NBA First Look: Wednesday, March 4th

There’s a lot of money up for grabs on Wednesday. Here’s how the slate looks:

Indiana (25-34) New York (12-46) IND -13 190.0 7:00 pm EST
Orlando (19-42) Phoenix (31-30) PHO -4 203.0 7:00 pm EST
Boston (23-34) Utah (23-35) BOS -2 194.5 7:30 pm EST
Brooklyn (25-33) Charlotte (24-33) BKN -5.5 191.0 7:30 pm EST
Toronto (38-22) Cleveland (37-24) TBD TBD 7:30 pm EST
New Orleans (32-28) Detroit (23-36) NO -3 195.0 8:00 pm EST
Houston (41-18) Memphis (42-16) HOU -3.5 197.0 8:00 pm EST
Miami (26-33) L.A. Lakers (16-42) TBD TBD 8:00 pm EST
Minnesota (13-46) Denver (20-39) TBD TBD 8:00 pm EST
Oklahoma City (33-27) Philadelphia (13-47) TBD TBD 8:00 pm EST
San Antonio (36-23) Sacramento (20-37) TBD TBD 8:30 pm EST
Golden State (46-12) Milwaukee (32-27) GSW -12.5 203.5 10:30 pm EST
L.A. Clippers (40-21) Portland (39-19) TBD TBD 10:30 pm EST

New York


Opponent Preview – Indiana:
Pace of Play: 95.6 (Rank: 20)
Points Allowed Per Game: 96.7 (Rank: 5)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 11
Rebounding Differential Rank: 7


Andrea Bargnani (FD: $4600, DK: $4500 / DvP: 2 / Usage Rate: 25.3) – Bargnani and the Knicks forgot they had a basketball game last night against the Kings. They were out of the game from the start. They should put up a better performance tonight and Bargnani should be able to create some open shots against Roy Hibbert.


Opponent Preview – New York:
Pace of Play: 93.1 (Rank: 28)
Points Allowed Per Game: 101.3 (Rank: 24)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 28
Rebounding Differential Rank: 28


George Hill (FD: $6300, DK: $6000 / DvP: 24 / Usage Rate: 25.7) – Hill has scored at least 32 fantasy points in each of his last three games. He has also played at least 29 minutes in each games. His hot streak should continue tonight against the Knicks, who have struggled to contain opposing point guards this season.


Opponent Preview – Orlando:
Pace of Play: 95.7 (Rank: 18)
Points Allowed Per Game: 101 (Rank: 23)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 24
Rebounding Differential Rank: 26


Alex Len (FD: $5200, DK: $5600 / DvP: 22 / Usage Rate: 13.4) – Len has now played at least 32 minutes in five of his last seven games. During that stretch, he has scored at least 29 fantasy points four times. He draws a favorable matchup against the Magic, who are ranked 22nd against centers and 26th in rebounding differential.

P.J. Tucker (FD: $5600, DK: $5700 / DvP: 27 / Usage Rate: 12.9) – Tucker posted yet another terrific fantasy outing on Monday night, finishing the game with 20 points, 14 rebounds, and 3 assists. He draws a favorable matchup against the Magic. The only issue is that his price is at it’s highest point of the season.


Opponent Preview – Phoenix:
Pace of Play: 99.5 (Rank: 2)
Points Allowed Per Game: 105.2 (Rank: 28)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 19
Rebounding Differential Rank: 25


Tobias Harris (FD: $6500, DK: $6300 / DvP: 28 / Usage Rate: 23.2) – Harris is coming off of a 31 fantasy point outing in a tough matchup against Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and the Hornets. He draws a much better matchup on Wednesday, as the Suns have allowed the third-most fantasy points to small forwards.


Opponent Preview – Boston:
Pace of Play: 98.8 (Rank: 4)
Points Allowed Per Game: 102.8 (Rank: 25)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 15
Rebounding Differential Rank: 17


Derrick Favors (FD: $7600, DK: $7400 / DvP: 26 / Usage Rate: 23) – The way to beat the Celtics is to dominate the paint. Favors and Gobert should both find success down low against an under-sized and under-manned Boston frontcourt. Favors has also scored at least 35 fantasy points in five of his last six games.

Rudy Gobert (FD: $7200, DK: $6700 / DvP: 26 / Usage Rate: 13.5) – I’m not sure anyone saw the 15-point, 24-rebound performance against the Grizzlies coming. Gobert has been dominant since the Enes Kanter trade. He should be able to keep it going against a weak Boston frontcourt.


