This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
Saturday looks to be a huge day of hoops as the NBA throws out a nine-game slate that kicks off at 8:00 P.M. ET, topping off a fun day of basketball with the Sweet 16 also on tap.
*-(best odds from US Sportsbooks and subject to change)
Games/Teams to Target in BOLD
Games/Teams to FADE in ITALIC
DET @ WAS (-3.5) O/U: 227.5
NYK @ MIL (-10) O/U: 222.5
HOU @ MIN (-5) O/U: 227.5
CHI @ SAS (-2) O/U: 223.5
MEM @ UTA (-9.5) O/U: 229.5
DAL @ NOR (+1.5) O/U: 229
BOS @ OKC (+10) O/U: 219
PHI @ LAC (-3.5) O/U:223
CLE @ SAC (-7) O/U: 221
Our injury section will include many chalk plays, and in some aspects, it's a much more important section than our chalk/elite section today.
DET Dennis Smith (back) - QUESTIONABLE
The severity of the back injury is unknown, but with Delon Wright no longer on the team, Smith's status will determine a lot about the Pistons' rotation today. If Smith can't go, I'd be willing to go low with Frank Jackson ($3,500) or Saben Lee ($3,500) after a sub-par start from Wayne Ellington ($3,500). I'm not crazy about this spot, although there are some other parts of Detroit to consider in this fast-paced game against the Wizards. We'll discuss them in a moment.
WAS Bradley Beal (foot) - QUESTIONABLE
If Bradley Beal is out, Russell Westbrook ($11,000) immediately vaults up to my favorite play on the slate. Westbrook is someone to consider in either situation, but he becomes a virtual lock in single-entry contests. Beal's replacement would likely be Raul Neto ($3,600).
NYK Derrick Rose (conditioning) - QUESTIONABLE
NYK Reggie Bullock (ankle) - QUESTIONABLE
NYK Nerlens Noel (shoulder) - QUESTIONABLE
The guard situation is a jumble for the Knicks once again, although both Elfrid Payton ($4,600) and Immanuel Quickley ($4,900) are expected to play. This leaves a question mark at shooting guard, and lately, the beneficiary has been Alec Burks ($6,400). You can consider Burks if Bullock is out, but they will likely siphon each other's output if Bullock is in. Mitchell Robinson ($6,100) can do a lot with very few minutes if he can stay out of foul trouble, and he gets a boost if Noel can't play tonight.
HOU Kevin Porter (quad) - QUESTIONABLE
HOU Danuel House (personal) - OUT
HOU Eric Gordon (groin) - OUT
As the team looks for a solution for the hole left by Victor Oladipo, Ben McLemore ($4,000) and Sterling Brown ($4,800) are emerging as top options. Both of them could start tonight, and I would favor McLemore a bit more as a better fit for the position. We'll discuss additional Houston plays in a moment.
MIN D'Angelo Russell (knee) - OUT
This paragraph is more about a return than an absence, as Malik Beasley ($5,700) is slated to return from a suspension. He'll likely need to kick off some rust, but he should start and see enough minutes to be worthwhile tonight. His return puts a small dent in Anthony Edwards' ($7,600) production, and for now, that price tag knocks the rookie out of consideration until we get an idea of Beasley's impact.
CHI Zach LaVine (ankle) - QUESTIONABLE
LaVine hasn't missed a game this season, so there isn't a lot of on/off court data to look through. Still, ambitious players will look at the scenario as an opportunity for Nikola Vucevic ($9,700) to put a stamp on his role with Chicago. I think that's a risky and expensive proposition and not a good use of cash with other, more preferable center options. If LaVine is out, a host of players could benefit, with Tomas Satoransky ($4,500) and Garrett Temple ($3,500) at the top of that list. Coby White ($4,400) also makes a lot of sense, although he's more of a tournament play due to his recent demotion.
Mike Conley - POSSIBLE REST
With the Jazz on a back-to-back, we may see Conley take a seat as per usual. Jordan Clarkson ($4,600) would receive a boost if Conley can't play.
DAL Luka Doncic (back) - QUESTIONABLE
DAL Kristaps Porzingis - POSSIBLE REST
It's best to fade the Mavs unless we get some early information. Obviously, Porzingis is a great play if Doncic is out, but he may rest on the back-to-back. Anyone else is a risk on this team unless we get some concrete information, so while there could be some value here, it's a wait-and-see spot.
NOR Lonzo Ball (hip) - OUT
Ball's absence will continue to be beneficial for Nickeil Alexander-Walker ($5,300), who has crushed value at this price with three consecutive 30-plus FP outings. I will also be over the field with Eric Bledsoe ($4,500), who is at a great price and should see more ballhandling opportunities and hit 40 FP in Friday's game against the Nuggets.
BOS Kemba Walker - POSSIBLE REST
BOS Evan Fournier- QUESTIONABLE
BOS Tristan Thompson (COVID-19 protocols) - OUT
Robert Williams ($5,600) will finally get his shot at a starting gig with Daniel Theis shipped out of town. While Thompson will see his share of minutes moving forward, Williams can play either position in the frontcourt and just a more versatile player than Thompson. When given the opportunity, Williams has proven to be an adept scorer who can also deliver in multiple categories. His salary won't stay here for long, so take advantage while you can. Kemba may sit on this back-to-back, but the remaining starters should absorb his output. The team has already said that Evan Fournier will play more of a sixth-man role with the Celtics, so I don't think his appearance will affect the game script enough to be fantasy relevant.
