FanDuel NBA: Saturday Value Plays
FanDuel NBA: Saturday Value Plays

This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.

We have a solid eight-game slate on tap Saturday night, and although the injury report does features some prominent names and a lot of uncertainty due to a plethora of players that were just traded earlier in the week, we have enough depth to cover our bases at each position. In terms of the overall offensive expectations for the slate, four of the eight games on the ledger do have projected totals in excess of 220 points.

As usual, we'll proceed to break down the positional outlook below, along with possible chalk plays and some likely under-owned bargains that could help you round out your lineups with a couple of superstars.

Before delving into the slate, a reminder that FanDuel has reverted to its previous format of NOT dropping the lowest scoring in lineups after a one-year experiment with that feature. Therefore, it will be important to be prudent with each selection, as each player's total will count toward your final score.

Without further ado, let's take a more comprehensive look at Saturday's slate!

Slate Overview

Here's a closer look at the three games on Saturday's slate with the highest projected totals:

Los Angeles Clippers at Minnesota Timberwolves (Projected total: 231.5 points)

The new-look Timberwolves could have D'Angelo Russell ready to make his debut Saturday, which would certainly boost their overall offensive outlook. The Clippers already come in averaging 113.6 points per road game and the Timberwolves allow 114.5 per home contest, so the stage is already set statistically for some fireworks. It's also worth noting the first two games between the teams this season have finished with totals of 241 and 224 points, respectively.

New Orleans Pelicans at Indiana Pacers (Projected total: 227.5 points)

The Pelicans will bring a nice bump in pace to the Pacers, as New Orleans is averaging the second-most possessions per game (107.9). Additionally, New Orleans is surrendering the fourth-most points per road game (117.3) and is scoring a solid 112.6 per contest when traveling as well, setting the stage for what could be a fertile offensive environment despite Indiana's normally stingy home-court defense.  

San Antonio Spurs at Sacramento Kings (Projected total: 223.5 points)

The two teams only combined for 209 points – in an overtime contest at that – the first time they met this season, but they each check in allowing over 110 points per contest. San Antonio has also been a bit more vulnerable defensively than usual lately, now surrendering 120.7 points per game over their last three after giving up back-to-back 120-point-plus tallies to the Lakers and Trail Blazers.

Positional Breakdown

Point guard is in ragged shape Saturday, beginning right from the top. Both Luka Doncic (ankle) and Kyrie Irving (knee) remain out, while Kyle Lowry (neck) and Derrick Rose (hip) could well miss as well. Patrick Beverly's (groin) absence hurts the depth in the sub-$5K level as well. Luckily, there's a strong mid-tier that includes the likes of De'Aaron Fox, Elfrid Payton, Malcolm Brogdon, Lonzo Ball, Jamal Murray and Spencer Dindwiddie.

Shooting guard is in much better shape and could be at close to full capacity if D'Angelo Russell (thigh) and Jordan McCrae (ankle) can suit up. There are some potential bargains to be had as well, as Fred VanVleet ($6.5K) should enjoy a much more elevated role than usual with Kyle Lowry (neck) expected to sit.

Small forward has some notable names among its walking wounded, with Brandon Ingram (ankle), Will Barton (knee), T.J. Warren (concussion) and Markieff Morris (illness) all potentially set to miss. However, the top end at the position is in fine shape, with LeBron James ($10.8K) leading the way and Pascal Siakam ($8.5K) a possible bargain due to the usage bump he could see with Kyle Lowry (neck) likely missing Saturday's contest.

Power forward is in good shape until the low $6K range, where we have a couple of injury-related concerns in the form of Draymond Green (back) and Jerami Grant (ankle). There are multiple other players that will or could miss Saturday from that point down (Paul Millsap, Michael Porter, Marvin Bagley, Dario Saric, Richaun Holmes), but the size of the slate still provides enough depth overall.

Given all the injury-related questions elsewhere, center is a virtual picture of health. Marc Gasol (hamstring) is the one likely absence, but otherwise, there's something for every budget beginning with Nikola Jokic ($11.7K) and Karl-Anthony Towns ($10K) up top and going all the way down into the high $3K range (JaVale McGee). It's also worth noting there's a nice price drop-off from Deandre Ayton ($9.2K) to Montrezl Harrell ($5.8K), making it possible to save at the position without sacrificing safety.

Notable Injury Situations to Monitor

NOTE: Injury reporting is especially fluid in the NBA, where the status of multiple players can change during the course of a day. Therefore, although the following serves as a foundation for the latest injury report as of the time the article is written (usually late morning Eastern time), check back throughout the course of the day with RotoWire for the latest news regarding the status of all players on that night's slate.

