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FantasyDraft NBA: Saturday Values

Juan Carlos Blanco

Winner of the FSWA 2016 Newcomer of the Year Award, Juan Carlos Blanco has been playing fantasy sports for close to 20 years and covers NBA, MLB, and the NFL for, including serving as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' beat writer. He has previously written for and remains an avid season-long and daily fantasy player in multiple sports.

Saturday night brings us a second consecutive seven-game slate, which once again provides us with a comfortable amount of options to consider at each salary tier while allowing us plenty of ways to differentiate in tournaments. There’s a marquee matchup between the Rockets and Warriors on tap, as well as a key injury to the Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo, whose absence will have a ripple effect that must be factored in. With plenty to discuss, let’s dive into what should be an intriguing night of DFS action.


James Harden, HOU vs. GS ($19,500): Harden’s shot was rusty in his Thursday night return against the Timberwolves, but he still managed to compile 30.50 fantasy points over 25 minutes. He’ll reportedly be bumped up to at least 30 minutes Saturday, and given the Warriors’ accelerated pace of play (105.4 possessions per game on the road, second most in the NBA), that should be more than enough time for him to generate a strong return. The fact that Golden State has allowed the most fantasy points per game to two-guards over the last 10 (66.1) and last five (69.9) also further his case. Moreover, the Warriors have also allowed a robust 5.0 made three-pointers to twos in their last 10, while Harden is putting up a career-high 10.5 three-point attempts through his first 36 games.

Damian Lillard, POR vs. DAL ($15,700): Lillard’s priced right for a player that’s scored 40.50 to 51.25 fantasy points in the last five games, a stretch during which he’s averaging 26.0 points on 47.8 percent shooting. His matchup Saturday couldn’t be better, as the Mavs have allowed the most fantasy points per game (50.1) to point guards on the season, including 58.3 over the last 10. They’re also allowing the third highest shooting percentage (49.0) to the position over the latter span, while Lillard is averaging 1.28 fantasy points per minute over the aforementioned five-game sample.

T.J. McConnell, PHI vs. MIL ($9,200): McConnell has scored 25.50 to 45.00 fantasy points in his last three games, seeing 25 to 32 minutes in those contests. He should continue to log a similar workload with J.J. Redick (leg) out of action again Saturday, leaving him poised for another solid return on his modest price. McConnell is encouragingly averaging 10.6 shot attempts over that three-game sample on his way to a solid 21.1 percent usage rate and average of 1.19 fantasy points per minute. Meanwhile, the Bucks come in allowing 48.7 fantasy points per game to ones over the last 10 games, along with the fourth most assists (8.4) on the campaign.


Anthony Davis, NO vs. MEM ($18,900): Davis saw a downturn in what was his third game in four nights against the Hawks on Wednesday, scoring a modest 27.25 fantasy points on just 2-for-8 shooting. The fatigue was understandable, considering he’d played 40 to 49 minutes in the prior three contests. However, he should have his legs back after two full days of rest and will find himself in a plus matchup against the Grizzlies, which have allowed the second most fantasy points per game (64.3) to power forwards over the last five games. They’ve also yielded bottom five figures in multiple other categories to the position over that span, while Davis blasted this same squad for a 33-point, 18-rebound double-double back on Opening Night. He’d also scored 53.25 to 83.75 fantasy points in the three games prior to the aforementioned outlier, making him an outstanding cash or tournament play for those who can afford him Saturday.

Dwight Howard, CHA vs. MIA ($14,900): Howard has dominated the majority of bigs put in front of him this season, most recently having scored 41.75 to 52.25 fantasy points in the last three games while facing off with Steven Adams, Andre Drummond and Marcin Gortat. He also tallied 38.50 fantasy points over 32 minutes against this same Heat squad on Dec. 15 and has posted double-doubles in five of his last six games. What’s more, he’ll catch Miami on their fifth game in seven nights Saturday while he last played Wednesday, a disparity that could certainly work in his favor.

John Henson, MIL at PHI ($9,000): Henson is now averaging a solid 22.33 fantasy points per game on the season following a seven-game stretch during which he’s scored between 20.00 and 36.25 fantasy points in six of them, solid-to-excellent returns on his current price. He’s putting up 7.4 shot attempts over that span as well, a nice bump up from the 6.2 he’s averaging on the season, which already represents the second highest mark of his career. Henson’s 9.0 rebounds during the sample are also a significant uptick over his 6.8 season figure, and he’s racked up a trio of double-double efforts since Jan. 6 as well. Meanwhile, the Sixers come in allowing the sixth most fantasy points per game (38.0) to centers on the season, including the second most (44.7) over the last 10. Henson is encouragingly averaging a career-high 24.8 minutes through 43 games and has seen at least 30 minutes in three of the last five contests.


Karl-Anthony Towns, MIN vs. TOR ($17,400): Joel Embiid ($17,900) is naturally an excellent option at just $500 more, but Towns brings just as much potential upside and draws a matchup against a Raptors squad that’s been increasingly vulnerable to centers and playing their third game in four nights. Toronto is allowing the 10th most fantasy points per game (37.2) to centers on the season, including 38.1 (on 61.0 percent shooting) over the last five contests. They’re also allowing the third most points (16.3) and third most assists (2.9) to the position on the campaign, while Towns has eclipsed 50 fantasy points twice and 60 on two other occasions in the last eight contests. Considering his talent and what should be a fatigued Toronto squad, the big man should be poised to extend his current streak of 11 consecutive double-doubles.

Khris Middleton, MIL at PHI ($14,800): For those that need the savings, the Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell ($13,800) is also a very viable option at $1K cheaper. However, both Giannis Antetokounmpo (knee) and Malcolm Brogdon (personal) are scheduled to be out of action for the Bucks on Saturday, which should boost Middleton’s usage skyward. The six-year veteran is sporting a 33.0 percent usage rate and averaging 1.14 fantasy points per minute with Antetokounmpo off the floor this season, and he comes into Saturday’s game having already scored between 29.50 and 38.75 fantasy points in five of the previous six contests with the Greek Freak alongside him. The Sixers have been tougher against small forwards recently but are still allowing 39.8 fantasy points per game to the position on the season, while Middleton racked up 47.75 fantasy points and took 24 shot attempts over 40 minutes the last time Antetokounmpo was out of action Dec. 23.

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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.