Saturday’s main NBA slate features four games. It’s a good mix of offensively-minded and defensively-minded teams tonight, but that has resulted in three of the four games carrying double-digit spreads. Only Indiana at New York is expected to be reasonably close, and this is the game with the lowest point total. Phoenix and Utah should benefit from a faster-paced opponent tonight, while the 76ers get the best overall matchup at home vs. Cleveland. Joel Embiid and Josh Richardson have been ruled out for Philadelphia, and Ja Morant won’t return tonight. Aron Baynes and Mike Conley are out again. The Grizzlies are also set to maybe be without Dillon Brooks and Kyle Anderson. Kevin Love is questionable for tonight’s game. 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. DraftKings’ pricing is notably sharper than FanDuel’s tonight, so I tried to provide a couple extra options to consider where it was feasible. Tonight’s slate tips at 7:00 pm EST.
De’Anthony Melton, Memphis Grizzlies at Utah ($5500 FD, $5200 DK)
It only took three games for Melton’s price to jump $2K or more, but as opportunity knocked when Morant went down, Melton answered. He’s been playing around 30 MPG and averaging 11 points, six assists and seven rebounds per game, with five steals in the last three. He’s an obvious salary saver with a high floor despite the not-so-great matchup.
Grayson Allen, Memphis Grizzlies at Utah ($3800 FD, $4000 DK)
There are two shooting guards I’m angling to get in lineups tonight so I’m not necessarily trying to save here, but where you have positional flexibility, Allen is a great way to fit the guys you really want. Provided the Grizzlies remain short-handed tonight, Allen would again be in line for 25-30 minutes and an opportunity to return 5-6X value.
RJ Barrett, New York Knicks vs. Indiana ($5800 FD, $5300 DK)
Barrett’s salary is still appealing, though the Pacers are one of the better defensive teams taking the court tonight. He hasn’t scored double-digit points in his last two games, but is generally one of the most consistent options in his range thanks to his ability to rack up steals, blocks and multiple rebounds and assists. Like I said above, I’m trying to pay up at this position, but have no issue with the safety of a player like Barrett here.
Mikal Bridges, Phoenix Suns at Houston ($4300 FD, $3700 DK)
Supposing you’re needing some deep value tonight to fit several of the many stars on display in this short slate, Bridges fits the bill. Houston is the ninth-most generous team for fantasy overall, and ranks second in fantasy points allowed to opposing small forwards. This game should be fast and high scoring: the Vegas total is 241 points. Though of course we’d prefer Kelly Oubre to Bridges if possible, Bridges has scored at least 11 points in each of his last four games.
Joe Ingles, Utah Jazz vs. Memphis ($4100 FD, $4500 DK)
Ingles’ salary stays low despite his potential thanks to his rampant inconsistency. You can only use him if you’re comfortable with his risk/reward brand of play, because although his minutes are fairly constant he easily ranges from 5-to-35 fantasy points. I like him here because the Grizzlies turn the ball over a good amount (they rank seventh) and have the second-lowest rank in rebounds per game, not to mention their faster pace and 22nd-ranked defensive efficiency.
Frank Kaminsky, Phoenix Suns at Houston ($5500 FD, $5600 DK)
Now that the previously doubtful Baynes is out again, put Kaminsky in that same category with Melton and Barrett of $5K safe plays. It’s another good matchup (Houston ranks fourth in fantasy points to power forwards) and the Rockets play at the league’s fastest pace. Kaminsky has been averaging over 30 fantasy points during the last week or so on the strength of his scoring as well as a healthy amount of peripherals.
John Henson, Cleveland Cavaliers at Philadelphia ($3500 FD, $3000 DK(C))
If Kevin Love is out tonight, and only if, I’d consider Henson a super risky salary-saver. It’s nice for him (and Tristan Thompson) that Embiid is out, and he could see extra run if this does indeed turn into the blowout Vegas predicts.
Mitchell Robinson, New York Knicks vs. Indiana ($5800 FD, $5300 DK)
Robinson has played well in his last two games, and while the sites are reluctant to raise his price, he definitely could surpass 30 fantasy points again tonight. The Pacers rank 10th in fantasy points allowed to opposing centers, and Robinson has performed slightly better at home (four more fantasy points per game). If you want to save at center in order to pay up for guards tonight, Robinson is your safest bet.