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.
Damian Lillard has been excellent to start the season, posting an average Plus/Minus of +8.01 on DraftKings through his first five games. While most teams are opting to play their stars fewer minutes this season, the Blazers have not taken the same approach with Lillard. He’s currently averaging 37.4 minutes per game, and he’s projected for 38.1 minutes in our NBA Models. That’s the top mark on the slate regardless of position.
Lillard has been effective with his monster workload this season, averaging 1.40 DraftKings points per minute. He leads the position with 12 Pro Trends on DraftKings, where his $9,100 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 95%.
The game between the Timberwolves and Wizards figures to be one of the best of the day from a fantasy perspective. The total on that game sits a 227.5 points, which is the top mark on the slate. Both of these teams currently rank in the top 10 in terms of pace, and Washington ranks just 28th in defensive efficiency. That makes Jeff Teague an intriguing value, particularly on FanDuel given his Bargain Rating of 96%.
He should see some increased offensive responsibilities today with Karl-Anthony Towns serving the first game of a suspension. Teague has increased his production to 1.00 FanDuel points per minute with Towns off the court this season.
Ricky Rubio has posted a positive Plus/Minus on FanDuel in each of his first four games this season, and he’s in a nice spot today vs. the Memphis Grizzlies. The Grizzlies have completely overhauled their playing style this season and are currently playing at the second fastest pace in the league. They’ve struggled in particular against opposing PGs, giving Rubio an Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.48 on FanDuel.
Jamal Murray could be an interesting buy-low target. He’s coming off a poor game in his last contest, but his salary has dropped to just $6,600 on FanDuel for tonight’s matchup vs. the Magic. Will Barton is not expected to play, and Murray has averaged 1.16 DraftKings points per minute with Barton off the court this season.
D’Angelo Russell is literally the last man standing for the Warriors. Kevin Durant is gone. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson are going to miss extended time with injuries. Draymond Green is questionable, and it seems like his minutes will be monitored even he’s active. Russell is going to have to carry a huge workload to try and keep this team afloat, and even that might not be enough.
He tried his best in yesterday’s contest, posting a massive usage rate of 41.0%. Unsurprisingly, that led to a strong fantasy performance: He scored 48.75 DraftKings points and posted a +5.01 Plus/Minus.
Russell has a strong matchup today vs. the Charlotte Hornets, who currently rank 27th in defensive efficiency. There’s no guarantee the Warriors can keep this game close — even the Hornets are favored on the road in Golden State — but the spread is currently listed at just 3.5.
Sticking with the Warriors, Damion Lee is priced close to the minimum across the industry, and he’s been one of their lone bright spots this season. He’s currently averaging 1.19 DraftKings points per minute, and he’s projected for a healthy 25.5 minutes on today’s slate. He’s scored 26.0 and 42.25 DraftKings points in the two games where he’s played more than 20 minutes this season, so he’s tough to avoid at his current salary.
Andrew Wiggins should be the prime beneficiary with Towns out of the lineup today, and his $6,600 salary on FanDuel comes with a Bargain Rating of 98%. He’s typically tough to roster in DFS because his only real skill is scoring the basketball, but he should have plenty of opportunities to score tonight. He led the team with a 33.2% usage rate with Towns, Jimmy Butler, and Derrick Rose off the court last season, resulting in an average of 1.12 FanDuel points per minute.
The Timberwolves aren’t the only team that will be without their star big man today. Joel Embiid will also start serving his suspension for his part in the altercation vs. Towns. That should give Josh Richardson a boost in value. He’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in all four games on DraftKings, and he played more than 37 minutes the last time Embiid was out of the lineup.
Giannis Antetokounmpo stands out as the lone mega stud on today’s slate. He’s coming off 58.0 DraftKings points yesterday vs. the Orlando Magic, and he did it in just 30.3 minutes. Giannis is on pace to set new career-highs in usage rate, assist rate, and rebound rate this season, which is scary considering he won the MVP last season. He’s currently averaging 1.87 DraftKings points per minute, which is the top mark on the slate by a considerable margin.
He has a tough matchup today vs. the Toronto Raptors, but that could actually work in his favor. The only thing that has been able to stop Giannis this season has been a lack of minutes, and that shouldn’t be a problem in this contest. The Bucks also lead the slate with an implied team total of 115.25 points.
Jake Layman has seen a healthy amount of playing time for the Timberwolves this season, logging at least 22.7 minutes in all four contests. He’s priced just $100 above the minimum on FanDuel for today’s contest vs. the Wizards, and he could see a few additional shot attempts with Towns out of the lineup. He doesn’t need to do much to pay off his current salary.
Tobias Harris is one of the strongest options on the slate, particularly on FanDuel given his Bargain Rating of 97%. He averaged 35.16 FanDuel points in 13 games without Embiid last season, and he scored 41.9 FanDuel points in his first game without Embiid this year.
Kelly Oubre was a fantastic fantasy asset for the Suns last year, and he’s carried that production over this season. He’s coming off a poor game in his last outing, but he scored at least 35.1 FanDuel points in each of his first four contests. He’s been priced down to just $6,600 on FanDuel for today’s matchup vs. the Grizzlies, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 91%, which makes this an excellent buy-low opportunity. Oubre has averaged a stout 1.12 FanDuel points per minute this season.
Al Horford will likely man the center position for Philly with Embiid out of the lineup, and he dominated in his first game without Embiid this season. Horford scored 44.3 FanDuel points in that contest, resulting in a Plus/Minus of +14.66. He owns 11 Pro Trends on FanDuel, where his $6,900 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 94%.
Noah Vonleh is priced at the absolute minimum on FanDuel, and he’s one of the primary candidate to absorb Towns’ minutes on today’s slate. He was excellent for the Knicks last season, so he should be able to take advantage of any additional playing time. He’s currently projected for 24 minutes, and Vonleh averaged a Plus/Minus of +9.78 on FanDuel with a comparable minute projection and salary last season (per the Trends tool).
If Green is unable to suit up for the Warriors, Marquese Chriss and Omari Spellman would likely see a boost in playing time. That’s not a particularly appealing scenario for the Warriors, but it would create some value for DFS. Both guys are dirt cheap on DraftKings — Spellman is $3,300 and Chriss is $3,100 — and both have averaged just under 1.00 DraftKings points per minute this season. They have a ton of potential and not much downside at their current price tags.
Rui Hachimura has been impressive as a rookie, posting a positive Plus/Minus on FanDuel in each of his first four games. He’s been priced up aggressively on DraftKings but remains affordable at $5,900 on FanDuel. He leads all PFs with 13 Pro Trends.
Andre Drummond predictably dominated the Bulls last night, scoring 67.0 DraftKings points over 35.1 minutes. He’s in another smash spot tonight vs. the Nets, who have hemorrhaged fantasy points to opposing big men over the past two seasons. Drummond averaged 20.3 points and 21.0 rebounds per game over three contests vs. the Nets last year, resulting in an average Plus/Minus of +7.71 on DraftKings.
He should also continue to benefit from the absence of Blake Griffin. Drummond increased his usage rate, assist rate, and rebound rate in games without Griffin last season, resulting in an average of 52.36 DraftKings points per game. He’s one of the top overall plays on the slate.
On the other side of the same matchup, Jarrett Allen looks like an interesting value play at just $4,500 on DraftKings. He’s coming off 31 minutes in his last contest, which represented a big spike in playing time. He’s averaged 0.93 DraftKings points per minute this season, so he’s underpriced if he’s going to continue to play that much moving forward.
Jonas Valanciunas is high-risk, high-reward option today on FanDuel, where his $6,000 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 98%. He isn’t seeing a ton of playing time at the moment, but he has averaged a stout 1.41 FanDuel points per minute this season. He has a nice matchup vs. the Suns, who will be without starting center Deandre Ayton. Valanciunas has GPP winning upside and should command minimal ownership.
Photo credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Pictured: 76ers F Tobias Harris (34)