FanDuel NBA: Saturday Value Plays

FanDuel NBA: Saturday Value Plays

This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.

The NBA churns out its third day of NBA restart games with a day-long schedule Saturday featuring five games. The caliber of play thus far has been mostly exceptional, with teams engaged in highly competitive matchups in which they've rarely looked besieged by rust or poor play. That's certainly encouraging for DFS purposes, as it allows us to trust a lot of what our collective eyes saw prior to the interruption in play back in March.

There are some key injury situations to monitor Saturday that we'll examine, and as usual, we'll also proceed to break down the positional outlook below. We'll then delve into examining possible chalk plays and some likely under-owned bargains that could help you round out your lineups with a couple of superstars.

Before delving into the slate, a reminder that FanDuel has reverted to its previous format of NOT dropping the lowest scoring in lineups after a one-year experiment with that feature. Therefore, it will be important to be prudent with each selection, as each player's total will count toward your final score.

Without further ado, let's take a more comprehensive look at Saturday's slate! 

Slate Overview

Here's a closer look at the two games with the highest projected totals on Saturday's slate:

New Orleans Pelicans at Los Angeles Clippers (Projected total: 227.0 points) 

The Pelicans' involvement in the game with the highest projected total of the day is of little surprise. New Orleans did play some solid defense against the Jazz in their opener on Thursday, holding Utah to 106 points, but they still check in allowing the fourth-most points per game (116.8). The two teams have also combined for 259, 243 and 263 points in their first three meetings of the season, so this total seems minuscule in comparison. Los Angeles will once again be without Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams, but even if their offensive capacity is hampered some by those absences, they certainly have plenty of firepower with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George leading the way. 

Utah Jazz at Oklahoma City Thunder (Projected total: 217.5 points)

The Jazz was able to gut out a 106-104 win over the Pelicans on Thursday in their opener, but it was evident they missed Bojan Bogdanovic's scoring. Utah and OKC have engaged in two previous grind-it-out battles this season as well, totaling 195 and 194 points, respectively. Those games took place before defensive ace Andre Roberson was available to the Thunder, and he'll be ready to make his first regular-season appearance since January 2018 in this contest after overcoming a serious leg injury. The fact the two teams are 24th (OKC) and 26th (Utah) in possessions per game could also help this game stay under this total.

Positional Breakdown

PG: There are a couple of potentially notable absences looming, with both Jamal Murray (hamstring) and Malcolm Brogdon (neck) questionable. If either or both were to miss, there is still a decent amount of depth, and the most expensive option, Ben Simmons, will only set you back $8K. Chris Paul, Kyle Lowry and Lonzo Ball are a solid trio in the $7K range, while Mike Conley, Goran Dragic Kendrick Nunn, Shake Milton, Patrick Beverley and Reggie Jackson are all intriguing sub-$6K values.

SG: Shooting guard essentially boasts a clean bill of health and is helmed up top by a potent trio of Jimmy Butler, Jrue Holiday and Paul George, all who could arguably be deemed underpriced. Victor Oladipo (knee) is the one potential injury concern, but there is plenty of depth with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Donovan Mitchell, Fred VanVleet and Dennis Schroder also available at reasonable costs.

SF: As was the case Thursday, LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard head up the field, and Brandon Ingram once again joins them a tier below. However, with the larger five-game slate the likes of Pascal Siakam, Tobias Harris and Danilo Gallinari are also high-upside options if you need to save some cash. Then, T.J. Warren could be one of the bigger values of the slate at just $6K due to the potential for both a Malcolm Brogdon and Victor Oladipo absence.

PF:  Anthony Davis heads up the pool with a fair salary of $10K, and then there's a nice drop in salary to Bam Adebayo ($8.4K). Al Horford ($7.2K) and Zion Williamson ($6.8K) both have appealing price tags as well, although there's some usage questions about both. Serge Ibaka and Paul Millsap both offer strong value in the $5K range, and Doug McDermott ($3.7K) could be one of the most widely used value options at the position if he's named the starter at power forward in place of the absent Domantas Sabonis (foot).

