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 three-game slate starting at 7 p.m. ET.
Trae Young is coming off a monster performance yesterday, scoring 62.75 DraftKings points in 42.7 minutes vs. the Indiana Pacers. He dominated the basketball in that contest, posting a usage rate of 41.4%, and shot 57.1% from the field and 53.3% from 3-point range.
He will likely see some regression today vs. the Houston Rockets, but it is an elite matchup. The Rockets have played at the second-fastest pace this season, and this game has the highest total on the slate by 10 points. Young leads the position with 14 Pro Trends on DraftKings, where his $8,900 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 81%.
The Rockets lead the slate with an implied team total of 124.75 points, and they’re also expected to be shorthanded. Danuel House and Clint Capela are both doubtful with illnesses, while Eric Gordon and Gerald Green are both dealing with long-term injuries. That definitely makes them a team to target.
Austin Rivers stands out as a prime value across the industry. He’s priced at just $3,600 on FanDuel and $3,200 on DraftKings, and he’s currently projected for 29.7 minutes in our NBA Models. Historically, players with a comparable salary and minute projection have averaged a Plus/Minus of +3.57 on FanDuel (per the Trends tool).
Russell Westbrook is also in play for the Rockets, particularly on FanDuel given his Bargain Rating of 79%. He’s seen a price decrease of -$1,200 over the past month, and Westbrook has historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +5.41 with a comparable salary. Westbrook clearly doesn’t possess the same upside playing along James Harden this season, but he has plenty of appeal at a reduced price tag.
Eric Bledsoe is coming off a poor performance in his last outing, but he played just 25.5 minutes in that contest. He should return to his normal workload today, and he’s averaged a stout 1.27 DraftKings points per minute over the past month. Only Young has averaged more DraftKings points per minute at the PG position over that time frame. He’s a strong buy low candidate at just $6,600.
James Harden is always in consideration for DFS, but he’s a particularly strong option on today’s slate. For starters, he’s been priced down to just $11,500 on FanDuel. That would be considered expensive for most players, but that’s a major bargain for Harden. It results in a Bargain Rating of 91%, and Harden has averaged a Plus/Minus of +3.67 with a comparable salary so far this season.
Harden should also benefit from the Rockets’ current injury situation. He’s a high-usage player to begin with — he currently leads the league with a usage rate of 38.7% — but that number jumps to 46.5% with Gordon, Capela, and House off the court. Overall, he’s averaged 1.81 DraftKings points per minute in that situation.
Finally, the Hawks represent an elite matchup. They rank eighth in pace and 24th in defensive efficiency, giving Harden an Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.25 on DraftKings. This is simply too good of a spot to pass up.
Ben McLemore is yet another member of the Rockets worth considering today. He hasn’t been particularly effective when on the court this season, averaging just 0.63 FanDuel points per minute, but he is projected for 30.7 minutes in our NBA Models. It’s hard to pass up that kind of workload at his current price tag across the industry.
Devonte’ Graham has developed into a fantasy stud this season for the Charlotte Hornets. He’s averaging 1.07 DraftKings points per minute, and he’s doing that over a healthy amount of playing time. He’s logged at least 37 minutes in three of his past four games, and he’s projected for a comparable workload today vs. the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks are a tough matchup — they rank tied for sixth in defensive efficiency — but they have struggled at times with opposing guards. Graham owns an Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.64 on DraftKings, where his $6,500 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 78%.
The 76ers could be another potential source of value tonight. Josh Richardson was forced to miss yesterday’s contest due to a hamstring injury, and it’s possible he could miss tonight’s contest vs. the Pacers as well.
If that happens, Furkan Korkmaz will likely earn another start. He ultimately scored just 16.7 FanDuel points over 30.6 minutes yesterday, but he would be tough to ignore at the absolute minimum.