Opponent Preview – Utah:
Pace of Play: 92.9 (Rank: 29)
Points Allowed Per Game: 96.6 (Rank: 4)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 23
Rebounding Differential Rank: 3

Targets: None – There are 12 other games on the schedule tonight with much better matchups to exploit. The Celtics have a deep rotation and they draw a tough matchup against the Jazz, who have allowed the fourth-fewest points per game this season.


Opponent Preview – Brooklyn:
Pace of Play: 94.5 (Rank: 25)
Points Allowed Per Game: 99.4 (Rank: 14)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 21
Rebounding Differential Rank: 23


Mo Williams (FD: $6200, DK: $7000 / DvP: 16 / Usage Rate: 23.2) – Williams continues to post huge outing after huge outing. He had owners worried after his first half against the Lakers, but he turned it on in the second half and finished with 41 fantasy points. It was the fourth time in his last six games where he has topped 40 fantasy points.


Opponent Preview – Charlotte:
Pace of Play: 95.3 (Rank: 23)
Points Allowed Per Game: 96.9 (Rank: 7)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 8
Rebounding Differential Rank: 13

Targets: None – The Nets are a tough team to predict on a nightly basis. Throw in their matchup against the slow-paced Hornets and they are an easy team to avoid altogether on Wednesday night.


Opponent Preview – Toronto:
Pace of Play: 96 (Rank: 16)
Points Allowed Per Game: 100.6 (Rank: 21)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 17
Rebounding Differential Rank: 18


LeBron James (FD: $11100, DK: $10400 / DvP: / Usage Rate: 33.4) – If you opted to fade LeBron on Tuesday night, you probably weren’t feeling great after the monster first quarter that he had. The Cavaliers ended up crushing the Celtics though and Lebron was limited to only 26 minutes. James should see minutes in the upper 30s against the Raptors.


Opponent Preview – Cleveland:
Pace of Play: 95 (Rank: 24)
Points Allowed Per Game: 98.4 (Rank: 11)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 21
Rebounding Differential Rank: 8


DeMar DeRozan (FD: $7200, DK: $7200 / DvP: 22 / Usage Rate: 28) – DeRozan finally broke out of his slump with a huge performance against the Sixers. He finished the game with 35 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists. It sounds like Kyle Lowry may miss another game, which only boosts DeRozan’s usage in the Raptors’ offense.

Lou Williams (FD: $5300, DK: $4800 / DvP: 22 / Usage Rate: 26.7) – This pick hinges on the health of Kyle Lowry. In Lowry’s absence the last two games, Williams has scored 30 and 34 fantasy points. He has a very high usage rate and will see extended minutes if Lowry is unable to suit up against the Cavaliers.


Opponent Preview – New Orleans:
Pace of Play: 94 (Rank: 27)
Points Allowed Per Game: 99.4 (Rank: 14)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 26
Rebounding Differential Rank: 5


Reggie Jackson (FD: $6100, DK: $6200 / DvP: 15 / Usage Rate: 23.3) – Jackson hasn’t shot a particularly high percentage recently, but he’s still managed to be very productive in terms of fantasy production. He has scored at least 26 fantasy points in each of his last four games and is one of the top plays at point guard on Wednesday night.

New Orleans

Opponent Preview – Detroit:
Pace of Play: 95.6 (Rank: 20)
Points Allowed Per Game: 99.8 (Rank: 16)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 18
Rebounding Differential Rank: 9


Tyreke Evans (FD: $8300, DK: $7700 / DvP: 4 / Usage Rate: 25.8) – Anthony Davis has been upgraded to questionable for Wednesday’s game against the Pistons. If he sits out another game, we have at least one more opportunity to target Evans. He has 40+ fantasy point upside and a favorable matchup against Reggie Jackson.

Dante Cunningham (FD: $4100, DK: $3800 / DvP: 19 / Usage Rate: 11.1) – This pick also hinges on the health of Anthony Davis. Cunningham has played well in his absence, averaging 25 fantasy points over his last four games. He’s a decent value play at small forward.


Opponent Preview – Houston:
Pace of Play: 99.1 (Rank: 3)
Points Allowed Per Game: 99.8 (Rank: 16)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 3
Rebounding Differential Rank: 11


Marc Gasol (FD: $7600, DK: $7500 / DvP: 19 / Usage Rate: 24.8) – Gasol is Mr. Reliable in cash games. You can typically count on him for 30+ fantasy points, which can’t be said about many centers in the NBA. Gasol draws a favorable matchup against the small frontcourt of the Rockets and he’ll see a small boost if Zach Randolph is unable to play.


