We have a solid nine games in the association on Saturday, but one of them starts at 6PM and is not included on most of the big slates. That still leaves us a robust 8 games to look at and some interesting spots for fantasy. The only game we really want to be careful of is the Utah/Chicago one. There is no line yet due to some injury uncertainty, but that may be the only one that has a total below 20 on the day. Let’s take a look at each game and go over the relevant information we need for fantasy purposes.
Note: Be sure to follow injury news throughout the day for the latest updates.
|Probable||Kent Bazemore (ATL), Spencer Hawes (CHA), Aaron Brooks (CHI), Taj Gibson (CHI), Reggie Jackson (DET), Ty Lawson (IND), Luol Deng (MIA), Jose Calderon (NYK)|
|Questionable||Cody Zeller (CHA), Ian Mahinmi (IND), Matt Barnes (MEM), Vince Carter (MEM), Gordon Hayward (UTA), Alan Anderson (WAS), Bradley Beal (WAS)|
|Doubtful||Kenneth Faried (DEN), Jodie Meeks (DET), Andrew Bogut (GSW), Zach Randolph (MEM)|
|Out||E'Twaun Moore (CHI), Pau Gasol (CHI), Andre Iguodala (GSW), PJ Hairston (MEM), Mike Conley (MEM)|
New York Knicks @ Washington Wizards
Line: Wizards -7
This is one of the lower totals on the day despite it being over 200. It is high enough that I would not be scared away. The Knicks get the pace boost here as Washington plays faster, so that is a positive for all of them. As far as recency goes, the Knicks have alternated losses and wins for the past two weeks. The Wizards have alternated losing and winning streaks as they are currently on the upswing and riding high off three wins after losing 5 straight before this. The Wizards have upped their scoring and tightened their defense. They have averaged 113 points in these three wins while giving up an average of only 90. The Knicks have been the opposite as they are struggling to score and to stop people on the other end. That is a bad combination at the moment. John Wall is the main guy to look at here for the Wizards as usual. He is a triple double threat every night and should be fine against Jose Calderon in this one. If Bradley Beal plays I like him a lot too. He is cheap and putting up big numbers when on the curt. Of course if he sits again, you can look at Garrett Temple who played big minutes and produced when Beal was out. I am staying away from the forwards as I can never get Markieff and Otto Porter on the right nights. Gortat will likely have a big first quarter again before inexplicably not playing much of the rest of the game. It’s become a pattern so he too is off my radar.
“For the Knicks, Melo is the first guy I always look at.”
For the Knicks, Melo is the first guy I always look at. He has a great matchup here against Otto Porter defense or lack thereof. He has been consistent for cash, but lacks the upside we want for tournaments at the price. Robin Lopez and Kristaps Porzingis would be the other two who may be in play for me, but I do not love either of them to be honest. The pace could and should be hot here, which is the only thing I can hang my hat on if I choose a Knickerbocker to play. Washington D has been good lately, so I really want nothing to do with any of them.
- John Wall ($10000)
- Bradley Beal ($5300)
- Carmelo Anthony ($8400)
Brooklyn Nets @ Detroit Pistons
Line: Pistons -8
Not really sure why Vegas is slow to post a line on this one with very little relevant injury news to any of the big players. Maybe it has something to do with the Nets stinking lately and Vegas trying not to show them up. Brooklyn has lost 7 of the last nine games. They have lost the last 2 against Detroit and have to travel there for this one. The bright side is the Nets do have a few viable fantasy options. Thad Young has been playing above his head for most of this season. He has upped his scoring, he rebounds well, and even adds a few of the other stats to round it all out. I like him more than Brook Lopez who seems to be missing value on the regular lately. The other guy I like is Bojan Bogdanovic. Bojan is up from the 20-25 minute range into the low 30s. He has started to score more often as well. We saw him put up 44 real life points on his way to 50+ fantasy points and then follow it up with another game in the 30s. The production has been consistent enough to count on in the last few games.
I like Detroit a lot to win this game, but they are a tough team to figure for fantasy. Reggie Jackson and Andre Drummond are the two best players, but not always the two best fantasy players. Marcus Morris had the big game last night and Tobias Harris has been a consistent 28-34 fantasy points every night. We did not even mention Kentavious Caldwell-Pope yet and he might be one of the more used players on this team. I like the entire Pistons starting five, because they all play big minutes. The problem I have is choosing who to use and who not to use. The matchups at PG and Center are the softest, but Reggie Jackson and Drummond are the priciest too. This will not be one of the higher total games when it does come out, so I am OK fading it all together.
