After a massive, 10-game slate Friday, things get a bit calmer tonight. There are still a total of eight-games on deck Saturday, but with the Philadelphia 76ers and Denver Nuggets playing at 3:00 PM ET, only seven games will count towards FanDuel’s main slate. With six teams playing on the second leg of a back-to-back set tonight, there’s a chance we could see some prominent stars given the night off, which opens the door for low-salary players to handle larger roles and produce fantasy value. With that said, let’s dive into some of the best values, studs, and fades for Saturday’s main slate.
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- Cole Anthony received his first NBA start on Friday in place of Markelle Fultz’s season-ending knee injury. It wasn’t a terrific performance by any stretch of the imagination, but then again, no one on the Magic performed well outside of Nikola Vucevic, and the game was over by the second half. Still, the rookie received 28 minutes of playing time and ended up as the team’s second-leading scorer (15 points). With Michael Carter-Williams expected to miss another game with a bone bruise in his foot, Anthony is in line to receive a hefty workload against the Mavericks on Saturday. Through nine games, Anthony has seen 185 total minutes this season without Fultz on the court, and he is averaging 0.94 FanDuel points per minute in that span.
- Trey Burke missed the Mavericks’ last game with an illness but should return on Saturday. With Jalen Brunson and Josh Richardson both ruled out due to health protocols, the stage is set for Burke to play a large role against the Magic. He’s averaged 0.76 FanDuel points per minute without Brunson and Richardson on the floor this season, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him hit 25-30 minutes in this one.
- Tyler Herro has been quiet offensively over his last three games, but an opponent like the Wizards provides the perfect opportunity for him to bounce back. Washington has struggled to slow down guards this season, as they rank dead last in defensive rating. On top of that, they lead the league in PACE rating (108.6), so this is sure to be a fast-paced, high-scoring game for both teams. This is the kind of matchup worth attacking in DFS, and Herro’s $5,400 price tag is certainly hard to pass up.
- Tyrese Haliburton may be a rookie, but he sure doesn’t play like one. With De’Aaron Fox less than 100 percent with a sore hamstring, Haliburton was asked to carry most of the burden in Friday’s loss to the Raptors. He responded with a well-rounded line of 15 points, two rebounds, eight assists, one block, and two steals in 29 minutes. There’s a strong possibility that the Kings play things safe with Fox on the second leg of a back-to-back set on Saturday, so Haliburton should have another opportunity to produce against the Blazers. Both teams also rank inside the top-15 in PACE rating, so this is sure to be a fast-paced game. Since returning from injury back on January 6th, Haliburton has averaged 1.3 FanDuel points per minute.
- The Mavericks decided to move Hardaway Jr. to the bench earlier this week, and it’s seemingly benefited his fantasy value. The sharpshooter dropped 30 points and seven rebounds against the Rockets on Monday before coming back down to earth in Thursday’s win over the Nuggets. There’s a good chance that he slides back into the starting lineup on Saturday with Josh Richardson and Jalen Brunson ruled out due to health and safety protocols. In the 75 total minutes Hardaway Jr. has played without Josh Richardson on the court, he’s seen an elite usage rating of 28.6% and has averaged 1.21 FanDuel points per minute.
- The Cavaliers have struggled with injuries over the first couple of weeks of the season, and that’s forced players like Cedi Osman to handle larger roles. Although rookie Isaac Okoro returned to the lineup earlier this week, Osman has still averaged 36 minutes per game over Cleveland’s last three, and he has averaged 12.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 7.0 assists through that span. With Darius Garland and Dante Exum already ruled out and Collin Sexton unlikely to suit up, Osman should be busy once again on Saturday.
- Maxi Kleber was inserted into the starting lineup ahead of Thursday’s victory over the Nuggets, and that should be the case against the Magic. The Mavericks also won’t have Josh Richardson (13.8PPG) and Jalen Brunson (11.1PPG) due to health and safety protocols for this one, so they will need other players to step up on offense alongside Luka Doncic. Priced at only $4,200, Kleber should see the lion’s share of playing time and is a good bet to at least triple his value on Saturday.
