Get ready for some weekend basketball. We won’t be here to help you build your daily fantasy basketball lineups every single weekend, but when we can, we’ll pop in and shed some light on weekend slates. Thankfully we can do that for Saturday, which actually boasts a ton of injury news on a jam-packed 11-game slate.
This is the third 10+ game slate in just the last four days, so hopefully the NBA schedule starts to even out a bit going forward. The dancing around between 2, 10, 3 and 11-game slates is truly maddening and slates with this many games tend to be highly unpredictable.
Last night was crazy and we didn’t get a chance to step back in and update some of our NBA DFS FanDuel picks. If we did, we would have taken Donovan Mitchell out of our lineup (Rodney Hood ended up starting). Hindsight is always 20/20, though, so we can only hang our hat on the hits.
Anthony Davis (67 fantasy points!) was certainly worth being one of our core plays, while Kevin Durant (52) worked out swimmingly, too. Darren Collison, D’Angelo Russell and Derrick Favors were all pedestrian, but also not crippling. Kevin Love worked out at center and T.J. Warren was one of the best value plays of Friday’s slate. Malik Monk joined Donovan Mitchell as being a total waste of time and together they buried this specific team.
Let’s see if we can’t even things out and take advantage of some injury news ahead of Saturday’s NBA DFS slate:
PG: J.J. Barea – Dallas Mavericks ($3.9k)
The Dallas Mavericks will be searching for their first win on Saturday (0-2), but it’s unlikely they’ll find it on the road against the Houston Rockets. While they’re likely to lose, the Rockets should force them to play faster and a lack of bodies means there should be value to exploit here.
That’s specifically true at the point, as star rookie point guard Dennis Smith has been ruled out for this game after missing Friday’s contest:
Carlisle says Dennis Smith Jr. (left knee effusion) has got “a little swelling.” He will not travel to Houston. Not believed to be serious.
— Earl K. Sneed (@EarlKSneed) October 21, 2017
J.J. Barea got the start on Friday with Smith out and logged 27 minutes with 30 fantasy points. He’s in line to start again, especially with Devin Harris and Seth Curry both unlikely to suit up for this one, as well. Harris has been dealing with a personal matter and is a solid bet to miss this game, while Curry is still nursing a preseason injury.
Based on role, price and matchup, Barea feels like a must in this spot. We can also consider Yogi Ferrell (31 and 30 minutes through the first two games), but he’s not nearly as safe of a play as Barea tends to be.
PG: De’Aaron Fox – Sacramento Kings ($4.5k)
Fox has been impressive through his first two contests and simply hasn’t gotten the run he deserves yet. Despite that, he’s topped 23 and 32 FanDuel points through his first two NBA outings. He’s got an awesome game tonight against the Nuggets and on paper he could thrive.
His first truly huge game is just around the corner and after seeing his rival (Lonzo Ball) go nuts last night, don’t be shocked if he steps it up a bit in this one. We are taking a risk by punting both point guard spots, but I honestly don’t want to pay for any of the top point guards.
Stephen Curry is always going to have an inflated price considering who his teammates are, plus he’s on the road against a Memphis team that plays slow and defends. Damian Lillard will also be on the road and could have issues with Milwaukee’s slow pace, defense and general length. Russell Westbrook is the other big name, but he’s still too expensive. He’s still chasing triple-doubles, but with two superstars added to his team, he can’t stay this pricey. That, and he’s got a brutal date at Utah against the Jazz.
SG: Devin Booker – Phoenix Suns ($6.7k)
Booker showed us last night (50.2 FanDuel points) how versatile and explosive he can be, so I have no issues using him at a discounted price. The Suns are always at risk of getting housed, but he has a solid matchup against the Clippers in a fast-paced matchup. The only issue would be if he draws a matchup with Patrick Beverley, but I have to think Bev will be on Eric Bledsoe.