- Bojan Bogdanovic ($5200)
- Thad Young ($7200)
- Reggie Jackson ($6500)
- Marcus Morris ($5100)
Oklahoma City Thunder @ Indiana Pacers
Line: Thunder -3
The total here is a tad low for an OKC game, but it makes perfect sense with them being on the road on the tail end of back-to-back. This is definitely a paced up game for Indiana with a slight tick down for OKC. I do not really care much when OKC is paced down, because we still know where all the production is going to come from. Westbrook and Durant are the highest usage duo in the entire league. They are always the guys you look at whenever OKC plays. Durant has the tougher matchup as he will likely be guarded by Paul George. That leaves Triple Double machine Russell Westbrook as my favorite play in this game. He had his fifth triple double in the last 10 games last night, so he is matchup proof at this point.
“When Indy plays in higher tempo games, he tends to up his scoring and be a solid value option.”
On the Indiana side, we have some interesting questions. Paul George is their big scorer and overall best player. His production has been somewhat erratic lately with 50+ point games alternating with 30 fantasy point games. The pace of this game should up his projection, but he will also have a tougher than usual assignment with Kevin Durant. I would actually prefer to use two other guys from the Pacers. Monta Ellis has been consistently around 5-6X and has a softer matchup in this game. When Indy plays in higher tempo games, he tends to up his scoring and be a solid value option. The other guy on my radar is actually back up center Jordan Hill. Hill is very cheap and has put up some good games this year when Ian Mahinmi is out. Mahinmi is listed as questionable after missing the last few games, so this could be another spot to roll out Hill.
- Jordan Hill ($4300)
- Monta Ellis ($6000)
- Russell Westbrook ($10500)
- Kevin Durant ($10100)
Cleveland Cavaliers @ Miami Heat
Line: Cavs -2
I am not really sure how to attack this game to be honest. I know both teams are solid defensively, this is a low total, and Vegas thinks it will stay close. With many of the stars being expensive, it really does not seem like a good place to look for fantasy production. The big 3 for Cleveland handle most of the scoring load. LeBron is expensive and has not returned upside often. He has a safe 40-50 point floor, but very little upside. Kevin Love almost sat yesterday with the flu. He did play, but only 25 minutes so that gives me a ton of pause. Kyrie has been solid and is cheaper than LeBron. He is all about the offensive side of the ball which is fine for fantasy purposes. Tristan Thompson and JR Smith are both as capable of putting up 40 as they are of putting up 14, so GPP only if you want to go that route.
As for Miami, Goran Dragic has been the best option for them lately. He’s really picked up his game, with or without Wade in the lineup. He also has the softest matchup here against weak Kyrie Irving defense. Wade does tend to dominate the ball when he is on the floor, so everyone else gets a slight tick down when he is playing. Luol Deng has been good, but I will shy away from him matched up with LeBron. He does slide to the PF spot sometimes, so he will see a little Kevin Love defense too, but Lebron also plays some four when they pull out Tristan or Mozgov and go with Shumpert at the SF spot. Whiteside has been solid, but is expensive now and faces a very good interior defense. Centers have not done well against the Cavs, so it’s tough to pay up for him. I do not love this game for fantasy purposes as most of the top options are expensive and both teams are solid defensively.
- LeBron James ($9300)
- Kyrie Irvng ($7600)
- Goran Dragic ($6500)
- Dwyane Wade ($6700)
Houston Rockets @ Atlanta Hawks
Line: Hawks -7
I really like this game for fantasy purposes as we have some elite players facing the softest matchups on each side. The Hawks get the biggest bump as Houston is suspect on defense and play at a fast pace. My favorite play is definitely Paul Millsap who has finally started to get back to the guy that was a consistent cash game staple earlier in the season. Millsap hit a rough patch, but is now back to scoring around 40 fantasy points per game. The other consistent hawks lately have been Jeff Teague and Kent Bazemore. Bazemore sat out the last game with an injury, so I am a little more cautious with him. Forwards have killed the Rockets this year, so I still think Bazemore is a worthy GPP play. Houston struggles most with power forwards, which is why I love Millsap n this spot today.
“I expect Harden to have a big day here.”
For the Rockets, James Harden is the one it all starts and ends with on the offensive end. Sure he hasn’t been as great lately, but you can’t say he’s playing bad when he rips off 40 points a game. Has he failed to reach value? Yes, but it’s not like he stinks. I doubt they have Kyle Korver guard him despite the DvP matchup, but I still do not think Teague, Schroeder, or Bazemore can either. I expect Harden to have a big day here. The other guy I like is Dwight Howard. Al Horford is a talented center, but undersized at about 6’10”. Howard has an advantage in size and strength on him, so he should be able to have a good game here. Of course he also has the ability to disappear, so you never know. Howard was from the Atlanta area, so he may have extra motivation with friends in the stands for this homecoming game.
