On Saturday night, the NBA has five games lined up for the main slate on DraftKings and FanDuel, starting at 7:00 p.m. ET when the Pelicans host the Timberwolves. Three more games tip off at 8:00 p.m. ET including the showcase matchup between the Bucks and Mavericks. The final matchup of the night gets underway at 8:30 p.m. ET when the Warriors host the Thunder for a second straight game.
With 10 teams in the player pool, there are definitely some matchups to attack and others to avoid. Let’s dive into some of the top plays on the slate using the FantasyLabs tools and projections.
Note: Projections and Leverages Scores/Ratings may change throughout the day after this article is posted. The NBA DFS landscape changes quickly.
Consult the NBA Player Models directly for any updates as we get closer to lock.
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NBA DFS Point Guard Picks
There are three (four if Stephen Curry returns) elite point guards on Saturday’s slate, and of the three, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has the best projections. On FanDuel, SGA has the highest median projection while finishing just behind Luka Doncic for ceiling and floor projections. Since he’s so much cheaper than Luka, though, he still projects to return more value. On DraftKings, there’s even more of a price gap, and SGA brings a 79% Bargain Rating, making him the best fit in most lineup constructions.
The superstar point guard has a 32.3% projected usage rate, which is the third-highest on the slate behind only Luka and Giannis Antetokounmpo, who are both priced significantly higher than SGA. In his last game on Thursday, SGA fell just short of salary-based expectations, but he had a solid 24 points and seven assists in his 29 minutes. The game was a blowout, so he was able to play a lighter load, but he still was the focal point of the offense when on the floor with a 40.5% usage rate. So far on the season, he has produced a slate-high 1.58 DraftKings points and 1.56 FanDuel points per minute. Those rates are actually higher than Giannis on both sites and higher than everyone on the slate except for Luka on DraftKings.
The Thunder play at the sixth-fastest Pace in the NBA, and they have the third-highest implied team total on the slate, according to our Vegas Dashboard. It should be a good spot for Gilgeous-Alexander to put up another stuffed stat line, and he should be able to outperform his production from the last game if the Warriors can keep this rematch more competitive.
The Grizzlies are short-handed in the backcourt, so Jacob Gilyard brings elite value to Saturday’s slate in his expected expanded role. With Ja Morant still serving his suspension and Marcus Smart (foot) expected to miss 3-to-5 weeks, Gilyard is projected to step up over the next few weeks. He has the highest Projected Plus/Minus on the entire slate on DraftKings and the highest of all point guards on FanDuel. He also has the highest Pts/Sal of any player on the slate on DraftKings and the second-highest on FanDuel.
Gilyard played just one game for Memphis last year on a two-way contract and spent most of last season with the G League’s Memphis Hustle. At 5-foot-9, he’s the shortest player in the NBA, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be productive. In his 138 minutes this season, he has produced 0.85 DraftKings points and 0.84 FanDuel points per minute.
He has started each of the last three games for the Grizzlies, exceeding salary-based expectations in two of those starts with an average Plus/Minus of 5.96 DraftKings points and 7.5 FanDuel points. Gilyard is projected to play 32.8 minutes on Saturday, and in his only other game with over 30 minutes, he had a season-high 14 points, eight assists, and four boards for 34 DraftKings points and 31.8 FanDuel points.
Gilyard will have a chance to run the show, and he gets a great matchup on Saturday in which to take the helm. The Spurs play at the third-fastest Pace in the NBA and have the second-worst Defensive Rating. The Grizzlies don’t usually play fast but should have plenty of chances to post points in this matchup. Gilyard has the highest Opponents Plus/Minus of all players at all positions on both DraftKings and FanDuel, meaning this should be a great spot for him to post a big game. At his salary, he’s one of the most important players to include in your plans for Saturday.
Luka Doncic always brings an extremely high ceiling and extremely high usage to every matchup. With Kyrie Irving back in the mix for this big game against the Bucks, he won’t have to do all the heavy lifting himself, but both players project well since the Mavs have the second-best implied team total of the night.
