DraftKings NBA: Saturday Cheat Sheet

DraftKings NBA: Saturday Cheat Sheet

This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.

We have a big eight-game slate Saturday night that has a couple of projected blowouts, but that still boasts five games with spreads of seven points or less. The Heat-Wizards and 76ers-Trail Blazers contests could be among the most entertaining of the night, and luckily, injuries to key players don't project to be too much of a factor. With 16 teams in action, we also have an abundant player pool to work with for DFS purposes.

Slate Overview

Miami Heat (-1.5) at Washington Wizards (O/U: 208.0 points) 

New Orleans Pelicans at Indiana Pacers (-7) (O/U: 210.5 points) 

Charlotte Hornets at Atlanta Hawks (-6) (O/U: 225.0 points) 

Oklahoma City Thunder at Boston Celtics (-10) (O/U: 207.5 points) 

Memphis Grizzlies at Minnesota Timberwolves (-2.5) (O/U: 219.0 points) 

Orlando Magic at Milwaukee Bucks (-11) (O/U: 215.5 points) 

Philadelphia 76ers at Portland Trail Blazers (-6.5) (O/U: 217.5 points) 

Utah Jazz (-8) at Sacramento Kings (O/U: 221.0 points) 

As just mentioned, it should be a mostly competitive night of basketball if games go more or less as oddsmakers project them. We even have two totals over 220 points, something that was taken for granted the last few seasons but is much more of a rarity in this season's officiating environment.

There are multiple teams on back-to-back sets that are also playing their third game in four nights and/or fourth game in six, so there could certainly be some sluggish legs coming into play.

Oddsmakers seem to be putting plenty of faith in two of last season's best teams that have experienced some inconsistency this season, namely, the Bucks and Jazz. It's particularly worth noting Milwaukee is the night's largest favorite as of late Saturday morning. Yet, the Magic, despite their 4-12 record, have proven a tough out for several quality clubs thus far. 

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 course of the day with RotoWire for the latest news regarding the status of all players on that night's slate. 

Joel Embiid, PHI (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: OUT 

In Embiid's ongoing absence Saturday, Andre Drummond should continue to man the center spot for Philadelphia, while the remaining members of the starting five should enjoy elevated usage to a varying degree.

Damian Lillard, POR (abdomen)/ Status: PROBABLE 

Lillard is strongly trending toward suiting up with his lingering abdomen injury, and despite some ongoing shooting woes, has managed to eclipse 40 DK points in six straight.

Bam Adebayo, MIA (knee)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

If Adebayo were to sit out, Dewayne Dedmon would presumably slot into the starting center spot, while Jimmy Butler would likely be the biggest beneficiary in terms of extra usage. 

Tyler Herro, MIA (wrist)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

Herro has been upgraded from out to questionable, so his status will be one to monitor as the day unfolds.

Jaylen Brown, BOS (hamstring)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

If Brown misses an eighth straight game, Dennis Schroder should continue running with the first unit, while Jayson Tatum would likely be the biggest beneficiary in terms of extra usage. 

Devonte' Graham, NOP (foot)/ Status: GTD 

If Graham were to sit out, Tomas Satoransky, who started in his place Friday and logged 25 minutes, would likely slot in for another start. 

Other notable injuries: 

Zion Williamson, NOP (foot)/ Status: OUT 

Dillon Brooks, MEM (hamstring)/ Status: DOUBTFUL 

Daniel Gafford, WAS (thumb)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

Danny Green, PHI (hamstring)/ Status: OUT 

Robert Williams, BOS (knee)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

De'Anthony Melton, MEM (groin)/ Status: OUT 

De'Andre Hunter, ATL (wrist)/ Status: OUT 

P.J. Washington, CHA (elbow)/ Status: OUT 

Brook Lopez, MIL (back)/ Status: OUT 

Elite Players

We have four players with five-figure salaries that will be active for Saturday's slate – Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,900), LaMelo Ball ($10,400), Ja Morant ($10,200) and Karl-Anthony Towns ($10,100). 

Antetokounmpo has a favorable matchup against a Magic squad allowing the third-highest offensive efficiency to frontcourt players (84.7 percent), and he checks in with back-to-back 66.3 DK-point tallies as well.  