Opponent Preview – Memphis:
Pace of Play: 94.3 (Rank: 26)
Points Allowed Per Game: 95.6 (Rank: 1)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 7
Rebounding Differential Rank: 13


James Harden (FD: $11000, DK: $10500 / DvP: 8 / Usage Rate: 31) – Harden will return from his suspension against the Grizzlies. While the matchup is tough, he should be able to pick up right where he left off. The only question is whether or not he will be able to pay off his expensive price tag.

L.A. Lakers

Opponent Preview – Miami:
Pace of Play: 92.4 (Rank: 30)
Points Allowed Per Game: 96.8 (Rank: 6)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 19
Rebounding Differential Rank: 22


Jeremy Lin (FD: $5200, DK: $4100 / DvP: 11 / Usage Rate: 20.8) – Lin is not a recommended cash game play, but he certainly deserves a look in tournaments, especially on DraftKings. Lin has scored at least 44 fantasy points in each of his last two games. Ladies and gentlemen, LINSANITY is back!


Opponent Preview – L.A. Lakers:
Pace of Play: 96.7 (Rank: 10)
Points Allowed Per Game: 106 (Rank: 30)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 29
Rebounding Differential Rank: 20


Hassan Whiteside (FD: $8100, DK: $8300 / DvP: 10 / Usage Rate: 20.2) – Whiteside’s price is at it’s highest point of the season (at least the highest that I can remember). While that’s not typically something we like to see, he’s more than capable of scoring 42 fantasy points against the Lakers. In fact, he could very well post a 50 fantasy point outing against them.

Dwyane Wade (FD: $7200, DK: $7100 / DvP: 20 / Usage Rate: 34) – Wade has finally broken out of his mini-slump, as he has scored at least 34 fantasy points in back to back games. If he can repeat that on Wednesday night, he will reach value for the third consecutive game. The matchup is certainly there, as the Lakers are ranked dead last in points allowed per game.


Opponent Preview – Minnesota:
Pace of Play: 97.5 (Rank: 8)
Points Allowed Per Game: 105.6 (Rank: 29)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 30
Rebounding Differential Rank: 21


Kenneth Faried (FD: $5800, DK: $5100 / DvP: 27 / Usage Rate: 19.3) – Can the firing of Brian Shaw be the thing that finally frees the MANinal? Faried played 32 minutes and scored 34 fantasy points against the Bucks on Tuesday. Hopefully that’s a sign of things to come.


Opponent Preview – Denver:
Pace of Play: 98.4 (Rank: 5)
Points Allowed Per Game: 104.1 (Rank: 26)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 25
Rebounding Differential Rank: 18


Ricky Rubio (FD: $8300, DK: $7800 / DvP: 22 / Usage Rate: 20.9) – Rubio messed around and got a triple-double the other night in a tough matchup against Chris Paul. He has now scored at least 38 fantasy points in six of his last seven games. Take advantage of his great matchup against the Nuggets.

Andrew Wiggins (FD: $6700, DK: $6700 / DvP: 26 / Usage Rate: 21.8) – Kevin Martin is questionable for Wednesday’s game against the Nuggets. If he is forced to sit, that would give Wiggins a small fantasy boost. Even if Martin plays, Wiggins will see close to 40 minutes in a favorable matchup against the Nuggets.


Opponent Preview – Oklahoma City:
Pace of Play: 97.7 (Rank: 7)
Points Allowed Per Game: 99.1 (Rank: 13)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 10
Rebounding Differential Rank: 2


Nerlens Noel (FD: $6900, DK: $6500 / DvP: 24 / Usage Rate: 16.3) – Ish Smith may draw the attention of some, but Noel is the only Sixers’ player that is on my radar right now. He has scored at least 28 fantasy points in eight of his last nine games. He does draw a tough matchup against Serge Ibaka the Thunder though.

Oklahoma City

Opponent Preview – Philadelphia:
Pace of Play: 98.1 (Rank: 6)
Points Allowed Per Game: 100.8 (Rank: 22)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 13
Rebounding Differential Rank: 29


Russell Westbrook (FD: $12000, DK: $11500 / DvP: 23 / Usage Rate: 36.9) – It sounds like Westbrook could return to the court as soon as Wednesday. If that’s the case, he will immediately become the top overall fantasy option. If he is forced to sit, D.J. Augustin would be in line for huge minutes.

Serge Ibaka (FD: $8200, DK: $8000 / DvP: 30 / Usage Rate: 19.1) – On paper, this is one of the best matchups on the board. The Sixers are ranked 30th against power forwards and 29th in rebounding differential this season. The biggest concern here is a potential blowout.


