Saturday's slate consists of eight games, with several teams (Pistons, Bulls, Bucks, Timberwolves, Wizards, Nuggets) facing back-to-back games. The Pistons and the Bucks also have longer trips to their next game, so keep these factors in mind when selecting players. The Wizards haven't had many back-to back games this season, which is an additional factor to consider.
Yahoo's main slate excludes the two earlier games (GS-LAC, BOS-BRO), so due to the lack of DFS available for all eight games we will exclude those games as well.
Vegas seems pretty confident that the CLE-ORL matchup will produce the most points with an over/under of 222, with the NO-MIN game not far behind at 217. I predict the latter matchup to be substantially closer, so you should see the starters logging more consistent minutes in that contest.
First, let's look at the spend-up options that are $50-plus. Only four are active, and the duo of big men in New Orleans will face a Minnesota team that's playing the tail end of a back-to-back. It's a Tale of Two Contests for DeMarcus Cousins ($57) and Anthony Davis ($57), as they both had excellent games in their first tangle with Minnesota and then tapered off in their second matchup, with both posting season-low totals. With the intangibles unfavorable for Minnesota, the duo is expected to play well, with Davis the better option because of his recent streak and Cousins potentially dealing with a sore ankle that he tweaked in his last game. LeBron James ($58) faces an Orlando team that ranks 28th against the three, so with Giannis Antetokounmpo ($59) on a back-to-back against a tough Wizards D, I like James over the Greek Freak.
As usual I will highlight two players I like at each position with some extra non-highlighted considerations that hold equal weight in my predictions. We will also feature one player to fade at each spot. Let's begin.
Kris Dunn, CHI at IND ($32): Coach Fred Hoiberg gave Dunn a pep talk before Friday's game and effectively handed over the offensive keys to the youngster, and it paid off in a big way. Dunn had his best game of the season, and while I wouldn't normally promote a back-to-back player so highly, I think the special circumstances give Dunn a little more motivation to get things done for Chicago on Saturday. Both Victor Oladipo and Bojan Bogdanovic are game-time decisions as well, which could open things considerably for Dunn If they sit.
Jamal Murray, DEN at SAC ($25): Murray has had a bit of a see-saw month of production, but it's hard to hate his matchup against the Kings. Although these two teams have yet to meet, Murray has exceeded projections in four of his last five games, and the Kings are among the worst in surrendering assists (5.9 per game against opposing point guards). Both of these factors put Murray on my radar as a great value target at the Yahoo median price.
Other guards to consider: John Wall, WAS vs. MIL ($38), Jrue Holiday, NO at MIN ($29), Darren Collison, IND vs. CHI ($19)
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Guard to Avoid:
Dwyane Wade, CLE at ORL ($17): There's a plethora of better options in this price range, but some will head his way due to the fast pace of the matchup. I don't think he'll meet value even at this price, and you also need to factor in Isaiah Thomas' return, as his limited participation will also play a part in diminishing Wade's totals.
Aaron Gordon, ORL vs. CLE ($36): Gordon isn't always the most consistent, but his ceiling is high and he always seems to show up well in the big games. I like the positive pace differential in this game, and although Jae Crowder is one of the best defensive players in the league, he's all over the floor and will be tough to contain.
Lauri Markkanen, CHI at IND ($20): He had a blow-up game in his sole meeting against the Pacers, and though Nikola Mirotic is consistently battling him for playing time, he should start and be a great value for 20 bucks. He's also had a great week, averaging 17 points and 9.5 rebounds in 31.7 minutes per game.
Other forwards to consider: Trey Lyles, DEN at SAC ($20), Markieff Morris, WAS vs. MIL ($15)
Forward to Avoid:
Khris Middleton, MIL at WAS ($32): The back-to-back, long travel time and a recent failure to match value make Middleton way too expensive to target Saturday. He may break 30 YFP in this one, but that's not enough for a $32 player. He also had a clunker of a game against the Wizards when they last met.
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Nikola Jokic, DEN at SAC ($41): Jokic is rounding back into form and there's no better place to take your game to the next level than Sacramento. The Kings allow an eye-popping 8.7 rebounds per game against centers, which makes Jokic a candidate for a double-double.
Bismack Biyombo, ORL vs. CLE ($21): Kevin Love is a game-time decision but I like Biyombo even if Love plays. The Cavs are a superior rebounding team, but they give up way too many points to centers. He had an awful game against Houston on Wednesday, but I expect a bounce-back game for Orlando's big man.
Other centers to consider: Clint Capela, HOU at DET ($30), Zach Randolph, SAC vs. DEN ($27)
Center to Avoid:
Marcin Gortat, WAS vs. MIL ($14): Gortat has been a roto nightmare with his horrible field-goal percentages lately, and I don't much like him in DFS either. He can put up a decent line, but his volatility makes him a risky play, even at this pricing. Proceed with caution.