On the other side of that showdown, Damian Lillard and the Bucks will be looking to win their fourth straight game after crushing Charlotte in the first half of their back-to-back. If both Dame and Giannis play, there will be plenty of star power on display in Milwaukee. Lillard is more affordable than Doncic or SGA, although he hasn’t quite been on their elite level in terms of production rate so far this season.
Stephen Curry (knee) is questionable after missing two games with a right knee sprain. Normally, Golden State is extremely cautious with Curry, but there may be some early-season urgency to get him back after five straight losses. If he doesn’t return, Chris Paul will be a good option to consider, even though he isn’t as cheap as he was before getting extra work the past two games.
The Spurs are playing for the second day in a row, so their injury report will be important to watch for. Tre Jones (hamstring) has missed three straight games, and Jeremy Sochan has been solid while he has been out. Sochan has exceeded salary-based expectations in four of his past five games, and he’ll be a good midrange play against the Grizzlies if Jones is out again. If Jones plays or you don’t trust Sochan, Mike Conley is a more proven alternative, although he doesn’t have the potential ceiling that Sochan brings.
In addition to Gilyard, there are some other strong value plays at point guard. Dyson Daniels continues to be excellent for the Pelicans, while CJ McCollum (lung) is sidelined. Daniels has exceeded salary-based expectations in five straight games and nine of his last 10. In those 10 games, he has produced 0.92 DraftKings points and 0.92 FanDuel points per minute with an average Plus/Minus of 4.2 DraftKings points and 7.2 FanDuel points.
If you’re looking even cheaper, John Konchar and Isaiah Joe are point guard eligible on FanDuel and will be discussed further below. Vasilije Micic has gotten increased work off the bench for the Thunder in their last two games and put up good numbers from under $4K. That added work hasn’t come at the expense of rookie Cason Wallace, who also continues to contribute to the Thunder’s second unit.
NBA DFS Shooting Guard Picks
In addition to Smart’s absence, the Grizzlies will be without Luke Kennard (knee) on Saturday. Already, Desmond Bane was carrying a big workload in the Grizzlies’ backcourt, but he will likely be even more busy on Saturday with fewer options to help him out. Given his projected workload and a great matchup with the Spurs, Bane has the highest median, ceiling, and floor projections of all shooting guards on both DraftKings and FanDuel. He also brings the highest Projected Plus/Minus and the highest Pts/Sal at the position on both sites.
Bane is actually coming into this matchup of a bit of a down game. He only had 15 points on Tuesday as the Lakers crushed Memphis 134-107. Before that, he had put up back-to-back big games with 27 and 37 points against the Clippers and Jazz, respectively. He’s projected for a 30.3% usage rate in 41.2 minutes against the Spurs, which should set him up for a big bounce-back game.
So far this season, Bane has produced 1.24 DraftKings points and 1.21 FanDuel points per minute. Without Smart on the floor, his per-minute production jumps to 1.56 DraftKings points and 1.57 FanDuel points per minute. his usage rate also jumps over 3.5 percentage points to 33.6% without Smart on the floor. While Gilyard will run the show as an elite value play, Bane should get most of the scoring opportunities and has an elite ceiling for as long as Smart is sidelined. In Saturday’s matchup in San Antonio, both guards should definitely be part of your lineup options.
The second-highest Projected Plus/Minus at shooting guard on FanDuel is on the other side of the same matchup. Second-year guard Malaki Branham has stepped up lately for the Spurs and played over 20 minutes in seven of his past eight contests. He has scored double-digit points in four of his past five games and added five assists on Friday while helping to cover for the continued absence of Jones.
While the Spurs have dropped seven straight, Branham has averaged 0.74 DraftKings points and 0.72 FanDuel points per minute during that stretch. He’s projected for 25 minutes in this matchup and stands out as a great affordable play. He has an 88% Bargain Rating on FanDuel, where he can also slide over to small forward for increased roster flexibility.
Since it’s the Spurs’ second game in a row, keep an eye on the injury report, but if Branham is lined up for minutes, he should find a way to return good value at his very affordable salary. Devin Vassell (adductor) missed Friday’s game along with Jones, so their status is especially important to Branham and the rest of the Spurs’ potential value.
Just behind Bane in the projections, Anthony Edwards is a strong top-tier option against the Pelicans if you can afford to pay up for the superstar. He’s had a couple of down games in his last two outings, but this should be a good bounce-back spot.
