Saturday’s NBA slate is a big one featuring eight games, and I expect another high scoring night…maybe not quite as high as Friday, but it’s a fun one. The Top 4 teams in terms of fantasy points allowed are playing tonight: Atlanta, Washington, Cleveland, and Golden State. Charlotte and Portland also offer favorable matchups. Big pace bumps go to the Mavericks, Hornets, Jazz and Kings, while we should expect slower and lower scoring games between Miami at Orlando and Philly at Boston. Lookout for news on Kemba Walker, LaMarcus Aldridge, Carmelo Anthony, Al Horford, P.J. Washington, Evan Fournier, De’Andre Hunter and Rui Hachimura. Luka Doncic, Elfrid Payton, Marvin Bagley, Frank Ntilikina, Josh Richardson, Jordan McRae, and Richaun Holmes are ruled out. 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.
Ish Smith, Washington Wizards vs. Brooklyn ($5000 FD, $5000 DK)
I can also make an argument for Isaiah Thomas ($4300 FD, $4400 DK), who has been the better scorer, but I think the safer way to take advantage of this matchup (best in the league for PG) is with Smith. His assist numbers are consistent and he’s a good source of steals, which you have to love tonight given that the Nets rank third in turnovers.
Dennis Smith Jr., New York Knicks at Indiana ($3500 FD, $3100 DK)
With Elfrid Payton suspended tonight, and Frank Ntilikina ruled out, Smith should step into the lead PG role – though you’ll want to confirm that before tip-off. Smith is coming off a highly efficient 8-point, 4-assist, 2-rebound, 2-steal effort though he played only 13 and 15 minutes in his last two games. With greater run of the court, he could double that tonight. He’ll be a popular, but rightful, salary-saver tonight.
Also consider: Markelle Fultz ($5500 both)
Marcus Smart, Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia ($5800 FD, $6300 DK)
Smart remains relevant, at least on FanDuel, as the Celtics are set to potentially be without Kemba Walker tonight (knee soreness). He’s been one of the safest plays for the price this season, and although this game features two of the best defenses in the league, it should be close and competitive throughout…Smart’s kind of game.
Jordan Clarkson, Utah Jazz at Portland ($4500 FD, $5300 DK)
Clarkson is coming off a shockingly good game in which he scored 37 points. He saw a bit of extra run with Mike Conley resting, but he’s got a solid role in the rotation regardless. I doubt he matches Thursday’s production, but he should be able to take advantage of the Trail Blazers, coming off an emotional win in LA last night, in what Vegas has as one of the higher point total games.
Taurean Prince, Brooklyn Nets at Washington ($5400 FD, $5500 DK)
Stack this game as much as you can. With a 239-point total and one-point spread, Vegas expects plenty of points on both sides. The Wizards are the second-best SF matchup, and though Brooklyn is getting crowded on the wing, Prince has been filling the stat sheet in a variety of ways – 3-4 steals, 18 points, 7-8 rebounds… it’s working for him and in about 30 MPG, he represents a solid value option on this slate.
Miles Bridges, Charlotte Hornets at San Antonio ($4800 FD, $5500 DK)
Bridges is a good illustration of what one can do against Washington: he went off for 23 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals against them Thursday night. That makes two quality games in a row for Bridges, and the matchup is right for him to make it three tonight. San Antonio plays at a faster pace and is just as poor defensively as the Hornets themselves.
Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors at Cleveland ($5800 FD, $5700 DK(PG/SF))
Every time I write up Green I say the same thing: disappointing season. It’s not awful, but it could be better, right? He’s got a good chance of realizing expectations tonight in a game that should be fun for fantasy on both sides. Green is almost always at least near a double-double and he puts up stats in every category most nights. PF is a tricky position for me tonight, and I find myself landing on Green pretty often.
Maxi Kleber, Dallas Mavericks vs. Atlanta ($3900 FD, $3800 DK)
If, and it is a big if, Kristaps Porzingis rests on the back-to-back, Kleber would come into play and open up a whole bunch of salary cap dollars. As noted above, Atlanta is the most generous matchup for fantasy, and they rank third in fantasy points allowed to opposing power forwards. With four blocks last night, he actually met value in only 14 minutes vs. Houston, but that’s an unusual claim for Kleber. I only trust him if the Mavs are shorthanded in the frontcourt.
Jakob Poeltl, San Antonio Spurs vs. Charlotte ($4900 FD, $5600 DK)
Poeltl is an efficient player that I like to use in good matchups like this one. Charlotte is the league’s best center matchup for fantasy. His salary isn’t as low as I like, especially on DraftKings, so if Aldridge is back tonight, I’m not touching Poeltl there. However, he just had his 40-fantasy point double-double vs. Chicago, the second-best center matchup so the upside is there should Aldridge take one more game off.
Thomas Bryant, Washington Wizards vs. Brooklyn ($5000 FD, $5600 DK)
Bryant is leaving little doubt as to who the best big man in Washington is right now. Although Hachimura could return tonight, he’ll be on a minutes limit and will supply needed depth. This is another spot where the Nets have been susceptible, allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing centers. I like Bryant to keep it going for a third consecutive 30-plus fantasy point game.