The NBA Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each day’s slate using the FantasyLabs Tools and metrics to highlight notable players.
Saturday features an eight-game slate starting at 7 p.m. ET.
Russell Westbrook and the Thunder take on the Houston Rockets tonight in a marquee showdown, and Westbrook couldn’t enter this contest in better recent form. He’s posted an average Plus/Minus of +7.59 over his past 10 games on DraftKings and owns a perfect 100% Consistency Rating over the past month. His salary has also decreased by -$100 over that time frame, and his current $11,200 price tag comes with a Bargain Rating of 92%.
The Rockets are a pretty good matchup, ranking merely 23rd in defensive efficiency this season, and the Warriors’ implied team total of 117.75 ranks third on the slate. Westbrook had a solid showing against the Rockets in their first meeting this season, scoring 53.75 DraftKings points despite shooting just 30% from the field.
If his last two games are any indication, Dennis Smith Jr. is loving life in New York. He’s posted a usage rate of at least 33.5% in both of those contests, resulting in an average of 43.88 DraftKings points per game. He has a difficult matchup today vs. the Raptors but is simply too cheap at $5,900.
The Milwaukee Bucks are on the second leg of a back-to-back, and Giannis Antetokounmpo will get a much-deserved night off. Eric Bledsoe has been a monster with Giannis off the court this season, averaging 1.48 DraftKings points per minute thanks to a usage increase of +5.2%. He’s tough to pass up at just $6,800 on DraftKings given his Bargain Rating of 97%.
Malcolm Brogdon should also see a bump in value for the Bucks. He’s increased his usage rate by +3.4% with Giannis off the court this season, resulting in an average of 1.09 DraftKings points per minute. He doesn’t possess the same upside as Bledsoe but is slightly cheaper across the industry.
Kemba Walker has the best matchup at the position. He’s taking on the Atlanta Hawks, resulting in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.61 on FanDuel. He’s also found his early-season form over his past three games, scoring at least 54.2 FanDuel point in each contest.
James Harden continues to dominate on a nightly basis. He’s coming off “just” 54.0 DraftKings points in his most recent contest, but he played only 31.5 minutes in a blowout win. He typically plays closer to 40 minutes, so he likely would’ve posted another game with at least 60 fantasy points if it stayed more competitive.
That said, his usage rate has been much more mortal with Chris Paul back in the lineup. He’s been at 38.4% or lower in each of his past four games but has made up for it with some really efficient shooting numbers. That could come crashing down today vs. Paul George, who has been one of the best perimeter defenders in the league this season.
He currently ranks first among perimeter players in Defensive Real Plus/Minus (DRPM), and he’s held Harden to -10.0 points per 100 possessions below his season average when matched up against him this season. Harden was able to score 64.5 DraftKings points in his most recent meeting vs. the Thunder, but he posted a usage rate of 44.2% in that contest. This feels like a spot to fade him.
The Cavaliers are going to need Jordan Clarkson to produce for them after trading away Rodney Hood and Alec Burks at the trade deadline. He came through yesterday, scoring 36.7 FanDuel points in 31.5 minutes, and he’s looking at another big workload today. He’s an excellent value at $5,600 on FanDuel.
Khris Middleton got the night off yesterday, so he should be ready to command a big usage rate sans Antetokounmpo on today’s slate. He’s seen a massive +9.0% usage bump with Giannis off the court this season, resulting in an average of 1.32 DraftKings points per minute. His 11 Pro Trends are tied for the most at the position on FanDuel, where he’s underpriced at $6,500.
Zach LaVine is a strong option today on DraftKings given his Bargain Rating of 95%. He’s scored at least 41.25 DraftKings points in three of his past four games and has an excellent matchup today vs. the Washington Wizards. They rank just 26th in defensive efficiency this season, giving LaVine an Opponent Plus/Minus of +1.17. He leads the position with 12 Pro Trends on DraftKings.
The small forward position isn’t as enticing today with Giannis out of the lineup but still features a few heavy hitters at the top. One of those options is Paul George, who has posted an average Plus/Minus of +7.69 over his past 10 games on DraftKings. He’s been priced up quite a bit on FanDuel but remains reasonably priced at $10,000 on DraftKings, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 97%. He leads the position with 12 Pro Trends and is a viable option in all formats.
