NBA First Look: Wednesday, February 25th

It’s hump day, meaning another big Wednesday slate in the NBA.

Orlando (19-39) Miami (24-31) MIA -3 198.5 7:00 pm EST
Atlanta (44-12) Dallas (39-20) ATL -6.5 203.0 7:30 pm EST
Boston (21-33) New York (10-45) BOS -12 197.0 7:30 pm EST
New Orleans (29-27) Brooklyn (23-31) BKN -2.5 192.5 8:00 pm EST
Chicago (36-21) Charlotte (22-32) CHI -8 191.0 8:00 pm EST
Houston (38-18) L.A. Clippers (37-20) HOU -3.5 215.0 8:00 pm EST
Milwaukee (31-25) Philadelphia (12-44) MIL -10.5 189.0 8:00 pm EST
Minnesota (12-43) Washington (33-24) MIN -2 201.5 8:00 pm EST
Denver (20-36) Phoenix (29-28) PHO -5 214.0 9:00 pm EST
Utah (21-34) L.A. Lakers (14-41) UTA -9 191.0 9:00 pm EST
Sacramento (19-35) Memphis (41-14) MEM -7 199.5 10:00 pm EST
Portland (36-19) San Antonio (34-22) POR -3 195.5 10:30 pm EST



Matchup Preview vs. Orlando:
Pace of Play: 95.8 (Rank: 17)
Points Allowed Per Game: 101.3 (Rank: 24)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 23
Rebounding Differential Rank: 25


Hassan Whiteside (FD: $7500, DK: $7800 / DvP: 24 / Usage Rate: 21.3) – Whiteside has failed to top 40 fantasy points in each of his last five games, but he has still been productive, scoring at least 28 in four of the five. He draws a favorable matchup against the Magic, who are ranked 24th against centers and 25th in rebounding differential.

Goran Dragic (FD: $6300, DK: $6300 / DvP: 27 / Usage Rate: 21.3) – Dragic played well in his second start with the Heat, scoring 23 points and dishing out 10 assists. His price is very affordable on both FanDuel and DraftKings and he draws a nice matchup against a Magic team that has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to the position.


Matchup Preview vs. Miami:
Pace of Play: 92.3 (Rank: 30)
Points Allowed Per Game: 96.8 (Rank: 3)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 20
Rebounding Differential Rank: 22

Targets: None – The Magic have slowed their pace of play since firing Jacque Vaughn. They also face the heat, who play at the slowest pace of any team in the NBA. With eleven other games on the schedule, the Magic are an easy team to avoid.


Matchup Preview vs. Atlanta:
Pace of Play: 96.2 (Rank: 15)
Points Allowed Per Game: 96.8 (Rank: 3)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 7
Rebounding Differential Rank: 27

Targets: None – The Mavericks are a deep and talented team. Due to this, their individual fantasy production is tough to predict on a nightly basis. They also face the Hawks, who have held their opponents to the third-fewest points per game this season.


Matchup Preview vs. Dallas:
Pace of Play: 96.8 (Rank: 10)
Points Allowed Per Game: 100.5 (Rank: 20)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 14
Rebounding Differential Rank: 29


Al Horford (FD: $8200, DK: $7600 / DvP: 11 / Usage Rate: 22.6) – Horford makes an intriguing contrarian play against the Mavericks, who are ranked 29th in rebounding differential this season. Horford has been very productive recently, scoring at least 37 fantasy points in five of his last ten games.

New York

Matchup Preview vs. Boston:
Pace of Play: 98.8 (Rank: 4)
Points Allowed Per Game: 102.9 (Rank: 25)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 15
Rebounding Differential Rank: 17


Langston Galloway (FD: $5400, DK: $5400 / DvP: 21 / Usage Rate: 19.8) – Galloway is the one Knicks’ player that I will have some exposure to on Wednesday. His usage is up with Carmelo Anthony out of the lineup and he has scored at least 24 fantasy points in five of his last six outings.


Matchup Preview vs. New York:
Pace of Play: 93 (Rank: 28)
Points Allowed Per Game: 100.5 (Rank: 20)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 28
Rebounding Differential Rank: 28


Brandon Bass (FD: $5000, DK: $5600 / DvP: 6 / Usage Rate: 21) – Olynyk is questionable to play on Wednesday night. If he is unable to suit up, Bass will again push for 35+ minutes of action. He has been a terrific value play with Olynyk out, scoring at least 26 fantasy points in each of his last three games.

Tyler Zeller (FD: $4800, DK: $4800 / DvP: 6 / Usage Rate: 19.3) – Zeller will also see extended playing time if Olynyk is forced to sit out Wednesday’s game. Zeller has also been productive in his absence, averaging 26 fantasy points per game in his last three outings.


