Fantasy basketball tips and projections for Wednesday

Things are looking up for Dereck Lively II on Wednesday night. Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

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What you need to know for Wednesday's games

Now that the Final Four is set for the In-Season Tournament we get back to the business of fantasy hoops with an 11-game night featuring nearly all eliminated teams. The Bucks beat the Knicks and the Lakers beat the Suns on Tuesday, setting up Thursday night matchups featuring the Pacers-Bucks and the Pelicans-Lakers to see who will play in the championship game on Saturday in Vegas.

Unfortunately, this means no fantasy hoops on Saturday or Sunday, so let's hope we get our money's worth tonight.

In what seems like a meaningless game on the surface is actually important on a couple levels as the Grizzlies visit the Pistons. The Grizzlies are just 5-14 on the season and will be looking to build some momentum before Ja Morant returns, possibly in two weeks on Tuesday, Dec. 19. It would be a crushing defeat if they lose to the 2-18 Pistons. Jaren Jackson Jr. has been disappointing but has a chance to keep it going after his 37-point gem in Saturday's loss to the Suns. He had just four points in 14 minutes with five fouls in his previous game, so he'll be looking for another big line tonight. The Grizzlies need to treat this 'gimme' like a playoff game.

Victor Wembanyama plays in ESPN's early game tonight and again on Friday. His matchup is enticing on Wednesday as the Timberwolves try to continue their run for first place in the West.

The Thunder visit Houston looking for their third straight win after Saturday's insane victory over Luka Doncic and the Mavericks that saw them overcome a monster line from Luka, as well as a 30-0 run by the Mavs to get the win.

The Mavs look to get right at home against the injured Jazz after going 3-6 over their last nine games, and the late ESPN game featuring the Nuggets at Clippers should be one of the best of the night.

Wednesday's Stream Team

This segment nominates three key streaming options ahead of that day's action. A streamer, by our standards, is a player available in at least half of ESPN men's basketball leagues.

Derrick Jones Jr., SF, Mavericks (1.1% rostered in ESPN leagues): Not only is DJJ hot, but Josh Green (elbow) will miss at least a couple weeks, setting DJJ up for a major role in Dallas. He's played at least 31 minutes in three straight games and has averaged 18.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 1.0 steals and 4.0 3-pointers on 53% shooting over that stretch. He's been a fifth-round fantasy player over the last week and the Mavs play four times in each of the next four weeks. He's as 'must get' as they come. Tim Hardaway Jr. (back) could come back to buzzkill him, but the absence of Green still works in DJJ's favor.

Dereck Lively II, C, Mavericks (14.3%): Granted, it's just a one-game sample but Lively torched the Thunder for a monster game of 20 points, 16 rebounds, a steal and seven blocks on 9-of-9 shooting in 30 minutes on Saturday. The Mavs play four times in each of the next four weeks and Lively is worth a flier if you need a big man going forward. The Mavs need a man in the middle to clog things up and Lively is the answer.

Jabari Walker, PF, Blazers (0.3%): Deandre Ayton (knee) is doubtful and Jerami Grant (concussion) is out, so Walker should feast against the Warriors tonight. He will be an incredibly popular DFS play and can even be picked up for use in standard leagues for Wednesday and Friday, assuming Grant is out for both games. In addition to Walker, Toumani Camara and Duop Reath could also make some noise. Walker had 19 points, 10 boards, two steals and two 3-pointers off the bench when Ayton sat on Nov. 22 against the Jazz.

Simone Fontecchio, SF, Jazz (1.0%): Lauri Markkanen, Kelly Olynyk and Jordan Clarkson are all out for the Jazz and Fontecchio has been hot, at least before Saturday's seven-point dud when he hit just 3-of-12 shots in 35 minutes. Despite that one, he's averaging 11.1 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.6 blocks and 2.4 3-pointers over his last seven and is playing big minutes. And with so many guys in street clothes for the Jazz, Fontecchio should be set up for one of his best games of the season.

