Saturday Night NBA DFS features a full-size slate this weekend. It’s a big one and you’re going to need a lot of screens. Let’s dig into some research and make some picks, as we gear up for the nine-game main slate that starts at 7 p.m. ET.
Spencer Dinwiddie, Dallas Mavericks at Utah Jazz, $7,400 — Luka Doncic is out and Christian Wood is out. Someone has to step up for the Mavs vs. the Jazz. Doncic played three minutes on Thursday, and Dinwiddie went on to score 59 DKFP with a 31.3% usage rate across 40 minutes in the 99-95 win over the Suns. The Jazz present an excellent matchup with a 113.2 Defensive Efficiency Rating (26th) and an above-average 102.5 in Pace (12th). SF Josh Green ($3,600) has not exploded but he’s been a useful value option in the last two games, and he provides potential upside in this situation.
Cameron Johnson, Phoenix Suns at San Antonio Spurs, $5,500 — The Suns rotation has rotated over the last several weeks as players have come and gone due to health. Johnson is averaging 29.3 DKFP over the last nine games in 24.8 MPG. If he gets the minutes in this matchup — Spurs: 117.3 Defensive Efficiency Rating (30th) and 102.6 in Pace (10th) — then Johnson could easily reach 6x. He’s returned 6x value or better in five of the last nine games.
Collin Sexton, Utah Jazz vs. Dallas Mavericks, $4,500 — The Mavs are a slow-paced team, but they’re not strong defensively — 112.6 Defensive Efficiency Rating (23rd). They will also be playing short-handed on Saturday night. Sexton doesn’t quite get enough minutes (20-25 MPG), but he carries a healthy usage rate with the second unit (25-30%). The Jazz are 8-point favorites at home, so this could mean extra run for the second unit.
Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Lakers, $9,200 — The Lakers present an excellent matchup with a 112.2 Defensive Efficiency Rating (21st) and an excellent 104.2 in Pace (1st). The Celtics will be heavily targeted tonight based on their implied team total of 122.25 points (most). Brown’s minutes projection is through the roof (35 projected minutes), and is one of the few players on tonight’s slate with an elite-level usage rate — 31.4%. Then there are the narratives. It’s the Lakers vs. Celtics rivalry. The Celtics have lost three in a row. Brown needs to show up.
KJ Martin Jr., Houston Rockets at Detroit Pistons, $5,200 — It’s the battle at the bottom. The worst of the West take on the least from the East. This is only a game that DFS players could love. The Rockets get healthy and hurt every game, but Martin’s role has not changed. He’s starting, playing 30 minutes a night and carrying a usage rate between 15-20%. In the last 12 games, he’s averaged 26.0 DKFP with an average return of 6.2x. The Pistons present a favorable matchup with a 116.7 Defensive Efficiency Rating (29th) and a favorable 102.7 in Pace (10th).
Keegan Murray, Sacramento Kings at Minnesota Timberwolves, $5,100 — Rostering shot-dependent value picks scares a lot of DFS players. A safe floor and peripheral stats are much more appealing. However, GPPs are won with career nights not good nights. Murray and fellow forward, Harrison Barnes ($5,400), have been shooting the lights out and the Kings have emerged as one of the best teams in the Western Conference. There is no reason to think that Murray doesn’t stay hot. The T-Wolves are on the second night of a back-to-back and provide a favorable matchup for DFS — especially shooters — with their 103.7 in Pace (6th).
Chris Boucher, Toronto Raptors at Portland Trail Blazers, $3,600 — Precious Achiuwa ($4,400) took over for SG/SF OG Anunoby ($6,200) when he got injured on Friday. Achiuwa scored 36.25 DKFP in 36 minutes. Will Nick Nurse run the same rotation on a back-to-back? Who will take over Achiuwa’s productive role with the second unit? Boucher scored 22.25 DKFP in 19 minutes on Friday. He’s scored well over one fantasy point per minute over his last three games. In this situation, he should see 25-30 minutes of court time. The Trail Blazers present a favorable matchup with a 112.2 Defensive Efficiency Rating (21st) but both teams play at sluggishly slow paces.
Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns at San Antonio Spurs, $7,600 — As mentioned above, the Spurs are not very good — 117.3 Defensive Efficiency Rating (30th) and 102.6 in Pace (10th). They’re not healthy, but even at full strength, they’re one of the worst teams in the NBA. The Suns are not at full strength, but they’re 6-point road favorites. Ayton is a big reason for their expected win on Saturday. He’s scored over 49 DKFP in both of the last two games and over 40 DKFP in five of the last seven games. Also, the Spurs have not been playing one of their best players and key cogs to their front court. The Spurs are limiting Jakob Poeltl ($5,800) as they shop him around.
Jalen Duren, Detroit Pistons vs. Houston Rockets, $5,400 — One of the lone bright spots for Detroit’s lost season has been Jalen Duren. He’s been a regular fixture in the weekend articles for months but his salary hasn’t budged. Since the beginning of December (19 games), Duren is averaging 29.8 DKFP per game for a 6.5x return. He’s scoring 10.7 PPG and grabbing 11.3 rebounds per game — one might say he’s the next Ben Wallace. The Rockets present a favorable matchup with a 115 Defensive Efficiency Rating (28th) and a modest 102.2 in Pace (13th).
Dwight Powell, Dallas Mavericks at Utah Jazz, $3,800 — Finally, the Dwight Powell value pick has been hitting. He’s still cheap and the situation is still good. His matchup vs. C Walker Kessler ($5,600) on Saturday night isn’t the greatest, but the Jazz rookie isn’t a god. The Mavs are not just short-handed, they will be playing without their top fantasy producers. Over the last four games, Powell is averaging 24.9 DKFP across 31 MPG for an average return of 7.3x.
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