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 seven-game main slate that starts at 7 p.m. ET.
Dejounte Murray ($9,900) — This play hinges on the Trae Young ($10,200) injury news — download the DK Live App and follow @DKLive to stay up to date. Young was limited to 28 minutes in the Hawks’ last game on Wednesday, and Murray filled the void — 36 points, 9 assists, 6 steals and 4 rebounds for 69.5 DKFP. The Hawks’ Saturday night matchup catches the Pelicans on the backend of a back-to-back — they barely beat the Warriors backups on Friday — and features one of the largest totals of the night (233). If Young plays, then Murray is a contrarian option. If Young is out, then Murray is a lock.
Jamal Murray, Denver Nuggets vs. San Antonio Spurs ($6,200) — In the immortal words of John Wick, “Yeah, I think I’m back.” After missing the 2021-22 season, Murray looks healthy. He’s played over 30 minutes in the last two games and he’s garnered a 30% usage rate in both games. The result was 34.25 and 34.5 DKFP. His price increase is lagging behind his production curve. Bigger games lie ahead, but these are the final days for cheap Jamal Murray.
James Bouknight, Charlotte Hornets vs. Brooklyn Nets ($3,300) — Some of the sharpest DFS minds in the industry — or the guys on YouTube shows — were all over Jalen McDaniels ($4,800) on Friday night. That did not work out very well for them. McDaniels was an absolute DFS bust and real life bust (-33 +/-). Bouknight was the play last night, and his salary has not budged for Saturday’s matchup. The Nets, like the Hornets, are on the second night of a back-to-back. They too are thin and vulnerable. There’s no guarantee it will be another Bouk-night but it will be someone’s night for the Hornets, as there is a plethora of value options with several Hornets out. Double down of McDaniels?
Cameron Thomas, Brooklyn Nets at Charlotte Hornets ($3,300) — These savings won’t last long. The Nets are playing a back-to-back on the heels of the Kyrie Irving suspension. DraftKings did not have enough time and information to accurately adjust the salaries. Rumors are circulating that Thomas wants out of Brooklyn but it didn’t look that way last night. Thomas scored 34 fantasy points in 32 minutes. The matchup is easier on Saturday night, and 20 DKFP will do at this price. Similar to the Bouknight situation, with a thinner roster and low salaries, there are several viable values on the Nets.
Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets at Charlotte Hornets ($10,600) — Another darling of the fantasy community on Friday night was Kevin Durant. For the most part, he did live up to the must-play expectations. The Nets blew out the Wizards — thanks in most part to Durant’s 59.25 DKFP — despite being three-point dogs. If the Wizards had shown up, Durant would have done more. This is Durant’s team for the time being. With Irving off the court this season, Durant carries a 37.3% usage rate and averages 1.6 FPPM. If the Hornets (-5) show up, then Durant breaks the slate. If the short-handed Hornets on a back-to-back phone this game in, then Durant will go into cruise control and likely disappoint.
Devin Vassell, San Antonio Spurs at Denver Nuggets ($6,700) — After a four game absence, Vassell returned in spectacular fashion on Friday night. He came off the bench and scored 35.5 DKFP in 25 minutes (32.5% usage rate). We will monitor his knee injury on @DKLive, but if he’s good to go on the back-to-back, he’s in play even with only 25 minutes. If he does not suit up, then Keldon Johnson ($7,400) will be very appealing in a game with a 236 total — the highest on the slate.
Yuta Watanabe, Brooklyn Nets at Charlotte Hornets ($3,500) — Here are the options. Stubbornly go back to Jalen McDaniels. Get burned by PJ Washington ($5,800) for the 11th time this season and 99th time in your DFS career. Royce O’Neale ($5,500) has emerged as a solid contributor for the Nets with an average of 32 DKFP over his last three games, but that might be his ceiling. Is that enough in GPPs? Edmond Sumner ($3,200) started and played real minutes last night before the game with the Wizards was out of hand, and he scored 19.5 DKFP in 25 minutes. Watanabe might be the worst play of them all. He scored 30.5 DKFP on Friday by playing the entire fourth quarter in a blowout win. However, on Wednesday, he scored 20 DKFP and carried the second team in the Nets’ loss to the Bulls. He’s played over 22 minutes in four of the last five games. With the Nets on the second night of a back-to-back, Watanabe should receive 25 minutes in a favorable matchup with the Hornets.
Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets vs. San Antonio Spurs ($11,700) — San Antonio is on the second night of a back-to-back, and they’re playing at altitude. The Spurs were at full strength on Friday night, but they still lost to the Clippers. Jokic doesn't need any favors. He’s a 1.6 FPPM machine. Denver is favored by 10 points and the Spurs rank 30th in DvP vs. centers. A blowout is a concern but if it blows out, then Jokic likely blew it out.
Isaiah Hartenstein, New York Knicks vs. Boston Celtics ($4,400) — If you like a value play, then play it. On Friday, the hosts of a popular YouTube DFS show ridiculed a viewer that asked about Kevin Love in the chat. It was a terrible pick according to the experts. The hosts recommended trusting the website's projections, and that playing independently researched picks was a bad idea. Love went on to score 51 DKFP eclipsing 10x. In their defense, no one can predict the future but a little humility wouldn’t hurt, like when these picks inevitably bust.
Cool story, but why play Hartenstein? Similar to Love, Hartenstein is an incredibly efficient player (1.2 FPPM) that does not get enough minutes to be viable in DFS. Due to injuries, Love seized the opportunity on Friday. In the Knicks’ situation, Mitchell Robinson ($5,000) got injured on Friday but Hartenstein did not explode because the 76ers were running a small lineup sans Joel Embiid. If Robinson is out on Saturday night, then Hartenstein will play north of 25 minutes and could easily reach 7x value.
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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.