FanDuel NBA DFS Strategy Advice: Saturday (5/8)
It is now less than two weeks until the play-in tournament for the NBA playoffs commences, meaning that teams are scrambling to try and clinch playoff spots right now. While some teams have nothing to play for, as they rest some of their starters down the final stretch, others are giving everything they have to have an opportunity to hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy.
Back on Thursday, in my previous NBA DFS article, I had one of the worst days of the season, and I apologize for that. Following a poor showing on Thursday, it’s time to bounce back with a strong article on Saturday morning to get you prepared for a good-looking slate.
Most Value Per Dollar
It has been quite a while since we got a slate that has featured as many expected high-scoring affairs as we’ll be getting on Saturday. Of the seven games on the schedule, all seven of them are anticipated to have totals of over 220, including a tantalizing matchup between the Washington Wizards and the Indiana Pacers forecasted with a whopping total of 247.5 points.
That means that it’s going to be popular to have pieces of the Wizards and Pacers in lineups. There is value across the board on Saturday as teams are resting players and dealing with injuries, and there will certainly be more value that opens up as the day progresses.
If you’d like to see more information on how the betting landscape will be for this slate, check out BettingPros. Below is a list of the top-10 players of the day expected to generate the most value relative to their salary. These are ranked in order.
Bojan Bogdanovic (UTA) $5,700 vs. HOU
One of my favorite players to use recently in NBA DFS has been Bojan Bogdanovic of the Utah Jazz. Bogdanovic has stepped into a more prominent role in the offense, with Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley dealing with injuries. The veteran forward has hit 5x value at his current price in four out of his last six games. And despite putting up 61.6 FD points at a salary of $5,700 on Friday night versus the Denver Nuggets, FanDuel refuses to raise his price tag against the Houston Rockets.
Gary Trent Jr. (TOR) $5,000 vs. MEM
Speaking of teams who are resting players due to their season being over, the Toronto Raptors are sitting both Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet on Saturday. Besides the obvious choice of Pascal Siakam, other members of the Raptors will see an increase in usage sans Lowry and VanVleet. Gary Trent Jr. returned to the lineup on Thursday and recorded 32.1 FD points in 36 minutes of action. When Lowry, VanVleet, and the other sidelined players for Toronto on Saturday are out, Trent sees the second-highest usage percentage (25.4%) on the team, making him well worth the price at $5,000.
Malachi Flynn (TOR) $5,300 vs. MEM
With Lowry and VanVleet being rested by the Raptors, that leaves 45.3 percent of Toronto’s usage on offense on the bench. That numbers balloons to 64.6 percent if you add OG Anunoby, who will also be out for the Raptors on Saturday. Along with Siakam and Trent, Malachi Flynn should see increased run on Saturday versus the Memphis Grizzlies. Flynn has averaged 16.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and 1.4 steals whenever Lowry, VanVleet, Anunoby, and Chris Boucher have all been out this season.
Rui Hachimura (WAS) $5,400 at IND
Once again, seeing that the clash between the Wizards and the Pacers is set at 247.5 total points, it will be commonplace to have players from that game. While Russell Westbrook, Bradley Beal, and Domantas Sabonis will have some ownership, a cheaper way to get exposure to the game is to plug in Rui Hachimura at one of your small forward spots. Hachimura isn’t listed on the injury report on Saturday following a two-game absence, and his last appearance came against these same Pacers, who he scored 39.4 FD points against.
Kenyon Martin Jr. (HOU) $6,400 at UTA
It’s been hard to trust certain members of the Rockets this season – especially in recent weeks – as they’ve had an unknown system on how they sit their players. But one member of the roster who has made the most of his increased opportunities recently is Kenyon Martin Jr. Martin has notched 42.9+ FD points in back-to-back games in less-than-ideal matchups against the Philadelphia 76ers and the Milwaukee Bucks. The rookie forward should continue being a go-to player for a shorthanded Houston squad, especially if Christian Wood is ruled out. If Wood is active, and he makes you nervous on Martin, or if Martin is sat, Darius Bazley isn’t an awful contingency plan.
Khem Birch (TOR) $5,800 vs. MEM
Back on Thursday, one of the only picks I correctly predicted was Khem Birch having a productive game versus the Wizards. Birch would explode for 43.3 FD points in 36 minutes in Washington’s victory over Toronto. It has been tough to trust Birch recently, but he draws another plus matchup against the Grizzlies on Saturday. Memphis has surrendered the fourth-most FD points (56.57) to opposing centers this season, and they have been even worse in their past 30 games, giving up 61.96 FD points per game (second-worst in the NBA in that span).
