DraftKings NBA: Saturday Cheat Sheet

DraftKings NBA: Saturday Cheat Sheet

This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.

We have a solid mid-sized six-game slate Saturday night, one that clearly tilts toward the competitive and high-scoring side. All of those factors are very appealing ingredients from a DFS perspective, with perhaps the only blemish on the night going in being the fact there will be some big names missing in action due to injury.

Slate Overview

Chicago Bulls at Brooklyn Nets (-3) (O/U: 221.5 points) 

Miami Heat at Milwaukee Bucks (-5.5) (O/U: 214.0 points) 

Memphis Grizzlies at Dallas Mavericks (-5) (O/U: 219.0 points) 

San Antonio Spurs at Golden State Warriors (-9.5) (O/U: 219.0 points) 

Boston Celtics (-1.5) at Portland Trail Blazers (O/U: 215.0 points) 

Los Angeles Clippers (-1) at Sacramento Kings (O/U: 218.5 points) 

There are some marquee matchups on paper Saturday night, but due to injury, not all of them are likely to live up to their full potential. The Heat-Bucks and Celtics-Trail Blazers battles fall under that category, with Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler and Giannis Antetokounmpo set to miss the first contest, and Jaylen Brown potentially joining Damian Lillard as an absentee in the latter contest.

Nevertheless, there are always opportunities for some value plays to emerge when such big names are out of action, and the good news is each game still has elevated scoring expectations irrespective of the health outlook. Factoring in the narrow spread in all but one contest, and it should still be a highly entertaining night of DFS action where identifying the players who'll most benefit from their teammates' injuries could be the key to success. 

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. 

Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL (calf)/ Status: DOUBTFUL 

In Antetokounmpo's likely absence, Khris Middleton, Jrue Holiday and Bobby Portis should see major surges in usage, while Jordan Nwora could see a start at power forward.

Paul George, LAC (ankle)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

If George cannot take the floor, Terance Mann is likely to draw the start at small forward, while Reggie Jackson and Eric Bledsoe could particularly see big bumps in opportunity.

Damian Lillard, POR (abdomen)/ Status: OUT 

With both Lillard and Anfernee Simons (ankle) out, Dennis Smith should see a start at point guard.

Ja Morant, MEM (knee)/ Status: OUT 

Tyus Jones should draw another start at point guard in Morant's absence, while Desmond Bane, Dillon Brooks and Jaren Jackson should see plenty of extra usage.

Jimmy Butler, MIA (tailbone)/ Status: OUT 

In Butler's absence, the likes of Kyle Lowry and Tyler Herro will likely continue seeing big bumps in usage.

Kristaps Porzingis, DAL (questionable)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

If Porzingis is out, Maxi Kleber could draw another start at power forward, while Luka Doncic and Tim Hardaway should see even more usage than usual. 

Bam Adebayo, MIA (thumb)/ Status: OUT 

With Adebayo out, Dewayne Dedmon is slated to draw another start at center. 

Other notable injuries: 

Anfernee Simons, POR (ankle)/ Status: OUT 

Brook Lopez, MIL (back)/ Status: OUT 

Jaylen Brown, BOS (rest)/ Status: GTD 

Alex Caruso, CHI (hamstring)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

Kyle Anderson, MEM (back)/ Status: OUT 

Joe Harris, BRO (ankle)/ Status: OUT 

Devin Vassell, SAN (thigh)/ Status: DOUBTFUL 

Coby White, CHI (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: OUT 

Nicolas Batum, LAC (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: OUT 

Elite Players

We have seven players with five-figure salaries that have a chance to be active on Saturday's slate – Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,800), Luka Doncic ($11,500), Stephen Curry ($11,400), Kevin Durant ($11,300), James Harden ($11,200), Paul George ($10,200) and Dejounte Murray ($10,100). 

Antetokoumpo seems likely to sit out with his calf injury, as noted earlier.

Doncic could again take the floor without Porzingis but scored just 42.0 DK points without him Friday night, a bit of a disappointment considering the circumstances. However, he has a very favorable matchup against the Grizzlies, who are down to Tyus Jones as the starting point guard.

Curry has had a couple of ragged shooting performances against the Suns the last two games but should have an exponentially easier matchup against the Spurs, which are allowing the seventh-highest offensive efficiency to point guards.

Durant and Harden should play major roles in what could be one of the most competitive games of the night, and one that carries the highest projected total as of Saturday morning.

George's status will need to be monitored due to his ankle injury. He did score 45 DK points even after tweaking the ankle Friday night.

Murray will be in a tough statistical matchup against the Warriors, but he's scored no less than 47.5 DK points in five straight.

Expected Chalk

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

Jayson Tatum, BOS ($9,800) 

Tatum could take the floor without Jaylen Brown again and is coming off back-to-back 50 DK-point performances.

CJ McCollum, POR ($9,000) 

McCollum will continue to take the floor without Lillard, which should keep him in plenty of lineups.

Kyle Lowry, MIA ($7,800) 

Lowry scored 44.3 DK points against the Pacers in 38 minutes on Friday without Butler and Adebayo available and will take the floor without either of his teammates again.

Jrue Holiday, MIL ($7,700) 

Holiday has scored at least 47 DK points in two of his last three games and sports a 31.7 percent usage rate while averaging 45 DK points per 36 minutes without Antetokounmpo on the floor. 

Khris Middleton, MIL ($7,500) 

Middleton sports a 36.7 percent usage rate and is averaging 45 DK points per 36 minutes without Antetokounmpo on the floor, which should keep him very highly rostered Saturday. 

Key Values 

Dennis Schroder, BOS at POR ($5,700)

Schroder has continued to deliver for the Celtics, whether in a starting or bench role, as he's averaging 30.4 DK points per contest and just scored 35.5 in 39 minutes during Friday's loss to the Jazz. The elevated playing time was partly the result of a Jaylen Brown absence for injury management purposes, and it remains to be seen if the latter will take the floor Saturday. Irrespective of his status, Schroder should still see a solid allotment of minutes and will face a depleted Blazers backcourt down to its third-string point guard in Dennis Smith. Portland already checks in ranked in the bottom half of the league in offensive efficiency allowed to ones (25.0 percent) and in the bottom five in offensive efficiency surrendered to second-unit players (44.9 percent).   

Tim Hardaway, DAL vs. MEM ($5,300) 

Hardaway may once again take the floor without Porzingis, a scenario in which the veteran wing is already averaging 30.7 DK points per 36 minutes in. Additionally, the Grizzlies come in allowing the third-highest offensive efficiency to two-guards (23.5 percent) and are giving up an NBA-high 40.1 percent success rate from three-point range on the road. The latter is particularly relevant when considering Hardaway at a salary that he's easily capable of delivering over a 5x return on, as he's putting up 7.0 three-point attempts per contest.

Ivica Zubac, LAC at SAC ($4,900) 

The Kings have struggled with centers all season, allowing the highest offensive efficiency to the position (36.6 percent) while giving up an NBA-high 19.2 rebounds per game to fives as well. Zubac already has a tally of 27.3 DK points, achieved in just 23 minutes, against the Kings this season, and he checks into Saturday night's matchup having scored at least 21 DK points in nine of his last 10 contests. He's achieved the double-double bonus on six occasions already this season as well, and given Sacramento's propensity for allowing rebounds, Zubac could well accomplish the feat for a seventh occasion Saturday. Moreover, if George were to sit out, it's worth noting the big man is averaging 44.9 DK points per 36 minutes without his teammate on the floor.

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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