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 seven-game main slate that starts at 7 p.m. ET.
Cade Cunningham, Detroit Pistons vs. Chicago Bulls, $8,700 — His second season was supposed to be his breakout, but he broke his leg. Season three is off to a promising start. The former No. 1 pick posted a top-10 fantasy score on Wednesday night’s DFS slate. Can he replicate his performance and score another 50 DKFP on Saturday night? No one can predict whether the ball will go in the basket, but before a shot goes in, it must be shot. Cunningham is shooting. Gun-ningham should be his name after taking 27 shots in Detroit’s opening night loss at Miami. He carried a 34.9% usage rate. In NBA DFS, volume is king. Friday night’s game was a mess. His shot did not fall and he fouled out. That’s going to happen. For all intents and purposes, he’s a second year player. There will be bumps in the road. Let others bail out. Stay the course. Buckle up.
Jordan Goodwin, Phoenix Suns vs. Utah Jazz, $4,400 — This pick is dependent on Booker and Beal being out. The Suns are thin in the front court. Goodwin is the default option. Is he good? No. Does he provide cheap minutes? Yes. It’s not just minutes. Goodwin took 15 shots on Thursday night, and he finished with 28.5 DKFP.
Coby White, Chicago Bulls at Detroit Pistons, $4,800 — At the moment, savings are apparent at the guard position. Rather than spending up for an elite guard, an austere approach might win tonight’s DFS GPP at DraftKings. White played 30 minutes on Wednesday. He again came off the bench on Friday and played 40 minutes. They’re not meaningless minutes. He’s not just filling a second-unit rotation spot. White scored 38 DKFP on Friday. He should be able to replicate similar numbers against the Pistons.
Anthony Edwards, Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Miami Heat, $9,300 — The Miami Heat are on the tail end of a road back-to-back. This is their third game in four nights. Their stars logged massive minutes on Friday night. This is a lesson in NBA DFS 101. The season is long. Teams wear down. Load management is a thing. Players don’t play every game. Players don’t play hard every game. The Miami Heat are one of the most aggressive teams when it comes to resting players. The regular season Heat are not the playoffs Heat. This is a great situation for the Timberwolves’ rising star. Edwards closed the 2023 season on fire. That fire is still burning. He scored 26 points and grabbed 14 rebounds on opening night. He might not continue to be as hot from the three point line (4-of-7), but he can definitely be better inside the line (4-of-20). There is plenty of meat left on the bone. That’s DFS lesson No. 2. Learn the lingo. Edwards could easily outdo his opening night performance and score 60 DKFP on his second night.
Kevin Durant, Phoenix Suns vs. Utah Jazz, $9,700 — Bradley Beal is out, Devin Booker is doubtful and Kevin Durant is Kevin Durant. In a similar situation on Thursday, Durant played 39 minutes and carried a massive 46.2% usage rate. That’s it. Further persuasion is not necessary. That’s max minutes and max volume.
Max Strus, Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Indiana Pacers, $5,300 — Speaking of Max, Game 1 was great. Game 2, not so much. His shot isn’t always going to fall. A 3-for-14 shooting performance on Friday night qualifies as a bust. The first number hurts. The second number is appealing. Strus took 14 shots and played 38 minutes. That’s great volume for this price. There is upside, too. He chucked 11 threes. He only made two on Friday. He made seven on Wednesday. When they fall, he’s in the winning DraftKings DFS NBA lineup.
Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers at Toronto Raptors, $10,700 — This is his team. It always has been. Harden will be back, but it will never be the same. For now, Harden is not back and the Sixers are 0-1. They need a win. They need Embiid to go to work. A loss to Milwaukee to start the season is nothing for Embiid to hang his head about. His performance wasn’t the best, but he realized his expected volume. He played 36 minutes and carried a 39.2% usage rate. His shots will fall and rebounds will fall into his hands.
Xavier Tillman, Memphis Grizzlies at Washington Wizards, $5,300 — It’s early. There’s nothing that can be done about it. Every take could be wrong. It’s quixotic to recommend DFS picks in the first week of the NBA season. So what? The Wizards were expected to struggle entering the season. In their first game they conceded 143 points to the Pacers. Tillman’s expectations were less certain. Occasionally he popped onto the DFS radar last season, depending on the Grizzlies’ health. Towards the end of last season, he established a steady spot in the rotation. Through two games this season, he’s gone a step further. He’s a key part of the rotation. Tillman is starting and playing over 30 minutes a game. He scored 48 DKFP in Game 1 and 34 DKFP in a tough matchup with the defending champs on Friday night.
Jalen Duren, Detroit Pistons vs. Chicago Bulls, $5,900 — Cade Cunningham relies on the gun. Live by the gun, die by the gun. Duren is more diverse. He can score but he also boards. His 17 rebounds on Friday night are not irregular. He flirted with 20 rebounds several times last season. He was a regular DFS NBA value pick in my weekend article’s last season. While he remains cheap — it won’t be long — play him. This a steal. For less than 6K, he provides minutes, boards and high-probability shots.
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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.