This article is part of our Daily Games Cheat Sheet series.
Defenses to Avoid
Brooklyn Nets vs. San Antonio Spurs: The Spurs' defense has been stellar to this point, as they have the second best defensive rating in the league at 95.3 points allowed per 100 possessions. Basically, this team is playing at an incredibly high level on the defensive side of the ball, and they get a nice matchup against a Brooklyn Nets team who has an offensive rating in the bottom half of the league, of 104.8. While options like Deron Williams and Joe Johnson may be appealing, you'll likely find better options in other places during Saturday's action.
Washington Wizards vs. Milwaukee Bucks: The Wizards are just playing at a ridiculously impressive level to this point in 2014. They truly look like a force to be reckoned with, and the numbers agree with that. Currently, the Wizards have the fifth best defensive rating in the NBA at 98.6, and draw an excellent matchup with the Bucks. Looking at the Bucks currently, they have an offensive rating that ranks as the fourth worst in the NBA at 97.7, and their pace (number of possessions per 48 minutes), is only 95.09, putting them in the bottom 10 in the league. Avoid the Bucks tonight, and with a full slate of games, you shouldn't have much of an issue finding other options.
Offenses to Use
Toronto Raptors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers: There's a good chance that you may not have suspected this, but this is a very nice matchup for the Raptors offensively. Currently Toronto has an offensive rating of 110.3, which is the second best in the NBA, behind only the Dallas Mavericks. What makes this even better, is the fact that the Cavaliers have a defensive rating of 106.6, good for the seventh worst in the entire NBA. It's surprising, but LeBron James and company just aren't getting it done defensively right now.
New Orleans Pelicans vs. Utah Jazz: If you didn't have enough of a reason to use Anthony Davis before, you do now. The high price tag is scary, but he and the Pelicans are posting the fourth best offensive rating in the NBA at 108.2. The Jazz? You guessed it. They have a defensive ranking that puts them as the fourth worst in the NBA, as they allow 108.3 points per 100 possessions. It may not only be time to fire up Davis, but also look at Jrue Holiday possibly as well.
Teams on a Back-to-Back Set
First game of a back-to-back: Miami Heat
Second game of a back-to-back: Phoenix Suns, Orlando Magic, Toronto Raptors, Cleveland Cavaliers, Philadelphia 76ers, Dallas Mavericks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Washington Wizards, Milwaukee Bucks, Brooklyn Nets, San Antonio Spurs, New Orleans Pelicans, Utah Jazz
DraftKings.com DAILY PLAYER RECOMMENDATIONS
If you've never played on DraftKings before, we recommend reading our Daily Fantasy Basketball 101: How to Win on DraftKings strategy article. Want to play in a $50,000 daily NBA contest on DraftKings? Check it out here.
Kyrie Irving, PG, CLE ($8,800): Irving is going to cost you a bit more than the other point guard options, but he could pay off in a big way. I mentioned above the fact that the Raptors can really score the ball, but also the fact that the Cavaliers struggle defensively. When you look at the stats, the Raptors are in the top 10 in fantasy points allowed per game at the point guard position. This game should be excellent for a playmaker like Irving, and I think he may start to take over at certain points. Don't be afraid to spend on Irving, who's posted 34.5, 41, 39.25 and 49 fantasy points on DraftKings in his last four games.
Eric Bledsoe, SG, PHX ($7,500): The Pacers have truly struggled to defend the shooting guard position so far in 2014, and the bodes very well for Bledsoe, who's been playing great as of late. In his previous four games, Bledsoe has scored 36, 36.25, 28 and 49.75 fantasy points on DraftKings. Now he gets a Pacers' team who is in the bottom five when it comes to defending shooting guards. Phoenix also comes in with one of the highest paces in the NBA, averaging 98.94 possessions per 48 minutes, which bodes incredibly well for Bledsoe.
Gordon Hayward, SF, UTA ($7,600):Gordon Hayward, say hello to an amazing matchup on Saturday. The Jazz are taking on the Pelicans as previously mentioned, and New Orleans has given up the most fantasy points per game to opposing small forwards. With guys like LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Rudy Gay above Hayward in terms of cost, he likely won't have an incredibly high use-rate, making him even more of an attractive option. Sure, I mentioned above that you want to use the Pelicans' offensive players, but the Jazz are going to need to score in order to keep up, and Hayward will be the man for the job.
Amir Johnson, PF, TOR ($4,800): I said we were going to target a Raptor or two, and I think this is our guy. Johnson is getting heavy minutes with James Johnson (ankle) being out. The Raptors' starting power forward just returned from an injury around 10 days ago, so he's getting back into the swing of things. The numbers above don't lie, and the Cavaliers give up the second most fantasy points to opposing power forwards so far in 2014. Johnson scored 30.75 fantasy points on DraftKings in his last game against a tough Memphis Grizzlies' defense, and I think he feasts against the Cavaliers. Have to love that price tag as well.
Marcin Gortat, C, WAS ($6,200): If you want an interesting option at the center position tonight, look no further than Marcin Gortat. Gortat takes full advantage of a mismatch, and that's what he has tonight when the Wizards take on the Milwaukee Bucks, who allow the fourth most fantasy points per game to opposing big men. While I'm not targeting a ton of Wizards tonight, Gortat is one who really intrigues me, especially since his price isn't too over the top.
Dwight Howard (knee)- doubtful
Dwayne Wade (hamstring)- questionable
Omer Asik (back)
Norris Cole (finger)- questionable
Devin Harris (leg)
Tyler Hansbrough (shoulder)
Kyle O'Quinn (ankle)
Andrea Bargnani (hamstring)- questionable
Jose Calderon (calf)- questionable
C.J. Miles (calf)- questionable
C.J. Watson (foot)- questionable
David West (ankle)- questionable