C: Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid sit atop the pool here with matching $9K salaries, while Rudy Gobert, Myles Turner, Steven Adams and Derrick Favors check in priced between $5.1K and $7.4K. You can even nab starters Marc Gasol, JaVale McGee and Ivica Zubac for under $4.5K, although each comes with varying degrees of questions with respect to minutes limitations.

Notable 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 (usually late morning Eastern time), 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.

Anthony Davis, LAL (eye)

Davis is probable due to his ongoing recovering from having been poked in the eye a week ago in a scrimmage against the Magic. However, he played through the injury without issue Thursday against the Clippers, amassing 34 points, eight rebounds and four assists over 35 minutes.

LeBron James, LAL (groin)

James carries the same probable designation due to right groin soreness that he did for Thursday's restart opener against the Clippers, when he produced a double-double over 34 minutes.

Kyle Kuzma, LAL (ankle)

Kuzma is considered probable for Saturday night's game against the Raptors after having played through the same designation against the Clippers on Thursday and posting 16 points.

Gary Harris, DEN (hip)

Harris will not play Saturday against the Heat. Torrey Craig and Troy Daniels should benefit from the defensive-minded shooting guard's absence.

Will Barton, DEN (knee)

Barton will not play Saturday against the Heat due to right knee soreness. Torrey Craig and Michael Porter should both see significant uptick in opportunity.

Jamal Murray, DEN (hamstring)

Murray is questionable for Saturday's early afternoon game against the Heat with hamstring tightness. Monte Morris and PJ Dozier would likely be the biggest beneficiaries of a Murray absence, but with Gary Harris (hip) and Will Barton (knee) also out, the likes of Nikola Jokic, Paul Millsap and Michael Porter would all see much heavier workloads.

Malcolm Brogdon, IND (neck)

Brogdon is considered questionable with a neck strain/soreness. His absence would naturally have a significant impact were it to come to pass, especially with Domantas Sabonis (foot) also out and Victor Oladipo (knee) questionable. T.J. McConnell and Aaron Holiday would likely handle point guard duties between them without Brogdon, while the usage of T.J. Warren and Myles Turner would certainly see a significant boost.

Victor Oladipo, IND (knee)

Oladipo is considered a game-time decision for Saturday afternoon's clash with the 76ers. The sharpshooting guard has been able to endure back-to-back practices, potentially a good sign for his availability.

Terrance Ferguson, OKC (leg)

Ferguson has been nursing a leg contusion since earlier in the week and could be a game-time decision Saturday.

Montrezl Harrell, LAC (personal)

Harrell has been ruled out for Saturday's game, as he's yet to return to the Orlando bubble from the family matter he left to attend to. He'll be subject to a quarantining period when he does return, leaving his availability for the Clippers' second game Saturday in question as well.

Lou Williams, LAC (quarantine)

Williams will not play Saturday, as he's in the midst of a mandatory 10-day quarantine following his return to the Orlando bubble last weekend.

Patrick McCaw, TOR (knee)

McCaw has been downgraded to doubtful for Saturday night's game against the Lakers. In his absence, Norman Powell, who excelled earlier in the season with expanded opportunity, and Terence Davis would both be the biggest beneficiaries.

Glenn Robinson, PHI (hip)

Robinson is doubtful for Saturday's game against the Pacers. In the event of his likely absence, Matisse Thybulle, Furkan Korkmaz and Alec Burks could be among the biggest beneficiaries.

Raul Neto, PHI (back)

Neto is probable to play in Saturday's game against Indiana.

Vlatko Cancar, DEN (foot)

Cancar is out for Saturday's game against the Heat with a broken left foot.