- It appears that a three-game break was all that LaMarcus Aldridge needed, as he’s been impressive since he returned to action after missing time with knee soreness. He posted 14 points and six rebounds in his first game back before scoring 28 points in a season-high 31 minutes on Thursday. He now has a glorious matchup against the league’s worst defense, and considering that the Spurs are 4-0 when Aldridge plays over 20 minutes, he should be out there long enough to return value. His slow start to the season has him priced lower than guys such as Larry Nance Jr. and Aaron Gordon at the moment. Take advantage.
- After a slow start to the season, Brook Lopez has turned things around recently — he has averaged 12.3 points and 2.0 blocks in just under 30 minutes of action over his last three games. He now has a matchup against Andre Drummond, who hasn’t been great at slowing down opposing big men this season, as Cleveland gives up the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing centers. His $4,700 price tag ranks below guys like Bismack Biyombo and Enes Kanter, so he is a great value if you want to spend up at other positions.
- The Mavericks put Willie Cauley-Stein into their starting lineup over Dwight Powell earlier this week, and he has performed well since then. He’s averaged 10 points and 7.5 rebounds and in 25 minutes, and more importantly, Dallas is 2-0 over that span, so it’s unlikely that they’ll change anything ahead of Saturday’s tilt against the Magic. Orlando is giving up the fourth-most fantasy points per game to opposing centers this season, and while Cauley-Stein isn’t a skilled big-man who will have the offense run through him, he should have ample opportunity to clean up the misses on the glass and catch lobs from Luka Doncic. He’s averaged a little over 1.0 fantasy points per minute as a starter, and he should see 25-30 minutes in this one, which makes him a fantastic bet to exceed value.
Studs Worth Their Salary
- Luka Doncic (DAL) $11,600: It sounds crazy to recommend the most expensive player on the slate, but Doncic has been absolutely incredible after a slow start to the season. He’s produced 35.5 points, 12.5 rebounds, 12.0 assists, and 2.5 steals over the last two games, and he has averaged 1.7 FanDuel points per minute. Combine that with the fact that Jalen Brunson and Josh Richardson have both been ruled out of Saturday’s game against the Magic due to health and safety protocols, and we can fully expect Doncic to see an elite usage rate. He’s played a total of 21 minutes this season without Brunson and Richardson on the floor, and he boasts a mind-boggling 46.2% usage rate. Doncic is a great option to build your team around despite the hefty price tag.
- Bradley Beal (WAS) $10,100: Beal has been on a tear over the last two games, as he’s averaging 50.5 points and 61 FanDuel points over his last two games. He gets the Miami Heat on Saturday, and they have struggled to guard elite scoring wings this season. They’ve surrendered the fourth-most fantasy points to the position as a result. Washington ranks first in PACE rating (108.6) this season, and their up-tempo style of play should suit Beal’s scoring prowess well. He definitely won’t be a contrarian play on Saturday, but he offers a safe floor when filling out your roster.
Notable Players to Fade
- Trae Young (ATL) $9,400: Young is coming off of his worst game of the season against the Hornets, where he posted only seven points and only attempted nine shots. On top of that, he’s now committed 21 turnovers across his last three games, which suggests that he’s cooling off after an impressive start to the season. Of course, Young could flip the switch at any moment and get back to his elite ways, but I would rather go after guys like Malcolm Brogdon ($8,400) or Dejounte Murray ($7,100).
- Andre Drummond (CLE) $9,200: Drummond has been a valuable fantasy asset to begin the season, as he’s racked up a double-double in all nine of his games. He saw his production decrease a bit over the last five games, though, as he averaged 14.8 points and 13.4 rebounds in that span. He also committed 11 turnovers over the last two games. Additionally, he’s been lacking in the defensive department, as he’s averaged just 0.6 blocks and 1.0 steals per game over a five-game stretch that’s seen him matchup with centers that can all shoot the three. The Bucks have surrendered the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing centers this season, and Brook Lopez is certainly capable of stepping back behind the three-point line. While Drummond isn’t a terrible play, I would rather pivot to someone like Nikola Vucevic ($8,800) or Bam Adebayo ($8,500).
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Alex Burns a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Alex, check out his archive and follow him @aburnshoops.