Opponent Preview – San Antonio:
Pace of Play: 95.7 (Rank: 18)
Points Allowed Per Game: 97.1 (Rank: 8)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 4
Rebounding Differential Rank: 10

Targets: DeMarcus Cousins is an intriguing tournament option against the Spurs, but the Kings are playing in the second half of a back-to-back and have to face the defending-champion Spurs in San Antonio. The risk of a blowout is high.

San Antonio

Opponent Preview – Sacramento:
Pace of Play: 97.5 (Rank: 8)
Points Allowed Per Game: 104.1 (Rank: 26)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 27
Rebounding Differential Rank: 1


Danny Green (FD: $5300, DK: $4200 / DvP: 30 / Usage Rate: 17.7) – Guess who has given up more fantasy points to shooting guards than any other team in the NBA? That’s right, it’s the Kings. Green is cheap across the industry and draws a prime matchup on Wednesday night.


Opponent Preview – Golden State:
Pace of Play: 101.1 (Rank: 1)
Points Allowed Per Game: 100 (Rank: 18)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 1
Rebounding Differential Rank: 15


Giannis Antetokounmpo (FD: $6400, DK: $7100 / DvP: 13 / Usage Rate: 19.5) – The Bucks may be a team to avoid altogether on Wednesday. They are playing the best team in the NBA and have to do it on the second half of a back to back. That said, the Greek Alphabet has been on a tear recently and he’s still affordably priced on FanDuel ($6,400).

Golden State

Opponent Preview – Milwaukee:
Pace of Play: 96.4 (Rank: 14)
Points Allowed Per Game: 96.5 (Rank: 3)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 2
Rebounding Differential Rank: 24

Targets: The Warriors make intriguing tournament options, but they are all risky cash game plays. The Warriors are double-digit favorites against the Bucks and head coach Steve Kerr has mentioned that he’d like to get his starters some rest.


Opponent Preview – L.A. Clippers:
Pace of Play: 96.7 (Rank: 10)
Points Allowed Per Game: 100.4 (Rank: 19)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 16
Rebounding Differential Rank: 15


LaMarcus Aldridge (FD: $9800, DK: $9100 / DvP: 14 / Usage Rate: 29.9) – It’s no surprise that the Clippers have been one of the worst teams against power forwards since Blake Griffin went down with his injury. Spencer Hawes just isn’t a great defender. The Blazers will look to exploit this matchup all night.

L.A. Clippers

Opponent Preview – Portland:
Pace of Play: 96.5 (Rank: 13)
Points Allowed Per Game: 97.4 (Rank: 9)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 6
Rebounding Differential Rank: 12


Chris Paul (FD: $10300, DK: $10200 / DvP: 21 / Usage Rate: 22.8) – Paul’s price is still at a very playable level on both FanDuel and DraftKings. He’s basically been a lock for 45+ fantasy points with Blake Griffin out of the lineup. His excellent play should continue against the Blazers, who are ranked 21st against point guards.

DeAndre Jordan (FD: $9700, DK: $9000 / DvP: 1 / Usage Rate: 12.9) – Eventually we will get to a point where Jordan is just too expensive to target. He’s $9k+ on both FanDuel and DraftKings. At his price point, he’s a better tournament play than a cash game play. He does provide terrific upside though, as he has scored at least 55 fantasy points four times in his last nine games.

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.


  • flip4flop

    Love the first looks coming out this early. Works perfect for Hawaii time zone! Great work here and excited for tomorrows slate!

  • Alright_x_3

    Cousins looked great with 43 fantasy points in mid 20 mins . Spurs are not very good against centers. Boogie should be very well rested and 3 quarters, could be another 45 point night. Just saying

  • tonymedina

    awesome update, getting on it right now. hope everyone has a great day and good luck with all your LU’s!!!

  • ChrisKat2001

    That whole worst against SGs stat didn’t work last night. Tim Hardaway stunk it up…mostly because of foul trouble…but he didn’t do anything in the minutes he did get.

  • jimmythesaint

    I had him to and I realized just how bad of a basketball player Hardaway Jr. is. Put him on your banned list…He has 1 good game out of every 20 he plays.

    Same with Dion Waiters…Neither of these guys can ever be trusted and have a high probability of tanking your team.

  • jessedio

    I’m banning Tim Hardaway Jr for life. Nevaaaa Again.

  • qman16

    Andrea Bargnani screwed me bad last night! I got the news he was out too late! too risky for me!

  • qman16

    Hardaway did too!

  • aBBaZaBBa420

    Amen, never again

  • drsaline

    He played.

  • boltonscott79

    Bargnani screwed me too .i had 315points with his bum a## i could have done much better

  • bzhizzle

    You’re right on about the Celtics be leary of all of them.

  • swish108

    yep got burned by the Knicks players as well……never again….

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