It’s Saturday and tonight’s NBA slate features nine games, with a little bit of everything. Five of the Top 10 teams in fantasy points allowed (overall) take the court, while four of the five best defensive teams are also out tonight. Look for Detroit, Orlando, LA, Oklahoma City, Toronto and Boston to enjoy some kind of pace bump tonight. Injuries to monitor include: Anthony Davis, Kemba Walker, C.J. McCollum, Fred VanVleet, Steven Adams, Rajon Rondo, Mike Conley and Glenn Robinson III. Kelly Oubre, Joel Embiid, Draymond Green, Jaylen Brown, and R.J. Barrett all remain out tonight. In this column, I generally set $6000 FD/$5000 DK as the bargain threshold, and I try to indicate when I think a position is particularly well-suited--or not--to using the cheap plays given the landscape of the particular slate. Tonight’s slate tips at 7:00 pm EST.
Markelle Fultz, Orlando Magic at Golden State ($5400 FD, $6200 DK)
Fultz is going to be an auto-bargain at this FanDuel salary, especially when he can find himself in a great situation like this one. Golden State plays at a faster pace (12th in the league), gives up the fourth-most fantasy points, while ranking 21st in defensive efficiency. They’re without Draymond Green tonight, one of their best (only?) defensive-minded players. Fultz has been steadily good with some highlight performances lately. I think he’ll go over 30 fantasy points tonight.
Tomas Satoransky, Chicago Bulls vs. Cleveland ($4800 FD, $5800 DK)
Satoransky has a wide range of outcomes, so I’d obviously prefer to use him for his greater value price on FanDuel tonight, even in what should be a terrific spot for him. Cleveland ranks second in overall fantasy points allowed and to PG specifically. The Cavaliers also have the highest turnover rate in the league, which means that the valuable fantasy points from steals should be a bit easier to come by than in some of the Bulls recent games.
Josh Richardson, Philadelphia 76ers at New York ($5900 FD, $6300 DK)
Another example of a better FanDuel bargain…what else is new?...Richardson gets a favorable guard matchup with the Barrett-less Knicks tonight. I’m frankly surprised the spread isn’t higher (Philly minus-4). Richardson is coming off a dismal game in which he saw fewer than 30 minutes for the first time in weeks. I expect his ownership to be lower than usual tonight given that and the plethora of guard options, but I like him to bounce back for 30-plus fantasy points tonight.
Marcus Smart, Boston Celtics vs. Phoenix ($5100 FD, $5500 DK)
With Brown out officially, and Kemba Walker now questionable, Smart becomes almost a must-play. The Celtics are home vs. the Suns in a game with one of the highest point totals of the night. Phoenix is one of the fastest teams in the league, which helps guards the most. Smart will be 10,000 percent owned tonight, but you’ve got to do it.
Markieff Morris, Detroit Pistons at Atlanta ($3900 FD, $4100 DK (PF/C))
I could write up almost all of the Pistons here, as Atlanta is a fantasy funhouse this year. Allowing the most fantasy points to opponents overall, they are also Top 2 to forwards. Morris’ positional eligibility is weird on FanDuel; I’ve always considered him more of a power forward, but whatever. He busted out with 23 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and a block for 36 fantasy points in 22 minutes Wednesday night. There are getting to be more healthy bodies in this forward rotation (see below), so it’s risky to chase Morris’ points in cash game lineups, but in a GPP lineup, the price is too tantalizing.
Both Jazz wings are playable, and both have been playing well. You could use both, or mix and match around a core lineup you like. Bojan has been more consistently good for longer, and has performed better in this exact matchup (average 34 fpts/game), while Ingles has been hotter recently and just underwent a nice price drop on DraftKings. My feeling is that it will be hard to go wrong as the Jazz are the biggest favorites of the night and the Kings rank fifth in fantasy points allowed to opposing wings.
Nerlens Noel, Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Portland ($4000 FD, $5000 DK(C))
If Adams is out tonight, Noel becomes an interesting gamble, at least on FanDuel. Again, DraftKings has preemptively raised Noel’s salary to a level where I’m thinking twice. It also hurts that he’s only C eligible there. However, in his first game in nearly two weeks, Noel posted a 10/6 line with three blocks and a steal. Portland is one of the better center matchups in the league, so another 25-ish fantasy point game for Noel isn’t out the question.
Lauri Markkanen, Chicago Bulls vs. Cleveland ($5000 FD, $6000 DK)
Markkanen profiles as a high floor and quite safe cash game play tonight. He does have upside in this plus matchup, and in fact exceeded his season average fantasy point total by about seven in their first meeting.
Daniel Theis, Boston Celtics vs. Phoenix ($4600 FD (PF), $4900 DK)
Theis and Enes Kanter ($5100 FD (C), $4600 DK) have both held value in the Celtics frontcourt this season. Theis is questionable with knee soreness as of Friday, but should play tonight. That designation might reduce his ownership further on an already loaded night, but given their other injuries and the fantasy-friendliness of the matchup, I think the usage and production for both big men could be up tonight.
Kyle O’Quinn, Philadelphia 76ers at New York ($4000 FD, $3400 DK)
I’ve been a Kyle O’Quinn fan for way too long given his volatility and the way teams have used him over the years. Still, Mike Scott is doing nothing, Norvel Pelle has been sent to the G league, and Embiid is still out. O’Quinn’s career motto is basically just “Give the me the minutes and I’ll produce!”. His efficiency is impressive: in just 16 minutes last night he filled the stat sheet with six points, five rebounds, two steals, two assists, and two blocks (26 fantasy points). The price is too nice for me to ignore.