Luka Doncic, DAL

Doncic remains out with an ankle injury.

Kyrie Irving, BKN

Irving remains out due to an MCL sprain.

Anthony Davis, LAL

Davis is probable with a finger injury.

Andrew Wiggins, GSW

Wiggins is considered questionable to make his team debut after having just been traded to the Warriors at the deadline.

Draymond Green, GSW

Green is questionable due to lower-back tightness.

Zion Williamson, NOP

Williamson is questionable due to an ankle sprain.

Kyle Lowry, TOR

Lowry is considered questionable with the neck injury that forced his early exit from Friday's game against the Pacers.

Brandon Ingram, NOP

Ingram is considered questionable with an ankle sprain.

D'Angelo Russell, MIN

Russell will be listed as questionable due to a thigh injury that he was already dealing with prior to his trade from the Warriors.

Will Barton, DEN

Barton will not play due to knee inflammation.

Michael Porter, DEN

Porter will not play due to an ankle injury.

Jerami Grant, DEN

Grant is probable due to an ankle injury.

Paul Millsap, DEN

Millsap is probable to return from a knee injury that's cost him the last 16 games.

Jordan McRae, DEN

McRae is probable to play through ankle injury.

Aron Baynes, PHO

Baynes is likely to be considered questionable at best due to a hip injury.

Dario Saric, PHO

Saric is likely to be considered questionable at best due to an ankle injury.

Ty Jerome, PHO

Jerome is likely to be considered questionable at best due to a calf injury that's cost him the last five games.

Tyler Johnson, PHO

Johnson is likely to be considered questionable at best due to a knee injury that's cost him the last three games.

Malik Beasley, MIN

Beasley is likely to be considered questionable to make his team debut after having just been traded to the Timberwolves at the deadline.

Jacob Evans, MIN

Evans is likely to be considered questionable to make his team debut after having just been traded to the Timberwolves at the deadline.

James Johnson, MIN

Johnson is likely to be considered questionable to make his team debut after having just been traded to the Timberwolves at the deadline.

Omari Spellman, MIN

Spellman is likely to be considered questionable to make his team debut after having just been traded to the Timberwolves at the deadline.

Evan Turner, MIN

Turner is likely to be considered questionable to make his team debut after having just been traded to the Timberwolves at the deadline.

Juancho Hernangomez, MIN

Hernangomez is likely to be considered questionable to make his team debut after having just been traded to the Timberwolves at the deadline.

Jarred Vanderbilt, MIN

Vanderbilt is likely to be considered questionable to make his team debut after having just been traded to the Timberwolves at the deadline.

T.J. Warren, IND

Warren is likely to be considered questionable at best with a concussion that's cost him the last three games.

Patrick Beverley, LAC

Beverley will not play due to a groin injury.

Marcus Morris, LAC

Morris is likely to be considered questionable to make his team debut after having just been traded to the Clippers at the deadline.

Cody Martin, CHA

Martin will not play due to a broken nose suffered Tuesday against the Rockets.

Derrick Rose, DET

Rose will likely be listed as questionable at best due to a hip injury.

Brandon Knight, DET

Knight is likely to be considered questionable to make his team debut after having just been traded to the Pistons at the deadline.

John Henson, DET

Knight is likely to be considered questionable to make his team debut after having just been traded to the Pistons at the deadline.

Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, DET

Mykhailiuk is likely to be considered questionable at best due to a hip injury.

Markieff Morris, DET

Morris is likely to be considered questionable at best due to an illness.

Damyean Dotson, NYK

Dotson is listed as probable due to an illness.

Maurice Harkless, NYK

Harkless will likely be listed as questionable at best after having just been traded to the Knicks at the deadline.

Allonzo Trier, NYK

Trier will likely be listed as questionable at best due to an illness.

Notable Longer-Term Injuries/Absences: Stephen Curry, GSW; Klay Thompson, GSW; Richaun Holmes, SAC; Marvin Bagley, SAC; Alex Len, SAC; Jabari Parker, SAC; Mason Plumlee, DEN; Luke Kennard, DET; Norman Powell, TOR; Kenrich Williams, NOP; Frank Kaminsky, PHO

Elite Players

There are five players with five-digit salaries overall on Saturday's slate, with one, Luka Doncic, automatically taken out of the equation due to an ankle injury. Then, the $9K range has a trio of options that are aptly capable of outpacing their current salaries in Kawhi Leonard ($9.8K), Kristaps Porzingis ($9.6K) and Deandre Ayton ($9.2K). Porzingis has been especially productive working out of the center position and draws a premium matchup Saturday versus the Hornets.