Ball is coming off having scored 60.8 DK points on Friday against the Pacers and has been at 43.3 or higher in four straight overall. His salary did not rise overnight despite his stellar showing against Indiana, but it's worth noting Ball is averaging 39.5 DK points per road game – as opposed to 52.4 per home contest – and Charlotte is on its third game in four nights overall.

Morant has scored 44 or more DK points in six straight games and has shot 52.6 percent or better in three of the last four contests. He does draw what has been a thorny matchup for point guards this season against Patrick Beverley's hounding defense, but he scored 56.5 DK points on Minnesota in his one prior meeting with the T-Wolves.

Towns has been over 50 DK points in two of his last three games and scored 51.0 over 43 minutes in his one prior game against Memphis this season. He's also averaging 47.2 DK points per home contest, just under four points more than he does per road tilt.

Expected Chalk

In addition to the players just mentioned in the prior section, other likely chalk plays include:

Jayson Tatum, BOS ($9,900) 

Tatum could well take the floor without Jaylen Brown (hamstring) again Saturday and just scored 64.8 against the Lakers on Friday in a very high-profile matchup. Nevertheless, his salary actually dropped $200 for this matchup, which should make him extremely popular.

Jimmy Butler, MIA ($9,700) 

Butler's average of 44.8 DK points for the season and tally of 50.8 against the Wizards on Thursday night in Miami should make very popular, but he'll be even more heavily rostered if Bam Adebayo (knee) sits out.

Trae Young, ATL ($9,500) 

Young has been under 40 DK points in each of his last two games, but he'll be one of the most well-rested top-shelf players Saturday, with the Hawks having last played Wednesday. He also draws a favorable matchup against the Hornets, which are ranked in the bottom 10 in offensive efficiency allowed to PGs.

Bradley Beal, WAS ($9,400) 

Beal will have Spencer Dinwiddie back with him in the backcourt Saturday, but he's coming off having scored 45.5 against the Heat on Thursday and should remain plenty of lineups.

Cole Anthony, ORL ($7,900) 

Anthony boasts the ceiling of a much higher-salaried player, as he's demonstrated with three tallies of more than 50 DK points, including one over 60 in the last nine games alone. The fact he sports a sub-$8K salary and is averaging 39.9 DK points per game overall should keep him heavily rostered. 

Key Values 

Shake Milton, PHI at POR ($4,900) 

Danny Green will remain out with his hamstring injury Saturday, which should help Milton to another solid allotment of minutes even if he comes off the bench. The fourth-year guard has scored 27.8 and 26.3 DK points in his last two games, excellent returns on his current salary. The Trail Blazers have also allowed the fourth-highest offensive efficiency to bench players (46.3), along with 47.6 percent shooting, including 42.7 percent from distance, to shooting guards. Meanwhile, Milton has been at his best on the road, where he's averaging 27.1 DK points per contest over a five-game sample.

Patrick Beverley, MIN vs. MEM ($4,700)

Beverley's greatest contributions on a night-to-night basis still usually come on the defensive end, but the veteran guard has averaged 24.8 DK points per game in his first T-Wolves season thus far with solid contributions in rebounds and assists. Beverley is also shooting 46.2 percent overall and checks into Saturday having scored 38.5 and 28.8 DK points in his last two contests. He's cleared 24 DK points in six of the last 10 overall, and he tallied 24.8 against the Grizzlies in his one prior meeting with them this season.

Tyus Jones, MEM at MIN ($3,000) 

The combination of Jones' salary and opportunity is too good not to consider Saturday night, as both Dillon Brooks (hamstring) and De'Anthony Melton (groin) are projected to sit out. That should leave Jones with some nice extra run in the wake of a very efficient last couple of games. The veteran has scored a total of 39.8 DK points in 29 minutes over that span, and he should be in a bump in minutes Saturday due to the absences. Jones also comes in with the hottest hand of his career, as he's shooting 52.9 percent, including 48.3 percent from three-point range, in 15 games. He's already offered at least 5x return on his current salary in eight of those contests, and Minnesota also checks in ranked in the bottom half of the league in offensive efficiency allowed to second-unit players (40.5 percent).

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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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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