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 six-game main slate starting at 7 p.m. ET.
Luka Doncic continues to carry a massive workload with Kristaps Porzingis out of the lineup. He’s posted an average usage rate of 40.1% with Porzingis off the court this season, and he’s been over that mark in three of his past four games. He struggled a bit in his last contest, but that can be excused vs. a tough Lakers defense.
His current matchup vs. the 76ers should be much friendlier. It doesn’t look great on paper — the 76ers rank sixth in defensive efficiency — but they’ve been a different team with Joel Embiid off the court this season. They allow 2.7 additional points per 100 possessions, and the Mavs’ implied team total of 112.75 ranks fourth on the slate.
The Pelicans are dealing with a litany of injuries at the moment. Derrick Favors and Kenrich Williams have already been ruled out for today’s contest vs. the Celtics, while Jrue Holiday and J.J. Redick are both doubtful. That opens up plenty of playing time in their backcourt.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker is someone who could take advantage of that opening. He’s been very productive when on the court this season, averaging 0.95 DraftKings points per minute, and he’s dirt-cheap at $3,100. He’s currently projected for 24.1 minutes in our NBA Models, and players with comparable salaries, minute projections, and per-minute averages have historically posted a Plus/Minus of +4.60 (per the Trends tool).
Eric Bledsoe has one of the best matchups at the position today vs. the Portland Trail Blazers. It results in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +3.29 on DraftKings, and the Bucks’ implied team total of 117.0 ranks first on the slate. The Bucks are also favored by just six points on the road, so this is a spot where they could potentially get full minutes out of their starters.
Kemba Walker returned to the Celtics’ lineup recently and is in a fantastic spot today vs. the Pelicans. They’re one of the best matchups in fantasy, ranking sixth in pace and tied for 22nd in defensive efficiency. Walker is massively underpriced at just $7,000 on FanDuel, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 94%.
The SG position is a little thin at the top today. Zach LaVine is the only player priced above $6,600 on FanDuel.
That said, LaVine has been absolutely balling recently, posting an average Plus/Minus of +7.45 over his past 10 games on FanDuel. He’s increased his fantasy production to 1.16 FanDuel points per minute over that time frame, and he’s posted a Consistency Rating of 92% and an Upside Rating of 76% over that time frame.
He should continue to benefit from the absence of Wendell Carter Jr. LaVine has increased his usage rate by +3.0% with Carter off the court this season, and no one on the team has seen a larger boost in fantasy value in that situation.
Josh Hart is another member of the Pelicans who should benefit from their current injury situation. He’s expected to play big minutes — he’s currently projected for 35.7 in our NBA Models — and he’s averaged 0.91 DraftKings points per minute with all four injured players off the court this season. He’s very reasonably priced across the industry.
Khris Middleton has posted a perfect 100% Consistency Rating over the past month on FanDuel, and he’s ridiculously underpriced at the moment. His $6,600 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 97%, and he leads the position with 15 Pro Trends on FanDuel.
Malik Beasley is priced at the absolute minimum on DraftKings, which makes him an interesting punt play. Paul Millsap will miss today’s contest vs. the Cavaliers, which opens up a few additional minutes for the rest of the roster. Beasley is coming off 21.25 DraftKings points over 26.1 minutes in his last game, and he’s averaged 0.80 DraftKings points per minute over the past month.
Giannis Antetokounmpo has been a disappointment recently, posting an average Plus/Minus of -2.33 over his past 10 games on DraftKings. He was limited to just 35.5 DraftKings points over 28.3 minutes yesterday, and his fantasy production has decreased to 1.86 DraftKings points per minute over the past month. That’s obviously still a very impressive number, but he was averaging over 2.00 DraftKings points per minute for much of the season.
That said, he’s in an elite spot today vs. the Blazers. He owns an Opponent Plus/Minus of +3.11, which is the top mark at the position. The spread is the most encouraging aspect. The Bucks have played in a lot of blowouts this season, but Giannis has averaged a Plus/Minus of +6.70 as a comparable favorite.
SF seems like a position where you don’t want to pay down too far on today’s slate. There are plenty of appealing values at the other positions, and there are a bunch of strong options at the top of the SF position.