- Paul Millsap ($8100)
- Jeff Teague ($6200)
- Dwight Howard ($7500)
- James Harden ($10400)
Los Angeles Clippers @ Memphis Grizzlies
Line: Clippers -10
This game scares the hell out of me as far as fantasy production for the Clippers goes. Memphis has lost 4 in a row by a combined 77 points. They finished with 86, 83, and 81 points in 3 of those 4 games. Conley, Hairston, Anderson, and Wright are confirmed out. We also have Barnes, Randolph, and Carter questionable. There is a reason Briante Weber plays 30+ minutes a game right now and it is not by choice. The production has been coming from Lance Stephenson when he is on the floor. His price is jacked up to a point where he is reasonably priced now. He has cracked 36+ 4 straight games, so he still is averaging over 6X recently even with the price bump. If I had to choose a second Grizzlies to use it would probably be JaMychal Green who has seen huge minutes with all the other bigs hurt. I’m not in love with him at $5700, but someone has to score and rebound for Memphis.
As for the Clippers, I love DeAndre Jordan and Chris Paul here, but am concerned about a blowout. This Memphis team is garbage right now and the Clippers are playing pretty well. They have recent losses to good teams like OKC, San Antonio, and Cleveland, but have beaten up on everyone else. If the game stays close I think Paul and DeAndre go nuts as Memphis has no one to slow either of them down. It is not a question of who to use, but more a question of whether you can stomach the low score they will get if they sit the whole fourth quarter. For that reason alone I am only looking that way in large field tournaments.
- Chris Paul ($9400)
- DeAndre Jordan ($7400)
- Lance Stephenson ($6100)
Utah Jazz @ Chicago Bulls
Line: Bulls -2
The injury news is the big news here. Pau is out and so is Etwaun Moore. We should have Butler and Rose active, but you never know what will happen with either of them at this point. Gordon Hayward is questionable for the Jazz and that would be a big blow if he has to sit. Chicago should be led by the back court tandem of Rose and Butler. Rose has a huge usage rate and Butler is the best player on the team. Neither guy has been on many rosters lately as both have been under-performing their value expectations. Rose is the cheaper of the two and the one I would prefer to play. Doug McDermott has really stepped up and been a scorer for this Bulls team. He is a very live salary saving option for us today. He has scored twenty real points on his way to averaging 30 fantasy points over the last three games. Taj Gibson, Bobby Portis, and Nikola Mirotic are also worth a look. Those three see the majority of minutes at the PF and Center spots with Pau out, so each has a chance to make value and give you a little bit of upside.
“Ever since the trade, his minutes have slowly climbed…”
For Utah, Shelvin Mack has been the stud for them. Ever since the trade, his minutes have slowly climbed to where he is now giving you 30+ a game and racking up 30+ fantasy points with upside. He and Derrick Favors are the two main guys I would look to target, especially if Hayward does not go. Gobert is also in a good spot, but I do not trust him. The Bulls are weak on the interior, but I would much prefer the consistency I get from Favors then what Gobert has shown this year. He is cheap and a viable tournament option if you so choose.
- Derrick Favors ($7300)
- Shelvin Mack ($6000)
- Bobby Portis ($4400)
- Derrick Rose ($5500)
Golden State Warriors @ San Antonio Spurs
Line: Spurs -3.5
This is the game everyone wants to watch today. We got two of the best in the league facing off in a probably preview of the Western Conference final. They last met on Jan. 25th with the Warriors blowing them out by 30. Things have changed a bit for both teams since then. For the Spurs, Kawhi and LaMarcus have taken over the reigns on offense. Parker and Duncan are still pieces, but they are the complimentary guys as opposed to the stars now. Both forwards have upped their shot attempts, points, usage, and fantasy production. Both are also seeing more minutes, so they are the two who will decide if this game stays close.
For the Warriors, you always have to look at Steph when the game is on the road and he is likely to get full run. I really like this spot for him against weak Tony Parker defense. He could have a huge game today provided it does not get ugly. Draymond Green and Klay Thompson are two other options we need to look at. I’m interested to see if they go Kawhi on Klay or leave him on Harrison Barnes. Barnes is playing big minutes with Iguodala out, so that would be another guy worth looking at.
- Kawhi Leonard ($8300)
- LaMarcus Aldridge ($7300)
- Steph Curry ($10300)
- Harrison Barnes ($4000)