This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
DraftKings has a compact four-game main slate Saturday night, making it more of a challenge than usual to differentiate lineups four tournaments. There are also some big names on the injury report, including some whose absences are already confirmed.
Another rather unique aspect of the slate is we have one "Pick 'Em" game as of early Saturday afternoon on DraftKings Sportsbook, while the three other contests check in with spreads of 4.5 points or greater. Additionally, offense could be a bit at a premium, as three of the four game have projected totals under 220 points.
Here's a further look at the three games with the highest projected totals on Saturday's slate:
Atlanta Hawks at Portland Trail Blazers (Projected total: 234.5 points)
This game stands head and shoulders above the rest with this total, as well as the explosive players that will be on the floor for either side. The Trail Blazers come in allowing 116.0 points per home game and play at a top-10 pace of 105.2 possessions per contest, while both teams rank in the top half of the league in points per game (Portland-116.0 PPG/ Atlanta-111.9 PPG).
Philadelphia 76ers at Memphis Grizzlies (Projected total: 220.5 points)
The 76ers will be missing Joel Embiid (knee) on Saturday, but oddsmakers still envision a good amount of points being scored. Part of the calculus is the possible return to action of Ja Morant from his ankle injury, which is currently seen as a 50/50 proposition, given his questionable tag. Philadelphia also continues to play at a top-5 pace (106.8 possessions per game) and is scoring the ninth-most points per contest (114.3), while Memphis is averaging an elevated 111.3 points per game over their last three.
Charlotte Hornets at Toronto Raptors (Projected total: 219.5 points)
The Hornets could be without Gordon Hayward (hip), and an absence on his part would naturally cap their overall offensive upside for Charlotte. Nevertheless, with names like Terry Rozier, Devonte' Graham, PJ Washington, Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam all taking the floor, the potential exists for some points to pile up.
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, 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.
Joel Embiid, PHI (knee)/ Status: OUT
Ben Simmons, PHI (knee)/ Status: PROBABLE
Simmons is expected to continue to play through some swelling and will see elevated usage with Joel Embiid (knee) out Saturday.
Bam Adebayo, MIA (COVID-19 protocol)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Jimmy Butler, MIA (COVID-19 protocol)/ Status: OUT
Butler's third straight absence should help Andre Iguodala's minutes remain higher than usual.
Gordon Hayward, CHA (hip)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
If Hayward misses a second straight game, Caleb Martin would likely draw another start in his place, while the usage rates of Terry Rozier, DeVonte' Graham and PJ Washington would see an appreciable rise.
Ja Morant, MEM (ankle)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Morant was thought to have a chance to return from a multi-week absence Friday against the Timberwolves before that game was called off, and he retains the same questionable designation Saturday. If he does suit up and returns to the first unit, Tyus Jones would head back to the bench.
Tyler Herro, MIA (neck)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
If Herro is unable to suit up, Gabe Vincent could see an expanded role if he's able to work through his own knee issue.
Goran Dragic, MIA (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Dragic has already missed two games with health and safety protocols and is in danger of missing a third.
Seth Curry, PHI (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: OUT
Jusuf Nurkic POR (wrist)/ Status: OUT
With just four games on the slate, there are no players with five-figure salaries on the ledger. Additionally, the highest salary, $9,600, belongs to a sidelined Joel Embiid, meaning Damian Lillard ($9,200) is the healthiest player requiring the heftiest investment. Trae Young ($9,200), Bam Adebayo ($8,600), Pascal Siakam ($8,500), Ben Simmons ($8,400) C.J. McCollum ($8,300), Fred VanVleet ($8,000) and LaMelo Ball ($7,900) are other players within the higher end of the salary scale that are certainly capable of offering elite-level production.
From that group, it's worth noting Simmons could see plenty of extra responsibility without Embiid on the floor, while Adebayo could see hefty usage himself if he's able to clear health and safety protocols, as the Heat remains very short-handed. Then, Lillard and Young are facing off in the game with the highest-projected total of the night, and Young could be a tad bit less rostered than he normally would be after turning in a dreadful 1-for-11 shooting performance that netted just four points Friday against the Jazz.
All of the names mentioned in Elite Players section are naturally going to be very popular on Saturday's slate, and with only eight teams in action, all could see even more elevated rostering rates than usual. Additionally, with so many big names on the injury report, the remaining healthy first-unit players on those teams should also be very popular.
In this regard, the Heat could feature some of the heaviest injury/absence-related chalk, and if Bam Adebayo is able to overcome his questionable designation and return Saturday, he particularly could be one of the most popular higher-salaried players on the slate with Miami still missing Jimmy Butler and also having an extremely thin backcourt.
PJ Washington, CHA at TOR ($6,400)
Washington has eclipsed 40 DK points in three of his past four games, with the second-year big man has played over 30 minutes in five of the last six contests overall. Washington is also boasting improved efficiency in recent games, shooting 45.8 percent over the last four games. If Gordon Hayward misses a second straight game Saturday, Washington will certainly see a bump in usage as a result, but even if Hayward plays, Washington is in a good statistical matchup against a Raptors squad that's allowing the seventh-highest offensive efficiency (82.2) and 48.7 percent shooting to frontcourt players.
Duncan Robinson, MIA vs. DET ($5,400)
The Heat's mile-long list of absences Saturday inevitably forces Robinson into an elevated role, especially if the likes of backcourt mates Goran Dragic and Tyler Herro go from questionable to out. The third-year sharpshooter is draining an impressive 40.7 percent of his three-point shots through 10 games, and he's scored 24.5 to 36.0 DK points in four of his last five games. Robinson has been playing heavy minutes recently as well due to Miami's slew of COVID-19-related absences, and he draws an excellent matchup with which to parlay that playing time into fruitful fantasy production. The Pistons check in allowing 40.0 percent shooting from three-point range, including 40.5 percent to shooting guards.
Shake Milton, PHI at MEM ($5,200)
Although Ben Simmons is expected to play through his knee issues Saturday, the Sixers will still be without Seth Curry (COVID-19 protocol) and Joel Embiid (knee). The former absence should particularly continue to afford Milton plenty of minutes, as it did Thursday against the Heat when he posted 51.0 DK points over 27 minutes versus the Heat. Milton has already delivered over 5x return on his current salary in five of 10 games (despite logging just one start), and his current level of efficiency (career-high 49.5 percent shooting) could lead him to another strong showing.
Other value plays to consider: Chris Boucher, TOR vs. CHA ($6,900); Terry Rozier, CHA at TOR ($6,600); Blake Griffin, DET at MIA ($6,100); Devonte' Graham, CHA at TOR ($6,000); Enes Kanter, POR vs. ATL ($5,600); OG Anunoby, TOR vs. CHA ($5,500); Tyrese Maxey, PHI vs. MEM ($5,100); Gabe Vincent, MIA vs. DET ($5,000); Dwight Howard, PHI at MEM ($4,300)