FanDuel NBA: Saturday Value Plays
FanDuel NBA: Saturday Value Plays

This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.

We have a compact three-game slate on tap Saturday night, putting us into a different mindset than we had earlier this week with a trio of massive ledgers on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Ownership naturally becomes exponentially more of a factor when the player pool narrows to the extent it does Saturday. Luckily, we're not overly compromised by injuries, although there are a couple of notable names expected to miss. 

As usual, we'll proceed to break down the positional outlook below, along with possible chalk plays and some likely under-owned bargains that could help you round out your lineups with a couple of superstars. 

Before delving into the slate, a reminder that FanDuel has reverted to its previous format of NOT dropping the lowest scoring in lineups after a one-year experiment with that feature. Therefore, it will be important to be prudent with each selection, as each player's total will count toward your final score. 

Without further ado, let's take a more comprehensive look at Saturday's slate!

Slate Overview 

Here's a closer look at the two games with the highest elevated totals on Saturday's slate: 

Atlanta Hawks at Houston Rockets (Projected total: 236.5 points) 

The defensively-challenged Hawks and prolific Rockets are fittingly the participants in the what's projected to be highest-scoring game of the three on the docket Saturday. The Hawks come in allowing the fourth-most points per game (117.1), including the second most per road game (120.1). In turn, the  Rockets are scoring 118.6 points per home game and both teams also play at a top-10 pace, making Harden, Westbrook and Young even more attractive than usual. 

Charlotte Hornets at Milwaukee Bucks (Projected total: 225.5 points) 

The Bucks continue to lead the NBA in points per game and will be on their home floor, so this total isn't surprising. Milwaukee comes into Saturday averaging an NBA-high 119.4 points per game, including 121.0 per home contest. The Bucks also play at the second-fastest pace in the league (109.2 possessions per game), which will represent a significant bump in pace for the much more deliberate Hornets (102.3 possessions per contest). The usual stars are certainly in play here, but Charlotte pieces such as Terry Rozier, Miles Bridges and PJ Washington should see much more opportunity than usual while trying to keep up with their hosts. 

Positional Breakdown 

PG: We have a clean bill of health at the position Saturday, and there's something to fit everyone's budget. The top of the pool is helmed by the impressive duo of Trae Young and Russell Westbrook, while there are reasonable value options down into the high $3K range. 

SG: Josh Richardson's likely absence dilutes the mid-tier, but James Harden sits up top for those that can pay up, while Khris Middleton's recent return to action helps strengthen the mid-tier. 

SF: As with shooting guard, we have one likely mid-tier absence (Danuel House) that weakens the overall selection just a bit, but there's still plenty of appealing choices ranging from Giannis Antetokounmpo to Miles Bridges in terms of elite to value. There is a lot more risk starting from $5K and dropping below that, however. 

PF: We don't have what might be considered a true elite option at power forward, although Domantas Sabonis ($8,600) certainly carries plenty of upside as the most expensive option at the position. There are a number of reasonable sub-$4k plays that could pay off as well, which are highlighted in our final section.

C: It's increasingly likely Clint Capela (illness) will miss another game, but Joel Embiid and Myles Turner are certainly interesting as the top two choices in a matchup against each other. Another absence by Cody Zeller (hip) would also thrust Bismack Biyombo into the starting lineup and render him excellent value at $4,800. 

Notable Injury Situations to Monitor 

Returning from Load Management day: Al Horford, PHI 

Josh Richardson, PHI 

Richardson is likely to be considered questionable at best for Saturday's game with his hamstring injury. Furkan Korkmaz would be due for another start at shooting guard should Richardson miss. 

Danuel House, HOU 

House is considered doubtful for Saturday's game due to an illness. Ben McLemore would be set for a start in his stead at small forward if House misses as expected. 

Clint Capela, HOU 

Capela is doubtful for Saturday's game due to an illness. Tyson Chandler would fill in at center again if Capela misses a second straight game. 

Cody Zeller, CHA 

Zeller is considered questionable for Saturday's game with a hip injury. Bismack Biyombo would draw another start at center should Zeller miss a third straight game. 

