Editor's note: FanDuel.com is hosting a one-day $200,000 Fantasy Basketball contest for Wednesday's games. It's $25 to enter and first prize is $20,000. Starts Wednesday at tipoff. Enter now!
Building my lineup for Wednesday night was one of my most difficult tasks of the past few months in this column, and things aren't going to get any easier in the coming days. There are 13 games on the schedule tonight, but it's hard to find much to love right now.
To start things off, take a look at the top end of the pricing spectrum. You've got four players worth $11,000 or more, and then nobody until $9,600. There is a clear delineation between the elite players and the rest of the schedule tonight, but there are extenuating circumstances with three of the four high-priced studs that could make them duds tonight.
Most obviously, you have DeMarcus Cousins, who leads the pack at $12,300. He sat out Tuesday's game with a sore foot and coach George Karl has talked about resting him on road games anyways, so you can't touch him.
Anthony Davis has a very tough matchup in the form of Memphis, who have held him to 38.0 FanDuel points per game in three prior matchups. That's a solid total, but but not quite what you need at $12,000.
LeBron James has already talked about resting, and though the Cavaliers haven't quite locked up their playoff seed, he has basically a risk in any game from this point on. If you go with him, you have to be willing to sit on your phone until the Cavaliers officially list him as a starter.
So, if you want to go with a star, you've either got to go with some not-great options, or James Harden, who everyone in a tournament is going to have anyways. The best play might be to eschew the big names and build for balance, so that's what I did. Let's see if it works.
Washington at Philadelphia
Combined DFS points allowed per game: 392.1
On the surface, the Wizards don't seem like a great matchup for Nerlens Noel, and yet he had 37.5 Fantasy points in their last matchup. He is a safe play.
Chicago at Orlando
Combined DFS points allowed per game: 396.0
Don't put anyone on the Bulls in your lineup until we find out if Derrick Rose plays. As of Tuesday evening, he has been upgraded to Questionable, the first time he has been given the chance to play since knee surgery. I wouldn't touch him in what will likely be a limited effort even if he does play, but he could spoil Jimmy Butler or Pau Gasol's value.
Toronto at Charlotte
Combined DFS points allowed per game: 389.3
Bismack Biyombo could be a good source of rebounds and blocks, and might be a good play against a soft frontline.
Indiana at New York
Combined DFS points allowed per game: 386.5
Paul George's return was a nice story, but he probably isn't going to do enough to justify a spot in your lineup this season.
Atlanta at Brooklyn
Combined DFS points allowed per game: 394.1
At this point, Brook Lopez might be a must-play if you are looking to splurge at the center position. He has been one of the best players in the league over the last two weeks.
Cleveland at Milwaukee
Combined DFS points allowed per game: 386.7
As with LeBron, you'll want to keep a close eye on the status of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love before game time. This team has plenty of guys who could go off in larger roles for cheap, like J.R. Smith or Tristan Thompson.
New Orleans at Memphis
Combined DFS points allowed per game: 378.4
Both teams have something to play for here, so there doesn't seem to be much risk of surprise DNP's. However, this also could be the lowest-scoring game of the night, so there might not be much value here.
Houston at San Antonio
Combined DFS points allowed per game: 386.1
Spurs are on the second night of a back-to-back, so buyer beware.
Sacramento at Utah
Combined DFS points allowed per game: 389.4
We'll see if Rudy Gay plays on the second night of a back-to-back after making his return from a concussion Tuesday.
L.A. Lakers at Denver
Combined DFS points allowed per game: 410.7
If you were looking to stack one game tonight, this is the one to go with. Unfortunately, though it could be high scoring, neither team is exactly overflowing with reliable options, so it could blow up in your face dramatically.
Phoenix at Dallas
Combined DFS points allowed per game: 393.7
Brandan Wright is a solid play against his former squad, the worst rebounding team in the league.
Minnesota at Portland
Combined DFS points allowed per game: 398.2
Let's see if Zach LaVine's price starts to creep higher now that there is no looming risk of Ricky Rubio returning to cost him playing time.
My roster for April 8
PG Jordan Clarkson, Lakers at Denver ($7,700)
PG Ty Lawson, Nuggets vs. L.A. Lakers ($6,800)
SG Victor Oladipo, Magic vs. Chicago ($7,900)
SG Avery Bradley, Celtics at Detroit ($5,500)
SF Andrew Wiggins, Timberwolves at Portland ($7,000)
SF Gordon Hayward, Jazz vs. Sacramento($8,100)
PF Marcus Morris, Suns at Dallas ($5,600)
PF Kenneth Faried, Nuggets vs. L.A. Lakers ($6,200)
C Robin Lopez, Trail Blazers vs. Minnesota ($5,100)
Gordon Hayward, SF, Jazz vs. Sacramento ($8,100)
Gordon Hayward is stuck in a bit of a slide lately, shooting just 32.4 percent in three April games and averaging just 23.4 Fantasy points per game as a result. Those are pretty ugly numbers, but they don't bother me much tonight, especially coming up against the Kings, who could be without their best defensive player in Cousins. Hayward has managed to post 94 Fantasy points in 94 minutes against the Kings in three previous games, despite shooting just 42.0 percent against them, and I think that bodes very well for him tonight. With Cousins off the floor, Kings' opponents are shooting 46.8 percent from the field and averaging 114.6 points per 100 possessions, per NBAWowy.com, so this one could get pretty ugly if Cousins sits.
Kenneth Faried, PF, Nuggets vs. L.A. Lakers ($6,200)
Faried has been very tough to rely on this season, and has especially struggled against the Lakers. Given the Lakers' frontcourt issues on defense, that is a big disappointment, though we also have to add the caveat that each of his three games against the Lakers came when Brian Shaw was the head coach. Faried's production and playing time have both perked up since Melvin Hunt took over as coach, enough that we might have to throw out his track record under Shaw this year. He is averaging 30.3 Fantasy points per game since Shaw's firing, and should be able to handle Ryan Kelly pretty easily in what should be a very high-scoring game.
Jeremy Lin, PG, Lakers vs. Denver ($5,400)
Lin just hasn't looked right since returning from an illness last week, shooting just 22.2 percent from the field over three games. However, he has still seen 25-plus minutes in two of the three games and is taking plenty of shots, so I'm not too worried about the cold streak. Generally speaking, I like catching a player when his price is falling due to a cold spell; you have to assume he'll progress to the mean at some point, as long as the minutes and shots are still there. This is as good a matchup as any for it to happen.
Overpay of the night
Reggie Jackson, PG, Pistons vs. Boston ($8,300)
As I wrote at the Fantasy Basketball Today blog last week, the Pistons have a looming decision to make about what their roster is going to look like in the future, and it revolves around the impending free agency of Reggie Jackson and Greg Monroe. The Pistons offense hums when they have three shooters on the floor, and it has bogged down with Monroe and Jackson sharing the floor. In 276 minutes that the duo has shared the floor, Jackson is shooting just 38.8 percent from the field, while averaging 15.7 points, 6.1 assists and 5.1 rebounds per-36 minutes. Those aren't bad numbers, but probably wouldn't justify a price north of $8,000. Jackson averaged 20.9 points, 10.8 assists and 5.7 rebounds per game in the 11 games Monroe missed, so his return is potentially bad news for anyone who has been enjoying Jackson's strong recent play.