Defenses to Avoid
Saturday's matchups are all relatively offense-friendly, and there aren't any specific teams to avoid for daily games.
Offenses to Use
Los Angeles Lakers at Golden State Warriors: I penned the Lakers in as an offense to use in Friday's matchups, and they'll take high stage once again as they face the Warriors on Saturday. In Friday's game against the Timberwolves, five Lakers put up strong performances with fantasy-friendly lines. Pau Gasol, Xavier Henry, Nick Young, Jodie Meeks, and Wesley Johnson each produced better than their season averages, and the Lakers will continue to run with coach Mike D'Antoni's fast-paced offense that isn't completely dependent on one scorer. The Warriors, who play with a similar “run-and-gun” approach offensively, should also produce well for daily leagues. Both teams' playing styles will complement each other, and there isn't a doubt that a high-scoring game will result. In two matchups this season so far, the Lakers and Warriors are 1-1 in the series, averaging 98.0 points and 110.0 points, respectively. Look for the sharpshooters on each team to put up an offensive show, and feel free to deploy both the expensive options in the Warriors' starting lineup, together with the cheaper options in the Lakers' backcourt.
Philadelphia 76ers at Milwaukee Bucks: Because there aren't any defensive matchups to avoid, I'll throw in another offensive powerhouse that is likely to produce colorful fantasy lines on Saturday. The Sixers, who are the fastest team in the league in terms of pace (101.85 offensive rating) will face the lowly Bucks, both on the second night of a back-to-back. With Michael Carter-Williams back in the lineup, the Sixers appeared to be a well-oiled machine once again in their overtime victory against the Nets on Friday. Leading the pack was Evan Turner, who dramatically broke out of a shooting slump, scoring 29 points, including the game-winning buzzer beater off a baseline inbounds play. Turner and Williams, along with Thaddeus Young and Spencer Hawes, should be able to produce solid numbers Saturday against the Bucks. In their last meeting facing each other, the Sixers won 115-107 in overtime. Look for another high-scoring matchup to occur at Milwaukee.
Teams on a Back-to-Back Set
First game of a back-to-back: Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Clippers, Oklahoma City Thunder
Second game of a back-to-back: Cleveland Cavaliers, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings, Utah Jazz
DAILY PLAYER RECOMMENDATIONS
Stephen Curry (vs. LAL): Curry has been on a roll lately, averaging 28.2 points, 3.6 rebounds, 10.6 assists, 2.6 steals, and 3.8 three-pointers made over his last five games. The Lakers aren't known for their perimeter defense, and Curry is as good as they come in the realm of fantasy point guards. In a high-paced matchup against the Lakers, Curry should get the opportunity to launch a hefty amount of shots, making him a deadly option to catch fire at home. If you have a high budget at the point guard position, feel free to deploy Curry against a shorthanded Lakers squad.
Other options: Beno Udrih (vs. MEM), Brandon Knight (vs. PHI), Michael Carter-Williams (at MIL)
Xavier Henry (at GSW): Henry exploded for 21 points, four rebounds, four assists, and three steals in Friday's game against the Timberwolves. The Lakers have given him full reigns in the backcourt, as he logged 42 minutes of action Friday night. He can still be had at a bargain price, and he stepped up to his calling after I penned him in yesterday. Despite his inconsistency throughout the season, Henry may well once again make or break daily rosters in Saturday's matchup. Worst case, he figures to log heavy minutes and contribute in a variety of categories, even if he's on an off-shooting night.
Other options: Klay Thompson (vs. LAL), Nick Young (at GSW), Wesley Matthews (vs. NOP)
Evan Turner (at MIL): As mentioned previously, Turner broke his shooting slump in Friday's win against the Nets, posting a solid fantasy line of 29 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, and one steal. Turner is clearly more comfortable on the court with Michael Carter-Williams, and his fantasy value could see a boost against the Bucks, who give up 34.6 points (fifth-worst), 13.0 rebounds (third-worst), 6.2 assists (ninth-worst), and 4.2 three-pointers made (fourth-worst) per game. Look for Turner to build on his strong performance with another solid night against the Bucks on Saturday.