Matchup Preview vs. New Orleans:
Pace of Play: 94 (Rank: 27)
Points Allowed Per Game: 99.4 (Rank: 15)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 26
Rebounding Differential Rank: 6


Deron Williams (FD: $5900, DK: $6700 / DvP: 23 / Usage Rate: 22.4) – Jarrett Jack may play on Wednesday, but it sounds like he will play limited minutes off the bench. Williams should draw another start at point guard and he deserves it, after he has posted back-to-back 40+ fantasy point outings. He also draws a favorable matchup against Tyreke Evans and the Pelicans.

New Orleans

Matchup Preview vs. Brooklyn:
Pace of Play: 94.3 (Rank: 25)
Points Allowed Per Game: 99.3 (Rank: 14)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 19
Rebounding Differential Rank: 23


Tyreke Evans (FD: $8100, DK: $8100 / DvP: 16 / Usage Rate: 25.7) – Anthony Davis and Ryan Anderson are both expected to miss Wednesday’s game, which means Evans will see an uptick in usage once again. He has incredible upside and he’s listed as a shooting guard on FanDuel, which allows you to roster three point guards.

Eric Gordon (FD: $6300, DK: $6000 / DvP: 27 / Usage Rate: 19.2) – Gordon has actually been the biggest beneficiary with Anthony Davis and Ryan Anderson out. He has averaged 33 fantasy points in his last two games. The biggest concern here is that his price has come up across the industry.


Matchup Preview vs. Chicago:
Pace of Play: 95.7 (Rank: 18)
Points Allowed Per Game: 98.7 (Rank: 12)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 12
Rebounding Differential Rank: 6


Mo Williams (FD: $5400, DK: $5600 / DvP: 12 / Usage Rate: 22.7) – Williams has wasted little time getting acclimated to his new surroundings. In his first two games with the Hornets, he has scored 44 and 29 fantasy points. His price is still reasonable and he should see 35+ minutes of action against the Bulls, who will be without Derrick Rose.


Matchup Preview vs. Charlotte:
Pace of Play: 95.3 (Rank: 23)
Points Allowed Per Game: 97 (Rank: 5)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 8
Rebounding Differential Rank: 14


Jimmy Butler (FD: $8700, DK: $7700 / DvP: 18 / Usage Rate: 21.6) – Terrible news coming out of Chicago. Derrick Rose has a torn meniscus and will miss the rest of the season. Butler should see an uptick in both minutes and usage with Rose out. He will be option 1B to Pau Gasol in this offense.

Aaron Brooks (FD: $3500, DK: $3400 / DvP: 6 / Usage Rate: 25.7) – Hinrich may draw the start at point guard, but he has been nursing some injuries. Don’t be surprised to see Brooks play close to 30 minutes against the Hornets. Given his fantasy point per minute production this season, he should reach and exceed value with ease.

L.A. Clippers

Matchup Preview vs. Houston:
Pace of Play: 99.1 (Rank: 3)
Points Allowed Per Game: 99.6 (Rank: 17)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 3
Rebounding Differential Rank: 11


Chris Paul (FD: $10000, DK: $10200 / DvP: 2 / Usage Rate: 22.6) – Paul is about as matchup-proof as they and he proved that against the Grizzlies the other night. As long as Blake Griffin is out, Paul will remain a top fantasy option every night the Clippers are on the schedule.


Matchup Preview vs. L.A. Clippers:
Pace of Play: 96.7 (Rank: 12)
Points Allowed Per Game: 100.7 (Rank: 22)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 18
Rebounding Differential Rank: 19


James Harden (FD: $11100, DK: $11000 / DvP: 13 / Usage Rate: 31.2) – As predicted, Harden broke out of his mini-slump with a HUGE fantasy outing against the Wolves. He should keep it rolling against the Clippers, who have struggled to contain elite scorers this season.

Terrence Jones (FD: $5600, DK: $5700 / DvP: 14 / Usage Rate: 18.9) – Jones drew the start next to Donatas Motiejunas the other night and he played very well, scoring 38 fantasy points in 32 minutes. Dollar for dollar, he should be one of the top power forward plays on the board.


Matchup Preview vs. Milwaukee:
Pace of Play: 96.3 (Rank: 14)
Points Allowed Per Game: 96.7 (Rank: 2)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 2
Rebounding Differential Rank: 24


Nerlens Noel (FD: $6700, DK: $5900 / DvP: 10 / Usage Rate: 16) – The Sixers are a mess, but at least Noel has been playing well. He has averaged 34.5 fantasy points per game over his last five outings. He should be able to keep it going against the Bucks, who are ranked 24th in rebounding differential this season.

Isaiah Canaan (FD: $3500, DK: $3500 / DvP: 1 / Usage Rate: 19.9) – Canaan offers great value once again. I’m not sure what is taking so long, but the sites have yet to adjust his price. At $3,500, he needs roughly 18 fantasy points to reach value. That should be an easy feat against a Bucks’ team that no longer has Brandon Knight to contain opposing point guards.


