This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
We have a solid mid-sized six-game slate Saturday night, one that clearly tilts toward the competitive and high-scoring side. All of those factors are very appealing ingredients from a DFS perspective, with perhaps the only blemish on the night going in being the fact there will be some big names missing in action due to injury.
Chicago Bulls at Brooklyn Nets (-3) (O/U: 221.5 points)
Miami Heat at Milwaukee Bucks (-5.5) (O/U: 214.0 points)
Memphis Grizzlies at Dallas Mavericks (-5) (O/U: 219.0 points)
San Antonio Spurs at Golden State Warriors (-9.5) (O/U: 219.0 points)
Boston Celtics (-1.5) at Portland Trail Blazers (O/U: 215.0 points)
Los Angeles Clippers (-1) at Sacramento Kings (O/U: 218.5 points)
There are some marquee matchups on paper Saturday night, but due to injury, not all of them are likely to live up to their full potential. The Heat-Bucks and Celtics-Trail Blazers battles fall under that category, with Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler and Giannis Antetokounmpo set to miss the first contest, and Jaylen Brown potentially joining Damian Lillard as an absentee in the latter contest.
Nevertheless, there are always opportunities for some value plays to emerge when such big names are out of action, and the good news is each game still has elevated scoring expectations irrespective of the health outlook. Factoring in the narrow spread in all but one contest, and it should still be a highly entertaining night of DFS action where identifying the players who'll most benefit from their teammates' injuries could be the key to success.
Injury Situations to Monitor
NOTE: Injury reporting is especially fluid in the NBA, where the status of multiple players can change during the course of a day. Therefore, although the following serves as a foundation for the latest injury report as of the time the article is written, check back throughout the course of the day with RotoWire for the latest news regarding the status of all players on that night's slate.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL (calf)/ Status: DOUBTFUL
Paul George, LAC (ankle)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Damian Lillard, POR (abdomen)/ Status: OUT
Ja Morant, MEM (knee)/ Status: OUT
Jimmy Butler, MIA (tailbone)/ Status: OUT
Kristaps Porzingis, DAL (questionable)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Bam Adebayo, MIA (thumb)/ Status: OUT
With Adebayo out, Dewayne Dedmon is slated to draw another start at center.
Other notable injuries:
Anfernee Simons, POR (ankle)/ Status: OUT
Brook Lopez, MIL (back)/ Status: OUT
Jaylen Brown, BOS (rest)/ Status: GTD
Alex Caruso, CHI (hamstring)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Kyle Anderson, MEM (back)/ Status: OUT
Joe Harris, BRO (ankle)/ Status: OUT
Devin Vassell, SAN (thigh)/ Status: DOUBTFUL
Coby White, CHI (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: OUT
Nicolas Batum, LAC (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: OUT
We have seven players with five-figure salaries that have a chance to be active on Saturday's slate – Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,800), Luka Doncic ($11,500), Stephen Curry ($11,400), Kevin Durant ($11,300), James Harden ($11,200), Paul George ($10,200) and Dejounte Murray ($10,100).
Antetokoumpo seems likely to sit out with his calf injury, as noted earlier.
Doncic could again take the floor without Porzingis but scored just 42.0 DK points without him Friday night, a bit of a disappointment considering the circumstances. However, he has a very favorable matchup against the Grizzlies, who are down to Tyus Jones as the starting point guard.
Curry has had a couple of ragged shooting performances against the Suns the last two games but should have an exponentially easier matchup against the Spurs, which are allowing the seventh-highest offensive efficiency to point guards.
Durant and Harden should play major roles in what could be one of the most competitive games of the night, and one that carries the highest projected total as of Saturday morning.
George's status will need to be monitored due to his ankle injury. He did score 45 DK points even after tweaking the ankle Friday night.
Murray will be in a tough statistical matchup against the Warriors, but he's scored no less than 47.5 DK points in five straight.
In addition to the players just mentioned in the prior section, other likely chalk plays include:
Jayson Tatum, BOS ($9,800)
Tatum could take the floor without Jaylen Brown again and is coming off back-to-back 50 DK-point performances.
CJ McCollum, POR ($9,000)
McCollum will continue to take the floor without Lillard, which should keep him in plenty of lineups.
Kyle Lowry, MIA ($7,800)
Lowry scored 44.3 DK points against the Pacers in 38 minutes on Friday without Butler and Adebayo available and will take the floor without either of his teammates again.
Jrue Holiday, MIL ($7,700)
Holiday has scored at least 47 DK points in two of his last three games and sports a 31.7 percent usage rate while averaging 45 DK points per 36 minutes without Antetokounmpo on the floor.
Khris Middleton, MIL ($7,500)
Middleton sports a 36.7 percent usage rate and is averaging 45 DK points per 36 minutes without Antetokounmpo on the floor, which should keep him very highly rostered Saturday.
Dennis Schroder, BOS at POR ($5,700)
Schroder has continued to deliver for the Celtics, whether in a starting or bench role, as he's averaging 30.4 DK points per contest and just scored 35.5 in 39 minutes during Friday's loss to the Jazz. The elevated playing time was partly the result of a Jaylen Brown absence for injury management purposes, and it remains to be seen if the latter will take the floor Saturday. Irrespective of his status, Schroder should still see a solid allotment of minutes and will face a depleted Blazers backcourt down to its third-string point guard in Dennis Smith. Portland already checks in ranked in the bottom half of the league in offensive efficiency allowed to ones (25.0 percent) and in the bottom five in offensive efficiency surrendered to second-unit players (44.9 percent).
Tim Hardaway, DAL vs. MEM ($5,300)
Hardaway may once again take the floor without Porzingis, a scenario in which the veteran wing is already averaging 30.7 DK points per 36 minutes in. Additionally, the Grizzlies come in allowing the third-highest offensive efficiency to two-guards (23.5 percent) and are giving up an NBA-high 40.1 percent success rate from three-point range on the road. The latter is particularly relevant when considering Hardaway at a salary that he's easily capable of delivering over a 5x return on, as he's putting up 7.0 three-point attempts per contest.
Ivica Zubac, LAC at SAC ($4,900)
The Kings have struggled with centers all season, allowing the highest offensive efficiency to the position (36.6 percent) while giving up an NBA-high 19.2 rebounds per game to fives as well. Zubac already has a tally of 27.3 DK points, achieved in just 23 minutes, against the Kings this season, and he checks into Saturday night's matchup having scored at least 21 DK points in nine of his last 10 contests. He's achieved the double-double bonus on six occasions already this season as well, and given Sacramento's propensity for allowing rebounds, Zubac could well accomplish the feat for a seventh occasion Saturday. Moreover, if George were to sit out, it's worth noting the big man is averaging 44.9 DK points per 36 minutes without his teammate on the floor.