This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
Two of the NBA's biggest stars tangle on this Saturday slate, and this game has all the things you look for in a DFS matchup.
The O/U is 235, and the point spread is razor-thin – that's right, I'm talking about the marquee matchup between the Thunder and the Rockets. James Harden ($12,200) will continue chasing Wilt Chamberlain's record, and I'm endorsing him for what seems like the umpteenth time tonight.
Unlike some other slates where you can will yourself away from Harden's allure, I don't see a way around it tonight. I will also have a hard time staying away from a Russell Westbrook ($11,200) or Paul George ($10,000) pair-up with Harden, which means that we've got to go low everywhere else. Let's also assume that we want in on Houston's total output and throw Chris Paul ($7,000) into the mix as well. No big surprise – a Harden/George/Paul stack leaves you a whopping $4,160 per player remaining. Can it be done? Well – as you'll see below, it will be tough.
I'll be structuring my endorsements by giving you one elite grab at each spot as a pivot, along with two guys in the 4-5K range that can help you with this stack. As a result, I'll be passing over a lot of talent, so keep that in mind as you read on. First, let's look at the relevant injuries of the night. Ongoing injuries will be omitted.
Kawhi Leonard (knee) TOR at NY – PROBABLE: I'd be surprised if Kawhi sits as he's had a few days to rest his knee, but in the off-chance that he sits, Fred VanVleet ($4,900) and Danny Green ($4,200) should see modest bumps in production.
Marc Gasol (non-injury), TOR at NY – QUESTIONABLE: I fully expect Gasol to take the court in some capacity tonight, but he's waiting for Thursday's trade to officially process. Gasol is an immediate upgrade for the Raptors' front line, but I don't know that rostering him is a wise decision if he plays. The playoff-contending Raptors will have some decisions to make in their rotation, which makes some plays hard to decipher. Can Toronto keep Pascal Siakam off the floor? A Lowry/Green/Leonard/Ibaka/Gasol lineup seems to make the most sense going forward, with Siakam as the primary sixth man, but I think Kyle Lowry ($7,300) is the only Raptor I can start with confidence tonight.
Nikola Mirotic (calf), MIL vs. ORL – QUESTIONABLE: The much-anticipated Bucks debut for Mirotic may have to wait a bit longer, as the combination of his cafk injury and the team switch has muddled his status for a second straight night. I don't expect to see him on the court, but you never know. It's a situation worth monitoring as we get closer to game lock.
Kyrie Irving, BOS vs. LAC ($9,500): The new-look Clippers have their fifth-straight road game in Boston, and there's no telling what kind of frontcourt will present itself. That's mostly irrelevant for Irving, as the All-Star guard is practically matchup-proof. The Celtics are coming off of a close loss to the Lakers on Thursday, a game in which Irving struggled but still finished with 24 points, eight assists and seven rebounds.
Dennis Schroder, OKC at HOU ($4,800): Let's stick with the high-paced game as we begin our value search. Over two games against Houston, Schroder has yet to convert a three-pointer, but he's shooting better than 50 percent from long range over the past few games, so I expect him to convert two or three bombs to pad his stat line. We'll need good assist and rebound totals to make this worthwhile, but running with this game appears to be a prudent way to go.
Tim Frazier, NO at MEM ($4,000): They ran Frazier for 31 minutes last night, but neither Frank Jackson nor Ian Clark has managed to unseat Frazier as the primary pivot for the injured Elfrid Payton (ankle). Payton's return is imminent, so Frazier has some appeal for at least one more game, and he comes at an excellent price as we build around two elites.
Julius Randle, NO at MEM ($8,100): Randle only logged 24 minutes last night so I like his chances in this back-to-back, and although we have nothing to indicate a scratch for Davis, this is one of those spots where you can almost sense a rest night coming from the Brow. Either way, Randle's role is locked in without Nikola Mirotic, and the Pelicans have a chance to attack a Gasol-less interior. This could result in a much-needed win for New Orleans, with Randle as a prime contributor.
Otto Porter, CHI vs. WAS ($5,600): Revenge game alert! The Bulls wasted no time getting Porter on the floor, and he gets a chance to play his former team on Saturday. You can bet Porter will be ready to give it to the Wizards, who are utilizing Jeff Green ($5,400) as Porter's replacement. Green isn't bad as a sort of reverse-revenge value pivot here, as he put up 33 DKFP In his first game as a starter, but I have a feeling Porter will win this matchup tonight.
Jabari Parker, WAS at CHI ($4,800): Parker's presence is one reason I didn't highlight Green, as I think it's only a matter of time before Parker gets his chance to start. This is also a revenge game for Parker, who was never able to get things going in Chicago. The forward's raw skills are off the charts but he's now with his third team in five years, and the 23-year old needs to make a statement here in D.C. He's coming off of a strong all-around outing Friday night.
DeAndre Jordan, NY vs. TOR ($5,500): I'm starting low and staying low at center tonight. This is an intriguing match-up as both Jordan and Gasol embark on a new chapter of their NBA careers. Jordan went straight into action and recorded a double-double in his first game, which was against Griffin and Drummond. Although it was a 17-point loss, even David Fizdale's haphazard rotations can't keep Jordan off the court, and I think he's nicely priced for us today.
Bobby Portis, WAS at CHI ($5,400): Revenge game times three! I think Thomas Bryant is on the brink of losing his job, as the Bulls cast-offs are making a big impression right away. I kind of like Washington's prospects for the second half as they play the career redemption card with Parker and Portis – these two guys can flat out play, and it's just a matter of finding the right opportunity. Portis' 43 DKFP debut is a good sign that he's found a fit.
Ivica Zubac, LAC at BOS ($3,500): Feeling lucky? When the Clippers finally get back to LA, Zubac only has to go down the hall to his new locker. That familiarity won't help him in Boston, and he has to get past Montrezl Harrell in the rotation, but the Clippers are likely to throw Zubac out there to see what he can do against Boston. Zubac's presence should give Harrell in the opportunity to fill Harris' spot with a bit more frequency. Danilo Gallinari looks to be Harris' primary replacement, but if I were Doc Rivers, I'd be going with an SGA, Beverley, Gallinari, Harrell and Zubac lineup. I'm not, in fact, Doc Rivers, though, so who knows if Zubac will pan out tonight, but he's worth a flier at this price.
Additional centers to consider: Cody Zeller, CHA at ATL ($4,200), ivan Rabb, MEM vs. NO ($5,800)