Zach LaVine has been the focus of all kinds of trade rumors, but he continues to bring a high ceiling whenever he plays for the Bulls. On Friday, he went off for 34 points, but Chicago still lost to Orlando and will look to build on that momentum as the Bulls host the other Florida team and try to beat the Heat.
Klay Thompson hasn’t been able to step up while Steph and Draymond Green (suspension) have been out, posting disappointing results in the Warriors’ current skid. He still has the potential to go off if his shot gets going, but he hasn’t exceeded salary-based expectations on DraftKings in any of his 12 games this season. While Klay has struggled, rookie Brandin Podziemski has been stepping up. He has exceeded salary-based expectations in each of his past two games and should get the chance to build on that momentum, especially if Steph misses another game.
Tim Hardaway Jr. has been very good for the Mavericks this season and is coming off a 31-point performance on Wednesday. He has hit multiple threes in seven straight games and 11 of his 12 games this season. All that production from long-range makes him especially effective on DraftKings, where he is averaging over 1.00 fantasy points per minute. Hardaway’s role will reduce with the expected return of Kyrie, but he still is a solid midrange play since there are so many points expected in this matchup in Milwaukee.
Another solid producer with a midrange salary has been Duncan Robinson, who has stepped up for the Heat with Tyler Herro (ankle) on the shelf. Robinson has exceeded salary-based expectations in three straight games with at least 18 points in each contest. He’s a streaky shooter and should return value if he stays hot against the Bulls. Josh Richardson has also been productive for the Heat from his price point, but he doesn’t have the ceiling that Robinson brings.
After a slow start to his first season with the Bucks, Malik Beasley has caught fire the last two games, scoring 30 points against the Raptors and 20 against the Hornets while shooting a scorching 14-for-21 from long range. He’ll look to stay hot as the Bucks come home to Milwaukee. If either Lillard or Giannis sits, Beasley should get even more work and have an even higher ceiling.
Isaiah Joe showcased his ceiling on Thursday in the first game against the Warriors. He knocked down seven three-pointers on his way to 23 points. He is only eligible at point guard on FanDuel but can fit at shooting guard or small forward on DraftKings. Typically, he’s getting 15-to-20 minutes off the bench and contributes in multiple stat categories. He’s a little boom-or-bust with his scoring but brings a high ceiling for a play at $4K at FanDuel and just $3,800 on DraftKings.
On DraftKings, Ziaire Williams can slide to shooting guard and brings the second-highest Projected Plus/Minus at the position. On FanDuel, Pat Connaughton and Nickeil Alexander-Walker project to be the best punt plays.
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NBA DFS Small Forward Picks
Has Jimmy Butler finally found his groove after a slow start? The last two games have been excellent for Butler, and he has the second-highest ceiling and median projection at small forward on both DraftKings and FanDuel, behind only Bane (discussed above). Butler brings the added narrative of facing his former team, the Bulls.
In each of his last two games, Butler established new season-highs with 32 points on Tuesday in Miami’s win over Charlotte, followed by 36 points on Thursday against the Nets. In each of those contests, he also carried season-high usage rates with 31.9% and 38.4%, respectively. His non-scoring numbers are always there, and he has produced 1.12 DraftKings points and 1.13 FanDuel points per minute on the season.
With Herro still sidelined, Butler projects for 26.3% usage in his return to Chicago, and he is a good play with a high ceiling on Saturday. His projected ownership is significantly lower than Bane’s, so he makes a solid option if you need a pivot for leverage at this price.
After missing a game with knee soreness, Keldon Johnson looked very sharp in his return on Friday night for the Spurs. He had 21 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists on his way to 47.75 DraftKings points and 45.3 FanDuel points. As long as he’s ready to carry his regular workload on the second game of this back-to-back, he should be one of the best values on the board.
Johnson has the second-highest Projected Plus/Minus at the position on FanDuel, behind only Bane and just ahead of Butler. He also has an 88% Bargain Rating on FanDuel, where he matches 10 Pro Trends. On DraftKings, he has the fourth-highest Projected Plus/Minus at small forward.
