DraftKings NBA: Saturday Cheat Sheet

DraftKings NBA: Saturday Cheat Sheet

This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.

We're set for a big 10-game Saturday night slate, one that's a bit larger than what we've been used to from the NBA on this day most weeks. It's an interesting ledger in that oddsmakers seem to be envisioning an almost perfect split between defensive slugfests and high-scoring games, with four projected totals above 230 and the other six at 221.5 points or less as of late Saturday morning. As with a schedule this expansive this late into the season, there are also plenty of injuries to be mindful of as we're creating our rosters.

Slate Overview

Here's a closer look at the three games with projected totals on DraftKings Sportsbook: 

New Orleans Pelicans at Minnesota Timberwolves (Projected total: 238.0 points) 

The Pelicans give up a robust 115.3 points per road game, while the T-Wolves are surrendering 114.6 per home tilt. New Orleans also averages 113.6 per game when traveling, and although Minnesota is a better offensive team on the road, they check in hot with 115.0 points per game over their last three. The first two games between these teams have finished with totals of 230 and 240 points as well, so there's precedent here for another big number, especially with all key scorers healthy on either side. 

Golden State Warriors at Houston Rockets (Projected total: 233.5 points)

The Warriors are fighting to remain in the Western Conference playoff picture and check in allowing 115.3 points per road game, as well as 124 overall in the last three. The Rockets are yielding 114.3 per home tilt, and the last game between these two teams finished with a 234-point total, so this number may more or less be right on target. Then, despite the fact Houston now operates without John Wall (hamstring), it's worth noting the Rockets put up 116 and 143 points in two of the first three games since the decision to shut him down was made.  

Washington Wizards at Dallas Mavericks (Projected total: 232.5 points) 

This could turn out to be one of the marquee matchups of the night in every sense, including from an offensive standpoint. The red-hot Wizards look virtually unstoppable now, and even though they're a much more prolific team at home, they're still averaging a solid 111.7 points per road game. The Mavericks are averaging 110.4 points per home contest, and they could see a nice boost in that number while facing a Washington team that's giving up 115.9 points per road game and that averages an NBA-high 107.6 possessions per game as well. That latter number represents a significant bump in pace for the very deliberate Mavs, which are averaging the fourth-fewest possessions (100.4) per contest. Even with Kristaps Porzingis (knee) questionable for Dallas and the Wizards on the second game of a back-to-back set, this could well live up to expectations.

Other high projected total to be aware of: Indiana Pacers at Oklahoma City Thunder (Projected total 232.5 points) 

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. 

Domantas Sabonis, IND (back)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

If Sabonis sits out again, it should directly benefit Oshae Brissett and Doug McDermott, while Malcolm Brogdon's usage would also remain elevated if he's able to suit up. 

Kawhi Leonard, LAC (foot)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

Another Leonard absence would result in continued elevated usage for Paul George and another likely start for Luke Kennard.

Kristaps Porzingis, DAL (knee)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

Were Porzingis to sit out, Maxi Kleber could be a primary beneficiary, while the usage of the remainder of the starting five, including Luka Doncic, would presumably bump up.

Malcolm Brogdon, IND (hamstring)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

If Brogdon is forced to sit, Edmond Sumner and T.J. McConnell could be the most direct beneficiaries, while the usage of the remaining members of the first unit would see a boost. 

Darius Garland, CLE (ankle)/ Status: GTD 

If Garland sits, Collin Sexton should see a nice bump in ball-handling and offensive responsibility.

Draymond Green, GSW (neck)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

If Green were to sit out, Juan Toscano-Anderson could be a direct beneficiary in the form of a spot start at power forward.

Zach LaVine, CHI (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: OUT 

In LaVine's ongoing absence, Garrett Temple should remain in the starting five while the remainder of the first unit sees extra usage.

Donovan Mitchell, UTA (ankle)/ Status: GTD

If Mitchell's absence persists Saturday, it should lead to Joe Ingles continuing to enjoy a starting opportunity and extra usage for the remainder of the starting five.

LaMelo Ball, CHA (wrist)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE

If Ball does manage to return Saturday, he'll likely come off the bench and face some minutes restriction after such an extended absence.

Bogdan Bogdanovic, ATL (hamstring)/ Status: GTD

If Bogdanovic misses a third straight game, Tony Snell could remain in the starting five. 

Other notable injuries: 

Mike Conley, UTA (hamstring)/ Status: GTD 

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, OKC (foot)/ Status: OUT 

Kyle Lowry, TOR (rest)/ Status: OUT 

Gary Trent, TOR (lower leg)/ Status: OUT 

Kelly Oubre, GSW (wrist)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

Lauri Markkanen, CHI (illness)/ Status; GTD 

Steven Adams, NOP (toe)/ Status: OUT 

Mason Plumlee, DET (rest)/ Status: OUT 

Jerami Grant, DET (knee)/ Status: OUT 

Victor Oladipo, MIA (knee)/ Status: OUT 

Tyler Herro, MIA (foot)/ Status: OUT 

Gordon Hayward, CHA (foot)/ Status: OUT 

Myles Turner, IND (foot)/Status: OUT 

Josh Hart, NOP (thumb)/ Status: OUT 

Chris Boucher, TOR (knee)/Status: OUT 

Luguentz Dort, OKC (hip)/ Status: OUT 

Chuma Okeke (ankle)/ Status: GTD 

Kevin Huerter, ATL (shoulder)/ Status: GTD 

Cam Reddish, ATL (Achilles)/ Status: OUT 

De'Andre Hunter, ATL (knee)/ Status: OUT 

Terrence Ross, ORL (back)/ Status: DOUBTFUL 

Grayson Allen, MEM (hand)/ Status: GTD 

Elite Players

We have seven players with five-figure salaries on Saturday's slate –Russell Westbrook ($11,000), Luka Doncic ($10,900), Nikola Jokic ($10,700), Stephen Curry ($10,600), Karl-Anthony Towns ($10,300), Nikola Vucevic ($10,100) and Paul George ($10,000). 