Armoni Brooks (HOU) $4,000 at UTA
The Rockets entered Friday night with only eight players available, including Armoni Brooks. Brooks would be a valuable contributor off Houston’s bench as they took on Milwaukee on the road. Amid the Rockets’ injuries, Brooks would produce 40.6 FD points at a salary of $3,800. While FanDuel raised his price to $4,000 on Saturday, he should still be worth the price if Houston is without Avery Bradley, John Wall, Eric Gordon, and Sterling Brown again. If the Rockets get multiple guys back on Saturday, Ty Jerome and DeAndre’ Bembry are other value options at the shooting guard position.
Theo Maledon (OKC) $4,900 at GSW
The Oklahoma City Thunder have nothing to play for down the final stretch of the season as Sam Presti is itching to begin using the million draft picks he’s stockpiled in recent seasons. Theo Maledon, originally a second-round pick of the Philadelphia 76ers in the 2020 NBA Draft, has been a bright spot for Oklahoma City. The first-year point guard has been operating as the starter in recent games, and he just accrued 36.8 FD points against the Golden State Warriors on Thursday. On the off chance that Maledon is sat on Saturday, Raul Neto and D.J. Augustin are also viable options at point guard.
Sekou Doumbouya (DET) $4,800 at PHI
Given how they’ve continually sat players, it has been tough to gauge who is playing for the Detroit Pistons daily. In recent games, though, Sekou Doumbouya has seen an uptick in minutes. Doumbouya has seen 27+ minutes in the past five games, and he has hit 5x value in his last two appearances. While his upcoming matchup versus the 76ers looks rough on paper, Philadelphia has allowed 49.28 FD points per game to opposing power forwards in their past 15 contests, which is the fifth-worst in the NBA in that span.
Robin Lopez (WAS) $4,300 at IND
It has been well-documented all season just how bad the Pacers have been to opposing centers all season. Indiana gives up a league-worst 58.38 FD points per game to centers, giving the centers of the Wizards a massive boost heading into Saturday. While Washington has started different guys at center throughout the season, Robin Lopez has been their best option recently. Lopez just put up 40.4 FD points on Thursday, and he should see the most minutes among Washington’s centers on Saturday.
Studs Worth Their Salary
Russell Westbrook (WAS) $12,000 at IND: I will rarely advocate for players priced at $12,000 on FanDuel, but it’s hard to say no to Russell Westbrook on Saturday. The Wizards have made an improbable late-season playoff push, and that’s in large part due to the improved level of play from Westbrook. Westbrook has actually hit 5x value at his current price in four out of the last six games. He also recently dominated the Pacers earlier this week to the tune of 75.2 FD points. Sign me up for Westbrook at $12,000 in a fast-paced game with the highest expected total of the day.
Domantas Sabonis (IND) $10,600 vs. WAS: Given the expected total of Washington and Indiana’s showdown on Saturday, I’m trying to get as much exposure to the game as possible. After listing multiple members of the Wizards as targets, Sabonis should be a popular name at the power forward position. The Pacers are scratching and clawing for a playoff spot right now. It seems unlikely that Malcolm Brogdon will return to the lineup on Saturday, leaving the playmaking duties to Sabonis and Caris LeVert. Sabonis had 71.3 FD points against the Wizards earlier this week.
Kyrie Irving (BKN) $10,100 at DEN: It is tough to choose between either Kyrie Irving or Kevin Durant, and you likely can’t go wrong with going with both. But with Irving being slightly cheaper than Durant, I’ll side with the shifty point guard. Irving has stepped up his play in the past two games, combining for 135.1 FD points in that span. Amid the injuries to Jamal Murray, Monte Morris, Will Barton, and P.J. Dozier, the Denver Nuggets have given up 51.41 FD points per game to opposing point guards in their last 15 games (fifth-worst mark in the NBA in that span).
Notable Players To Fade
Rudy Gobert (UTA) $8,200 vs. HOU: Rudy Gobert is typically a player that goes overlooked in NBA DFS due to his lack of contributions in the scoring department. But his ability to block shots, rebound, and get steals makes him valuable on most nights. However, the defensive-oriented center has failed to reach 5x value at his current price in six out of his last six appearances. The Jazz are also on a back-to-back against the lowly Rockets, leading to Gobert seeing fewer minutes.
Tobias Harris (PHI) $7,200 vs. DET: Another top playoff team facing a shorthanded squad is the 76ers as they prepare to face the Pistons on Saturday. Tobias Harris has been one of Philadelphia’s key contributors on the offensive end, but he has failed to garner 5x value at his current price in five out of his last seven games. It’s hard to predict blowouts in the NBA, but if the 76ers can take of business quickly versus the Pistons, it’s tough paying over $7,000 for Harris right now.
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Skyler Carlin is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Skyler, check out his archive and follow him @skyler_carlin.