When he has been healthy, Johnson has shown he can put up big numbers for the Spurs. He is averaging 1.02 DraftKings points and 0.99 FanDuel points per minute on the season, but his ceiling games have been especially good since he has been averaging season-highs in rebounds and assists to go with his 15.8 points per game.
If Johnson is out or limited, Branham, Julian Champagnie and Doug McDermott will get added value.
Brandon Ingram has been productive since returning from injury and lands just behind Bane and Butler in the projections. He had a season-high eight assists in Friday’s close loss to the Nuggets while also scoring 21 points. He has at least 20 points in each of his last six games and has exceeded salary-based expectations in three of his last four contests.
DeMar DeRozan was questionable but played on Friday, so keep a close eye on his status for Saturday as well. If he sits, LaVine will be a stronger option.
The Thunder continue to get good contributions from Jalen Williams, although he continues to not quite fit in traditional positions. He is both a shooting guard and small forward on FanDuel and is only eligible at power forward on DraftKings. Whichever site you’re playing on, Williams has been a good play overall, producing 0.89 DraftKings points and 0.87 FanDuel points per minute on the season. Williams exceeded salary-based expectations on Thursday against the Warriors with 15 points, five assists, three boards, and two steals.
Another very solid midrange option to consider is Jaime Jacquez Jr., who has stepped up for Miami. The East Coast JJJ has outperformed salary-based expectations on DraftKings in five straight games. He has scored double-digit points in each of those games and established himself as one of the newest “Heat Culture” guys.
Without Kennard and Smart, the Grizzlies will turn to Ziaire Williams and John Konchar. Williams missed a game and lost his starting spot to Gilyard but could step back into the starting five after scoring 10 points off the bench on Tuesday against the Lakers. Konchar has shown the ability to go off when given a bigger role throughout his career and only needed 18 minutes to have six points and six assists against the Lakers. Konchar has the sixth-highest Projected Plus/Minus at point guard on DraftKings, and Williams has the second-highest projected Plus/Minus at shooting guard on FanDuel. Both Grizzlies wings are also eligible at small forward on both DraftKings and FanDuel.
Former Grizzlies forward Kyle Anderson also projects to be a good value for the Timberwolves. He has the second-highest Projected Plus/Minus at small forward on DraftKings and the sixth-highest on FanDuel.
On DraftKings, Jaden McDaniels joins Julian Champagnie and Marjon Beauchamp as top cheap plays. On FanDuel, Malaki Branham is also worth a look since he’s small forward eligible.
NBA DFS Power Forward Picks
As is usually the case, Giannis Antetokounmpo is near the top of the projections in just about every category. He has the highest median and floor projection on the slate and the third-highest ceiling projection. Giannis actually appears to be underpriced on both DraftKings and FanDuel, where he has a positive Projected Plus/Minus and one of the best Pts/Sal on the board.
Part of the reason for his slightly reduced salary is that Giannis missed Wednesday’s game with a minor calf issue. He only needed to play 28 minutes on Friday but had 16 points, nine assists, and eight rebounds in a comfortable win against Charlotte. Since that game didn’t demand all his usual minutes, hopefully, he’ll be keyed up and ready to roll against the Mavericks.
The Bucks have the highest implied team total on the board in their matchup against the Mavericks, who have been very generous to opposing big men. Giannis has averaged 1.54 DraftKings points and 1.49 FanDuel points per minute on the season. With an Opponents Plus/Minus of +0.75 and a usage projection of 35.6%, there are plenty of reasons to build around Giannis, who could go off for a monster game at home against the Mavs.
Dario Saric actually moved into Golden State’s starting lineup on Tuesday before the absence of Draymond Green (suspension). He started again ahead of Kevon Looney on Thursday against the Thunder, and he will likely stay in the starting five in the rematch on Saturday. He’s projected for 27 minutes against the Thunder with a 16.9% usage projection.
Saric showed his upside with 21 points in that first start on Tuesday, helping to fill the gap left by Green and Thompson’s ejection on top of Curry’s injury. He only played 24 minutes on Thursday since the game was a blowout, but he still finished right at his salary-based expectation with 12 points, four assists, and three rebounds. So far this season, Saric has contributed 1.06 DraftKings points and 1.03 FanDuel points per minute, and if he plays usual starters minutes on Saturday night, he should end up as one of the strongest options at the position on a per-dollar basis.
