Defense to Avoid: Memphis Grizzlies vs. Atlanta Hawks
The Grizzlies have been dominant defensively against frontcourts, having allowed the fewest fantasy points to centers and the fourth-fewest to forwards this season. They have been a bit more vulnerable in the backcourt, allowing the 14th-most fantasy points to guards, but the Hawks are primarily a frontcourt-driven team, so the Grizzlies could be equipped to slow their offense.
Offenses to Use: Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs
This would be counterintuitive based on season rankings, but this looks to be a very unusual game. On the Spurs side, Kawhi Leonard is out with a concussion, LaMarcus Aldridge is out indefinitely, both Tony Parker and Dejounte Murray are out, and Kyle Anderson is a game-time decision. On the Warriors side, all of their primary players will be rested. Thus, there are going to be a lot of min-priced players in that game that will be contributing starter-caliber numbers. The trick will be figuring out which ones will contribute the most, but in either case there should be a lot of players outperforming their prices in this game.
Teams on Back-to-Backs:
First game: Cavaliers, Heat, Knicks, 76ers, Suns, Trail Blazers
Second game: Hawks, Hornets, Mavericks, Nuggets, Warriors, Bucks, Timberwolves, Magic, Kings, Raptors and Wizards
John Wall, WAS at POR (10,100): Wall has averaged 25.8 points, 10.6 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.2 blocks per game in his last five. His production has been low variance in that stretch, with a minimum of 43.5 and a max of 61.0. He has a great matchup Saturday against a Trail Blazers defense that has allowed the second-most fantasy points to point guards in the last five games, including Russell Westbrookís 58-point explosion last week.
Bradley Beal, WAS at POR ($7500): Beal has been equally hot of late, scoring at least 22 points in nine straight games, averaging 28.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.2 steals per game in that stretch. His production has been a bit higher variance, with a low of 33.25 and a high of 63.50 fantasy points in that stretch. Thus, matchup and level of play could be deciding factors in how big of a game that he has on any given night. Beal is coming off arguably his best game of the season Friday, and on Saturday he will be facing a Trail Blazers defense that has allowed the 11th-most fantasy points to shooting guards in their last 10 games.
Ian Clark ($3000), Manu Ginobili ($3100), Shaun Livingston ($3200) and/or Patty Mills ($4000), GS at SA: Clark, Livingston and Mills all look to be in for many more minutes than usual due to the absences Saturday. Ginobili is older and likely won't play many expanded minutes, but while he is on the court he should be a focal point of the offense.
LeBron James, CLE at ORL ($11,000): James has scored between 65 and 70 fantasy points in four straight games, extremely low variance on exceedingly outlier output. He seems to be ramping up as we approach the post-season, and only the occasional DNP-rest seems capable of slowing him down. On Saturday, he faces a Magic defense that has allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to small forwards this season.
T.J. Warren, PHO at DAL ($6000): Warren has averaged 16.8 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.5 combined blocks/steals per game since the trade that sent P.J. Tucker to the Raptors. His production on the whole has been extremely low variance, scoring between 26 and 34 fantasy points in seven of those games, with the eighth and most recent one an exception with a 44.25. On Saturday, he faces a solid Mavericks defense that could be weakened if Nerlens Noel (knee) misses his second straight game.
David Lee ($4300), Jonathon Simmons ($3900), Matt Barnes ($3300), and David West ($3000), GS at SA: Another group of low-priced Spurs and Warriors who are likely to see starter minutes and production on Saturday, Thereís no numerical basis from which to predict who hits the biggest, since these types of everyone-on-both-teams-sit situation just donít happen very often, but all are worth a deeper look.
Karl-Anthony Towns, MIN at MIL ($10,400): Towns has scored at least 40 fantasy points in nine straight games, averaging 26.6 points, 15.1 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.4 combined steals/blocks per game. On Saturday, he faces a Bucks defense that has allowed the second-most fantasy points to centers in the last 10 games.
Jusuf Nurkic, POR vs WAS ($6700): Itís inexplicable to me why Nurkicís price is still so low. He has averaged 19.8 points, 10.6 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 2.4 blocks and 1.2 steals per game over his last five. Thatís an average of 47.5 fantasy points, with a max of 81 in his last outing and a very respectable minimum of 32.5 Apparently the system hasnít caught up yet with what heís been doing, which gives you another opportunity to take advantage of what is suddenly one of the impact-centers in the game.
Kosta Koufos, SAC vs DEN ($3900): Koufos has scored between 21.00 and 30.25 fantasy points in five of his last six games, with the one really bad game 10 games ago. The last time he faced his Saturday opponent, the Nuggets, he finished with them 14 points, 10 rebounds, a block and a steal in 24 minutes.