Saturday Night NBA DFS features a small slate on Veterans Day. It’s a small one, but that doesn’t mean NBA DFS players can skip doing their homework. Let’s dig into some research and make some picks, as we gear up for the four-game main slate that starts at 6 p.m. ET.
Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors at Cleveland Cavaliers, $10,000 — Some things never change. Curry leads the NBA in 3-pointers made. His 5.9 per game is almost two shots better than Luka Doncic in second (4.1). The all-time record for a season is 5.3, set by none other than Stephen Curry during the 2020-21 season (he also has the record for the second- and third-most 3PM in a season). The Cavs rank in the bottom third of the NBA in defending 3-point shots. If NBA randoms can shoot 37.9% behind the arc against the Cavs, then Curry can easily maintain his 47.5% 3-point shooting percentage. How is Curry having his best 3-point shooting season at age 35? Who cares how. It’s happening. Threes break slates. Curry is breaking slates, and he’s a must roster on a small slate.
Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks vs. Miami Heat, $9,400 — His three-point shooting percentage is down this season. On a larger slate, Young isn’t necessary until he turns it around. Of course, it’s better to be early than late in DFS NBA GPP contests. On a small slate with fewer players in the pool, the luxury of passing on an elite guard is not an option. Young plays massive minutes and carries an enormous usage rate for an offense that is fast (third in pace) and efficient (sixth in offensive efficiency). Eventually the threes will start to fall. He didn’t forget how to shoot them. He doesn’t have the yips. They didn’t go in on Thursday night, but he was still able to reach 65 DKFP. How big will his fantasy total be when the shots go down?
Kyle Lowry, Miami Heat at Atlanta Hawks, $5,700 — His usage rate spiked to a season high 20% on Wednesday night with the Heat missing a couple of rotation regulars. The result was 47.75 DKFP and a 9x value. His salary only increased by $400. He likely won’t exceed 40 DKFP again, but he could. In his normal role, Lowry is a 0.79 fantasy-point-per-minute player. This isn’t his normal role. Lowry’s usage rate will be close to 20%, and he’ll log minutes in the mid 30s. The Heat will provide all of the value for Saturday’s small slate.
Scottie Barnes, Toronto Raptors at Boston Celtics, $8,900 — The Raptors haven’t been an NBA DFS delight over the past few seasons. They’ve changed coaches, but they still play slow. Typically, they would be an avoid, but this is a small slate. It’s a terrible matchup, but tough matchups can bring out the best in the best. Barnes is Toronto’s best option. This is his team now, and he knows it and shows it. Barnes is logging a ton of minutes and filling up every category on the stat sheet. His 3-point shooting percentage (42.1%) is 12 percentage points better than his career average. Rebounds, blocks, assists and minutes are also at a career high this season for Barnes.
Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics vs. Toronto Raptors, $10,200 — Despite the Celtics having a zillion weapons, Tatum still gets the most work. His safe floor makes him seem like more of DFS pick for 50-50 contests, but he works for GPPs, too. There is a psychological element at play. NBA DFS players are reluctant to roster Celtics because there are so many mouths to feed. There is a natural inclination to go elsewhere. With only four games to choose from, going elsewhere means playing lesser players because the pool is so small. Tatum still gets his. He consistently reaches his floor, but he is a great player and great players have upside. Tatum scored 53 DKFP in 27 minutes on Nov. 1. He only scored 16 points — half of his normal total — on Wednesday night vs. the 76ers, but he still finished with 51.25 DKFP. That’s a player that needs to be in your fantasy lineup on Saturday night.
Duncan Robinson, Miami Heat at Atlanta Hawks, $4,500 — The Heat have serious injuries. That means serious DFS implications, especially on a small slate. Tyler Herro and Caleb Martin are out. Robinson did not benefit from the boost in minutes on Wednesday. He could bust again — 14.25 DKFP in 35 minutes. This could be a bad idea. In Robinson’s regular reserve role, he scored 31.25 DKFP in 29 minutes on Nov. 3 and 21.5 DKFP in 26 minutes on Nov. 6. Could his new rotation role be less active? That’s probably overthinking one game. Robinson provides cheap minutes in a paced-up spot on a small slate.
Haywood Highsmith, Miami Heat at Atlanta Hawks, $4,200 — As mentioned above, injuries have opened up value on the Heat. Before the injuries, the undrafted DII player was already becoming a thing. Highsmith has started the last three games, and the Heat have won them all. With the injuries on Wednesday, Smith had a big night — 27 DKFP in 27 minutes. Coach Erik Spoelstra believes the “Locksmith” is an elite defender. That guarantees minutes moving forward. His usage is a gamble, but it’s worth the risk on a small slate.
Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat at Atlanta Hawks, $8,500 — There are few elite centers in the NBA. They are rare, special and important. It shouldn’t be a surprise that the 2023 NBA Finals featured two of the best big men in the game. Adebayo picked up where he left off last season. He’s averaging his customary 20 points and 10 boards a night. That’s his floor. He has a ceiling, too. On Monday night, Adebayo scored 22 points and grabbed 20 rebounds. He had a 14-rebound game on November 1 against the Nets, and he’s scored at least 50 DKFP in three of his last four games. The points will always be there. The rebounding floor is always safe. However, on some nights, Bam is a problem in the paint for his opponents. He can a goose a GPP by going off on the glass. Throw in a couple blocks, and he easily exceeds expectations. Last but not least, this is a paced-up contest for the Heat. Extra rebounds, blocks and points are on the menu in this matchup for Miami
Jakob Poeltl, Toronto Raptors at Boston Celtics, $5,900 — It would be nice if the Teenage Mutant Ninja Poetl could get more minutes. He would be a smash play at this price. That’s likely not going to happen. He’ll get his customary 30 minutes, but that’s been enough. Poeltl has been uber-efficient this season. He’s averaging nine rebounds per game, and he typically goes over that number when he receives at least minutes in the low 20s. He’s not going to go off in a tough matchup with the Celtics, but he could be one of the best point-per-dollar picks on Saturday’s Veterans Day slate.
Onyeka Okongwu, Atlanta Hawks vs. Miami Heat, $4,500 — This is the third weekend in a row that Okongwu has been featured in the weekend edition of the NBA DFS Targets Article. He has not let us down yet. It would be great to get more minutes from Okongwu. As it has been stated in previous blurbs, play him if you’re going to pay him (four-year $62 million contract). They won’t, but he’ll still gets there. He’s hit 5x value in six straight, and he’s exceeded 6x in five of the last six with a high of 9.2x on Nov. 1 in 27 minutes — a season high — against the Wizards.
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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.