Expected Chalk

The chalk landscape should progressively become clearer over the course of the day, as there are a multitude of players with uncertain statuses for Saturday due to the fact they just arrived in new destinations at the trade deadline. It will therefore be particularly advisable to keep an eye on the news leading up to lock. Otherwise, the typically popular options such as Nikola Jokic, LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard and Anthony Davis should enjoy their usual levels of popularity, and Kristaps Porzingis should also see plenty of clicks due to his combination of price and matchup.

As customary, I've also put together a specific list of sub-$6K value plays that should find themselves in plenty of lineups – some due to injury situations of their respective teams – and have included those below the next section.

Key and Likely Underowned Values

Maxi Kleber, DAL at CHA ($4,500)

Kleber continues to enjoy a steady role in the frontcourt rotation that's most recently afforded him an average of 30.8 minutes over his last four games, three of which have been starts. The third-year big posting career highs in both points (9.1) and rebounds (5.4), and he's also draining a career-best 38.7 percent of his three-point attempts on an average of 4.3 tries from behind the arc. Kleber has tallies of 24.7 and 41.7 FanDuel points in two of his last five games alone, and he's eclipsed 25 FD points on 13 occasions overall this season, including eight tallies of greater than 30. The Hornets make for a fine target as well, as they'll check into Saturday's game allowing the highest offensive efficiency rating to power forwards (29.2) for the season, including the fourth-highest shooting percentage (48.0) and three-point percentage (38.1). Then, consider Kleber already put together one of his best games of the season versus Charlotte in his one prior meeting with them, posting 32.8 FanDuel points on the strength of a 24-point effort Jan. 4.

Jordan Poole, GS vs LAL ($4,100)

Poole's minutes are even more secure now that Alec Burks is in Philadelphia, as the rookie is now the locked-in backup to Damion Lee at the two for the Warriors. Poole is already averaging a solid 21.0 minutes per game on the campaign, and he logged 27 versus the Nets on Wednesday with Burks sitting out just prior to his trade. Poole parlayed the opportunity into 30.4 FanDuel points, his fifth game this season with more than 25 FD points. The Lakers are certainly a tougher defensive opponent overall than Brooklyn, but they do check in ranked in the bottom half of the league in offensive efficiency rating allowed to shooting guards (20.8), and Poole's price is such that he could provide a solid return if he sees enough time on the floor.

T.J. McConnell, IND vs. NO ($3,900)

McConnell finds himself in the midst of a particularly productive stretch of play, as he's scored 20.0 to 42.3 FanDuel points in seven of his last nine games. McConnell has eclipsed 25 FanDuel points on 16 occasions overall this season, so the ability to blow his current salary away is certainly there. The Pelicans make for good candidates as well, considering they check in ranked in the bottom 10 in offensive efficiency rating allowed to opposing second units (45.4) and point guards (28.0), and they've surrendered the fifth-most FanDuel points per game to points guards on the season (44.8), including the last five games (61.1).

Other likely lower-owned value plays to consider: Jeremy Lamb, IND vs. NO ($4,100); JaMychal Green, LAC at MIN ($3,600)

Other likely higher-owned value plays to consider: Montrezl Harrell, LAC ($5,800); Buddy Hield, SAC ($5,400); Lou Williams, LAC ($5,400); Derrick Favors, NOP ($5,200): Joe Harris, BKN ($5,200); Victor Oladipo, IND ($5,100); Justin Holiday, IND ($4,700); Seth Curry, DAL ($4,300); Eric Paschall, GSW ($4,200); Thon Maker, DET ($4,100): Torrey Craig, DEN ($4,000); Terence Davis, TOR ($4,000); Taj Gibson, NYK ($3,600); Ky Bowman, GSW ($3,600)

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Juan Carlos Blanco plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: jcblanco22, FanDuel: jc_blanco22, DraftPot: jc_blanco22, FantasyDraft: jc_blanco22, OwnThePlay: jcblanco22.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Juan Carlos Blanco
Winner of the FSWA 2016 Newcomer of the Year Award, Juan Carlos Blanco has been playing fantasy sports for over 20 years and covers NBA, MLB, NFL, CFL and Arena Football for Rotowire.com, including serving as the beat writer for teams in multiple sports. He has previously written for KFFL.com and remains an avid season-long and daily fantasy player in multiple sports as well.
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