DraftKings NBA: Saturday Cheat Sheet

DraftKings NBA: Saturday Cheat Sheet

This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.

We have a very light Saturday night slate with the NBA navigating the NFL's postseason, and all three games are interconference battles. Each contest is also projected to be lopsided, but a couple of underdogs have surprised some quality teams this season, offering some hope for a competitive night. The injury report is also modest, and all of the big names ruled out or in danger of being sidelined are essentially focused on one team.

Slate Overview

Sacramento Kings at Milwaukee Bucks (-10) (O/U: 233.5 points) 

Oklahoma City Thunder at Cleveland Cavaliers (-12) (O/U: 209.0 points) 

Indiana Pacers at Phoenix Suns (-12) (O/U: 220.0 points) 

Besides the hope that both the Kings and Pacers, in particular, could be more competitive than the point spreads attached to their games would imply, the other reason for optimism Saturday from a DFS perspective is the fact two of the three games do have elevated projected totals. Sacramento particularly has the talent to contribute its fair share of points, while Indiana could have a bit more trouble because it will be without its best offensive player in Domantas Sabonis due to an ankle injury.

The one likeliest dud of the night from a DFS perspective could well be the Thunder-Cavaliers matchup, as OKC has been the league's poorest offensive team on the road and is in the midst of an extended losing streak. The Cavaliers have also been an excellent defensive squad at home, increasing the likelihood of a potential blowout/defensive-centric game.

Injury Situations to Monitor  

NOTE: Injury reporting is especially fluid in the NBA, where the status of multiple players can change during the 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 the status of all players on that night's slate, including those carrying injury designations that aren't listed in this section. 

Domantas Sabonis (ankle): OUT 

In Sabonis' absence, Goga Bitadze and Torrey Craig should draw starts in the frontcourt, while the usage of the rest of the starting five should be elevated. 

Caris LeVert, IND (calf): QUESTIONABLE 

If LeVert cannot suit up, Chris Duarte should be in for a start at shooting guard. 

Malcolm Brogdon, IND (Achilles): QUESTIONABLE 

If Brogdon cannot suit up, Keifer Sykes could draw a start at point guard. 

Tyrese Haliburton, SAC (conditioning): QUESTIONABLE 

If Haliburton sits out, Buddy Hield and Terence Davis should be primary beneficiaries.

Other notable injuries: 

Deandre Ayton, PHO (ankle): OUT 

Myles Turner, IND (foot): OUT 

Elite Players

We have one healthy player with a five-figure salary on Saturday's slate – Giannis Antetokounmpo ($12,100). 

Antetokounmpo has scored 68.3 and 55.5 DK points in his last two games and is averaging 60.2 DK points at home overall this season. The big man is also in a good positional matchup, as Sacramento has allowed 52.3 DK points per contest to power forwards in the last 15 games, the second-highest figure in the league over that span.

Expected Chalk

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

Darius Garland, CLE ($9,000) 

Garland has scored 44.3 to 63.3 DK points in his last five games and has shot at least 50.0 percent in three straight, which should make him very popular on such a small slate despite his recent salary bump. 

Devin Booker, PHO ($8,900) 

Booker is averaging just over 40 DK points per game for the season and just eclipsed 70 two games ago, with the combination of his upside and salary very likely to lead to him finding himself in plenty of lineups.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, OKC ($8,600) 

Gilgeous-Alexander is OKC's most consistent and reliable DFS option by far and checks into Saturday night having scored over 40 DK points in five of his last six games.

Key Values 

Chris Duarte, IND at PHX ($5,200) 

As mentioned earlier, Duarte could be due for another start at shooting guard in LeVert's stead, and even if the latter does suit up, the rookie should see some extra usage with Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner both sidelined for Indiana. Duarte sports a 22.4 percent usage rate and averages 36.4 DK points per 36 minutes without his pair of teammates on the floor, and those figures bump up to 24.1 and 40.6, respectively, when LeVert and Malcolm Brogdon are also absent. Duarte has also scored 26.3 to 47.8 DK points in his last three games, excellent returns on his current salary.

Kevin Love, CLE vs. OKC ($5,100) 

Love has averaged a solid 28 DK points per game, and he's delivered over 5x his current salary in 27 of 38 games this season overall. The veteran big man comes into Saturday with four tallies of at least 26.3 DK points in his last six games, and the matchup against the Thunder is an appealing one. OKC has allowed the 10th-highest offensive efficiency to second unit players (41.9 percent) and the seventh-highest offensive efficiency to power forwards (27.8 percent), and the Thunder has also yielded the fourth-most DK points per game to the position on the season (49.3). What's more, OKC is the league's worst shooting team on the road and is allowing an NBA-high 59.5 rebounds per road contest, which certainly ups Love's chances of a double-double.

Goga Bitadze, IND at PHX ($4,700) 

Bitadze is set for an extended run as the starting center, as both Sabonis and Turner are expected to be out for some time. The big man produced 33.3 DK points across 31 minutes against the Warriors on Thursday before getting ejected in the fourth quarter, and he also tallied 34 DK points three games ago against the Clippers. Bitadze should be set for a strong return on his salary as long as he sees enough minutes Saturday, as the Suns are still missing Deandre Ayton (ankle) down low and are allowing 53 DK points per game to centers over the last 15 contests.

ALSO CONSIDER: Justin Holiday, IND at PHX ($4,900); Torrey Craig, IND at PHX ($4,500)

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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