Matchup Preview vs. Philadelphia:
Pace of Play: 98.1 (Rank: 6)
Points Allowed Per Game: 101 (Rank: 23)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 13
Rebounding Differential Rank: 29

Targets: TBD – If Michael Carter-Williams is unable to suit up against the Sixers, Jerryd Bayless would draw another start at point guard. He has been terrific in his short stint as the starter and would be one of the top value plays at the position.


Matchup Preview vs. Minnesota:
Pace of Play: 97.6 (Rank: 7)
Points Allowed Per Game: 106.3 (Rank: 29)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 30
Rebounding Differential Rank: 21


Marcin Gortat (FD: $5200, DK: $5200 / DvP: 28 / Usage Rate: 18.2) – The Polish Hammer is coming off of back-to-back big outings. He has been aggressive on the glass and John Wall is looking for him in transition. Both of which are promising signs. Gortat offers great value against the Wolves, who have allowed the third-most fantasy points to centers this season.


Matchup Preview vs. Washington:
Pace of Play: 95.7 (Rank: 18)
Points Allowed Per Game: 98.3 (Rank: 10)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 9
Rebounding Differential Rank: 4


Ricky Rubio (FD: $6900, DK: $7000 / DvP: 7 / Usage Rate: 22.1) – As I mentioned on Monday, now is the time to buy low on Rubio before his price skyrockets. He has scored at least 38 fantasy points in each of his last three games. He has also averaged 34 minutes per game during that stretch.

Andrew Wiggins (FD: $6700, DK: $6500 / DvP: 9 / Usage Rate: 21.4) – With Thaddeus Young out of town, Wiggins has seen an uptick in usage over the last couple of games. He is still seeing close to 40 minutes per game. He’s a solid mid-range option at small forward, which can be a difficult position to fill.


Matchup Preview vs. Denver:
Pace of Play: 98.4 (Rank: 5)
Points Allowed Per Game: 104.2 (Rank: 26)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 23
Rebounding Differential Rank: 16


Markieff Morris (FD: $6500, DK: $6400 / DvP: 29 / Usage Rate: 23.4) – One of the best matchups to exploit in all of fantasy sports is targeting big men against the Nuggets. Regardless of who they start, they cannot seem to defend the paint. They have allowed the second-most fantasy points to power forwards this season.

Alex Len (FD: $5000, DK: $4900 / DvP: 29 / Usage Rate: 13.3) – See: Markieff Morris. Also, Len has averaged 32 fantasy points per game over his last three outings.


Matchup Preview vs. Phoenix:
Pace of Play: 99.3 (Rank: 2)
Points Allowed Per Game: 105.2 (Rank: 28)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 20
Rebounding Differential Rank: 25


Danilo Gallinari (FD: $4000, DK: $5000 / DvP: 28 / Usage Rate: 20.2) – Gallinari is the one Nuggets’ player that is on my radar. His minutes and his production are both trending in the right direction and he is still sitting at an affordable price on FanDuel. It also doesn’t hurt that the Suns are ranked 28th against small forwards this season.

L.A. Lakers

Matchup Preview vs. Utah:
Pace of Play: 92.8 (Rank: 29)
Points Allowed Per Game: 97.4 (Rank: 9)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 23
Rebounding Differential Rank: 3

Targets: None – Not only do the Lakers face the second-slowest paced team in the NBA, but they are 9-point underdogs. It’s hard to predict their rotation on a nightly basis and there is no reason to take a risk on any Lakers’ players with such a full slate of games.


Matchup Preview vs. L.A. Lakers:
Pace of Play: 96.8 (Rank: 10)
Points Allowed Per Game: 106.4 (Rank: 30)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 29
Rebounding Differential Rank: 20


Rudy Gobert (FD: $5900, DK: $5800 / DvP: 12 / Usage Rate: 13.4) – Gobert is a monster on the glass. He is also an elite defender. His offensive skill set still needs some work, but he has been incredibly productive when given big minutes this season. At his price point, he is my top center on Wednesday night.

Joe Ingles (FD: $4200, DK: $3200 / DvP: 20 / Usage Rate: 11.5) – Ingles may fly under the radar against the Lakers. It is only his third game back from injury, but he should see around 30 minutes against one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA. He offers great value on DraftKings at a price of only $3,200.


Matchup Preview vs. Sacramento:
Pace of Play: 97.5 (Rank: 8)
Points Allowed Per Game: 104.6 (Rank: 27)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 27
Rebounding Differential Rank: 1


Marc Gasol (FD: $7800, DK: $7300 / DvP: 22 / Usage Rate: 24.8) – Gasol may see extended action against the Kings, as he will be tasked with defending DeMarcus Cousins. Gasol has the ability to fill up all areas of the stat sheet and his high floor makes him a safe target for cash games.


