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FantasyDraft NBA: Saturday Values

Juan Carlos Blanco

Winner of the FSWA 2016 Newcomer of the Year Award, Juan Carlos Blanco has been playing fantasy sports for close to 20 years and covers NBA, MLB, and the NFL for, including serving as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' beat writer. He has previously written for and remains an avid season-long and daily fantasy player in multiple sports.

Saturday’s six-game slate brings us two potential high-scoring affairs late, and a host of affordable options across the price scale. There’s only one player priced over $20K, making a lineup stocked with multiple strong mid-tier plays very plausible. Injuries also continue to play a part in opening up plenty of value considerations, leaving us with lots to ponder. Without further ado, let’s analyze where the funds should be allocated.


Bradley Beal, WAS at CHI ($16,600): Beal eviscerated this same Bulls squad for 70.25 fantasy points on the strength of a 39-point, nine-rebound, nine-assist effort on New Year’s Eve, and that was a game that John Wall logged 41 minutes in. Wall is of course not available Saturday, leaving Beal poised for another potential monster outing against a Chicago squad that’s allowed the eighth-most fantasy points per game (40.6) to point guards on the campaign. Beal is also sporting a team-high 28.1 percent usage rate and 1.10 fantasy points per minute in Wall’s current seven-game absence, while Chicago is allowing the fifth-highest percentage (31.4) of opposition scoring off three-pointers, a particularly relevant stat considering Beal’s long-range marksmanship.

Jamal Murray, DEN at PHO ($12,200): If both Devin Booker (hip) and Tyler Ulis (back) are declared out for this matchup, then the newly acquired Elfrid Payton ($12,200) is also a viable same-price pivot, even though he’ll be playing his first game in a Suns uniform. Meanwhile, Murray is also in play despite having scored just 8.75 fantasy points in 26 minutes during what was a nightmarish performance by the Nuggets as a whole against the Rockets on Friday. Murray had scored 24.50 to 46.25 fantasy points in the five prior games, and he lit up the Suns for 47.25 fantasy points the last time he went up against them Jan. 19. Phoenix continues to struggle against point guards, as they’ve allowed the fourth-most fantasy points per game (41.5) to ones on the season -- including 44.0 over the last 10 games – and the third-highest shooting percentage (43.0).

Josh Gray, PHO vs. DEN ($6,900): Patty Mills ($7,400) is also certainly worthy of consideration in an uptempo contest against the Warriors, but Gray comes a few hundred dollars cheaper and could be in for another solid allotment of minutes Saturday. Tyler Ulis appears to be on the doubtful side of questionable against the Nuggets, while Devin Booker could miss the contest as well due to his hip pointer. Those absences would likely leave Elfrid Payton and Gray logging heavy minutes, and it’s notable that the latter compiled 32.00 fantasy points over 31 minutes versus the Spurs in his last contest Wednesday. The Nuggets have also been vulnerable to point guards, particularly lately, as they’ve allowed the third-most fantasy points per game (51.8) to the position over the last five games. While he’d be considered a tournament-only play, Gray’s price carries low risk and allows for significant savings you can take advantage of elsewhere in the lineup.


Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL at ORL ($19,900): Antetokounmpo rattled off yet another double-double Friday in a losing cause against the Heat, the fifth instance in which he’s accomplished the feat over the last six games. He’s scored 42.50 to 78.25 fantasy points in nine of the last 10 contests as well, a stretch during which he’s sporting a 34.4 percent usage rate and averaging 1.55 fantasy points per minute. Antetokounmpo tallied 37.25 fantasy points over 33 minutes against this same Magic squad Jan. 10, and Orlando continues to be the most susceptible team in the NBA near the basket. The Magic have allowed the most points per game in the paint (49.6) this season, while Antetokounmpo is averaging a career-high 16.2 points (58.3 percent of his scoring) per contest in that area of the floor this season.

Otto Porter, WAS at CHI ($14,500): Just like Beal, Porter has taken on a larger offensive role in the absence of Wall, as evidenced by his 24.1 percent usage rate and averages of 1.25 points per possession and 1.08 fantasy points per minute during that span. That’s helped lead to fantasy-point tallies of 31.75 to 49.75 in six of the seven contests that Wall has missed, and he’ll be in a good position to continue generating that caliber of production Saturday. The Bulls have been vulnerable to small forwards all season, allowing the fourth-most fantasy points per game (36.8) to the position. They’ve been even more porous lately, yielding the second-most fantasy points (61.0) over the last five, along with the most points (36.8) and second-highest shooting percentage (57.0).

Dario Saric, PHI vs. LAC ($11,900): Saric has been surging recently whether Joel Embiid has been in the lineup or not, as he’s scored 32.00 to 41.00 fantasy points in five of the last six games. There’s also a possibility that Embiid, who was dealing with an ankle injury Friday, sits out Saturday, and it’s notable that Saric is sporting a 24.6 percent usage rate and averaging 1.06 fantasy points per minute without him on the floor this season. The Clippers continue to be highly vulnerable to power forwards as well, as they’ve allowed the most fantasy points (49.7) and most rebounds (14.4) per game to the position over the last 10. Saric has enjoyed a hot hand in recent games as well, as he’s drained 49.2 percent of his 12.6 shots per game over the last five, including 50.0 percent from distance.


LaMarcus Aldridge, SA at GS ($14,400): Aldridge has eclipsed 50 fantasy points in each of the last two games, and he’s eclipsed 40 fantasy points on two other occasions over the last seven as well. He continues to be one of the Spurs’ offensive linchpins in the extended absence of Kawhi Leonard (quadriceps), and he posted a 24-point, 10-rebound double-double that also included two assists, two blocks and two steals versus the Warriors in the first meeting against them this season. Golden State has been vulnerable to power forwards recently, allowing the seventh-most fantasy points per game to the position over the last 10 (45.2) and last five (46.8), with both figures representing considerable increases over the 35.2 they’ve allowed on the season.

Jerian Grant, CHI vs. WAS ($9,900): Grant will draw at least one more start at point guard, as Kris Dunn has exited the concussion protocol but has already been ruled out for Saturday’s contest. That makes Grant worthy of a tournament flyer against the Wizards, a team that has been increasingly vulnerable to point guards in the absence of John Wall (knee). Washington has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points per game (50.0) to the position over the last five games, along with the third-most points (25.8) and fifth-highest shooting percentage (46.0). Grant has scored 26.75 to 42.50 fantasy points in four of the last six games, excellent returns on his current price.

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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.