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 four-game slate starting at 7:30 p.m. ET.
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Saturday’s slate is on the smaller side, and it lacks star power. Damian Lillard stands out as one of the only real studs on the slate. He’s the most expensive player on both DraftKings and FanDuel, but he hasn’t exactly played like a stud to start the year. He’s posted an average Plus/Minus of -1.31 over his past 10 games on DraftKings.
That’s caused his salary to drop across the industry, which makes him a prime buy-low candidate on today’s slate. He owns an excellent matchup vs. the Atlanta Hawks, resulting in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.72 on FanDuel. The total on the Blazers-Hawks game also sits at 234 points, which is the top mark on the slate by nearly 15 points. Expect that game to garner tons of attention, and Lillard should be one of the highest-owned players on the slate.
Derrick Rose is a bit of a wild card today. He hasn’t played in the Pistons’ past two games, and he played just 30.5 minutes over his previous two games combined. That said, he has been removed from the injury report vs. the Heat, so expect him to return to his usual workload. He’s currently projected for 25.2 minutes in our NBA Models, and Rose has averaged 1.11 DraftKings points per minute this season. That should be more than enough playing time to pay off his $5,200 salary.
LaMelo Ball’s salary just keeps rising, and he’s all the way up to $8,000 for tonight’s matchup vs. the Raptors. The price increase is definitely warranted – he’s posted an average Plus/Minus of +10.56 over his past 10 games – and his average of 1.26 FanDuel points per minute over the past month ranks second at the position. He also figures to be one of the primary beneficiaries if Gordon Hayward is unable to suit up. He’s currently listed as questionable after sitting out the Hornets’ last game, and Ball has seen a team-high usage bump of +3.1% with Hayward off the court this season.
Ben Simmons will likely be a popular target with Joel Embiid out of the lineup, but he’s actually struggled with Embiid off the court this season. His usage rate has decreased by -0.2% in that situation, and he’s averaged just 1.03 FanDuel points per minute. That’s over a small sample size of just 93 minutes, but it’s possible that Embiid’s absence will have a larger impact on some of his teammates. That makes him an interesting fade candidate.
It’s very difficult to predict what the Heat’s rotation will look like tonight. Jimmy Butler, Avery Bradley, and Meyers Leonard have already been ruled out, but they have six additional players listed as questionable.
Tyler Herro is one of those questionable players. He currently dealing with neck spasms after back spasms caused him to leave Thursday’s game vs. the 76ers early. If he’s active and guys like Goran Dragic and Kendrick Nunn are ruled out, he could be looking at another monster workload.
The injury report will be very important for this contest, so make sure to monitor any updates using the Labs Insiders tool.
Caleb Martin would become one of the best value plays of the day if Hayward is unable to suit up. He replaced Hayward in the starting lineup on Thursday and ultimately finished with 23.0 DraftKings points in 24.2 minutes. He also shot just 1-7 from the field in that contest, so he has the potential for an even bigger performance today. He’s underpriced at just $3,500 on DraftKings and $3,900 on FanDuel.
Sticking with the Hornets, Devonte’ Graham’s price has rebounded a bit after plummeting to start the year, but he’s still too cheap on FanDuel. He’s priced at just $5,800, and Graham has historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +5.54 with a comparable salary (per the Trends tool).
C.J. McCollum is an interesting pivot off Lillard on today’s slate. He’s actually been better on a per-minute basis than Lillard this season – he’s averaged 1.32 DraftKings points per minute – and he benefits from the same elite matchup. Both players are slightly negatively correlated, so going with McCollum over Lillard is an interesting way to diversify your lineup.