SG: James Harden – Houston Rockets ($11k)
Harden has been to quiet to start the 2017-18 NBA season. He certainly hasn’t been bad, but he’s yet to top 50 FD points. I think that drought gets snapped tonight. Harden has owned Dallas in the past, he’s at home and the Mavs really don’t have anyone that can shut him down. Oh, and Chris Paul is out – possibly for a while:
At @yahooBDL: Report: The Rockets are worried that Chris Paul’s bruised left knee might keep him out for a month: https://t.co/ytpEZWxNOS pic.twitter.com/gqJGrqXOZf
— Dan Devine (@YourManDevine) October 20, 2017
We can’t worry about what that means for Harden or the Rockets down the road, but for tonight it means Harden is handling the rock all game and should see a ton of run. Considering the guy has produced 49 and 48 FD-point outings and that’s “bad”, we should be bracing for a huge performance out of him tonight.
SF: T.J. Warren – Phoenix Suns ($5.2k)
It’s back to the well with Warren, who was awesome for us last night and has another solid matchup tonight against the Clippers. Danilo Gallinari doesn’t scare anyone defensively and Warren has a lot of upside for this current price. We want to pay down for at least one small forward spot tonight and he looks like the best option to do that with.
SF: Dillon Brooks – Memphis Grizzlies ($4k)
This slate is loaded with superstars, so if we want some, we need to punt at the right spots and fade some guys we’d normally love. LeBron James is too expensive for a likely blowout against the Magic, plus he’s going to be tired after playing last night. He’s not the top play on this slate and neither is Kevin Durant, who will be on the road against the Grizzlies.
I actually am fine with punting SF, especially since Brooks went nuts (44 FD points!) in his Memphis debut and gets a pace-up matchup with Golden State coming to town. He is admittedly risky, but he did a little bit of everything in his first NBA game and will be out to prove he deserves a concrete role going forward. At this price, he’s a calculated risk to free ourselves up elsewhere.
PF: Kelly Olynyk – Miami Heat ($4.4k)
We’re going to have to make some tough decisions on this slate, which truly has almost every elite superstar we could ask for. One such decision is punting one PF spot, almost out of necessity. With star center Hassan Whiteside out for this one, Miami is going to need a different big man to step up:
ICYMI: Heat center Hassan Whiteside to miss tonight’s home opener with bone bruise in left knee https://t.co/OCkBFSPNTH
— Anthony Chiang (@Anthony_Chiang) October 21, 2017
That next guy up is probably going to be Olynuk, who scored 10 points in 21 minutes in Miami’s opener. It’s early in the day when I’m writing this, but all signs point to that happening. In an expanded role, Olynyk’s size and skill-set project well against the Indiana Pacers, who haven’t been impressive defensively.
PF: Giannis Antetokounmpo – Milwaukee Bucks ($11.3k)
I hate paying this much for The Greek Freak. He’s burned me countless times with foul trouble or bad perimeter shooting. But how do we fade this guy right now? With Jabari Parker still working his way back from an ACL injury, this is Giannis’ show to run and he’s basically this year’s Russell Westbrook.
Blake Griffin is a great (cheaper) pivot and I have a lot of interest in LaMarcus Aldridge with Kawhi Leonard still out, but we have to ride this wave while it’s hear. Giannis has 37 and 34 actual points through his first two games and has topped 60+ fantasy points in both contests. Here’s to a third?
C: Nikola Jokic – Denver Nuggets ($9k)
We are getting one of the most talented centers in the game at an insanely low price. Joker has Anthony Davis upside and has a great matchup against the Kings tonight. His price could be down due to a weak showing in his opener, but that came against defensive ace, Rudy Gobert.
I love this spot as a bounce-back opportunity for Jokic, who is as skilled as big men come. Hassan Whiteside and Myles Turner both being out leaves Jokic as the obvious choice at center. Let’s hope everyone else doesn’t see it that way or wastes their money on inflated options like Russ, Steph or LeBron tonight.
This is going to be a very fun slate if things break right. With so many true studs, the ownership is going to be all over the place. You can absolutely make an argument for a ton of the guys we’re fading, partially because we’re fading them. Anytime you can get stars at almost guaranteed low ownership, we need to consider it. However, I can’t bypass Giannis and Harden in these spots and I love the value picks that help get us both of them.
Remember, our NBA DFS FanDuel picks aren’t necessarily a plug and play lineup. This is a team we’ll use, but it’s also a look at the top plays we want in our lineups, along with some of our favorite value plays to help us get there. It’s up to you to choose which stars and values you use. Hopefully the ones you select work out!