This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
We start the weekend off with a hearty nine game slate on DraftKings. Eight teams (Atlanta, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Chicago, Toronto, Minnesota, Portland and Oklahoma City) enter Saturday on a back-to-back. With a number of high priced studs to pay up for, it will take some serious digging to find the value necessary to make it all work. An injury, Friday night in Dallas, could open the door to a piece helpful in that process.
DET (-2) @ ATL O/U 227
This is the third meeting this season between these two Eastern Conference foes. Each coming away with a win, the rubber match features one of the highest totals on the slate (227). Expect the usual suspects to do the heavy lifting here with Trae Young for Atlanta and Andre Drummond for Detroit leading the charge.
BOS (-7) vs PHO O/U 226
The Celtics host the Suns in what should be a fairly competitive match up despite both teams dealing with a few injuries. Boston normally known to limit opponents scoring have given up 115 points per game over their last three. They'll be tasked with trying to slow down a Phoenix team that is top 10 in the league in pace and score 113.3 points per game.
HOU (-2.5) vs LAL O/U 232
This is by far the top game on the slate featuring two Western Conference juggernauts. Both teams are top-10 in points per game (114.0) and (118.7) respectively and have a chance to make a statement in what should be a highly contentious atmosphere in Houston Saturday night. The Lakers will hope to have their star player Anthony Davis return after missing the last four, which would help keep pace against the Rockets ferocious backcourt of James Harden and Russell Westbrook.
Injury Situations to Monitor
C.J. McCollum (ankle) suffered the sprain against Dallas Friday night. It's unclear if he will miss any time so it's definitely something to monitor with Portland playing on a back to back.
Steven Adams (knee) missed only his forth game of the season Friday. Nerlens Noel started in his place but couldn't fully take advantage, as he saw Mike Muscala get extended run in the loss to Miami. Both players would be difficult to trust should Adams miss any more time.
Jaylen Brown (thumb) enters Saturday after missing his previous game due to a sprained thumb. If he's able to suit up he would have a favorable match up against Phoenix who plays at a top 10 pace in the league (104.4) and give up (113.9) points per game to opponents.
RJ Barrett (ankle) picked up the injury during the loss to the Suns on Thursday. Damyean Dotson stepped in and played 26 minutes and should see increased playing time with Barrett likely on the shelf for the next few games.
LeBron James ($11,000) is the focal point of the offense with Anthony Davis sidelined. In a potential preview of the Western Conference Finals, James and his 33.8 percent usage rate will have to do it all for the Lakers to have any chance of escaping Houston with a win.
Andre Drummond ($9,500) has struggled by his standards since being ejected from the game against Chicago. He gets an opportunity to right the ship versus a team that gives up 46.44 fantasy points per game to the center position. In two previous meetings facing Atlanta he's averaged 49.4 fantasy points and will continue to lead the Pistons while they remain without many key players due to injury.
Russell Westbrook ($9,300) comes in almost $2,000 cheaper than his backcourt teammate James Harden. With 70 fantasy point upside any given night, taking the discount could help you get exposure to the Houston side in what should be a highly contested battle versus Los Angeles.
Expected Chalk and Other Targets
Kemba Walker ($7,400) has thrived in higher paced games this season and his 62.8 fantasy point explosion against the Bucks on Thursday was proof. Saturday, he faces a Suns team that is top-10 in the league (104.4) in pace. Walker and could also be without fellow teammate Jaylen Brown, which could give Walker even more opportunity to produce.
Donovan Mitchell ($7,600) continues to boast one of the highest usage rates in the league (30.4%) but has seen his price dip below $8,000 the last two games. Even with Mike Conley expected back, the offense will continue to run through Mitchell, and he still has 60 fantasy point upside despite facing a Sacramento team bottom of the league in pace.
Tristan Thompson ($6,600) gets a matchup against one of the worst rebounding teams in the Bulls, that allow the second most fantasy points per game (45.51) to centers. With a depleted Chicago frontcourt, Thompson should be able to whatever he wants down low and could possibly be somewhat fresh after getting ejected early Friday night versus Memphis.
Svi Mykhailiuk ($4,400) has played close to 30 minutes per game over his last 10. Although mostly scoring dependent, he's shown the ability to add peripherals giving him a chance to exceed value in a game with the second highest total (227.0) on the board.
Willie Cauley-Stein ($3,700) re-entered the starting lineup on Thursday after coming off the bench the previous three games. He saw 33 minutes as the Warriors needed his size against Nuggets big man Nikola Jokic. The Kentucky product may be relied on in a similar fashion as they face another versatile big man in Nikola Vucevic and the Magic on Saturday.
Anfernee Simons ($3,100) could see an increased role after CJ McCollum injured his ankle Friday night in Dallas. With Portland playing on a back to back, it's unlikely they rush their star shooting guard back on the court, giving Simons plenty of opportunity to pay off his near minimum price tag.