This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
Saturday's eight-game slate has a sort of peculiar quality to it. While you have a host of elites in play, the rest of the field is unexciting. It's also very tough to find marketable value tonight, but pivoting in injury spots will help your cause as you look to field multiple high-cost options.
(odds are best available USA odds and are subject to change)
Games/Teams to Target in BOLD
Games/Teams to Target in ITALIC
DAL @ WAS (+6.5) O/U: 228
NYK @ DET (+3) O/U: 207.5
CLE@ MIA (-12.5) O/U: 203.5
MIN @ PHI (-10) O/U: 231
IND@ SAS (-5.5) O/U 224.5
ORL @ UTA (-15.5) O/U: 215
OKC @ POR (-11.5) O/U: 227
MIL @ SAC (+7) O/U: 239
WAS Bradley Beal (hip) - QUESTIONABLE
We'll look into this situation in the elite players section.
CLE Jarrett Allen (concussion) - OUT
CLE Larry Nance (illness) - OUT
Kevin Love's ($4,500) re-entry is going to cut into the production of former budget chalks like Isaiah Hartenstein ($4,300) and Dean Wade ($4,600). While these guys will still perform well relative to their salary, it looks like Love will get the nod in the starting five when he's healthy. He'll be on a minutes limit and will likely sit on back-to-backs in the short term. This isn't the best matchup, so the value for these pivots won't be what they were on Thursday.
MIN Ricky Rubio (back) - OUT
MIN D'Angelo Russell (knee) - OUT
While you'd think this would be a good spot for Jordan McLaughlin ($3,600), he did very little starting for Rubio. Anthony Edwards ($7,900) seemed to reap the most benefit, but his FanDuel salary is getting a little high because a 40 FP day represents a ceiling for Edwards, not a floor. We'd need production in that range for him to be worthwhile.
PHI Joel Embiid (knee) - QUESTIONABLE
We may see Embiid tonight, but if he can't go, Dwight Howard ($5,100) is still a reliable pivot despite the ejection risk.
IND Domantas Sabonis (hip) - QUESTIONABLE
IND Malcolm Brogdon (hip) - QUESTIONABLE
These injury tags are left over from Friday's game, so they may come off later in the day. Brogdon was a late scratch, and Sabonis was forced to leave Friday's game, so action for the Pacers is up in the air a bit. Edmond Sumner ($3,800) started for Brogdon and played well, so he'll be a fine guard pivot, but Caris LeVert ($7,100) would also benefit in a Brogdon absence. A pivot for Sabonis is hard to nail down, so I would take a pass on the frontcourt here. Justin Holiday ($4,000) is fine, but not great.
ORL Terrence Ross (ankle) - QUESTIONABLE
ORL Michael Carter-Williams (illness) - QUESTIONABLE
ORL Khem Birch (illness) - QUESTIONABLE
Chasson Randle ($4,000) would start if MCW can't go. It's only a matter of time before Wendell Carter ($6,200) is the starting center, so I would fade Birch barring an injury. We are still waiting on Ross' integration into this new-look lineup, and it will be interesting to see who might get demoted, if anyone.
We have five players at 10k or more on the slate. And once again, we have the Russell Westbrook ($11,000) scenario with Bradley Beal ($8,800). Beal's salary is getting prettier and prettier by the day, so he is definitely worth a look when he returns to action. If that doesn't happen tonight, it's hard to get away from Westbrook, who continues to rain down fantasy points. This should also be a reasonably-paced spot against the Mavericks.
If Joel Embiid ($10,700) doesn't play, I will be all over Karl-Anthony Towns ($10,600). He helped me to a Top 10 finish in single-entry Friday, and I think he'll crush without Embiid to defend him. The scenario in which I would fade Towns is much narrower. Embiid would have to play and be without any minute restriction for me to take the opposite approach, and even then, shares of Embiid would be minimal. The two safest options in this range could be Giannis Antetokounmpo ($10,800) and Luka Doncic ($10,400), but I'm inclined to favor Doncic based on Dallas' matchup and Milwaukee's back-to-back. The Bucks will be on their fourth-straight road game, so a play for Giannis, while low-risk, isn't my favorite target. Towns is at the top, followed by Westbrook and Doncic.
In the 9k range, we have some attractive options, beginning with De'Aaron Fox ($9,500), who will play a weary Milwaukee team. Recency bias will make him less popular after two underwhelming games, and this may be a chance for Fox to bounce backs. Both Bam Adebayo ($9,200) and Jimmy Butler ($9,100) could warrant some consideration, but the matchup is terrible. Neither player is essential for success tonight. Julius Randle ($9,000) definitely merits a look against Detroit, however. He's lowered a 27/16 hammer on the Pistons earlier in the season, and with Jerami Grant struggling, this number could be even higher.
Donovan Mitchell, UTA ($8,800) vs. ORL
Mitchell will be back from an absence due to a personal matter, and although this is a different Orlando team than the one he faced last month, his 31 points, six rebounds and four assists in that matchup certainly bode well for his potential against an arguably weaker version of the team. Meeting value will be tough at this price, and it's a question of whether or not time off the court will be a net positive or negative. He's still a viable option in a favorable matchup, however.
DeMar DeRozan, SA ($8,000) vs. IND
The Pacers could be without two of their top playmakers tonight, and DeRozan is playing superb ball at the moment. With fantasy-point totals of 54 and 41 over the past two games, his shot is dialed in, and he'll often give you good rebound and assist numbers. If Sabonis and Brogdon continue to be sidelined, he's an absolute lock for single-entry contests.
Dejounte Murray, SA ($7,700) vs. IND
I also like DeRozan's teammate in this spot. Sneakily, Murray is one of the best rebounding point guards in the league, and he'll have a great advantage if Sabonis isn't around to grab boards. Recently, he's been superb on both ends of the court, with a hot shooting stroke and excellent defense. I'm also not opposed to Derrick White ($5,900), who showed up with a big game against the Hawks two days ago.
Norman Powell, POR ($6,600) vs. OKC
Powell now occupies the spot left by Gary Trent, and he's added some spark to Portland's typically shaky defense. He's also contributed with some nice offensive totals and finds himself in a good spot against the Thunder. With usage in the 30-minute range, any uncertainty about Powell's role in Portland is mostly erased.
Rui Hachimura, WAS ($6,000) vs. DAL
Some could argue that Hachimura's price is too high, but you're not looking for a reliable floor from the forward. Upside of up to 40 FP is what you're hoping for, and there's recent data that support his potential to get there. He'll definitely get plenty of opportunities, as he's averaging around 35 minutes per game.
Aleksej Pokusevski, OKC ($5,600) @ POR
The Thunder's 2020 first-round pick is doing his best to hold the fort in place of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and he's put up some keen scores in the process. He has beaten 5x value at this salary three times out of the last five games, and he could find some opportunities against a Portland defense that still has some holes.
For those of you struggling to find value on this slate – I feel your pain. Rather than continue naming players in particular, it seems to make sense to look at game stacks with teams like San Antonio, Utah and the Trail Blazers. Look at the game totals and identify spots below the FD median price that could shot up as viable second-unit value. Also, refer to the injury section for the best-available budget picks.