This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
A pair of postponements due to weather and COVID-19 have whittled down Saturday's NBA slate to five games, but it still sets up as quite a star-packed night. The likes of Stephen Curry, LeBron James, Damian Lillard, Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal are among those in action, and the latter three are all part of a game carrying a rare 240-point-plus projected total.
While there are only two games, including that Wizards-Blazers tilt, with a number as of early Saturday morning, there are two other matchups that are essentially guaranteed to end up with expectations north of 220 points, making it a solid night, on paper, for DFS purposes despite the modestly-sized player pool.
Here's a closer look at the three games with the highest projected totals on Saturday's slate:
Washington Wizards at Portland Trail Blazers (Projected total: 242.0 points)
The Wizards have been playing slightly better on defense recently, but it's still no surprise this game carries the highest scoring expectations of the night by far. Washington is still allowing an NBA-high 119.5 points per game and playing at an NBA-high 107.0 possessions per contest, while the Trail Blazers are giving up 115.1 points per game. Both squads are also right next to each other in the bottom 10 of the league in shooting percentage allowed (Washington-47.8 percent/ Portland-47.6 percent). With the elite scorers that will be on the floor on either side, there's little reason to believe this game won't live up to or exceed expectations.
Sacramento Kings at Chicago Bulls (Projected total: 235.0 points)
The Kings are surrendering a Western Conference-high 119.2 points per contest and also surrendering an NBA-high 48.6 percent shooting, including 54.0 percent over the last three games. That doesn't bode well in a matchup against the red-hot Zach LaVine and the Bulls, which average 114.6 points per contest. Chicago has defensive issues of its own, with 114.7 points per home game surrendered and 48.5 percent shooting allowed at United Center as well. It's worth noting the Bulls are playing at the third-highest pace in the league, averaging 105.7 possessions per contest. With each team's front-line players healthy and available, this is a game that should feature plenty of offense.
Golden State Warriors at Charlotte Hornets (Projected total: 234.0 points)
There's a chance the Warriors are a bit fatigued playing their third game in four nights and coming off a wire-to-wire battle versus the Magic in which they racked up 120 points and still lost. However, there's still a chance for a higher-than-average number of points to be scored here, considering Golden State was averaging 114.7 points per game going into Friday while allowing 117.6 per road contest. The Hornets will be very well rested after last having played Sunday, but they do come in yielding 122.0 points per game over the last three and averaging 114.7 points over that same span. The Dubs also bring a significant bump in pace to Charlotte, as they're averaging an NBA-high 107.9 possessions per contest away from home.
Injury Situations to Monitor
NOTE: Injury reporting is especially fluid in the NBA, where the status of multiple players can change during the course of a day. Therefore, although the following serves as a foundation for the latest injury report as of the time the article is written, check back throughout the day with RotoWire for the latest news regarding all players' status on that night's slate.
LeBron James, LAL (ankle)/ Status: PROBABLE
James is fully expected to continue playing through his probable designation and should once see elevated usage without Anthony Davis (Achilles).
Anthony Davis, LAL (Achilles)/ Status: OUT
Gordon Hayward, CHA (back)/ Status: PROBABLE
Hayward appears set to return after only a one-game absence.
Kyle Kuzma, LAL (back)/ Status: PROBABLE
If Kuzma plays through his probable designation as expected, he should draw another start with Anthony Davis (Achilles) out.
Harrison Barnes, SAC (foot)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
If Barnes were to sit out a second straight game Saturday, Glenn Robinson could draw another start at small forward if he's able to overcome his own questionable designation. If both Barnes and Robinson were to miss Saturday's game, DaQuan Jeffries could be in line to run with the first unit.
