This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
Saturday offers up a massive 11-game slate in DraftKings (the early game of LAC/DET will be excluded). Many teams will be facing back-to-back contests (Rockets, Hawks, Hornets, Nuggets, Jazz), so their fatigue levels should be considered as we commence out lineup builds.
You'll see a lot of questionable tags on the site today, but a grand majority of them are probable to play.
New Orleans frontcourt and backcourt (OUT): This includes Davis (finger), Julius Randle (ankle) and Nikola Mirotic (calf) up front, as the Pelicans continue to play it safe with their potential trade assets as the deadline approaches. Jahlil Okafor ($7,000) will once again be at center, but his price has hit a threshold that I'm not entirely comfortable with. I'm more inclined to pivot to Kenrich Williams ($4,100) or Darius Miller ($4,400) in this spot. The Pels are also without Elfrid Payton (ankle) and E'Twaun Moore (rest). Jrue Holiday ($9,100) will once again absorb a lot of production, and Tim Frazier ($3,800 appears to be the only worthwhile backcourt pivot.
Jamal Murray (ankle) – Questionable: This is a situation worth monitoring on this back-to-back for the Nuggets. As of right now, Murray is not listed as out for Saturday, but let's assume that he is and look at the minutes used by all of his pivots:
Beasley ($4,400): 41.3 Minutes, 45.5 DKFP
Morris ($5,500): 36.5 Minutes, 42.5 DKFP
Craig ($3,800): 34.2 Minutes, 35.0 DKFP
If Murray misses a fifth straight game, one can safely assume that these two will remain comparable again tonight, with Craig pulling up the rear. Morris was used less, but is an uptick in minutes worth the $1,100 price increase? I think not. I'll roll with Beasley and his versatility in covering both Murray and Gary Harris (groin) if they both sit.
Klay Thompson (illness) QUESTIONABLE: We probably won't know Thompson's status until game time, but if we find out any earlier he could end up being a tremendous low-ownership play. Although Andre Iguodala and Alfonzo McKinnie logged more minutes, Thompson's production was mostly absorbed by the usual starters.
Lonzo Ball (ankle) OUT: It's one of those rare situations where you actually have to pay more for the pivot, but Rajon Rondo ($,6800) is the guy. Kyle Kuzma has a questionable tag but should play, so I expect Brandon Ingram ($6,100) to continue assisting at the two and three spots.
Spencer Dinwiddie (thumb) OUT: This should now be considered one of those ongoing injuries, but Shabazz Napier ($5,500) has played exceptionally well in this pivot situation and should warrant daily consideration until Dinwiddie's return. It's still too early to rely on Theo Pinson ($3,500).
Minnesota backcourt: Derrick Rose (ankle) is questionable once again. He would be a great play with Jeff Teague (foot) and Tyus Jones (ankle) out, but even if Rose can go, Jerryd Bayless ($5,400) remains a suitable pivot.
J.J. Redick (rest) OUT: I can't rely on Landry Shamet or Furkan Korkmaz to get bump worthy of consideration here. I do think Jimmy Butler ($7,300) could benefit the most, and his price is extremely reasonable.
Mavs mayhem: The Mavs will get Luka Doncic back, but they'll still only have 11 available players. You'd best plug in Dwight Powell ($4,400) or Maxi Kleber ($4,100) to fill for Jordan, and Devin Harris ($3,800) and Jalen Brunson ($4,100) will also be called upon in this unique game script.
Whew! That was intense. So, some of those pivots represented about 1/3 of all my lineups, and I'd advise you to keep all of these in mind – I may even re-mention some of my favorites.
One game, in particular, should be on everyone's wish list tonight, as LeBron and the Lakers will face off against the Warriors on national TV. This game is special, so I'm going to just go ahead and discuss it without using any of the players in my recommendations. I see two popular ways to go here:
Mid-range grab: Rondo, Ingram or Kuzma with Thompson (if he plays), Green or Cousins
What about Harden? Well – he's only averaging 46 DKFP per game over three games against the Jazz, and he's also on a back-to-back. I'm ok with fading him tonight. The Lakers-Warriors game is just too good to pass up. Kevin Durant at $9,300? Insane.
Ben Simmons, PHI at SAC ($9,200): Simmons faces off against the league's worst backcourt defense, so this shouldn't be a big surprise for anyone. His last five games are hovering in the 50 DKFP range, and with Redick out, Simmons will need to take part in absorbing some of that production. A solid pivot away from the big game.
Trae Young, ATL at PHO ($7,500): It's a back-to-back game, but the 235 O/U makes this an ideal game to target these two teams, and I think the youngster can handle the fatigue. A look at some of his back-to-back performances has shown little variation on his overall output. I couldn't find a single game where he had a considerable drop-off on the tail end.
Jordan Clarkson, CLE vs. DAL ($5,100): This game should be an excellent spot for Clarkson. The Mavs' backcourt will be all out of sorts, and Clarkson enjoys a 10 percent bump in production on multiple days of rest. Granted, this game figures to be a bit of a low-paced clunker, but there's some value to be had.
Jimmy Butler, PHI at SAC ($7,300): Once you get past James and Durant as your spend-up options, things get a little bleak in the high range, as I think you'll see Giannis fade in a Wizards blowout. This leaves Butler, who already garnered a mention, but I like the game script for him with Redick (rest) out of action on Saturday. We have no history against the Kings to explore, but Butler will look to bounce back from a less-than-stellar outing against the Warriors and take advantage of a softer opponent.
Harrison Barnes, DAL at CLE ($5,800): I know, it's a clunker of a game, but with new guys in transition and Doncic questionable – who's going to score for Dallas? I'm fine with taking a flier on the reliable Barnes, who could very easily light it up into the 40 DKFP range in what could be an embarrassing loss to the Cavs.
Josh Jackson, PHO vs. ATL ($5,600): With T.J. Warren (ankle) out, Jackson has played some superb ball over the past week, and he should be good for at least 30 DKFP in this game, and due to the fast pace of this matchup, one could easily expect an even higher total here. The Hawks are also on a back-to-back and rank 27th in defense versus Jackson's position.
So many good spots at center tonight – it's a shame that we're going to have to fade most of them. I think your contrarian GPP's could use a heavy dose of Joel Embiid ($10,700) and Nikola Vucevic ($9,800) in plum matchups, while I think Jokic and Towns will cancel each other out. Beyond that, let's look at some other favorite spots.
LaMarcus Aldridge, SA vs. NO ($8,100): I have you a piece of this game with Rudy Gay, but you can't get too much of this matchup with a decimated Pelican's front line. You'll almost always find minimal ownership with Aldridge, making him a GPP darling with the right set of circumstances – can you dream up a better one than the Davis-less Pelicans?
DeMarcus Cousins, GS vs. LAL ($6,700): He's still priced right, and Cousins should be a popular way to get into this nationally-televised marquee matchup. I think McGee and Zubac will put up a good fight, but Cousins will cause trouble all over the court, as he can drain the three-ball with the best of them. Until Cousins gets too expensive, I'm all over him.
Alex Len, ATL at PHO ($4,300): I'm dipping low here, but hear me out. Len only logged 10 minutes in the first game of this back-to-back, so he should be fresher then Dedmon today. Len can explode when given the opportunity, and the Hawks' coaching staff are smart enough to know when to use him. There's risk involved, but I think it's a shrewd play on a packed slate.