Giannis Antetokounmpo won the MVP award last year, but he’s blossomed into a full-fledged offensive superstar this season. He’s always been a monster at piling up the peripheral statistics, but he’s taken his offensive game to a new level. He’s still not much of a threat with his jump shot — although he is making a career-high 1.4 3-pointers per game — but he’s commanded a monster workload. His usage rate of 36.9% trails only Harden’s this season, and he’s slowly but surely gaining ground on him: He’s posted a usage rate of at least 37.7% in five straight games and has eclipsed 41.3% in three of his past four.
With that in mind, it’s not surprising that he’s been the best player in fantasy this season. He’s averaged 1.95 DraftKings points per minute over the past month, which has been more than enough to make up for a below-average minute count. No one on the planet right now can match his upside.
His matchup is basically irrelevant at this point, but he is in a good spot today vs. the Hornets. The Bucks’ implied team total of 119.25 ranks second on the slate, and Giannis owns an Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.24 on DraftKings.
Giannis is obviously an excellent play, but the bigger question is whether or not he’s a better play than Harden. I would personally lean Harden if you can only play one, but there’s enough value that you can definitely play both in the same lineup.
The Hawks are currently dealing with an injury to Kevin Huerter, which has allowed rookie De’Andre Hunter to command a massive workload. He’s logged at least 34.9 minutes in five straight games, and he eclipsed 40.7 minutes in yesterday’s overtime loss to the Pacers. Hunter has displayed some fantasy upside recently, scoring scoring at least 28.4 FanDuel points in three of his past six games, which makes him a very viable option at his current price tag across the industry.
Miles Bridges’ minutes have been all over the place recently. That said, he’s still managed to post a positive Plus/Minus in six of his past seven games on FanDuel. He scored 34.9 FanDuel in his last contest despite playing just 27.6 minutes. He has nice upside today if he can play a few additional minutes.
T.J. Warren has posted a positive Plus/Minus in each of his past three games, yet his salary has still decreased by -$800 on DraftKings over that time frame. He has a lot of appeal at $4,800, even in a tough matchup vs. the 76ers.
Jabari Parker isn’t exactly priced like a stud, but he has the chance to give you stud like production vs. the Rockets. He’s been fantastic recently, averaging 1.20 DraftKings points per minute over the past month, and he’s currently projected for 32.6 minutes in our NBA Models. The Rockets are also a dream matchup for Parker, resulting in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +4.31 on DraftKings.
P.J. Tucker doesn’t possess a ton of upside, but he’s a reasonable option at $5,300 on FanDuel. He should see a ton of minutes in this contest, and he’s scored at least 24.8 FanDuel points in each of his past three games.
Domantas Sabonis could fly a bit under-the-radar today. If most people choose to pay up for Giannis and Harden, it’s not going to leave a ton of remaining salary to target someone like Sabonis. That said, he undoubtedly possesses the highest ceiling at the PF position given his average of 1.24 FanDuel points per minute over the past month. He’s a very appealing pivot for guaranteed prize pools.
Joel Embiid has posted a positive Plus/Minus in back-to-back games, but he’s in a subpar spot today vs. the Indiana Pacers. They’re excellent defensively — they currently rank fourth in defensive efficiency — and they also play at the eighth slowest pace. Overall, the 76ers are implied for just 105.75 points, which is the second lowest mark on the slate.
The 76ers are also playing the second leg of a back-to-back, which further complicates things for Embiid. He played 35.5 minutes last night, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see him play a few less minutes today.
Tyson Chandler will likely draw the start if Capela is unable to suit up, which makes him a viable option at $3,600 on FanDuel. He likely wont see a ton of minutes — he’s currently projected for 24 in our NBA Models — but he doesn’t need to do a ton to pay off his price tag. He leads the position with a Bargain Rating of 71% on FanDuel.
Brook Lopez will get the night off for the Bucks, which makes Robin Lopez an appealing value option. He’s priced at the absolute minimum on FanDuel and has averaged 0.74 FanDuel points per minute over the past month, so he has some upside given a few additional minutes.
Pictured: Milwaukee Bucks F Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) & Houston Rockets G James Harden (13)
Photo Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports