Saturday Night NBA DFS features the perfect slate size. It’s not too big or too small, and with a couple of screens we can watch them all. Let’s dig into some research and make some picks, so we can kick back and enjoy the four-game main slate that starts at 7 p.m. ET.
Jalen Suggs, Orlando Magic at Indianapolis Pacers, $5,900 — With Paolo Banchero and Cole Anthony unlikely to suit up again on Saturday, someone has to step up for the Magic. That player has been Jalen Suggs. He hit a game winning 3-point shot with four seconds remaining at Chicago on Friday night and finished with 40 DKFP. He scored 44.5 DKFP on Wednesday night. The Pacers play at the second-fastest pace and have the fourth-worst defensive efficiency rating.
Josh Richardson, San Antonio Spurs at Los Angeles Clippers, $4,400 — Jakob Poeltl (knee) and Devin Vassell (ankle) are questionable for Saturday’s game vs. the Clippers. There isn’t a guarantee that they will sit, but it’s very likely. This is the Spurs’ fourth game in six nights. It’s also their fourth road game and they play again on the road against the Lakers on Sunday. The last time Vassell missed, Richardson started and scored 38.8 DKFP against Minnesota. He followed that up with 29.3 DKFP against the Bulls.
Keldon Johnson, San Antonio Spurs at Los Angeles Clippers, $7,500 — The Spurs’ grueling road trip is not over. There are still two more games left in LA (Clippers on Saturday and the Lakers on Sunday). Pop knows what he is doing. Keldon Johnson sat on Thursday and now it’s Poeltl and Vassell’s turn. Johnson has handled a 30% usage rate in three of the last five games. Without Poeltel and Vassell, Johnson will likely be in the high 30s in usage and high 30s in minutes. As always, nothing is certain in the NBA, so download the DK Live app and follow DK Live on Twitter @dklive for the latest injury news and updates.
Jalen Smith, Indiana Pacers vs. Orlando Magic, $4,800 — Pacers value will always be a thing. They’re fast and play poor defense. That means they are either rolling or chasing. This is always great for offensive numbers. Unsurprisingly, Indiana ranks inside the top 10 in offensive efficiency. The Magic rank in the bottom third of the league in defensive efficiency. This gives a boost to a player that is already boosting. Smith scored 44.5 DKFP on Friday night. In the three games prior where he played at least 25 minutes, he hit 4.5x, 5.1x and 6,7x value.
Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves, $11,200 — This will be the shortest write up ever. You know who he is and what he does. James Harden is out. Tyrese Maxey exited Friday night’s game with an ankle injury. Embiid hit 100 DKFP last Sunday. Repeat, 100 DKFP. What do you expect on Saturday?
Bol Bol, Orlando Magic at Indianapolis Pacers, $6,200 — It’s happening. Bol Bol is becoming Manute Bol. Wendell Carter Jr. returned on Friday night and many worried this would hurt Bol’s production. That wasn’t the case. Bol scored 15 points, grabbed 10 boards and blocked two shots in 31 minutes of work. Bol and Carter Jr. shared the court at the same time and both were productive. On Wednesday, Bol had the best game of his career, scoring 50 DKFP. That wasn’t an aberration. He worked his way there with a handful of games in the mid-thirties. The seven-two bean pole is a magnet for rebounds and his captain fantastic wingspan guarantees blocks. He can shoot, too. Bol has two or more threes in four of the last seven games.
Walker Kessler, Utah Jazz at Portland Trail Blazers, $3,700 — Saturday will be game 2 of a back-to-back. This is the perfect spot for a rookie with fresh legs. This is the perfect spot to bounce back after a disappointing game the night before. This is the perfect time for DFS players to buy low on an untrustworthy play. The Jazz played a back-to-back earlier this week, and on the backend, Kessler had a 25.9% usage rate. Unfortunately, he got 12 minutes, but he scored 18.3 DKFP in that small window. Before Friday’s disappointment, Kessler had scores of 26, 27, 18, 7 and 21 DKFP in the previous five games.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is greenflagradio2) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.