DraftKings NBA: Saturday Cheat Sheet

DraftKings NBA: Saturday Cheat Sheet

This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.

We're teed up for seven games Saturday night as the postseason picture continues to gain some clarity. There are plenty of playoff contenders taking the floor and one particularly intriguing matchup versus the Wizards and Pacers. The injury report is also littered with notable names, setting up what should be an interesting day of roster construction followed by an intriguing ledger of hardwood action.

Slate Overview

Here's a closer look at the three games with the highest projected totals on Saturday's slate: 

Washington Wizards at Indiana Pacers (Projected total: 247.5 points) 

There's zero surprise this contest checks in with the highest projected total of the night, considering the offensive firepower/defensive deficiencies of both clubs and the fact they've combined for 256 and 295 points the first two times they've met this season. The Wizards come in still playing at an NBA-high pace of 107.9 possessions per game, while the Pacers are right behind them with 105.6 possessions per contest. Washington and Indiana also rank in the bottom 10 of the league with 118.5 and 115.1 points per game surrendered, respectively, and they're also in the top 10 in scoring (Washington- 116.3 PPG/ Indiana-114.9 PPG). The Pacers could still be down Malcolm Brogdon (hamstring) for Saturday's game, but they've produced point tallies of 133, 141 (vs. WAS) and 152 in three of the four games he's missed.

San Antonio Spurs at Portland Trail Blazers (Projected total: 230.5 points) 

The Spurs are currently slotted into the No.10 seed while the Blazers have now climbed to No. 6 with Friday night's win over the Lakers, a spot they desperately want to hold onto to avoid the play-in scenario. The two previous games between the clubs have finished with combined totals of 229 and 213 points, and the Blazers check in allowing an elevated 114.4 points per game overall. The Spurs aren't far behind with 111.8 points per contest surrendered, and they'll have their work cut out for them considering Portland's average of 115.6 points per game on offense. San Antonio is also notably a better offense on the road (112.5 PPG) than at home (109.1 PPG), setting up what could be a high-scoring contest in which both teams have some urgency.   

Brooklyn Nets at Denver Nuggets (Projected total: 229.5 points)

The Nets have gotten their current road swing off to a rough start with three straight losses and have dropped four consecutive games overall, a stretch that's seen them drop to No. 3 overall in the standings. Brooklyn does own a high-scoring 122-116 win over the Nuggets this season, and they check in allowing the fourth-most points per road game (117.0). Meanwhile, Denver has been a stingy team on its home floor with just 109.7 points per contest allowed, but they'll be tested by a Nets squad that's averaging an NBA-high 119.3 points per road game. Mike Malone's squad puts up 117.0 points per game at Ball Arena in its own right, so this total could ultimately prove to be too small, especially when also factoring in the bump in pace the Nets bring to the table.   

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. 

James Harden, BKN (hamstring)/ Status: OUT 

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving will continue to spearhead the Nets' attack in Harden's absence.

Malcolm Brogdon, IND (hamstring)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

If Brogdon misses a fifth straight game Saturday, Aaron Holiday should continue in the starting five, while Caris LeVert and Domantas Sabonis should continue enjoying significant bumps in usage.

Fred VanVleet, TOR (rest)/ Status: OUT 

Jalen Harris and DeAndre' Bembry could be the most direct beneficiaries of VanVleet's absence, while the remaining healthy members of the starting five should see bumps in usage. 

Donovan Mitchell, UTA (ankle)/ Status: OUT 

In Mitchell's ongoing absence, Joe Ingles should remain in the starting five. 

Kyle Lowry, TOR (rest)/ Status: OUT 

Lowry's absence should lead to a start for Malachi Flynn at point guard, while the remaining healthy members of the starting five should see bumps in usage. 

Christian Wood, HOU (ankle)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

If Wood were to sit out, Kenyon Martin and Anthony Lamb should be among the most direct beneficiaries. 

OG Anunoby, TOR (calf)/ Status: OUT 

Anunoby's ongoing absence should lead to another start for Gary Trent at small forward. 

Kevin Porter, HOU (ankle)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

If Porter misses another game Saturday, D.J. Augustin and  Armoni Brooks should directly benefit with plenty of point guard minutes. 

Other notable injuries: 

Mike Conley, UTA (hamstring)/ Status: GTD 

Kelly Oubre, GSW (wrist)/ Status: OUT 

Josh Jackson, DET (tooth)/ Status: OUT 

Luguentz Dort, OKC (knee)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

Cory Joseph, DET (ankle)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

Chris Boucher, TOR (knee)/ Status: OUT 

Myles Turner, IND (toe)/ Status: OUT 

Will Barton, DEN (hamstring)/ Status: GTD 

Jae'Sean Tate, HOU (knee)/ Status: GTD 

Derrick White, SA (knee)/ Status: OUT 

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

Hamidou Diallo, DET (personal)/ Status: OUT

Elite Players

We have a whopping eight healthy players with five-figure salaries on Saturday's slate – Russell Westbrook ($11,100), Nikola Jokic ($10,900), Stephen Curry ($10,800), Joel Embiid ($10,700), Domantas Sabonis ($10,500), Kevin Durant ($10,200), Damian Lillard ($10,100) and Kyrie Irving ($10,000). 

Westbrook continues to produce eye-popping totals and is already averaging 88.1 DK points against the Pacers in his first two games against them this season. Jokic is a leading MVP candidate that has taken his already impressive game to another level in the absence of Jamal Murray (knee), and he gets an excellent positional matchup against a Nets team he already put up 67 DK against this season. Curry has been eclipsing 50 DK points with regularity and tangles with a Thunder team he's averaged 60 DK points against this season. Embiid gets an excellent matchup down low versus the Pistons, but there is some blowout risk attached. Sabonis could be set for another huge performance if Brogdon sits, and he put up 74.3 DK points against this same Wizards team three games ago. Durant and Irving (66.0 DK points per game in the last two contests) will both be poised for major usage again with Harden still out, and each has a very good positional matchup. Finally, Lillard has well over 50 DK points in five straight and put up 50.8 against the Spurs in one prior meeting. 

Healthy players with salaries in the high four figures capable of also delivering elite scores include Bradley Beal ($9,600), Caris LeVert ($9,100) and Pascal Siakam ($9,000). All three players hold plenty of appeal in their own right, considering Beal will be an integral part of the game with the highest projected total of the night, while LeVert and Siakam are coming off some outstanding performances and could (LeVert) and will (Siakam) see elevated usage due to absent teammates.

Expected Chalk

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

Khem Birch, TOR ($6,100) 

Should be a beneficiary of the Raptors' multiple absences and is coming off having scored 39.8 DK points in his last game. 

Gary Trent, TOR ($5,500) 

Should be in plenty of lineups at his salary and with the expected start at small forward and the multitude of absences on the Raptors.

Kelly Olynyk ($8,600)/ Kenyon Martin ($5,300)/ Armoni Brooks ($4,600), HOU 

All three players should be popular at their salaries, with Brooks' value primary tied into whether Porter plays.

Bojan Bogdanovic, UTA ($6,700) 

Has caught fire in Mitchell's absence with 29.5 points on 59.8 percent shooting (17.0 FGA per game) in his last six. 

Key Values 

T.J. McConnell, IND vs. WAS ($6,300)

McConnell's viability isn't necessarily tied into whether Brogdon suits up or not, although it certainly doesn't hurt if the star guard misses another contest. McConnell continues to come off the bench in his usual role despite his teammate's absence, and the matchup against a Wizards team that's very likely to do its part in facilitating another very high-scoring game between these teams is too good to resist. McConnell put up 40.8 DK points against Washington three games ago, and he's followed it up with tallies of 29.3 and 35.5 in the subsequent pair of contests. He's taken double-digit shot attempts in all three, and given the extra possessions he should have to work with and the fact the Wizards rank in the bottom 10 in offensive efficiency allowed to second-unit players (44.0 percent) and point guards (27.7 percent), his case is strong despite the recent bump in salary.

Gary Trent, TOR vs. MEM ($5,500)

As alluded to earlier, Trent is set for a likely start at either shooting guard or small forward Saturday with both VanVleet and Anunoby out for the Raptors. The sharpshooting wing looked like he hadn't missed a beat Thursday in his return from a six-game absence due to a lower leg injury, putting up 34.3 DK points over 36 minutes against the Wizards. Saturday, he'll face a Grizzlies team that's allowed the sixth-highest offensive efficiency (24.1 percent) to small forwards, along with the most DK points per game (62.2) to players with small forward designations, including the fifth-most made threes (4.2) per contest. Trent's salary is also a major reason for his appeal, considering he's already delivered over a 5x return on it on 22 occasions this season.

Rudy Gay, SA at POR ($4,000)

Gay is likely to go a bit overlooked on the seven-game slate, but he makes for a very intriguing play at his salary and in this matchup. The Trail Blazers have struggled to limit second-unit players all season, allowing the third-highest offensive efficiency (46.0 percent) to opposing benches, as well as the 10th-highest (23.6 percent) to small forwards overall. Gay put up 27.8 DK points against the Kings in his most recent game, factoring out a seven-minute appearance against the Jazz on Wednesday. He's averaging 26.9 DK points in seven other games since April 17. Gay also put up 35.8 DK points over just 23 minutes off the bench in his one prior meeting against Portland, and his current salary is one he's delivered over 5x return on in 38 of 58 games this season.

Other value plays to consider: Khem Birch, TOR vs. MEM ($6,100); Seth Curry, PHI vs. DET ($4,700); Aaron Holiday, IND vs. WAS ($4,300)

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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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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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