Sterling Brown, MIL 

Brown will likely be considered questionable at best for Saturday's game with a shoulder sprain. Donte DiVincenzo and Pat Connaughton would likely be in for extra run should Brown miss. 

Kyle Korver, MIL 

Korver will likely be considered questionable at best for Saturday's game with elbow soreness. 

Kyle O'Quinn, PHI 

O'Quinn remains out Saturday due to his calf injury, which should open up extra minutes for Mike Scott and James Ennis

Notable Long-Term Injuries/Absences: Kevin Huerter, ATL; John Collins, ATL; Victor Oladipo, IND; Edmond Sumner, IND; Eric Gordon, HOU; Gerald Green, HOU; Nene Hilario, HOU

Elite Players 

Despite just six teams being in action, we still have three explosive and elite players in Giannis Antetokounmpo ($12,400), James Harden ($11,500) and Joel Embiid ($10,400) as our trio of five-figure salaried options Saturday. Additionally, Trae Young ($9,800) and Russell Westbrook ($9,000) sit just below the $10K threshold and carry nearly as much upside. 

In terms of one of these premium options taking more precedence due to positional scarcity, I'd say Embiid takes that designation. With Clint Capela expected to miss due to his illness, there's only Myles Turner and plenty of uncertainty below him at center. 

Expected Chalk 

All of the star players just mentioned in the previous section are undoubtedly going to carry plenty of ownership on such a small slate. Additionally, there will likely be heavy injury-influenced chalk in the form of Bismack Biyombo ($4,800), Tyson Chandler ($3,600), James Ennis ($3,600) and Furkan Korkmaz ($3,500). There are also a handful of players that have recently outpaced their current salaries, so the recency effect will likely drive up the popularity of options such as Miles Bridges and DeAndre' Bembry. I've listed some of the players I expect to fall into that category below the next section.

Key and Likely Underowned Values 

Ersan Ilyasova, MIL vs. CHA ($3,800):

Ilyasova isn't really a magnet for elevated ownership, but he's proven his ability to pop off for some strong production relative to salary countless times in the past. Most recently, he compiled 30.1 FanDuel points in just 19 minutes against the Hawks two games ago, and he's eclipsed 20 FanDuel points on four other occasions overall this season. The minutes are a mild concern – the veteran is averaging a modest 16.2 per contest – but he'll face a Hornets squad allowing the fourth-most FanDuel points per game (49.6) to power forwards on the season, along with the fourth-highest offensive efficiency rating (28.3) to the position and sixth highest (46.0) to opposing second units. 

Bruno Fernando, ATL at HOU ($3,700):

The Hawks center position is certainly a bit of a mess at the moment in terms of predicting night-to-night usage, with the perennially volatile Alex Len and Damian Jones also seeing time. However, Fernando seems to have a steady role, logging at least 15 minutes in four consecutive contests and scoring over 20 FanDuel points in two of those games. Fernando is an active rebounder and Houston checks in ranked in the bottom half of the league in rebounding rate (49.4 percent). Moreover, with Clint Capela (illness) very likely to miss, center will be much thinner overall for Houston, which already allows the highest offensive efficiency rating (48.2) to opposing second units and the fifth highest (60.9) in the paint. 

Other likely much higher-owned value plays to consider: T.J. Warren ($5,700); Miles Bridges ($5,500); PJ Washington ($5,500); Bismack Biyombo ($4,800); DeAndre' Bembry ($4,000); Ben McLemore ($3,700); Tyson Chandler ($3,600); James Ennis ($3,600); Marvin Williams ($3,600); Furkan Korkmaz ($3,500)

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Juan Carlos Blanco plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: jcblanco22, FanDuel: jc_blanco22, DraftPot: jc_blanco22, FantasyDraft: jc_blanco22, OwnThePlay: jcblanco22.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Juan Carlos Blanco
Winner of the FSWA 2016 Newcomer of the Year Award, Juan Carlos Blanco has been playing fantasy sports for over 20 years and covers NBA, MLB, NFL, CFL and Arena Football for Rotowire.com, including serving as the beat writer for teams in multiple sports. He has previously written for KFFL.com and remains an avid season-long and daily fantasy player in multiple sports as well.
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