This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
Saturday's seven-game slate puts several back-to-back teams into play, and it will be difficult to avoid them as we begin our lineup construction. Dallas is the only rested team on the slate. The Bucks, Thunder, and Warriors get to stay at home, while Boston travels to meet the well-rested Mavericks. While it's an important metric to consider, most of the teams are in the same boat rest-wise.
First, a quick note on my results from Friday's contests, as I'm writing on consecutive days. I ended up fading Burke upon learning that Mudiay was starting, which worked out. My Embiid/AD stack, along with Richardson and Justin Holiday, kept my cash games afloat, but my tournament success was hampered by sub-par games from Gary Harris and Deandre Ayton.
There's minimal movement on the injury hunt for Saturday. Draymond Green (toe) and Steph Curry (groin) remain out, but I don't recommend spending up on Kevin Durant. Durant's production takes a 25% dive on games with no rest. While a DKFP score in the low 40's is respectable, it's definitely not worth $10.6K.
Dwight Howard (lower body) remains very much questionable, and the Wizards have mostly favored a smaller lineup, which has given Otto Porter, Jr ($5,500) and Markieff Morris ($4,500) a bump in production. This game has a 240 O/U, and I like plays on both ends of this game (outlined below).
While it isn't his position, the absence of Terrence Ferguson (ankle) has favored Dennis Schroder ($6,000), who drew the start on Friday and will likely do so again tonight. On the other end of this game, some sort of injury capped Gary Harris' output on Friday, so he is currently questionable. If he can't go, I like Monte Morris ($4,200) as a cheap, reliable pivot.
I'll now select three players per position along with a small additional list of players at each spot. When possible, I will try to include a top-shelf player, a mid-range target and a low-cost value play in each category.
Bradley Beal, WAS vs. NO ($7,400): I think going high with Westbrook ($10,700) is totally fine, but due to a plethora of favorable spots in the $7K range, I'm going to start here. Beal and John Wall see comparable minutes, and recently their production is equally chalky, so taking Beal in this fast-paced matchup for $1,100 less works for me. The Pelicans rank 18th against opposing off-guards over the past five games, but in general their backcourt defense hasn't been adequate, and you also have to like Beal's recent history against the Pelicans. Last season he put up an average of 39 DKFP against them over two games.
Luka Doncic, DAL vs. BOS ($7,200): I'm staying right in this range to go with a well-rested Doncic against the Celtics. You can't ignore the Celtics defensively, but over the past couple of weeks, they've faltered a bit against his position, giving up big games to guys like Tim Hardaway and Donovan Mitchell. Doncic also averages 40 DKFP per game on well-rested days, which gives me extra motivation to find a spot for the rookie.
Quinn Cook, GS vs. SAC ($4,900): I was tempted to highlight Justin Holiday again tonight, but I think Cook is the more reliable cash play versus the Kings. Cook put up 30 DKFP against the Sixers on Friday and only needed 29 minutes to do it, so he should be fresh and ready to start in place of Steph Curry once again. As I said before, the Warriors suffer a bit when Durant doesn't rest, so the Warriors will feel the pressure at every position. For that reason, I also like Klay Thompson ($6,700), as the more expensive option – Klay could deliver an explosive game, but Cook will almost certainly beat value at his cheap price.
All the top guys have marks on them tonight – I already mentioned Durant, and the slow pace of Giannis' game restricts the possibility of reaching value there. I'm going to dip low here once again and reserve my big spend for center tonight.
Julius Randle, NO at WAS ($7,300): You see very little variance from Randle on the tail-end of back-to-backs. In fact, Randle is one of the few players on the docket who sees a slight uptick in production on these days. Couple that with the breakneck pace in this matchup, and you've got a decent night coming up for Randle. The Wizards will be in trouble in the paint, as they are currently next-to-last in rebound efficiency. This might be a bit of foreshadowing for who I'll field at center. I don't mind Nikola Mirotic ($6,800) as a pivot either, as he's returned to form of late.
Khris Middleton, MIL vs. SA ($7,100): Playing the Spurs always results in a pace slow-down, but the Bucks help this game out with a pace differential of +6.9, and the Spurs haven't fared well against the three. Both Kevin Durant and Tobias Harris have excelled against them over the past couple of weeks. Middleton is the figure of consistency for DFS players this season and is among the most reliable plays for cash that you'll find on Saturday.
Taj Gibson, MIN vs. CHI ($4,200): It's a bit of a punt, but the Bulls rank dead-last in total rebound efficiency, and while I think those lower-cost Wizards wing players are in play, Gibson is a great ownership pivot. He woke up for 41 DKFP against Jarrett Allen and the Nets, and while Wendell Carter, Jr. is a guy to watch, Gibson should be able to come close to value on Saturday.
Anthony Davis, NO at WAS ($11,400): Yep, you guessed it. Combine the fast pace, a weak-rebounding Washington squad without their starting center, and the Brow's MVP talent, and it adds up to a huge night for Davis. He's questionable to play as of publication time, but he's the only guy I can justify for a spend-up. I don't need to throw a bunch of stats and metrics at you here, but if you are risk-averse and can't handle the price tag, I am not opposed to spending down on Karl-Anthony Towns (for once) at $9,100 against the Bulls.
DeAndre Jordan, BOS at DAL ($7,100): These guys pick themselves. He's well-rested at home against the Celtics, who may play tonight without Al Horford. Even if Horford does suit up, he'll likely be limited, and Aron Baynes has almost no shot at out-rebounding Jordan. He's averaged double-double numbers all year, and I definitely in line for the DK bonus again on Saturday.
Willie Cauley-Stein, SAC at GS ($5,800): While endorsing Cauley-Stein can sometimes be a fool's errand, a rotating carousel of middling players at center and no Draymond Green is a good situation for him. He has a reasonably stable floor in the high 20's, and while I don't think the Kings will keep this game close, Stein is a candidate to hit his floor and possibly a little more in garbage time, if it comes to that.