Jabari Parker didn’t waste any time making an impact for the Wizards, scoring 45.7 FanDuel points yesterday in his team debut. He’s averaged 0.98 FanDuel points per minute this season and played 23.5 minutes in that contest, which makes him tough to ignore at just $3,900 on FanDuel.
Taurean Prince played a whopping 37 minutes in his last contest, which makes him an interesting option today vs. the Charlotte Hornets. He’s averaged a solid 0.84 FanDuel points per minute this season, and his $5,100 price tag comes with a Bargain Rating of 77%.
Danilo Gallinari return to the Clippers’ lineup on Thursday after missing each of the previous 10 games, and he figures to take on a larger role after Tobias Harris was traded to the 76ers. He scored 27.25 DraftKings points in 19.5 minutes in his last game, so he has big upside when he returns to his usual workload. He’s currently projected for 32 minutes in our NBA Models, and his $5,900 salary on DraftKings comes with a Bargain Rating of 95%.
Lauri Markkanen has the opportunity to be a fantasy monster for the Bulls for the rest of the season. He’s scored at least 42.25 DraftKings points in five of his past six games and has played at least 38.5 minutes in each of his past two.
The Bulls are really thin in the frontcourt after losing Wendell Carter Jr. to injury and trading Bobby Portis, so there’s no reason to expect a decrease in playing time today. He has an excellent matchup vs. Wizards, who have been the second worst rebounding team in the league this season.
Marvin Williams is coming off a down performance in his most recent contest, but has otherwise been a solid contributor recently. He played at least 33 minutes in each of his three prior contests and posted a positive Plus/Minus in each. He’s in a wonderful spot today vs. the Hawks, resulting in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.04, and his $4,600 salary on DraftKings comes with a Bargain Rating of 92%.
The Pelicans said that Anthony Davis will not play in most back-to-back situations after failing to trade him before the deadline, but he is expected to be active on the second leg of a back-to-back today vs. the Grizzlies. He played just 24 minutes yesterday but still scored 51.25 DraftKings points.
It’s unclear if his role will be that limited moving forward, which makes him the ultimate high-risk, high-reward GPP option. His salary has been reduced to just $10,500 on DraftKings and he’s projected for less than 10% ownership on today’s slate.
The Cavs are an interesting team to target at the power forward position. Kevin Love returned to the lineup yesterday but left after just six minutes of playing time. He won’t play tonight, which leaves Larry Nance Jr. and Marquese Chriss to handle the majority of the minutes. Nance has massive upside – he scored over 50 DraftKings points yesterday despite shooting just 3-15 from the field – while Chriss is priced at the absolute minimum at just $3,000.
This is one of the weakest slates of the year at the center position. Only two players have a salary above $8,000 on FanDuel, and of those is Marc Gasol, who is impossible to roster in his team debut with the Raptors.
Paying down a bit at the position seems like a wise decision, and one of the options that stands out is Steven Adams. His salary has decreased by a solid amount of the past month across the industry, and he has a strong matchup today vs. the Rockets. They’ve been one of the worst rebounding teams in the league this season, and they’re still without their top center in Clint Capela.
Jonas Valanciunas is expected to make his debut for the Grizzlies, and he’s a really intriguing option on FanDuel given his Bargain Rating of 90%. He should see more playing time for the Grizzlies than he did with the Raptors, which makes him one of the biggest winners from the trade deadline. He’s averaged 1.33 FanDuel points per minute this season, so he can do some serious damage with increased playing time.
Brook Lopez is another member of the Bucks who could see a bump in playing time and usage today with Giannis out of the lineup. He’s 1.00 FanDuel points per minute over the past month, and his $5,300 salary on FanDuel comes with a Bargain Rating of 82%.
After this piece is published, FantasyLabs is likely to provide news updates on a number of players. Be sure to stay ahead of your competition with our NBA news feed.
Pictured: Bucks G Eric Bledsoe
Photo Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports