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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
Detroit Pistons at Philadelphia 76ers: The Sixers continue to plunge into the depths of historic waters, sinking on 26 straight losses, just one away from the breaking the record for the worst losing streak in NBA history. It’s been ten games since the Sixers were last able to put up 100 points on the scoreboard, and strong fantasy play has become rarer each day for Michael Carter-Williams and company. It’s a tough bunny to pull, seeing which of Thaddeus Young, James Anderson, Henry Sims, or Hollis Thompson will grow wings on a given night, rising for a fantasy showdown. Perhaps we can wait for some forward (and upward) momentum for the Sixers before deploying them in daily contests.

Offenses to Use
Los Angeles Clippers at Houston Rockets: Two of the West’s better teams face up in a matchup Saturday that’s bound to produce fantasy gold. Both teams are known for their offensive proficiency, as the Clippers average 109.1 points (second-best) per 100 possessions and the Rockets aren’t far behind, with an average of 108.5 points (fourth-best) per 100 possessions. They’re grappling for favorable playoff seeding, and the Rockets are just one game behind, meaning that Saturday’s matchup will be a hard-fought battle. Consider the usual suspects on both teams solid investments for Saturday’s slate, with a special mention to Jeremy Lin, who is likely going to start (dominating) for the injured Patrick Beverley (knee).

Teams on a Back-to-Back Set

First game of a back-to-back: None
Second game of a back-to-back: Detroit Pistons, Miami Heat, New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, Washington Wizards

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Point Guard
Ray McCallum, SAC (at DAL), PG ($3,500): McCallum has started the last two games with Isaiah Thomas (quadriceps) riding the pine, averaging 11.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 0.5 steals, and 0.5 three-pointers made during that span. He’s obviously going to be a non-factor when Thomas returns, and currently it doesn’t appear like Thomas will sit for much longer. Still, be sure to check Thomas’ status before tip-off, as McCallum should be poised for a value play at $3,500 if he gets the start again on Saturday.

Other suggestions: Chris Paul (at HOU), PG ($9,900), Jeremy Lin (vs. LAC), PG/SG ($5,800), Darren Collison (at HOU), PG ($4,500)

Shooting Guard
Ramon Sessions, MIL (vs. MIA), PG/SG ($6,200): Sessions has been producing excellently over the last five games, averaging 20.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, 5.0 assists, and 1.0 three-pointers made during that span. It appears he’s locked up the role as a starter for the Bucks, who have been scrambling to stick with the same starting lineup for the entire season. Recent injuries to Nate Wolters (hand) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (ankle) will provide more minutes to Sessions as well. If you’re looking for a mid-priced option to fill either guard spot, feel free to ride the hot hand in Sessions.

Other suggestions: James Harden (vs. LAC), SG/SF ($10,300), Monta Ellis (vs. SAC), PG/SG ($8,300), Vince Carter (vs. SAC), SG/SF ($5,500)

Small Forward
Trevor Ariza, WAS (vs. ATL), SG/SF ($6,600): Ariza continues to surprise the fantasy world, closing up the final stretch of games in March, averaging 16.7 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.3 steals, and 2.6 three-pointers per game on the month. His price tag has been floating within the $6,000-$7,000 range, and deservedly so, as the forward has been consistent throughout the season—though even better against the Hawks. In three matchups so far, Ariza is averaging 17.7 points (62 percent FG), 6.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 3.7 three-pointers made per game. If he can keep up his high-percentage clip in Saturday’s matchup, he could be in for another three-point explosion.

Other suggestions: Josh Smith (at PHI), SF/PF ($7,400), Chandler Parsons (vs. LAC), SF/PF ($7,000), Matt Barnes (at HOU), SF ($4,600)

Power Forward
Paul Millsap, ATL (at WAS), PF/C ($7,800): Millsap has tumbling on a landslide of late, averaging just 15.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 1.6 steals over the last five games. His price tag has fallen to an appropriate amount together with him, and it remains to be seen when he’ll finally break out of his slump. His two most recent poor performances against the Blazers and Timberwolves (where he scored a total of 22 points in both games combined) can probably be attributed to reduced minutes due to blowout losses (85-100 against the Blazers, and 83-107 against the Timberwolves). Millsap has had a marvelous track record against the Wizards this season, averaging 20.0 points, 10.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.7 steals, 1.3 blocks, and 1.7 three-pointers made in three games so far, and perhaps he can extend his dominance Saturday to cap off the Hawks-Wizards regular season series.

Other suggestions: Blake Griffin (at HOU), PF/C ($10,100), DeMarre Carroll (at WAS), SF/PF ($5,300), Alexis Ajinca (at SAS), PF/C ($4,000)

Center
Omer Asik, HOU (vs. LAC), PF/C ($4,000): Dwight Howard (ankle) reportedly had been dealing with some pain following Thursday’s game, and he’s a game-time decision for Saturday. This means that daily players should be prepared to deploy Asik at last-minute’s notice in case Howard rides the pine for Saturday’s game. Asik averaged 11.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 2.3 blocks in three recent games starting for the injured Howard, and similar production could be expected if Asik gets the start again. Of course, he’ll be a non-factor in fantasy if Howard plays, so be sure to check the injury updates before tip-off.

Other suggestions: Andre Drummond (at PHI), PF/C ($7,300), DeAndre Jordan (at HOU), C ($7,200), Samuel Dalembert (vs. SAC) C ($5,000)

INJURY REPORT

Out
Patrick Beverley (knee) has a torn meniscus and could be out for a while.
Nene Hilario (knee) was attended a light workout Thursday but is still without a timetable.

Game-Time Decision
Anthony Davis (ankle) is a game-time decision Saturday.
Dwight Howard (ankle) is a game-time decision Saturday.
Isaiah Thomas (quadriceps) is a game-time decision Saturday.
Dwyane Wade (hamstring) is a game-time decision Saturday.
Mario Chalmers (thigh) is a game-time decision Saturday.
Eric Gordon (knee) is a game-time decision Saturday.
Brian Roberts (knee) is a game-time decision Saturday.
J.J. Redick (back) is doubtful to play Saturday.
Kyle Korver (back) is questionable to play Saturday.
Pero Antic (ankle) is questionable to play Saturday.
Giannis Antetokounmpo (ankle) is a game-time decision Saturday.
O.J. Mayo (ankle) is a game-time decision Saturday.
Tony Wroten (ankle) is a game-time decision Saturday.
Danny Green (foot) is a game-time decision Saturday.
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