There are 10 NBA games tonight with several injuries to note and questionable players. We’ll analyze two key situations in this piece: the San Antonio Spurs at Philadelphia 76ers and the Cleveland Cavaliers at Boston Celtics.
Sixers SG Jimmy Butler (wrist) and PG Ben Simmons (illness) are questionable.
Injury background: Butler reported discomfort in his wrist during Saturday’s loss, and an MRI revealed a mild sprain. He missed Monday’s win and is questionable to suit up on Wednesday after participating in just a walkthrough on Tuesday.
Simmons is dealing with an upper respiratory infection and is also questionable after leaving Tuesday’s practice early.
Tonight’s impact: With Butler absent on Monday, Corey Brewer entered the starting lineup and played 33 minutes to primarily defend James Harden. He’s the likely option to draw the start again if Butler remains out, and there’s a good chance he garners a second 10-day contract.
Simmons has missed just one game this season due to a tight back. Butler was not on the Sixers at the time, and Markelle Fultz, Landry Shamet and T.J. McConnell absorbed the majority of the extra minutes.
Joel Embiid is finally not listed on the injury report after being a game-time decision each of the previous three games. Despite looking less than 100 percent in pre-game warmups, he has exceeded 50.0 DraftKings points in all three games and recorded a FantasyLabs’ +5.01 Plus/Minus over his last 10 contests.
Since Butler was acquired, Embiid has seen a team-high +6.9% usage rate increase while averaging 1.78 DraftKings points per minute with Butler and Simmons off the court, per the On/Off tool. J.J. Redick has also seen a positive usage rate increase and would make for an intriguing tournament option.
McConnell has averaged just 0.79 DraftKings points per minute on the season, but he’d make for an exceptional value play at just $3,900 if Simmons is unable to suit up.
Philadelphia is currently 3.5-point favorites even though it lost by 27 points in the prior matchup this season. If Simmons and Butler are healthy, value could be found on taking the Sixers with a 20-5 record at home while covering the spread 14 times.
Celtics PG Kyrie Irving (illness) and C Al Horford (rest) are out.
Injury background: Irving is dealing with flu-like symptoms and has been ruled out of Wednesday’s game.
Horford is resting despite the Celtics not playing in a back-to-back and having two full days off before the next game.
Tonight’s impact: Even with two starters out of the lineup, the Celtics are presently favored to win by 15 points. The Cavs currently have the the worst Net Rating in the league and have won just nine games this season.
Terry Rozier and Aron Baynes are the likely candidates to enter the starting lineup, while Daniel Theis, Robert Williams and Brad Wanamaker will step into additional playing time off the bench.
In nine prior starts this season, Baynes has averaged a lackluster 6.7 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. Rozier, however, has fared well, averaging 30.0 DraftKings points in the five previous games without Irving.
Irving leads the team with a 28.2% usage rate this season, and his absence will give more offensive possessions to Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward, Marcus Morris and Jayson Tatum.
All four players plus Rozier are firmly in play in all DFS formats. It will be extremely difficult to fade several Celtics options against the Cavs’ league-worst defense.
High ownership in tournaments and a large spread could be enough to curb the appeal of having heavy exposure. In the case of fading multiple starters due to a blowout, note that the Celtics defeated the Cavs sans Horford by 33 in the only previous matchup this season.