This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
The main FanDuel slate Saturday night features six games, with an even balance of lopsided favorites and games projected to have narrower outcomes. There's also a fair amount of equilibrium between expected defensive slugfests and higher-scoring contests, with three games at 221 projected points or fewer.
Boston Celtics (-9.5) at Detroit Pistons (+9.5) (O/U: 223.5 points)
Toronto Raptors (+1) at Indiana Pacers (-1) (O/U: 228.5 points)
Atlanta Hawks (+3.5) at Philadelphia 76ers (-3.5) (O/U: 221.0 points)
Charlotte Hornets (+10.5) at Miami Heat (-10.5) (O/U: 214.5 points)
Portland Trail Blazers (+5) at Dallas Mavericks (-5) (O/U: 214.0 points)
Houston Rockets (+10.5) at New Orleans Pelicans (-10.5) (O/U: 230.0 points)
Three of the 12 teams in action Saturday night will be on the second night of a back-to-back set, so there shouldn't be too much fatigue at play overall. Additionally, while the injury report does have some big names on it, most of the notable players dealing with short-term issues appear to have at least a 50/50 chance of suiting up. The fact 12 teams are in action also gives us what some might consider an ideal amount of options across the salary cap without the lineup-building process becoming overwhelming.
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, including those carrying injury designations that aren't listed in this section.
James Harden, PHI (foot): OUT
In Harden's ongoing absence, De'Anthony Melton is likely to stick in the starting five, while Joel Embiid should especially see some added responsibility.
Tyler Herro, MIA (ankle): QUESTIONABLE
If Herro doesn't suit up, Max Strus could draw a start at shooting guard.
Jusuf Nurkic, POR (thigh): QUESTIONABLE
If Nurkic can't go Saturday, Drew Eubanks could draw another start at center.
Pascal Siakam, TOR (groin): OUT
With Siakam out and Precious Achiuwa (ankle) also sidelined, rookie Christian Koloko could draw another start at center while the usage of Fred VanVleet and OG Anunoby should remain significantly elevated.
Cade Cunningham, DET (shin): QUESTIONABLE
If Cunningham sits out again, Killian Hayes and Cory Joseph should handle the majority of point guard duties.
Jerami Grant, POR (ankle): PROBABLE
If Grant suits up as expected and Jusuf Nurkic (thigh) sits out, Grant could take on extra responsibility in the frontcourt.
Other notable injuries:
LaMelo Ball, CHA (ankle): OUT
Christian Wood, DAL (knee): PROBABLE
Dennis Smith, CHA (ankle): QUESTIONABLE
Gordon Hayward, CHA (shoulder): OUT
Malcolm Brogdon, BOS (hamstring): QUESTIONABLE
Justise Winslow, POR (ankle): PROBABLE
Precious Achiuwa, TOR (ankle): OUT
We have four players with five-figure salaries on Saturday's slate – Luka Doncic ($12,200), Joel Embiid ($10,500), Jayson Tatum ($10,300) and Dejounte Murray ($10,200).
Doncic scored a season-low 42.8 FD points against the Wizards on Thursday while shooting poorly for the second straight game, and he'll have another tough positional matchup Saturday against a Blazers team surrendering just 39.5 percent shooting to point guards.
Embiid should continue to enjoy even more usage than usual with Harden still out, and he's scored 52.5 and 39.6 FD points in his first two games without his teammate. The second tally came against the same Hawks he'll face again Saturday.
Tatum continues to run hot, scoring 50.1 FD points against the Nuggets on Friday night and posting no fewer than 44.3 FD points in six straight contests. The matchup against the Pistons is one Tatum scored 44.7 FD points across 31 minutes in two games ago.
Murray has been a bit quieter recently, notching 40.7 and 29.6 FD points in his last two games. The latter total came against the same 76ers squad he'll face Saturday, which held him to 5-for-13 shooting in 35 minutes.
Other likely chalk plays include:
Trae Young, ATL ($9,800)
Young scored 37.1 FD points across 33 minutes against these same Sixers on Thursday, and he'd put up 54.2 and 44.3 FD points in the prior two contests.
Jimmy Butler, MIA ($9,300)
Butler just scored a season-high 63 FD points in 42 minutes versus the same Hornets squad he'll face again Saturday and should therefore remain very popular Saturday.
Fred VanVleet, TOR ($9,000)
VanVleet slumped to 24.9 FD points against the Thunder on Friday, but he'd scored 46.6 to 55.6 FD points in the first three games without Pascal Siakam (groin).
Tyrese Haliburton, IND ($8,800)
Haliburton is now averaging 44.8 FD points per game after scoring 48.2 to 51.3 FD points in his last three, and he also has pair of tallies over 50 in the last five.
Kelly Oubre, CHA at MIA ($6,000)
Oubre went off for 46.4 FD points across 39 minutes on Thursday night against the Heat, with an 11-for-20 tally from the field, including 7-for-13 from three-point range, spearheading the charge. The veteran wing will continue in the starting five Saturday with Gordon Hayward (shoulder) still out. The big performance versus Miami wasn't surprising, considering the Heat's defense versus small forwards this season. The Heat allow an NBA-high 30.8 offensive efficiency rating to the position and 51.6 percent shooting, including 45.0 percent from behind the arc. With Oubre's salary rising only slightly over Thursday, he's right back in play in the rematch.
Bennedict Mathurin, IND vs. TOR ($5,800)
Mathurin's salary remains surprisingly modest for a player that's already eclipsed the 30-FD-point threshold on four occasions early in his rookie season. Mathurin most recently produced 31.4 FD points against the Nuggets on Wednesday, and he'll be well-rested with two full days off between games. Meanwhile, the Raptors took a tough loss in OKC on Friday night, and Toronto allows 48.0 percent shooting to second-unit players, including 37.3 percent from behind the arc. The Raps also surrender the fifth-highest offensive efficiency rating to shooting guards (25.3), while Mathurin shoots a stellar 43.7 percent from behind the arc.
Al Horford, BOS at DET ($5,200)
Horford compiled 35.4 FD points against the Nuggets on Friday night and came into the contest having averaged 29.9 FD points over his previous four games. The big man shot 65.6 percent, including 46.2 percent from three-point range, over that span, and he put up 26.2 FD points in 26 minutes against this same Pistons squad Wednesday night while going a perfect 6-for-6 from the field. Detroit continues to be very vulnerable to frontcourt players, allowing the 12th-highest offensive efficiency to forwards and centers; additionally, the Pistons are yielding the third-highest shooting percentage of any team on its home floor (48.5) and the eighth-most rebounds per contest overall (54.8).
ALSO CONSIDER: Mason Plumlee, CHA at MIA ($5,700); Chris Boucher, TOR at IND ($5,600)