Moving into the lineup alongside Saric in Green’s place, Jonathan Kuminga got his first start of the season for the Warriors on Thursday, and he delivered a season-high 21 points on his way to 30.2 FanDuel points and 32 DraftKings points. He’s eligible at power forward on DraftKings and small forward on FanDuel.
Karl-Anthony Towns has one of the top projections across the board at power forward on DraftKings, where he has the fourth-highest ceiling projection and the second-best Projected Plus/Minus. Towns fell just short of salary-based expectations and a double-double in his most recent game against the Suns but had three straight games with a double-double and a positive Plus/Minus before that. On DraftKings, he’s under $8K and brings great upside at both power forward and center.
Towns’ teammate, Kyle Anderson, has the third-highest Projected Plus/Minus at the position and is a good value option on DraftKings as well. Anderson also has the highest Projected Plus/Minus of all power forwards under $5K on FanDuel.
Jaren Jackson Jr. and Zion Williamson both have very good Projected Plus/Minus, especially on FanDuel. JJJ has a ton of upside and a high ceiling but has been scuffling a bit lately while trying to help carry the load in the Grizzlies offense next to Bane. Zion is coming off a big game on Friday but will be playing for the second game on a back-to-back for the first time this season if he suits up on Saturday.
If you have to go ultra-cheap at the position, Kevin Love is worth a look and Cedi Osman or Julian Champagnie could be in a big role depending on who is available for the Spurs.
NBA DFS Center Picks
Not only is Victor Wembanyama a ton of fun to watch and cheer for but he’s also been a great fantasy producer lately for the Spurs. He has the third-highest Projected Plus/Minus on the entire slate on DraftKings and the highest at both power forward and center. On FanDuel, Webanyama has the second-highest Projected Plus/Minus on the whole slate, just behind his teammate Zach Collins.
Wemby had 27 points and nine rebounds in 31 minutes against the Kings on Friday night and exceeded salary-based expectations on FanDuel for the third time in his last four games. On the season, the rookie has produced an impressive 1.33 DraftKings points and 1.32 FanDuel points per minute.
He’s projected for 32 minutes with a 31% usage rate on Saturday against the Grizzlies. Those numbers could adjust as news breaks throughout the day, so be sure to check the models as we approach tip time. If Wembanyama stays with so much expected usage, though, he should be set up for more success in this home game against Memphis.
If you’re looking to spend less at center so you can stack your team in other spots, Naz Reid has the highest Projected Plus/Minus at the position on DraftKings among the options under $5K. Reid has an 83% Bargain Rating on DraftKings and has scored double-digit points in three straight games.
Reid is priced up on FanDuel, but Santi Aldama is eligible at center and brings the best Projected Plus/Minus of the plays under $5K. He has a 90% Bargain Rating on FanDuel and is a solid midrange value to consider at either power forward or center after he had 24 points in the Grizzlies’ blowout loss on Tuesday. He’s still finding his place in Memphis’s rotation after a late start to the season due to an ankle injury, but he brings a high ceiling against San Antonio.
I’ve been riding Bam Adebayo lately, and I like him in this matchup as well, but he doesn’t have quite the same value potential as Wemby or even Towns now that Butler is back to carrying more of the offensive workload for Miami.
Zach Collins had posted a few down games but looked great on Friday with 28 points, eight rebounds, and five assists for 43.5 DraftKings points and 54.1 FanDuel points. He has a very high ceiling but can also disappear at times, making him a boom-or-bust midrange play at center. He can also flex over to power forward on FanDuel.
Chet Holmgren has been putting up good numbers for the Thunder, and I’m still in on his long-term upside. However, his salary continues to outpace his recent production. He has fallen short of salary-based expectations in five straight games, and with SGA taking up so much usage, he doesn’t have a high enough ceiling to be worth his current price tag.
If you decide to punt your center spot, Kevin Love projects to be the best punt play while it’s also worth noting that Sandro Mamukelashvili is back in the rotation for the Spurs in case they decide to set or rest their big men.