Notable Longer-Term Injuries/Absences: Rajon Rondo, LAL; Avery Bradley, LAL; Darius Miller, NOP; Bojan Bogdanovic, UTA; Domantas Sabonis, IND

Elite Players 

Teammates LeBron James ($10.9K) and Anthony Davis ($10K) are the only two players with five-figure salaries on the slate, and it's fair to wonder if their prices should be switched. James looked to be at least partly bothered by his ongoing groin issues against the Clippers on Thursday, while Davis was lights out with 45.6 FD points.

Below the elite Lakers duo, Kawhi Leonard ($9.500) and Nikola Jokic ($9K) could prove particularly valuable due to confirmed/potential absences on their teams. Additionally, as was the case Thursday, Paul George ($7.7K) remains significantly underpriced for his upside and could once again deliver handsomely in a much easier defensive matchup against the Pelicans than he had versus the Lakers.

Expected Chalk

With both the Lakers and Clippers in action, there's little doubt the James-Davis-Leonard-George quartet should see plenty of rosters, especially with the attractive pricing on the Clippers' duo. Nikola Jokic should be the recipient of plenty of clicks on his name as well, especially if Jamal Murray's absence is added onto the already confirmed ones of Gary Harris (hip) and Will Barton (knee). T.J. Warren could also be the beneficiary of plenty of extra usage if both Malcolm Brogdon (neck) and Victor Oladipo (knee) miss, his rostering rate also has a chance to be one of the night's most robust.

As customary, I've also put together a specific list of sub-$6K value plays that should find themselves in plenty of lineups as well and included them at the bottom of the next section.

Key Values

Josh Hart, NO at LAC ($4,000) 

Hart continues to enjoy a solid role off the bench even when the Pelicans are at full health, as he logged 22 minutes in Thursday's loss to the Jazz. The versatile wing can check off all the boxes on the stat sheet, is sporting an enticing price and put together a 31.5-FD point performance against the Clippers this year in a game he started. While Hart will be on the second unit Saturday, his current salary is one he's offered a 5x or greater return on in 35 of 58 games this season, and only 11 of those were starts.

JaKarr Sampson, IND vs. PHI ($3,500) 

As alluded to earlier, Doug McDermott could get the starting nod at power forward, which would leave Sampson as his primary backup. McDermott should see plenty of rosters, but Sampson could certainly be overlooked all the way down at minimum salary. The veteran is a decent shooter that can stretch the floor with an occasional three and posted a couple of solid efforts (17.2 and 26.5 FD points) in two of the last eight games before the suspension of play in March. The 76ers are a tough matchup down low, but Sampson's rock-bottom price and the potential for 20-plus minutes makes him a large-field tourney punt play to contemplate.

Other likely lower-rostered value plays to consider: OG Anunoby, TOR ($4,300);  Jaxson Hayes, NOP ($3,900); T.J. Leaf, IND ($3,500); Troy Daniels, DEN ($3,500)

Other likely higher-rostered value plays to consider: Mike Conley, UTA ($5,700); Norman Powell, TOR, $5,300); Derrick Favors, NOP ($5,100); Joe Ingles, UTA ($4,900); Kyle Kuzma, LAL ($4,700); Jordan Clarkson, UTA ($4,500); Shake Milton, PHI ($4,400); JJ Redick, NOP ($4,200); Reggie Jackson, LA ($4,100); Michael Porter, DEN ($3,700): Doug McDermott, IND ($3,700); Tyler Herro, MIA ($3,600); Torrey Craig, DEN ($3,600)

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.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Juan Carlos Blanco
Winner of the FSWA 2016 Newcomer of the Year Award, Juan Carlos Blanco has been playing fantasy sports for over 20 years and covers NBA, MLB, NFL, CFL and Arena Football for Rotowire.com, including serving as the beat writer for teams in multiple sports. He has previously written for KFFL.com and remains an avid season-long and daily fantasy player in multiple sports as well.
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