OKC Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (foot) - OUT
OKC Darius Bazley (shoulder) - QUESTIONABLE
Without SGA to power this offense, it won't be easy to find anyone to be enthusiastic about in this spot. Moses Brown ($5,900) and Al Horford ($6,300) will cancel each other out, and I don't have faith in anyone else because FanDuel has already adjusted the other salaries to reflect SGA's absence. The game could end up as a total fade for me.
PHI Joel Embiid (knee) - OUT
Assuming he doesn't get ejected again, Dwight Howard ($5,100) is a great value play on the slate because with Tony Bradley out of the picture, there aren't that many big men left. Mike Scott ($3,700) is around at a low price and could beat value at this salary, but he'd need something to happen to Howard for him to have any real impact.
LAC Kawhi Leonard (foot) - QUESTIONABLE
LAC Serge Ibaka (back) - OUT
LAC Marcus Morris (calf) - QUESTIONABLE
Along with Doncic, Kawhi is another big question mark, and unfortunately, this is a late-night game, and we'll be unable to make pivots with late information. If Leonard is out, Paul George ($8,300) will receive a considerable boost, and Terance Mann ($3,900) would be another sensible target. Ivica Zubac ($6,100) remains a serviceable center option, and if Morris plays, he isn't a bad value play against the Clippers.
Collin Sexton (hamstring) - QUESTIONABLE
Kevin Love (calf) - QUESTIONABLE
Sexton's injury could force him out again, meaning that Darius Garland ($6,500) and Isaac Okoro ($3,900) would man the backcourt. A guy I've really enjoyed watching is Dean Wade ($3,500), who is still very cheap and seeing considerable minutes. He's a decent value option tonight.
SAC Delon Wright - QUESTIONABLE
SAC Terence Davis - QUESTIONABLE
We have to mention these two acquisitions in case they play tonight. It's still too early to go to these guys until we have a better sense of the rotation.
We've already mentioned Russell Westbrook ($11,000), and he is my top elite play if Bradley Beal ($9,100) is out. If Beal plays, I would likely split my elite allotment with Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,100), who has averaged over 60 FP over two games against the Knicks. We have to wait and see with Luka Doncic ($10,800), but if he plays, he could be less popular and a contrarian elite.
In the 9k range, De'Aaron Fox ($9,400) is the preferred play and will occupy one of my two PG slots frequently tonight. Fox has been on an incredible run recently and shows elite shooting and ballhandling as he continues to lead this team through some rough patches. Karl-Anthony Towns ($9,900) and Julius Randle ($9,900) are both fine options as well, but I don't view them as core plays tonight. I would choose Randle over Towns for his PF eligibility at this salary.
Tobias Harris, PHI ($8,800) @ LAC
It's a tough matchup against the Clippers, but you can let loose with Harris and Ben Simmons ($8,200) if Leonard takes a seat. Leonard is such a prolific scorer that we often overlook how he can transform the defense, and his absence would be great for Harris, who is already absorbing a lot of Joel Embiid's frontcourt action. I like Simmons as well, but it's a plum spot for Harris.
Zion Williamson, NOR ($8,400) vs. DAL
The Mavericks are awash with uncertainty. Although Zion is a chalky play regardless, he could be in for another big game against Dallas after blitzing Denver for 65 FP on Friday. I like him a bit better than Brandon Ingram ($8,300), who should be at a slightly lower salary due to his shot-dependent nature, but if a dual absence occurred in Dallas, there's no issue with stacking this duo.
John Wall, HOU ($8,200) @ MIN
There are so many excellent point guard options on this slate, and it's tough to pick among them. Wall is now the de facto offensive engine alongside Christian Wood ($7,700), and I like them both as they travel to meet the Timberwolves. Wall will find himself in the 9k range before too long with Oladipo no longer around to siphon output, and you should expect double-double potential as he controls more of the ballhandling duties.
Jerami Grant, DET ($7,300) @ WAS
This should be a fast-paced affair, and since Grant is the offensive core of this team, it's reasonable to assume a value-beating number. He was a bit of a disappointment against the Nets' weak defense last night, but Washington competes for the title of the league's worst defense currently. Grant's at an appealing salary level in this exploitable spot.
Most of our top value plays reside in the injury sections, but here are some other options to consider below FanDuel's median price.
Rui Hachimura, WAS ($5,700) @ DET
This game will probably come down to who scores the last point because neither team is known for defensive stops. Hachimura's numbers are known to fluctuate, but the high total of this game is an encouraging sign, and the team desperately needs a third scorer. If Beal is out, I like the forward even more.
Jae'Sean Tate, HOU ($5,400) @ MIN
Tate would do well to stay out of Towns' way tonight, but if his mid-range jumper heats up, Tate should begin to feel his adjusted role without Oladipo in the lineup and embrace a wing role a bit more. Christian Wood has made things a bit easier for Houston inside, leaving Tate to perform at multiple positions.
Marcus Smart, BOS ($5,500) @ OKC
I will hammer this spot if Kemba sits for rest. Although there is some blowout risk here, Smart tends to stick around in lopsided games. We didn't give direct mentions to the Celtics other than Williams, but Smart. Jayson Tatum ($8,500) and Jaylen Brown ($8,000) can all be a part of your builds. The blowout risk puts them a little lower on the list, but Smart's price is the group's best value.
Explore the injury section for a host of options below $5,400.