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 seven-game slate starting at 7 p.m. ET.
James Harden is coming off a subpar game in his last outing, finishing with just 43.25 DraftKings points over 33.1 minutes. That said, that game is a major outlier. He has absolutely dominated with Kevin Durant out of the lineup recently, scoring at least 62.5 DraftKings points in five of his past seven games. Durant has been ruled out through the All-Star break, so Harden should be looking at another massive workload vs. the Mavericks.
It’s an outstanding spot — the Mavericks rank just 26th in defensive efficiency — and the Nets’ implied team total of 120.0 ranks second on the slate.
Elfrid Payton is doubtful for Saturday’s matchup vs. the Pacers, and Immanuel Quickley should be one of the primary beneficiaries if he’s unable to suit up. Quickley was outstanding in place of Payton in their last game, scoring 35.75 DraftKings points in just 20.4 minutes. He could see a few additional minutes if Saturday’s game is more competitive, and Quickley has averaged 1.15 DraftKings points per minute over the past month. He’s a steal at $4,800 given his Bargain Rating of 95%.
Derrick Rose would also see a boost in value sans Payton, but he’s slightly more expensive across the industry.
The Wizards have quietly been playing much better basketball recently. They’ve won six of their past seven games, thanks in no small part to the improved play of Russell Westbrook. He’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in each of those contests, but his salary has remained reasonable at $9,400 on FanDuel. It results in a Bargain Rating of 80%, and Westbrook should have plenty of opportunities for success tonight vs. the Timberwolves. He owns an Opponent Plus/Minus of +1.51 on FanDuel, and the Wizards’ implied team total is the top mark on the slate.
The Pelicans defense has been nothing short of a disaster lately. They’ve allowed an average of 126.6 points per 100 possessions over their past nine games, and the Spurs have their opportunity to do some damage against the Pelicans on Saturday.
They could also be extremely shorthanded: Five of their players remain out due to health and safety protocols — including Derrick White, Keldon Johnson and Rudy Gay — while LaMarcus Aldridge is listed as questionable. That means Dejounte Murray should be looking at another monster workload after scoring at least 51.25 DraftKings points in back-to-back games.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander remains one of the best pure values on FanDuel. His price has come up a smidge recently, but his $8,300 salary still comes with a Bargain Rating of 85%. He’s posted an average Plus/Minus of +5.18 over his past 10 games on FanDuel, and he’s averaged a Plus/Minus of +1.41 with a comparable salary this season (per the Trends tool).
Luguentz Dort is coming off a strong performance in his last outing. He finished with 27.6 FanDuel points over 32.3 minutes, and he should continue to see plenty of playing time with Hamidou Diallo out of the lineup. Dort is currently projected for 31.3 minutes in our NBA Models, and players with comparable salaries and minute projections have historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +3.83.
Anthony Edwards is just scratching the surface of what he can do at the NBA level, but he’s already given us one of the best highlights in recent memory:
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) February 20, 2021
He should take on a larger role moving forward with D’Angelo Russell and Malik Beasley both sidelined. Edwards increased his usage rate by +8.4% with both players off the court this season, resulting in an average of 1.03 DraftKings points per minute. He scored 45.25 DraftKings points in his last outing, so he has excellent upside for his price tag.
Bradley Beal is another member of the Wizards who is worth considering on Saturday. He hasn’t provided quite as much value as Westbrook recently, but he’s still posted a positive Plus/Minus in five of his past six games on DraftKings. He leads the position with seven Pro Trends on DraftKings.
There aren’t a ton of choices if you want to pay up at small forward, particularly on FanDuel given the lack of multi-positional eligibility. Brandon Ingram is the only player priced above $6,600, and he’s priced at just $7,700.
Ingram is certainly a viable option — his price tag on FanDuel comes with a Bargain Rating of 82% — but I’d rather save a bit with Michael Porter Jr. He’s carried a massive workload for the shorthanded Nuggets recently, logging at least 39.5 minutes in back-to-back games. The Nuggets will be without Paul Millsap, JaMychal Green and Gary Harris once again on Saturday, so Porter should log heavy minutes once again. He’s averaged 0.99 FanDuel points per minute this season, so he can do some damage with additional playing time.