Matchup Preview vs. Memphis:
Pace of Play: 94.2 (Rank: 26)
Points Allowed Per Game: 95.5 (Rank: 1)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 5
Rebounding Differential Rank: 13


Ray McCallum (FD: $3500, DK: $3300 / DvP: 5 / Usage Rate: 17.5) – While DeMarcus Cousins has 50 fantasy point upside every night, I’m not going to overpay for him in a matchup against Marc Gasol, who is one of the best defenders in the NBA. McCallum is worth a look though, as he should see a ton of minutes with Darren Collison out.

San Antonio

Matchup Preview vs. Portland:
Pace of Play: 96.5 (Rank: 13)
Points Allowed Per Game: 97.2 (Rank: 6)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 4
Rebounding Differential Rank: 12

Targets: None – Once again, there are 12 games on the schedule on Wednesday night. We don’t have to take any unnecessary risks by targeting any of the Spurs.


Matchup Preview vs. San Antonio:
Pace of Play: 95.5 (Rank: 21)
Points Allowed Per Game: 97.3 (Rank: 7)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 6
Rebounding Differential Rank: 10


LaMarcus Aldridge (FD: $9300, DK: $9000 / DvP: 23 / Usage Rate: 29.8) – Aldridge was a late scratch on Sunday night, but is listed as probable for Wednesday’s game against the Spurs. His price has come down a bit and he draws a favorable matchup against the Spurs, who have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to power forwards this season.

About the Author

  • Derek Farnsworth (Notorious)

  • Derek Farnsworth, aka Notorious, is one of the most recognizable names and faces in all of DFS, thanks in large part to the great advice he gives on a daily basis in’s Grind Down for NBA and MLB as well as the First Look column that gives a preview of the day’s games from a DFS perspective. Before joining the RotoGrinders team, Derek received a Masters Degree from the University of Utah. When he’s not busy providing content, he’s dominating the industry as evidenced by his consistent top rankings in multiple sports. Farnsworth provides expert analysis for RotoGrinders Premium members on a daily basis during the NBA season and has also been nominated for five different Fantasy Sports Writer’s Association (FSWA) awards.


  • losedaily

    so much value at PG

  • mrplow01

    MCW with a real interesting revenge game

  • JJdaily

    My head is spinning too much to choose from

  • Thanasi

    George Karl likes himself some Omri Casspi. At 3800$ FD who doesn’t?

  • HMasso

    Haha agree with JJdaily, but the article definitely makes decisions much easier. Thanks for the content Noto.

  • KHAZE31

    Kidd is so weird with his lineups MCW could be limited

  • KHAZE31

    Great read always

  • kratochvil88

    I think i could be happy playing 8 centers tonight or 8 point guards…too many to choose from at those positions.

  • krodino

    I agree with Gortat. Used him last night. But any concern over him not playing the 4th Q? He was looking to have a great game and sat most, if not all, last night.

  • edquartez

    My guess would be they were resting Gortat for tonight. I didn’t see the game, but if GS had a big lead, that’s probably what it was.

  • Troybianchi

    Eric beldsoe vs Kevin Martin how are they not options Kevin Martin been getting roasted by every SG all year Bledsoe ass well in a high pace game .. I’m an idiot with this comment lol… But still beldsoe draws favorable matchup vs denver

  • grover123

    Thanks for the great read answered a few questions I had thanks bro

  • mgovas

    gallo is listed as sf but is playing at sg and he most likely will see Brandon Knight defense. Boston will be a tough to play imo because of the 3rd game in 4nights and just coming back from west coast. Great job Noto as always!!!

  • bengalhockey

    Thanks for the great info

  • Troybianchi

    Monte Ellis ..Kyle Korver dosent play defense

  • Mmirza23

    looks like another gobert/len night for me

  • glennantz

    All DFS sites announce new lineup configuration for today only, 5 at PG and 4 centers.

  • converse2

    Gortat only plays the last 2 minutes in the 4th. This has been the trend over the past few weeks

  • dfrandan

    Randy Wittman hardly ever plays Gortat in the 4th quarter. As a Wizards fan, it’s a common source of frustration.

  • lrbutler

    With the Wash vs Minn game, I am going with Temple at G…..with Beal out for a while and Minn is giving up 35+ pts to SG. I like my chances.

  • boltonscott79

    D rose getting use to sitting in a suit

  • GQ1NYC

    Good stuff as always Notorious.

  • VChair23

    The only player listed that I’m completely avoiding is Aldridge. With the matchup and injury concern I can’t reason taking him over Pau in any format.

  • dfrandan

    Harden has pooped the bed twice against the Clippers this year

  • sydhoops

    Anybody jumping on Tony Snell?

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