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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
Indiana Pacers at Boston Celtics: The Celtics have been on a massive slump over their recent stretch of games, going 1-5 with their lone win against the shorthanded Hawks. Head coach Brad Stephens has yet to stick with a fixed starting lineup, and dealing with injuries of their own, the Celtics figure to be risky plays for daily games. Even more to their disadvantage is the fact that they'll face the Pacers, the league's best defensive team. Consider options elsewhere for solid fantasy play.

Offenses to Use
Washington Wizards at Philadelphia 76ers: The Sixers have their pedal on the metal, racing their way towards what could be a potentially groundbreaking high-lottery pick in the 2014 draft. They've unloaded their heavy contracts, and as a result their landslide of a season has become accelerated in marveling fashion. Teams have been toppling over them in recent memory, as the Sixers have fallen 12 straight games, giving up 116.0 points per game to opponents. Sixer fans have reason to rejoice, as they're pretty much set to get a choice rookie for next season (lest they draft a bust), and likewise, daily players can enjoy a “free-farming” zone, where all who enter Philadelphia will leave with plunder and fantasy gold.

Teams on a Back-to-Back Set
First game of a back-to-back: Indiana Pacers, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers
Second game of a back-to-back: Cleveland Cavaliers, New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings

DraftKings.com DAILY PLAYER RECOMMENDATIONS

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Point Guard
John Wall, WAS (at PHI), PG ($9,500): Wall has been playing phenomenally over his recent stretch of games, averaging 22.0 points (51 percent FG), 4.2 rebounds, 9.8 assists, 1.4 steals, 0.6 blocks, 1.8 three-pointers made, and 0.4 double-doubles over the last five contests. Philadelphia is on full tank mode, which means that defense will be scarce and Wall will have a chance to wallop the Sixers, who give up 21.4 points (fifth-worst), 5.6 rebounds (third-worst), 9.5 assists (worst), 2.1 steals (fourth-worst), 0.5 blocks (worst), 2.3 three-pointers made (fifth-worst), and 43.4 percent FG (fifth-worst) per game to opposing eligible point guards.

Other suggestions: Isaiah Thomas (vs. MIN), PG ($7,600), Mike Conley (vs. CLE), PG ($6,800), Will Bynum (at HOU), PG ($4,100)

Shooting Guard
Kyle Singler, DET (at HOU), SG/SF ($4,200): Singler has been rock-solid over his last four games, averaging 15.0 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.5 steals, 0.5 blocks, and 2.0 three-pointers made. He's been getting the opportunity to play big minutes, and his price tag is worth his production despite his lack of upside. With Brandon Jennings (toe) a game-time decision for Saturday, Singler (along with Will Bynum mentioned above) may get more shots up than usual, making him a solid play for daily games.

Other suggestions: Bradley Beal (at PHI), SG ($6,500), Wesley Matthews (vs. DEN) SG/SF ($5,900), Rodney Stuckey (at HOU), PG/SG ($4,400)

Small Forward
Trevor Ariza (at PHI), SG/SF ($6,600): Ariza is averaging 17.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.7 steals, 3.3 three-pointers made, and 0.7 double-doubles over his last three games. The Sixers have been atrocious defensively against opposing eligible small forwards this season, giving up 22.5 points (worst), 7.3 rebounds (third-worst), 4.0 assists (fourth-worst), 1.9 steals (second-worst), 1.0 blocks (worst), and 3.0 three-pointers made (worst) per game. Consider Ariza a worthy mid-priced option on Saturday.

Other suggestions: Rudy Gay (vs. MIN), SF/PF ($8,200), Josh Smith (at HOU), SF/PF ($8,100), Nicolas Batum (vs. DEN), SG/SF ($7,000)

Power Forward
Thaddeus Young, PHI (vs. WAS), SF/PF ($7,800): Young has been playing astronomically ever since the trade sending Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes out of town. He's averaging 25.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 5.0 steals, and 1.7 three-pointers made over his last three games. Expecting him to keep up close to this performance isn't exactly reasonable, but his upside shouldn't be considered limited either. Young averaged 20.1 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.6 steals, and 1.3 three-pointers made for the entire month of December, and those numbers certainly are worth having for his price tag. Until he hits the mid-$8,000 range, I'd keep deploying him, as the Sixers are going all-in on their Young ones.

Other suggestions: Blake Griffin (vs. NOP), PF/C ($10,200), Greg Monroe (at HOU), PF/C ($7,400), Zach Randolph (vs. CLE), PF/C ($7,300)

Center
DeMarcus Cousins, SAC (vs. MIN), PF/C ($9,400): There's one thing Cousins hates more than being pestered on the court by players, referees, or fans alike—being suspended for demonstrating his frustrations. It's not new for the hot-headed center, but he spent Friday night watching the slumping Lakers rain 70 percent from beyond the arc against his team, as he sat at home suspended by the league. Saturday will mark the return of the King, and I have a hunch he'll be due for a performance better than what his price tag indicates.

Other suggestions: Andre Drummond (at HOU), PF/C ($7,500), Spencer Hawes (at MEM), PF/C ($6,900) Robin Lopez (vs. DEN), C ($6,100)

INJURY REPORT

Out
Jrue Holiday (leg) underwent successful surgery on his right tibia and is out for the season.
Ryan Anderson (back) is still without a timetable to return.
Arron Afflalo (ankle) will not play Saturday.
Nene Hilario (knee) will miss four-to-six weeks with a sprained MCL.
Anderson Varejao (back) will not play Saturday.
Dion Waiters (knee) will not play Saturday.
C.J. Miles (ankle) will not play Saturday.
Larry Sanders (eye) is still without a timetable to return.
Jamal Crawford (calf) is expected to miss two-to-three games.
J.J. Redick (hip) will miss two-to-four more weeks.
Gerald Wallace (knee) is out for the season with a torn meniscus in his knee.

Game-Time Decision
Brandon Jennings (toe) is a game-time decision Saturday.
Ty Lawson (ribs) is a game-time decision Saturday.
Wilson Chandler (knee) is a game-time decision Saturday.
Nikola Pekovic (ankle) is expected to play Saturday with limited minutes.
Kevin Martin (thumb) is questionable to play Saturday.
George Hill (shoulder) is a game-time decision Saturday.
Jared Sullinger (concussion) is a game-time decision Saturday.
Avery Bradley (ankle) is a game-time decision Saturday.
Kelly Olynyk (toe) is doubtful to play Saturday.
Anthony Bennett (knee) is questionable to play Saturday.