Jarrett Culver is priced at the absolute minimum on DraftKings, which makes him a very appealing target vs. the Wizards. He’s averaged 0.86 DraftKings points per minute this season, so he doesn’t need a ton of playing time to potentially pay off his current salary. He’s currently projected for 22 minutes, which should be more than enough.
Will Barton is another potential option for the Nuggets. He’s seen a pretty large price decrease recently, and his $4,700 salary on FanDuel comes with a Bargain Rating of 80%. Like Porter, he should continue to benefit from the Nuggets’ current injury situation.
Mike Conley was ruled out for the Jazz for injury management, which means Joe Ingles will likely move into the starting lineup. Ingles thrived in six games without Conley this season, averaging 29.83 DraftKings points per game. Ingles is an elite option at just $5,100 on DraftKings.
Zion Williamson playing more “point guard” is a beautiful thing. He has operated as a pick-and-roll ballhandler at a much higher frequency recently, which has allowed him to utilize two of his best skills: Driving to the rim and passing. He may not have the reputation as a great passer yet, but he’s handed out at least four assists in seven of his past eight games. That’s a strong mark for a player of his size.
His new role has also been excellent for his fantasy value. He’s posted an average Plus/Minus of +7.82 over his past 10 games on FanDuel, and he’s scored at least 49.7 FanDuel points in four of his past six games. He has gotten a bit more expensive across the industry, but he still has the potential to provide plenty of value.
The Cavs are not a team that you want much exposure to, but they could provide some value in the frontcourt on Satuday. Taurean Prince has been ruled out and Cedi Osman is questionable, while Larry Nance Jr., Kevin Love and Andre Drummond all remain sidelined. That doesn’t leave them with a ton of options.
Dean Wade has started the past two games at power forward, and he could see a few additional minutes if Osman is unable to suit up on Saturday. Wade has averaged 0.86 DraftKings points per minute over the past month, which is not bad considering his $3,300 salary.
Lamar Stevens is even cheaper than Wade, and he could also be in play if Osman is ruled out. He’s been more effective than Wade on a per-minute basis this season, so he has the potential to outscore him with less playing time.
If Aldridge suits up vs. the Pelicans, he’s going to be a very interesting fantasy option at just $5,500. He actually came off the bench in the Spurs’ last contest, but he still posted a positive Plus/Minus in just 25.8 minutes. Aldridge has taken a backseat offensively to guys like DeMar DeRozan and Murray this season, but he’s still averaged 0.93 FanDuel points per minute this season.
Royce O’Neale is another member of the Jazz who should benefit from the absence of Conley. He ranks second on the team with an average of 34.5 minutes per game with Conley out of the lineup, and he’s very affordable across the industry.
It’s time to unleash Karl-Anthony Towns. He still isn’t playing a ton of minutes — he’s currently projected for 33.4 in our NBA Models — but that hasn’t stopped him from posting a positive Plus/Minus in four of his past five games. He should be able to absolutely crush the Wizards, who have been one of the best matchups in fantasy this season. They’ve played at the fastest pace in the league, giving KAT an Opponent Plus/Minus of +3.17.
Towns is also still priced down at $9,700, which is simply too cheap for him in the long run. He’s historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +2.17 with a comparable salary.
Aldridge’s return to the lineup had a minimal impact on Jakob Poeltl in his last game — he still played 35.2 minutes in that contest and was unsurprisingly able to return value with that much playing time. He should continue to see a few additional minutes for the shorthanded Spurs, and he would be close to a must-play if Aldridge is ultimately ruled out.
Nikola Jokic has gotten so good at basketball that a 55.7 FanDuel-point performance feels kind of subpar. That’s exactly what he did in his last game thanks to 24 points, 11 rebounds, and seven assists, and he’s in another solid spot vs. the Thunder. He’s one of the safest investments in fantasy at the moment.
Myles Turner shouldn’t garner a ton of interest on this slate, but he’s way underpriced on DraftKings. His $6,000 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 99%, and he’s scored at least 33.0 DraftKings points in four of his past five games. His matchup vs. the Knicks isn’t ideal, but his price tag is just too appealing to ignore.