Nick Richards, C, Hornets (1.3%): Mark Williams is iffy with a back injury and my guess is he'll sit out tonight. If he does, Richards should take the spotlight in the middle for the Hornets, while Miles Bridges and P.J. Washington should also see a boost. Make sure Williams is out before deploying Richards, but either way, Bridges and PJW should both see a boost if Williams isn't 100%. Richards played pretty well for the first half of November and should at least offer some points, rebounds and blocks if Williams is out.

Projections and Injury Reports

Fantasy projections powered by ESPN Analytics.* Projections assume all players who are listed as GTD will play. Injury aggregation by Rotowire.com. Players available in at least 50% of ESPN leagues are listed in italics.

Orlando Magic at Cleveland Cavaliers
7 p.m. Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, Cleveland

BPI Projection: Cavaliers by 4.4 in the 11th highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury Report:
Magic: Jonathan Isaac, (GTD - Ankle); Markelle Fultz, (OUT - Knee); Wendell Carter Jr., (OUT - Finger)
Cavaliers: Ricky Rubio, (OUT - Personal); Dean Wade, (GTD - Ankle); Caris LeVert, (OUT - Knee); Ty Jerome, (OUT - Ankle)

Magic projections:

Cavaliers projections:

Memphis Grizzlies at Detroit Pistons
7 p.m. Little Caesars Arena, Detroit

BPI Projection: Pistons by 0.5 in the 9th highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury Report:
Grizzlies: Brandon Clarke, (OUT - Achilles); Steven Adams, (OUT - Knee); Jake LaRavia, (OUT - Eye); Marcus Smart, (OUT - Foot); Luke Kennard, (OUT - Knee); Ja Morant, (OUT - Suspension)
Pistons: Monte Morris, (OUT - Quadriceps); Joe Harris, (GTD - Shoulder); Marvin Bagley III, (GTD - Back)

Grizzlies projections:

Pistons projections:

Philadelphia 76ers at Washington Wizards
7 p.m. Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

BPI Projection: 76ers by 10 in the 5th highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury Report:
76ers: De'Anthony Melton, (GTD - Illness)
Wizards: Johnny Davis, (GTD - Calf); Jordan Poole, (GTD - Ankle); Landry Shamet, (GTD - Neck); Ryan Rollins, (GTD - Knee); Delon Wright, (OUT - Knee)

76ers projections:

Wizards projections:

  • Kyle Kuzma, SF/PF: 41.1 FPTS (23.4 pts, 6.1 reb, 5.2 ast, 2.4 3PM)

  • Jordan Poole, PG/SG: 27.1 FPTS (16.7 pts, 2.9 reb, 3.3 ast, 2.2 3PM)

  • Deni Avdija, SF/PF: 26.1 FPTS (11.7 pts, 5.4 reb, 3.2 ast)

  • Tyus Jones, PG: 22.6 FPTS (9.6 pts, 2.9 reb, 3.4 ast)

  • Daniel Gafford, PF/C: 22.1 FPTS (9.5 pts, 7.9 reb, 1.4 ast, 1.7 blk)

  • Bilal Coulibaly, SG: 16.7 FPTS (9.2 pts, 4.1 reb, 2.2 ast)

  • Corey Kispert, SG/SF: 15.6 FPTS (8.4 pts, 2.5 reb, 1.1 ast)

Miami Heat at Toronto Raptors
7:30 p.m. Scotiabank Arena, Toronto

BPI Projection: Raptors by 1.5 in the 10th highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury Report:
Heat: Dru Smith, (OUT - Knee); Bam Adebayo, (OUT - Hip); Haywood Highsmith, (OUT - Back); Tyler Herro, (OUT - Ankle); R.J. Hampton, (OUT - Knee)
Raptors: Christian Koloko, (OUT - Illness)

Heat projections:

Raptors projections:

Brooklyn Nets at Atlanta Hawks
7:30 p.m. State Farm Arena, Atlanta

BPI Projection: Hawks by 0.9 in the highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury Report:
Nets: Dariq Whitehead, (GTD - Foot); Noah Clowney, (GTD - Shoulder); Ben Simmons, (OUT - Back); Lonnie Walker IV, (OUT - Hamstring)
Hawks: Kobe Bufkin, (OUT - Thumb); Mouhamed Gueye, (OUT - Back); Jalen Johnson, (OUT - Wrist)

Nets projections:

Hawks projections:

