Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder are back in action against the Los Angeles Clippers after being idle on Tuesday. For DraftKings players, that means the most automatic fantasy performer over the last month presents you with a serious dilemma. Over the last 10 days, Westbrook is averaging 79.1 fantasy points per game.
Here's what Sports Illustrated's Rob Mahoney said about Westbrook's recent play:
In Russell Westbrook we see what happens when a supremely talented player puts his head down, barrels through that discourse without apology, and emerges the better for it. There is no compromise in his game. Westbrook tears through an opposing defense as he wills, and he wills to destroy. The force of that approach has never been more evident than at this very moment. In his nine games played since the All-Star break, Westbrook—operating without the counterbalance of the injured Kevin Durant—has averaged a triple double: 34.3 points, 11.4 assists, and 10.2 rebounds, all in around 36 minutes a night.
Every bit of that analysis is spot on. However, should you draft him for a whopping $12,500, or simply leave him off your team while he continues to assault the record books and stat sheets with his torrid triple-double pace?
While it's hard not drafting him, his salary is simply too high.
If he were to have a human performance with, say, 25 points, five rebounds and six assists, his DK owners would likely be disappointed. At his salary, that very good game would not be worth it for the cost.
It's also totally possible he hits the Clippers with another box score that looks like it came from a game of NBA 2K15 on rookie difficulty. Still, you can find more value by breaking his salary slot up to draft less expensive, but productive, players.
For this reason, Westbrook is both a stud and a dud. Take a look at a few more players who should be on and off your radar on Wednesday.
Nikola Mirotic ($6,200) at Philadelphia 76ers
Ever since the Chicago Bulls' Taj Gibson went down with an injury, Nikola Mirotic has been one of the team's most dependable scorers.
In his last six games, Mirotic has scored less than 18 points just once. On Wednesday, the Bulls travel to the City of Brotherly Love to face the Philadelphia 76ers. Through this stretch, Mirotic has gotten to the line with regularity.
In fact, over his last seven games, Mirotic has taken 59 free throws and made 48 of them. That tendency doesn't go into a slump. Against a band of athletic, but overzealous, young Sixers defenders, Mirotic should find himself on the line a lot again on Wednesday.
Giannis Antetokounmpo ($6,900) vs. Orlando Magic
Staying with our international stud trend, DK owners should be paying express attention to The Greek Freak. Giannis Antetokounmpo looked to turn a corner on Monday when he scored a career-high 29 points against the New Orleans Pelicans.
On Wednesday, Antetokounmpo has a favorable matchup against the Orlando Magic. The Magic are 24th in the NBA in opponents' points per game. Over the last four games, Orlando is allowing its opponents to score 108.7 points per contest.
Antetokounmpo should have some opportunities to put points on the board.
LaMarcus Aldridge ($9,000) vs. Houston Rockets
Most nights Aldridge is in the lineup, he's a safe player to draft. On Wednesday, he might wind up being the top fantasy-performing big man of the day.
The Houston Rockets are still without Dwight Howard and, thus, missing a strong defensive presence in the paint. In seven of the Rockets' last 11 games, the game's leading rebounder came from the opponent's team.
On Wednesday, it seems a good bet Aldridge has a strong game on the glass that supplements his normal scoring output.
David Lee ($3,900) vs. Detroit Pistons
Believe it or not, David Lee can still play. He's just not getting consistent minutes from Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr. In March, Lee is only averaging 11.25 minutes per game.
That's not good for production.
Kerr has too many weapons at power forward and, for the time being, Lee has been the odd man out. DK players should resist the urge to draft a big name for a low cost. If you did decide to draft Westbrook, you're likely looking for guys in Lee's salary range because it's all you have left in the budget.
Even in that predicament, you would be better off looking to someone else.
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