Other options: Wesley Johnson (at GSW), Trevor Ariza (at BOS), Mike Dunleavy (vs. CLE)
Blake Griffin (vs. DEN): The Nuggets are among the worst in the league in defense against opposing eligible power forwards, giving up 41.4 points (second-worst), 23.1 rebounds (second-worst), 5.1 assists (twelfth-worst), 3.1 steals (fifth-worst), and 3.4 blocks (second-worst) per game. Griffin hasn't been as effective recently as he had been early in the season, and perhaps he'll be able to bounce back in Saturday's matchup against the smaller Kenneth Faried and the Nuggets.
Other options: Thaddeus Young (at MIL), Pau Gasol (at GSW), David Lee (vs. LAL)
Al Jefferson (vs. UTA): Jefferson has been on a tear over his last five games, averaging 18.6 points, 10.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.2 steals, and 1.0 blocks during that span. He will face the Jazz on Saturday, who give up 18.6 points (third-worst) 10.8 rebounds (fourth-worst), 1.8 blocks (worst), and 50.6 percent FG (fourth-worst) per game to opposing eligible centers. This will also be Jefferson's first outing against his former team, which could result in an adrenaline boost in his performance. The Jazz have been a mess in their frontcourt, distributing minutes to Derrick Favors, Marvin Williams, Enes Kanter, and Jeremy Evans, yet never finding consistent production evident in their conference-worst 7-22 record. Look for Jefferson to have a high upside in his performance against the Jazz, as he is coming off a massive 24-point, 14-rebound outing.
Other options: John Henson (vs. PHI), Spencer Hawes (at MIL), Andrew Bogut (vs. LAL)
Kobe Bryant (knee) has a fracture in his left knee and will miss six weeks.
Steve Nash (general soreness) is expected to be out for another four weeks.
Steve Blake (elbow) is expected to miss six weeks.
Jordan Farmar (hamstring) could return within a week.
Marc Gasol (knee) has shed his crutches, but is still without a timetable to return.
Larry Sanders (thumb) has been working out and could return to practice soon.
Ersan Ilyasova (ankle) will be shut down "for at least the next few games."
Gary Neal (foot) did not travel with the team to Cleveland.
Zaza Pachulia (foot) is out for at least four weeks.
Danilo Gallinari is still without a timetable to return.
JaVale McGee (leg) is still without a timetable to return.
Raymond Felton (hamstring) is targeting a return on Monday.
Pablo Prigioni (toe) is expected to miss two weeks.
Kenyon Martin (abdomen) will miss at least two weeks.
Derrick Rose (knee) is out for the regular season.
Luol Deng (Achilles) is hoping to return by Christmas day.
Jimmy Butler (ankle) has been on crutches and is without a timetable to return.
J.J. Redick (wrist) will likely remain out until 2014.
Rajon Rondo (knee) has been attending practice but won't return until 2014.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (hand) hasn't suffered any setbacks but is still a few weeks from return.
Omer Asik (thigh) is still without a timetable to return.
Devin Harris (toe) is still without a timetable to return.
Al Harrington (knee) will be out for at least a month.
Glen Rice (wrist) underwent surgery and will miss three-to-six weeks.
Anthony Bennett (illness) was not with the team in Chicago and will not play Saturday.
Greg Stiemsma (knee) will miss the next eight weeks.
CJ McCollum (foot) was cleared for 5-on-5 practice on Friday.
Mike Conley (thigh) practiced Friday and is expected to suit up Saturday.
Jeremy Lin (back) missed Friday's game but could return Saturday.
Dion Waiters (wrist) is dealing with tendinitis is a game-time decision Friday
Caron Butler (knee) could return to action Saturday, but will be on a minutes limit.
Rodney Stuckey (shoulder) is questionable to play Saturday.
Dion Waiters (wrist) has been dealing with tendinitis and could return Saturday.
Jeffrey Taylor (Achilles) hurt his Achilles in Friday's game and is highly unlikely to play Saturday.
Kirk Hinrich (back) has been dealing with soreness and is highly unlikely to play Saturday.