Tobias Harris is the player who figures to benefit most from Embiid being out of the lineup. He’s seen the biggest boost in fantasy value with Embiid off the court this season, resulting in an average of 1.35 FanDuel points per minute. Harris also thrived in 22 full games without Embiid last year, averaging a Plus/Minus of +3.6 on FanDuel. His matchup vs. the Grizzlies isn’t particularly ideal – he owns an Opponent Plus/Minus of -0.23 – but Harris provides one of the best floor/ceiling combinations on the slate. He also leads the position with 11 Pro Trends on FanDuel.
Miles Bridges is another Hornet who stands out as an appealing value. He’s averaged 0.92 FanDuel points per minute this season, and he owns an Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.4 vs. the Raptors. Bridges is priced at just $4,300, and he’s historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +3.91 with a comparable price tag.
Carmelo Anthony is another potential value option on FanDuel. He’s posted an average Plus/Minus of +3.19 over his past 10 games, yet his salary has actually decreased over that time frame. He’s also averaged 0.90 FanDuel points per minute this season, and he’s a cheap way to get exposure to the best game on the slate.
It’s odd to see Jerami Grant priced up at $7,400 on DraftKings, but you can make the argument that he’s still too cheap. He’s posted an average Plus/Minus of +9.56 over his past 10 games, and he also owns a Bargain Rating of 90%. His average of 24.8 points per game is nearly double his previous career-high, and he’s on pace to post a new career-high in usage rate as well.
Pascal Siakam got off to a slow start this season, but he’s started to turn things around. He’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in four of his past five games on DraftKings, and he’s scored at least 51.75 DraftKings points in three of them.
The Raptors could also be a nice target in tournaments. Their top players typically play a ton of minutes, and their implied team total of 113.25 ranks third on the slate. Their players probably won’t command as much ownership as the guys on the Blazers and 76ers, but they have arguably just as much upside. Siakam also benefits from an excellent matchup, resulting in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.14.
Robert Covington will be the heavy chalk at power forward on FanDuel. He’s currently projected for greater than 40% ownership, which makes sense given his $4,400 salary and the projected game environment. Covington is currently projected for 33.5 minutes in our NBA Models, and he’s historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +6.26 with a comparable salary. He’s one of the best plays on the slate.
John Collins is an interesting buy-low option on today’s slate. He’s posted a negative Plus/Minus in three straight games, which has caused his salary to drop to just $6,800 on FanDuel. His 11 Pro Trends are also tied for the top mark at the position.
Chris Boucher has been the Raptors’ best big man this season, and it seems like the Raptors have finally figured that out. He’s still expected to come off the bench, but he’s still projected for 28 minutes in our NBA Models. Boucher has averaged 1.38 DraftKings points per minute this season, so he can do a lot of damage with 28 minutes. He’s significantly underpriced on DraftKings, where his $6,900 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 99%.
Center is a great position to save some money today. Clint Capela is one of the pricier options at the position, but he’s still pretty affordable at just $6,400 on FanDuel. He’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in six of his past seven games, yet his salary has stayed pretty stagnant. He’s also been very productive on a per-minute basis, averaging 1.16 FanDuel points per minute, and his matchup vs. the Blazers results in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.89.
Embiid being out of the lineup opens the door for Dwight Howard to move into the starting lineup. Howard is not the same player that he was in his prime, but he’s still averaged a respectable 0.96 FanDuel points per minute this season. He’s currently projected for 25.8 minutes in our NBA Models, so he’s reasonably priced at $4,400 on FanDuel.
On DraftKings, you can go even cheaper with Tony Bradley. He’s priced at the absolute minimum, and while he won’t see as many minutes as Howard, he’s been much more productive on a per-minute basis. He’s averaged 1.29 DraftKings points per minute over the past month, which is the second-highest mark at the position.
Enes Kanter is going to have the opportunity to play a few additional minutes on today’s slate. Jusuf Nurkic is going to miss an extended period of time after suffering a right wrist fracture, and Kanter is one option to replace him in the starting lineup. He’s averaged 1.28 DraftKings points per minute over the past month, and he’s always an appealing DFS option when he’s going to see extra playing time.