Tim Hardaway Jr. could be one exception on FanDuel. He’s priced at just $4,100, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 94%. He’s currently projected for 30.5 minutes, and he’s averaged 0.80 FanDuel points per minute with Porzingis off the court.
The 76ers will be without Joel Embiid today, who leads the team with a usage rate of 31.6% this season. That will obviously open up a bunch of shot attempts for the rest of the roster.
Tobias Harris is a traditional SF option across the industry, and he’s been a nice option this season with Embiid out of the lineup. He’s averaged 37.02 DraftKings points per 36 minutes in eight games without Embiid, and he scored 33.75 DraftKings points over 35 minutes in a tough matchup vs. the Celtics in his last game.
Ben Simmons also has SF eligibility on DraftKings, and he’s crushed recently. He’s posted an average Plus/Minus of +7.69 over his past 10 games on DraftKings, and he’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in seven of his past nine games.
Brandon Ingram could very easily be considered a stud on today’s slate. He’s carried a massive workload recently, and no one at the position is projected for more than his 38.6 minutes. He’s also crushed in games without Holiday this season, averaging 55.15 DraftKings points per game.
Jayson Tatum represents one of the best pure values of the day on FanDuel, where his $6,900 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 98%. His salary has decreased by -$1,200 compared to its peak, and he has a wonderful matchup vs. the Pelicans. He owns an Opponent Plus/Minus of +1.85 on FanDuel, and the Celtics’ implied team total of 117.25 ranks first on the slate. He also leads all PFs with 11 Pro Trends.
The Lakers are going to be a really interesting team on today’s slate. Anthony Davis sat out yesterday with a tailbone injury, and his status vs. the Thunder is currently unknown. LeBron James has already been ruled out with an illness, so the Lakers have the potential to be without both of their top options.
If that’s the case, Kyle Kuzma will have the opportunity to serve as their offensive focal point vs. the Thunder. He’s seen a usage bump of +7.8% with LeBron and Davis off the court this season, and he’s led the team with a usage rate of 31.7%. He’s unsurprisingly been effective in that situation, averaging 1.11 DraftKings points per minute.
Kuzma is a strong option across the industry, but he’s nearly impossible to fade at just $4,100 on FanDuel.
Al Horford has seen the largest boost in value for the 76ers with Embiid out of the lineup this season. He’s averaged 34.55 FanDuel points per game, resulting in an average Plus/Minus of +4.2. His average salary in those contests was also $6,850, and he’s only priced at $6,400 for today’s matchup.
Jerami Grant is another amazing value option today at the PF position. He will likely draw the start for Millsap, and he’s currently projected for 30.5 minutes in our NBA Models. He scored 36.0 FanDuel points over 33.6 minutes in his last contest, so he has awesome upside at just $4,000.
Andre Drummond is one of the strongest options to pay up for on the entire slate. He’s scored at least 61.5 DraftKings points in each of his past two games, and he should continue to benefit from the absence of Blake Griffin.
He has one of the best possible matchups today vs. the Chicago Bulls, who have been crushed on by opposing centers this season. They rank just 29th in team rebound rate, which plays right into Drummond’s biggest strength. Overall, he owns an Opponent Plus/Minus of +3.76 on DraftKings, where his $10,100 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 81%.
JaVale McGee will likely be asked to play a few additional minutes if Davis is unable to suit up today. He’s averaged 1.19 DraftKings points per minute over the past month, and he’s increased his usage rate by +9.3% with both Davis and James off the court this season. His fantasy production increases to 1.47 DraftKings points per minute in that situation, so he could see a boost in both volume and efficiency in this contest.
Jaxson Hayes is another interesting value option. He will likely draw the start with Favors out of the lineup, and he’s averaged a solid 0.99 DraftKings points per minute this season. He’s slightly cheaper than McGee across the industry, and he’s projected for more playing time as well. His matchup isn’t quite as appealing — The Celtics have been excellent against opposing centers this season — but he doesn’t have a lot of downside at his current price tag.
Don’t look now, but Nikola Jokic might be turning things around. He’s crushed in his past two contests, scoring 55.5 and 72.5 DraftKings points, and he’s increased his production to 1.56 DraftKings points per minute over the past month. He should command minimal ownership today, which makes him an interesting pivot for guaranteed prize pools.
Pictured: Lakers F Kyle Kuzma (0)
Photo credit: Sean M. Haffey-Getty Images