San Antonio Spurs at Minnesota Timberwolves
7:30 p.m. Target Center, Minneapolis

BPI Projection: Timberwolves by 12.5 in the 3rd highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury Report:
Spurs: Devin Vassell, (GTD - Knee); Zach Collins, (GTD - Thumb)
Timberwolves: Jaylen Clark, (OUT - Achilles); Anthony Edwards, (GTD - Hip); Jordan McLaughlin, (OUT - Knee); Jaden McDaniels, (OUT - Ankle)

Spurs projections:

Timberwolves projections:

Charlotte Hornets at Chicago Bulls
8 p.m. United Center, Chicago

BPI Projection: Bulls by 4 in the 8th highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury Report:
Hornets: Mark Williams, (GTD - Back); Frank Ntilikina, (OUT - Lower Leg); Cody Martin, (OUT - Knee); LaMelo Ball, (OUT - Ankle)
Bulls: Lonzo Ball, (OUT - Knee); Alex Caruso, (GTD - Toe); Torrey Craig, (GTD - Knee); Onuralp Bitim, (OUT - Illness); Zach LaVine, (OUT - Foot)

Hornets projections:

Bulls projections:

Oklahoma City Thunder at Houston Rockets
8 p.m. Toyota Center, Houston

BPI Projection: Thunder by 2.9 in the 4th highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury Report:
Thunder: None reported
Rockets: Jock Landale, (GTD - Illness); Victor Oladipo, (OUT - Knee)

Thunder projections:

Rockets projections:

Utah Jazz at Dallas Mavericks
8:30 p.m. American Airlines Center, Dallas

BPI Projection: Mavericks by 9.2 in the 2nd highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury Report:
Jazz: Jordan Clarkson, (OUT - Thigh); Kelly Olynyk, (OUT - Shoulder); Lauri Markkanen, (OUT - Hamstring)
Mavericks: Grant Williams, (GTD - Knee); Kyrie Irving, (GTD - Foot); Tim Hardaway Jr., (GTD - Back); Maxi Kleber, (OUT - Toe); Josh Green, (OUT - Elbow)

Jazz projections:

Mavericks projections:

Portland Trail Blazers at Golden State Warriors
10 p.m. Chase Center, San Francisco

BPI Projection: Warriors by 11 in the 6th highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury Report:
Blazers: Robert Williams III, (OUT - Knee); Anfernee Simons, (GTD - Thumb); Deandre Ayton, (GTD - Knee); Jerami Grant, (OUT - Concussion); Ish Wainright, (OUT - Knee)
Warriors: Andrew Wiggins, (GTD - Finger); Chris Paul, (GTD - Lower Leg); Usman Garuba, (OUT - Finger); Gary Payton II, (OUT - Calf)

Blazers projections:

Warriors projections:

Denver Nuggets at LA Clippers
10 p.m. Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles

BPI Projection: Clippers by 2 in the 7th highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury Report:
Nuggets: Vlatko Cancar, (OUT - Knee); Aaron Gordon, (GTD - Heel); Jamal Murray, (GTD - Ankle)
Clippers: Mason Plumlee, (OUT - Knee); Brandon Boston Jr., (OUT - Quadriceps)

Nuggets projections:

Clippers projections:

  • Paul George, SG/SF/PF: 42.9 FPTS (23.5 pts, 5.9 reb, 4.5 ast, 3.0 3PM)

  • Kawhi Leonard, SF/PF: 40.3 FPTS (21.8 pts, 5.8 reb, 3.2 ast, 2.0 3PM)

  • James Harden, PG/SG: 36.4 FPTS (14.3 pts, 4.7 reb, 6.2 ast, 2.1 3PM)

  • Russell Westbrook, PG: 26.4 FPTS (12.3 pts, 5.3 reb, 4.2 ast)

  • Ivica Zubac, C: 23.8 FPTS (11.5 pts, 8.8 reb, 1.0 ast, 1.4 blk)

  • Terance Mann, SG/SF: 19.4 FPTS (8.4 pts, 4.0 reb, 1.7 ast)

  • Norman Powell, SG/SF: 15.3 FPTS (8.8 pts, 1.6 reb, 1.2 ast)