Although we have seven games Saturday, Yahoo's featured slate consists of four games that tip off at 7 p.m. EST or later so we will focus on those contests only in this article.
The Nets, Warriors and Nuggets play the tail end of back-to-backs Saturday and interestingly enough, all three won Friday. The showcase matchup is undoubtedly the Warriors-Raptors game in Toronto, where both Kyle Lowry and Stephen Curry are questionable to play. According to reports, Curry will play, but Lowry's tailbone injury looks to be more of an issue. Keep an eye on these two if you plan on using them. While Delon Wright ($17) is your obvious pivot from Lowry and a player I will use widely if Lowry is gone, I can't promote any of the Curry alternatives as fantasy options. Otherwise, I like targeting this matchup with the remaining starters. Vegas has all four of these games at similar over/under totals, but I like GS-TOR for the highest total and DEN-SA for the lowest combined score.
As we look at the $50-plus players available on the slate, only Kevin Durant ($53) is active, with Stephen Curry ($51) questionable. Durant will match up well against OG Anunoby and C.J. Miles, and I see no problem spending up here due to the limitations of the player pool. He's no lock for tournament lineups, but he's almost chalk for cash rosters, as you'll need to keep pace with the field. To avoid wasting space below, I'm going to promote DeMar DeRozan ($44), Andre Drummond ($43) and John Wall ($40) as great options in their matchups, as they are close enough to the top to be singled out independently. Consider all three as excellent lineup targets.
As usual, I'll highlight two players at each position along with a list of a few players at each slot that hold equal weight in my predictions. We'll also select a player to fade at guard, forward and center.
As mentioned, Delon Wright ($17) is a great value pick. I think Lowry will be a scratch, but monitor the late news and ignore this call if Lowry starts.
Bradley Beal, WAS vs. BKN ($34): I don't have a problem stacking this game with Wall and Beal, as the duo have enough output to warrant spending $74 of the $200 on this slate. Standing alone, Beal simply makes sense with the slim pickings at shooting guard. He's had a nice run the last five games, averaging 26.8 points, 5.2 assists and 4.4 rebounds.
Dwight Buycks, DET at CHI ($10): If this game gets out of hand, I see Detroit handing point-guard duties to Buycks, who's demonstrated a hot hand in relief of Ish Smith. He's not going to light up the scoreboard, but he's shown that 20-plus YFP is certainly within the realm of possibility, and that's all you really need for 10 bucks. I like him especially if you're going expensive everywhere else.
Other guards to consider: Spencer Dinwiddie, BKN at WAS ($25), Will Barton (a strong play if Gary Harris remains absent), DEN at SA ($23), Allen Crabbe, BKN at WAS ($11)
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Guard to Avoid:
Zach LaVine, CHI vs. DET ($23): Like many others, I've had LaVine on IR waiting for this day in seasonal leagues, as the dynamic 22-year-old has loads of potential and will be a DFS star once again this year. Even though he is starting Saturday, I have to fade him for a couple reasons. There will obviously be some adjustment in play as he shakes off the cobwebs, and he's also playing with a completely different team that, well, just simply isn't all that good. The last time he played at full speed, he was with a Timberwolves team that had talent to complement him, and the young Bulls expect LaVine to lead the team. That's not happening yet, so try to resist being cute with this pick.
LaMarcus Aldridge, SA vs. DEN ($38): The Spurs are banged up everywhere, so expect him to do most of the heavy lifting. Even though Denver will try to exploit the Spurs at their weak spots, Aldridge will hold his own. His floor makes him a reasonable cash play.
Lauri Markkanen, CHI vs. DET ($24): Detroit has been soft against power forwards this season, and though I'm not a big fan of the expected pace of this game, I expect Markkanen to perform well. He's coming off 54.5 YFP against the Knicks and could easily be good for 35 to 40 YFP against the Pistons.
Other forwards to consider: Draymond Green, GS at POR ($38), Trey Lyles, DEN at SA ($24), DeMarre Carrol, BKN at WAS ($16)
Forward to Avoid:
Denzel Valentine, CHI vs. DET, ($17): The days of 30-plus minutes for Valentine are ending, as I expect that Valentine will be the primary casualty as a result of Zach LaVine's return. He's already back to the bench for Saturday's matchup and though LaVine won't play every game in the short term, Valentine's stock is in line for a serious tumble.
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I already highlighted Andre Drummond ($43) above, and the pickings are small at this slot, so he might ultimately be worth the spend, but here are some other ways to go.
Pau Gasol, SA vs. DEN ($19): I prefer Gasol over Nikola Jokic ($41) to highlight because even though I think both will have decent stat lines, Gasol comes in at a better price point. Denver also seems to give up more points to centers than you'd reasonably expect. Gasol is definitely a double-double candidate at a great value.
Jonas Valanciunas, TOR vs. GS ($16): The Warriors' well-documented Achilles’ heel is at the five, and the Toronto big man has actually put up some decent stat lines lately.
Other centers to consider: Marcin Gortat, WAS vs. BKN ($16)
Center to Avoid:
Robin Lopez, CHI vs. DET ($13): I'm not ecstatic about most of the list, and I'm likely to spend up here, but aside from the obvious fades below him, Lopez shapes up to be the weakest notable player. While Detroit isn't especially tough against centers, Drummond is a force of nature in the paint, and even though the big man can't shoot, he can certainly crash the boards at an elite level. Lopez should come up on the short end of this matchup.