Devonte' Graham, CHA (knee)/ Status: DOUBTFUL
Other notable injuries:
Dennis Schroder, LAL (COVID-19 protocol)/ Status: OUT
Richaun Holmes, SAC (knee)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Goran Dragic, MIA (ankle)/ Status: OUT
Dillon Brooks, MEM (thigh)/ Status: GTD
James Wiseman, GSW (wrist)/ Status: OUT
Kevon Looney, GSW (ankle)/ Status: OUT
Glenn Robinson, SAC (knee)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Markieff Morris, LAL (ankle)/ Status: PROBABLE
There's a quartet of players with five-figure salaries on Friday's slate, with Damian Lillard ($10,600), LeBron James ($10,200), Stephen Curry ($10,100) and Russell Westbrook ($10,000) all fitting the bill.
From that group, Lillard and Westbrook are especially appealing in a matchup against one another and in a game with an astronomical projected total. Curry could carry some risk while playing his third game in four nights and facing Terry Rozier's defense frequently. James is as solid a selection as ever, especially with Anthony Davis still out.
There are also several players with salaries in the high four figures that have the ability to deliver elite scores, including Bradley Beal ($9,900), Zach LaVine ($9,200), Jimmy Butler ($8,900), LaMelo Ball ($8,800) and De'Aaron Fox ($8,000).
From that group, Beal and LaVine could offer excellent returns on their lofty salaries thanks to their matchups and expected game environments. Butler will have a tough assignment against LeBron and the Lakers, but Jimmy Buckets checks in with three consecutive triple-doubles. Ball and Fox are also very appealing in pace-up games that also feature solid backcourt matchups for each.
All of the names mentioned in the Elite Players section are naturally going to be very popular Saturday, and with only 10 teams in action, some should be on even more rosters than usual. That could especially hold true for Lillard, Beal and Westbrook, considering how popular Wizards-Trail Blazers should be from a DFS perspective.
Regarding injury-influenced chalk, Kyle Kuzma should also continue to be a popular play due to Davis' absence, while Malik Monk could certainly be a popular value option if Devonte' Graham misses as expected.
Enes Kanter, POR vs. WAS ($6,900)
Kanter is one of two Trail Blazers priced below $7K that could offer especially nice returns on their salary in Saturday night's expected offensive extravaganza. The veteran big man turned in a rare clunker (17.5 DK points) against the Pelicans on Wednesday, but he'd scored 23.5 to 41.5 DK points in his previous eight games. That span includes five double-doubles and a 21-rebound performance as well, giving Kanter an excellent ceiling at his salary in his matchup Saturday. The Wizards will afford Kanter extra possessions to work with due to their pace and come in allowing the fourth-highest offensive efficiency (34.7 percent) to centers, along with the fifth highest (59.8 percent) in the paint. Washington is also surrendering the fourth-most rebounds per contest (55.7), significantly enhancing Kanter's chances of hitting the double-double bonus.
Coby White, CHI vs. SAC ($6,100)
White is averaging 30.3 DK points per contest, and he lit up these same Kings for 52.9 DK points on 65.2 percent shooting the one previous time he saw them this season. As detailed earlier, Sacramento is the second-most generous defensive team in the NBA behind the Wizards and are allowing 68.2 DK points per game to players with a PG classification on DK. White has come within less than one DK point of offering at least a 5x return on his current salary this season, and he boasts tallies of 38.8 and 46.0 DK points in two of his last four games alone. Moreover, it's worth noting Sacramento is giving up 39.7 percent three-point shooting overall, while White is putting up a career-high 6.8 three-point attempts per contest.
Gary Trent, POR vs. WAS ($6,000)
Trent is another Trail Blazer in play for some of the same reasons as Kanter, namely, the expected pace of play and the Wizards' overall defensive vulnerability. Additionally, the third-year guard checks in having scored over 30 DK points in three of his last four and averaging 19.9 points (on 46.2 percent three-point shooting), 2.6 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.2 steals during his 13-game starting tenure at two-guard. Despite Damian Lillard's elevated usage, Trent is still putting up 15.7 shot attempts per game over that span. Saturday, he faces a Washington team ranked in the bottom 10 in offensive efficiency allowed to SGs (24.5 percent) and giving up the second-most DK points per game (77.8) on the season to players with a shooting guard designation on DK.