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NBA Daily Games Cheat Sheet: Saturday

Michael Chua

Michael Chua

Michael Chua is a basketball statistics expert from the Philippines. He has worked as a student manager for the University of Wisconsin Men's basketball team. He is also the basketball program consultant for his high school alma mater, Shanghai American School, in China.

TEAM ANALYSIS

Defenses to Avoid
San Antonio Spurs at Charlotte Bobcats: The Spurs are fourth in the league in defensive rating, holding opponents to just 100.1 points per 100 possessions. Meanwhile, the Bobcats are the fourth-worst team in the NBA in offensive rating, averaging just 98.3 points per 100 possessions. On a Saturday night with other options, it may be wise to look elsewhere for solid fantasy play.

Offenses to Use
Portland Trail Blazers at Minnesota Timberwolves: The Blazers have been excellent this season offensively, second only to the Miami Heat, averaging 108.8 points per 100 possessions. While they have relatively cooled off from a red-hot start, they are still packed with explosive fantasy options in LaMarcus Aldridge, Damian Lillard, Wesley Matthews, Nicolas Batum, and Robin Lopez. In a matchup against the fast-paced Timberwolves, the Blazers could produce colorful fantasy lines Saturday.

Teams on a Back-to-Back Set
First game of a back-to-back: Memphis Grizzlies
Second game of a back-to-back: Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Minnesota Timberwolves, Portland Trail Blazers, Utah Jazz

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Point Guard
Damian Lillard, POR (at MIN), PG ($8,000): Lillard is averaging 22.4 points, 4.2 rebounds, 6.6 assists, and 2.0 three-pointers over his last five games. He's played relatively well against the Timberwolves this season, averaging 25.0 points, 3.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 2.0 steals, and 4.0 three-pointers made in two games played. The Timberwolves are one of the worst teams in the league in defese against opposing eligible point guards, giving up 22.1 points (worst), 5.1 rebounds (ninth-worst), 8.3 assists (sixth-worst), 2.3 three-pointers made (fourth-worst), and 44.2 percent FG (worst), making Lillard a solid option for Saturday.

Other suggestions: Brandon Knight (vs. HOU), PG/SG ($6,600), Mario Chalmers (at UTA), PG ($4,800), Nick Calathes (at ATL), PG/SG ($4,800)

Shooting Guard
Wesley Matthews, POR (at MIN), SG/SF ($5,800): Matthews hasn't been on fire recently, which has contributed to his rather low price tag. He's been considered a three-point specialist for much of his career, but his performance this season has seen his role expand in fantasy, providing 16.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.6 three-pointers per game. His potential Saturday is well worth his price tag, and with high-end shooting guard options in tough situations, Matthews should serve as a safe choice for daily play.

Other suggestions: Gordon Hayward (at UTA), SG/SF ($7,000), Jeremy Lin (at MIL), PG/SG ($6,300), Kyle Korver (vs. MEM), SG/SF ($5,100)

Small Forward
Wilson Chandler, DEN (at DET), SG/SF ($5,800): Chandler has been playing well over recent stretches, averaging 20.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.0 steals, and 1.5 three-pointers made over his last two games. The Pistons have been struggling to guard eligible small forwards this season, giving up 20.1 points (seventh-worst), 4.1 assists (third-worst), 1.8 steals (sixth-worst), and 2.6 three-pointers made (third-worst) per game, giving Chandler room for another solid performance Saturday.

Other suggestions: Josh Smith (vs. DEN), SF/PF ($7,800), Chandler Parsons (at MIL), SF/PF ($6,900), DeMarre Carroll (vs. MEM), SF/PF ($5,100)

Power Forward
Kevin Love, MIN (vs. POR), PF/C ($11,100): Love has been excellent recently, averaging 32.0 points, 17.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.8 three-pointers made over his last four games. He has been a double-double machine this season, and those numbers are certainly worth taking despite his massive price tag. Though he'll be up against a strong matchup in LaMarcus Aldridge, the two have battled against each other in fantasy-worthy fashion this season. Love is averaging 22.0 points, 14.0 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 1.0 steals, and 2.5 three-pointers made against the Blazers and should continue to produce well on Saturday.

Other suggestions: LaMarcus Aldridge (at MIN), PF/C ($9,700), Greg Monroe (vs. DEN), PF/C ($7,300), Terrence Jones (at MIL), SF/PF ($6,000)

Center
Dwight Howard, HOU (at MIL), PF/C ($9,500): Howard has been on a tear over his last four games, averaging 26.0 points, 10.3 rebounds, 1.3 steals, and 1.8 blocks during that span. He's been aggressive on the offensive end, averaging 15.5 FT attempts as well. While his low percentage is a pain to be had, they won't hinder him from putting up a strong performance against the Bucks, who have been struggling to stay healthy all season long. He posted 20 points, 14 rebounds, two assists, and one block in his first contest against the Bucks, and he could replicate those numbers again on Saturday.

Other suggestions: Andre Drummond (vs. DEN), PF/C ($7,800), Robin Lopez (at MIN), C ($5,300), Miles Plumlee (vs. GSW), PF/C ($4,900)

INJURY REPORT

Out
Nikola Pekovic (ankle) will be re-evaluated in approximately one week.
Al Horford (shoulder) is out for the season.
Eric Bledsoe (knee) hopes to return this season, but is still without a timetable to return.
Mike Conley (ankle) will be re-evaluated soon.
Caron Butler (ankle) is without a timetable to return.
Nate Robinson (knee) is out for the season.
Danilo Gallinari (knee) is out for the season.
JaVale McGee (leg) could miss the entire season with a stress fracture on his leg.
Mo Williams (personal) will be away from the team indefinitely.
Manu Ginobili (hamstring) will likely return after the All-Star break.
Kawhi Leonard (finger) is still a couple of weeks away.
Pero Antic (ankle) is no longer wearing a walking boot but is still out for at least a week.
Quincy Pondexter (foot) is out for the season.
Jeff Taylor (Achilles) is out for the season.

Game-Time Decision
Paul Millsap (illness) did not practice Friday and is considered questionable to play Saturday.
Tim Duncan (rest) didn't play Thursday against the Nets, but should take court on Saturday.
Tony Parker (rest) didn't play Thursday against the Nets, but should take court on Saturday.
Nikola Pekovic (ankle) is a game-time decision Saturday.
Andrew Bogut (shoulder) is questionable to play Saturday.
David Lee (shoulder, hip) is highly doubtful to play Saturday.
Tony Allen (hand) is a game-time decision Saturday.
Ersan Ilyasova (back) is questionable to play Saturday.
Luke Ridnour (back) is questionable to play Saturday.
O.J. Mayo (illness) hopes to return prior to All-Star weekend.
Francisco Garcia (knee) is questionable to play Saturday.
Greg Smith (knee) is questionable to play Saturday.
Omer Asik (thigh) is expected to return to action Saturday.