Westbrook is coming off yet another triple-double and faces a Mavericks team that he up 52.5 DK points against back on April 3. Doncic is also in an excellent spot on the other side of what should be a highly competitive matchup and has a 47.5 DK-point tally against Washington from that one prior meeting. Jokic has a tough positional matchup against the Clippers on paper but should be well-rested and did put up 51.8 DK points against L.A. back on Christmas Day. Curry has been outstanding throughout the second half of the season and rung up 59.0 DK points against the Rockets the last time he saw them. Towns will face a Pelicans squad that won't have Steven Adams down low, while Vucevic has tallies of 44.0 and 48.8 DK points in his two prior meetings with Atlanta. Finally, George could once again be taking the court without Leonard and checks in with eight tallies of at least 50 DK points in his last 10 games. 

Healthy players with salaries in the high four figures capable of also delivering elite scores include Zion Williamson ($9,900), Bradley Beal ($9,800), Jimmy Butler ($9,500) and Trae Young ($9,300).

Expected Chalk

In addition to the players just mentioned in the prior section, other likely chalk plays include:

Caris LeVert, IND ($8,300)

Would be in for major ball-handling opportunities if Brogdon sit outs with hamstring injury, and a huge boost in usage if both his backcourt mate and Sabonis sit out.

Collin Sexton, CLE ($8,100) 

Should be particularly popular if Garland is forced to sit out.

Kevin Porter, HOU ($7,400) 

Spectacular 50-point effort, which led to 78.3 DK points, still fresh on everyone's mind. 

Isaiah Stewart, DET ($6,500) 

Has thrived in previous starts with Plumlee resting, as will be the case Saturday. 

Brandon Ingram, NOP ($8,300) 

Is at a reasonable salary relative to his upside and is part of the game with the highest projected total of the night. 

Tim Hardaway, DAL ($4,900) 

Combination of 42-point effort last time out, matchup vs. Wizards and very reasonable salary could lead to plenty of clicks on his name. 

Andrew Wiggins, GSW ($7,100) 

In the midst of a solid stretch of games and could see increased minutes with both Oubre and Green questionable. 

Pascal Siakam, TOR ($8,200)

Should see a nice usage bump with Lowry out. 

Fred VanVleet, TOR ($7,800) 

Another beneficiary of Lowry's absence.

Willy Hernangomez, NOP ($4,800)

Starting again for Adams and delivered a double-double last time out.

Key Values 

Oshae Brissett, IND at OKC ($5,900)

As mentioned earlier, there's a chance Domantas Sabonis returns Saturday from his back injury, but that's still firmly up in the air, and the big man could well be on a minutes restriction even if he does take the floor. Myles Turner definitely remains out for Indiana as well, so Brissett, who's put up between 24.0 to 51.5 DK points during his current six-game starting tenure, should see plenty of opportunity irrespective of the situation. He'll be in a favorable matchup whether he sees power forward or center minutes, as the Thunder check in allowing the third-highest offensive efficiency (84.2 percent) to frontcourt players, as well as the second highest (60.9 percent) in the paint. 

Khem Birch, TOR at UTA ($5,300)

Birch is another young big who's leveraged a starting opportunity to distinguish himself, as he's scored 31.0 to 42.0 DK points in his last three games and between 22.0 and 27.0 DK points in five other contests since stepping into the first unit April 14. The big man should be even more involved than usual Saturday with Kyle Lowry sitting out for rest, a scenario in which Birch is already averaging 32.1 DK points per 36 minutes this season. The positional matchup against the Jazz isn't as daunting as it's been in recent seasons, either, as Utah allows 53.5 DK points per game to players with center designations, including 61.8 over the last five games.  

Saddiq Bey, DET at CHA ($5,200)

Bey is averaging 32.1 DK points per 36 minutes with Mason Plumlee and Jerami Grant off the floor this season, which is precisely the scenario he'll play in Saturday with both players sitting out. The rookie also comes in with some momentum, as he's scored 25.0 to 38.3 DK points in seven of his last 10 games. The Hornets make for potentially good facilitators of an extension of his hot stretch, as they're allowing the third-highest offensive efficiency (24.7 percent) to small forwards for the season, along with 55.5 DK points per game to the position. It's also worth noting part of the reason for Bey's recent strong stretch is his improved accuracy from deep, as he's draining 39.4 percent of his 7.1 three-point attempts over the aforementioned 10-game sample.

Other value plays to consider: Isaiah Stewart, DET at CHA ($6,500); Jae'Sean Tate, HOU vs. GS ($6,100); Josh Jackson, DET at CHA ($6,000); Thaddeus Young, CHI at ATL ($5,100); Tim Hardaway, DAL vs. WAS ($4,900); Doug McDermott, IND at OKC ($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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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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