, the Lakers need to start piling up some wins after a mediocre start. I like paying up for Davis ($10,300) here.
Due to the small size of the slate, we will eliminate the usual Elite Players section and move ahead to expected chalk, and include those-top rated players there.
EXPECTED CHALK AND CORE TARGETS
Jimmy Butler, MIA ($10,300) vs. BOS
The Celtics seem outmatched in this matchup, and Butler is a big reason why the Heat look so strong this season. He's having a career year, averaging 25 points, 6.9 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game. Butler's fantasy floor is solid, and delivering 40 FP is almost a lock. We want to see over 50 at this salary, which he's done in three of seven games. While we are on Miami, Bam Adebayo ($8,800) is an excellent lock for the slate, but he becomes top chalk if the Celtics rest Horford.
Russell Westbrook, LAL ($9,200) vs. OKC
It's time to jump on the Westbrook train at this salary level. After that disappointing first game, the All-Star has turned it on and is back to his usual tricks, with a triple-double and two double-doubles already this season. I especially like Westbrook if the team sits LeBron. There is a VERY slight chance that they could pull a universal scratch and sit Westbrook as well, but I think that's highly unlikely.
Christian Wood, HOU ($7,900) @ PHO
Compared to other sites, FanDuel's numbers for some players aren't reflecting recency at all. Wood is one of those players. Wood can underperform, but due to his price, a night in the mid-30 FP range won't hurt you all that much. His value is heightened if Ayton can't suit up or is severely limited. The big plus for Wood is that you can now play him at PF and C, so you can go with multiple centers when Wood is in the player pool.
Clint Capela, ATL ($6,400) vs. UTA
The Rudy Gobert scratch just boosted Capela's value, so you can roster him with confidence against a depleted Utah team that could also be without Donovan Mitchell. While Trae Young ($8,600) and John Collins ($6,900) should also benefit from these absences, Gobert is the only guaranteed scratch, making Capela the top play. Over the past two games, Capela has averaged 39 FP, which more than covers 5x value relative to his salary.
Kyle Lowry, MIA ($5,900) vs. BOS
Lowry's numbers keep ramping up, and it seems like it might finally be time to start giving him some DFS love. His assist numbers are excellent, but he posted 22 points against Dallas in the last game and 15 points before that against Memphis. If he gets 30 minutes, he has an excellent opportunity to keep the ball rolling against the Celtics.
Porter continues to get assistance from excellent steal, assist and rebound numbers. Green is more scoring-dependent, but as Tuesday's game indicates, he can really heat things up from downtown. Seven turnovers hurt his FP bottom line in that game against the Lakers, which is a continuing problem for both players. However, if Green can attempt more than 10 shots against the Suns, he could reap some benefit. Between the two, I prefer Porter's potential, but Green is suitable for tournament lineups.
Georges Niang, PHI ($3,700) @ DET
You probably skimmed through the Harris note and exclaimed, "What about Niang?" Never fear, as the unlikely DFs darling gets his own note thanks to an incredibly low salary. Yes, Niang is benefiting from Harris' absence, but his contributions to the second unit have been excellent all year. With 36 and 26 fantasy points over the last two games, you simply can't avoid the value here, especially if you are loading up on expensive elites up top.
Cade Cunningham, DET ($4,600) vs. PHI
Before you click X on your browser in disgust, hear me out! Cunningham's debut has been dreadful, and I think we can all agree on that. That fact alone will drive the rookie's ownership way down after he dominated that category in his first game. If he continues to see the same amount of minutes, the upside for the former Oklahoma State star is very high. He drained threes with abandon in his college career, and while they haven't landed so far, I think it's only a matter of time before you regret scrolling by him in your lineup builds. I like him as a contrarian tournament pick.