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Fantasy basketball daily notes for Wednesday: Jalen Brunson steps up in start

Jalen Brunson (R) of the Dallas Mavericks is averaging career-highs in points, assists, and rebounds this season. Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images

On Tuesday, two teams improved to 6-1 while there were many strong performances across a five-game NBA slate.

Chris Paul etched his name into NBA history yet again, Cade Cunningham's lemon was historic for the wrong reasons. As far as statistics go, Tyler Herro was on par with Luka Doncic, Frank Kaminsky was outstanding, while Devin Booker disappointed.

The Lakers big three of LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook were finally calibrated.

Let's explore some of the highlights, lowlights, and takeaways below.


Highlights

Jalen Brunson, Dallas Mavericks: 25 points (10-13 FGs), 7 rebounds, 3 assists

Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz: 36 points (14-30 FGs), 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal

Lowlights

Saddiq Bey, Detroit Pistons: 4 points (2-3 FGs), 7 rebounds, 3 assists

De'Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings: 13 points (4-15 FGs), 2 rebounds, 9 assists, 3 steals, 1 block

Tuesday takeaways

  • Phoenix Suns point guard Chris Paul made six of eight shots for 14 points, tallied season highs in rebounds and assists, while adding a steal, and a block on Tuesday against the New Orleans Pelicans. In terms of all-time assists, he moved up two spots to third (10,336) passing Steve Nash. This season, Paul's averaging 13.4 points and 14.3 assists per game.

  • In 36 minutes, New Orleans center Jonas Valanciunas scored 23 points (9-16 FGs), racked up 14 rebounds, two assists, a steal and two blocks. His sixth double-double of the season ties him with Rudy Gobert for most in the NBA. Valanciunas is an intriguing sell high candidate.

  • Kyle Lowry scored 22 points (7-10 FGs, 2-2 FTs) with five rebounds, nine assists, and six three pointers in 36 minutes. After struggling in his first four games this was Lowry's best performance on the season. It was his first game with at least 20 points, five rebounds, and five assists as a member of the Heat, after having five such performances last season.

  • In his first start of the season, Jalen Brunson scored 25 points with seven rebounds and three assists. There is potential for Brunson to start regularly for the Mavericks and he is only rostered in 11.6% of ESPN leagues.

  • Cade Cunningham missed the entire preseason and five of the Pistons' first six regular season games. In 31 minutes, Cunningham had six points (2-14 FGs, 2-2 FTs), seven rebounds, and three assists. The rookie is 3-22 from the field through his first two games. During the shot clock era (since 1954-55), that's the second-worst start from the floor through the first two games of a player's career. Cunningham should maintain a high usage rate, so managers should be patient.

  • You can count on LeBron James to deliver whenever he's active. Against the Rockets, he had 30 points, four rebounds, 10 assists, and two steals. The Lakers big three of James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook combined for 84 points, their most in a game as teammates.

  • Christian Wood has been outstanding so far this season, and last night, he scored 26 points (11-19 FGs, 1-5 FTs), grabbed 16 rebounds, delivered three assists, had a steal, and made three three-pointers in 37 minutes. Even more impressive, none of them were season highs.

  • Jae'Sean Tate scored a season high 20 points, five rebounds, two assists, a steal and two blocks in 35 minutes. He's only rostered in 4.8% of leagues, but deserves to see that percentage rise.

Injuries of note

There were no significant injuries that took place on Tuesday night. However, there will be some notable absences on Wednesday that creates some intriguing DFS opportunities.

Analytics advantage for Wednesday

There is always an opportunity in the midst of chaos, according to Sun Tzu. This holds true with NBA DFS. If you can accurately predict minute load and usage rates for a slate, you will be highly profitable. As a result of the mentioned injuries, certain players will thrive. Here's one to watch for.

DFS discussion

Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers: In Wednesday's massive 11-game slate, the center is an excellent option to build your roster around. Embiid is not listed on injury report ahead of Wednesday's game, despite sitting out on Monday due to a sore knee. Ben Simmons is having an adult tantrum and Harris is out, so the 76ers will have to rely heavily on Embiid. Last season, when both were inactive, his usage rate skyrocketed to 46%. This season, centers have averaged 20.52 points, 14.33 rebounds, 2.11 assists, 0.81 steals, and 1.79 blocks per game against the Bulls. Embiid has a great chance to surpass these per-game averages.