The NBA Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each day’s slate, using the FantasyLabs Tools and metrics to highlight notable players.
Saturday features a five-game main slate starting at 7:30 pm ET.
The PG position is relatively thin at the top today, with only two players priced above $7,000 on FanDuel. One of those options is Damian Lillard, who leads the position with 11 Pro Trends. Lillard has had an up-and-down season, resulting in a position-high salary decrease of $1,200 over the past month. His current $8,800 salary results in a Bargain Rating of 81 percent, and he has historically returned value when comparably-priced:
He has a solid matchup today against the New Orleans Pelicans, as evidenced by his Opponent Plus/Minus of +3.18.
Anthony Davis is very unlikely to play today according to head coach Alvin Gentry, which will open the door for his teammates to see a larger portion of the offense. Rajon Rondo is not playing huge minutes for the Pelicans – he’s yet to see more than 30.5 in a game this season – but he’s coming off a season-high 37.1 FanDuel points against the Jazz on Friday. He’s averaged approximately 31.5 FanDuel points per 36 minutes with Davis off the court this season, which would make him a solid value at his current $4,800 salary.
Davis isn’t the only stud big man expected to miss today’s contest, with Nikola Jokic also out with an ankle injury for the Denver Nuggets. No one has seen a bigger spike in usage with Jokic off the court this season than Jamal Murray, posting a team-high usage rate of 28.8 percent:
Murray has seen consistent minutes over his last three games, playing at least 29 in all of them, but he’s yet to really see the results you would expect given the steady playing time. Perhaps that will change today: The Nuggets lead the slate with an implied team total of 113 points, and Murray has an Opponent Plus/Minus of +3.78 on FanDuel against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Jerryd Bayless played 32 minutes in his last game, likely due to the injury to T.J. McConnell. He’s extremely cheap on DraftKings at $3,400, and PGs with comparable salaries and minute projections have historically been excellent values:
While that kind of production makes him a solid punt for cash games, Bayless offers very little upside for guaranteed prize pools (GPPs): He’s averaged a putrid 0.58 fantasy points per minute over the last month and hasn’t scored more than 27 DraftKings points all season.
Jrue Holiday isn’t exactly priced like a stud, but he’ll have a chance to perform like one today for the Pelicans without Davis. So far this season, Holiday has seen a usage increase of 2.1 percent while averaging 31.12 DraftKings points per 36 minutes with Davis off the court:
No SG is projected to play more minutes than his 38.6, and his 11 DraftKings Pro Trends are the most at the position. He’s going to be very tough to avoid on DraftKings, where his $6,000 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 95 percent.
Virtually every Pelican is going to be in play today without Davis, including E’Twaun Moore. Moore has been a steady producer over the past month, posting a Consistency Rating of 92 percent on DraftKings, and he’s coming of a 36-minute, 30.25-point fantasy performance on Friday against the Jazz. He’s extremely cheap on both sites, priced at $3,700 on FanDuel and $3,500 on DraftKings for today’s matchup with the Blazers.
Gary Harris has seen his price creep up a bit on DraftKings, but his current $5,800 salary still results in a Bargain Rating of 90 percent. He’s been one of the safest bets in daily fantasy hoops over the past month, posting a Consistency Rating of 90 percent while averaging a Plus/Minus of +4.14 over his last 10 games. He’s seen a usage bump of 1.9 percent with Jokic off the court this season, but he does have one of the tougher individual matchups of the day for the Nuggets, likely drawing the solid defense of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
C.J. McCollum has had a bit of a subpar season by his standards, averaging his lowest usage rate and fewest points per game since his sophomore season. He’s been priced down to $6,800 on FanDuel for today’s matchup against the Pelicans, and he has historically provided excellent value when comparably-priced:
His nine Pro Trends are tied with Holiday’s for the most at the position on FanDuel.
There may be no more intriguing buy-low option on today’s slate than Tyreke Evans. He’s coming off back-to-back brutal games against the San Antonio Spurs, but he still figures to be a massive part of the Grizzlies offense without Mike Conley and potentially without Marc Gasol. He has a much easier matchup today against the Cleveland Cavaliers, evidenced by his Opponent Plus/Minus of +4.95 on FanDuel and +6.56 on DraftKings.
The SF position once again features one of the toughest choices at the top of the position, pitting LeBron James against Giannis Antetokounmpo. Both players have relatively tough matchups today, with LeBron taking on the Grizzlies and Giannis taking on the Kings.
The Cavs are implied for ‘just’ 108.75 points on today’s slate, which would represent a solid decrease from what they’ve been doing on the offensive end of the court recently. They’ve averaged 113.6 points per game over their last 10 games, but no team is playing at a slower pace this season than the Grizzlies. While this isn’t exactly the same team, the Grizzlies have historically been one of the few teams capable of containing The King:
What’s even scarier is that LeBron is currently priced at $1,000 more on FanDuel than he has been in any of his previous meetings against the Grizzlies. LeBron’s calling card is his safety – he’s posted a Consistency Rating of 91 percent over the past year – but there appears to be more risk than usual with him on today’s slate.
Giannis is also facing a slow-paced team in the Kings, but that doesn’t change the fact that they’re abysmal on the defensive end of the court. They currently rank last in defensive efficiency, allowing 109.2 points per 100 possessions, and Giannis crushed them for a ridiculous 2.34 fantasy points per minute in their previous meeting on Monday. That said, he’s been priced up to $12,400 on FanDuel for today’s matchup, and he has historically struggled to return value when priced above $12,000:
Both LeBron and Giannis still offer as much upside as anyone for GPPs, but they’re clearly behind a certain stud big man in New Orleans in the cash-game pecking order.
Juan Hernangomez bombed badly in his last start, scoring just 4.75 DraftKings points over 23.5 minutes of playing time. Given the Nuggets’ injuries, however, he should have the opportunity to play at least that many minutes today in a significantly better matchup against the Lakers.
The SF position is easily the most top-heavy position of the day: If you’re not paying up for LeBron or Giannis, the pickings are a bit slim. Will Barton has SF eligibility on DraftKings and is another member of the Nuggets who should see a boost in value without Jokic. So far this season, he’s averaged over 35 fantasy points per 36 minutes with the star big man off the court.
If you have a strong stomach, no one at the position has a better matchup today than Dillon Brooks against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Brooks has been dreadful recently, averaging a Plus/Minus of -2.83 over his last 10 games, but he does have a chance to play more minutes than usual given the injury to Chandler Parsons.
Ben Simmons is far and away the top PF option of the day on FanDuel, with his $10,400 salary leading the position by a margin of $3,900. Simmons has been incredibly reliable this season, owning a Consistency Rating of 90 percent on FanDuel, and the 76ers’ implied team total of 109.75 points ranks second on today’s slate. The 76ers will have Joel Embiid back for today’s contest, which does limit Simmons’ upside a bit, but he’s still managed to average 43.47 FanDuel points per 36 minutes when sharing the court with him. He leads the position with 12 Pro Trends on FanDuel.
Memphis figures to be very thin in the frontcourt today, with Brandan Wright already ruled out and Gasol currently questionable. That could open the door for a big role for JaMychal Green, who has a Bargain Rating of 90 percent on DraftKings. Green hasn’t shown any semblance of a ceiling this season, but he has exceeded salary-based expectations in six of his last seven contests.
It will be interesting to see how the minutes break down for the Nuggets’ big men today. Kenneth Faried has been starting given the injury to Paul Millsap, but the coaching staff has shown a reluctance to let him play significant minutes. That said, he’s still managed to return value in four straight games. Trey Lyles is another candidate to see a spike in playing time after seeing 22 minutes in the Nuggets’ last game against the Bulls. Both of these guys may have to soak up some minutes at backup center as well, which gives each some upside at their current salaries.
There aren’t many sure things at the PF position, which increases the appeal of a guy like Tobias Harris. His production has been all over the place recently thanks to a string of blowouts for the Pistons, but he’s a solid bet to return value if he sees his typical workload in today’s contest.
DeMarcus Cousins is going to be the first name penciled in to virtually every lineup today. He smashed in his only game without Davis this season, scoring a ridiculous 83.75 DraftKings points, and he’s been a usage monster with Davis off the court in general:
To make things even better, he’s been priced down to $10,400 on DraftKings and $10,700 on FanDuel; both are among his cheapest salaries of the season. His matchup against the Trail Blazers isn’t great – they lead the league in rebound percentage – but you likely need a better reason than that to consider fading Cousins on today’s slate.
Unfortunately on FanDuel, one of the top value options of the day happens to play the same position as Cousins. Mason Plumlee should draw the start for Jokic; he averaged 38.46 FanDuel points per 36 minutes in two games without him last season:
He has a dream matchup today against the Lakers, evidenced by his Opponent Plus/Minus of +4.91. Pairing him with Cousins will likely be the default strategy on DraftKings, where both have dual-eligibility at PF and C.
Given the situation in New Orleans, both Andre Drummond and Joel Embiid will likely have minuscule ownership on today’s slate. That said, both have the potential to outscore him if everything breaks right, and Drummond in particular represents a solid savings at the position.
The Kings chose to ride the hot hand of Zach Randolph yesterday, but it seems unlikely he’ll play big minutes today on the second leg of a back-to-back. That could result in an increased role for Willie Cauley-Stein, who has a Bargain Rating of 99 percent on DraftKings. He’s averaged 1.04 DraftKings points per minute over the past month and has posted an average Plus/Minus of +6.49 over his last 10 games.
After this piece is published, FantasyLabs is likely to provide news updates on a number of players herein mentioned. Be sure to stay ahead of your competition with our NBA news feed: