It’s a busy Saturday in the NBA, with two matinees and nine evening games. Players from Brooklyn at Boston and Phoenix at Sacramento are included at DraftKings in Early-Only and All-Day contests that close at 3:00 Eastern.
Our focus is on the most lucrative DFS pools at 7:00, featuring half a dozen high-salaried superstars. Stephen Curry $10600 (leg) remains questionable and won’t really be needed against the Nuggets; Klay Thompson $7700 and Draymond Green $9600 can do the heavy lifting and Shaun Livingston $4300 is a capable PG if the MVP sits out a third game. Andre Iguodala $5200 and Ian Clark $3300 have also been productive in his absence.
I went to the 76ers well once too often, as Ish Smith $7200 suffered an ugly 3-for-19 shooting night and they lost to the equally horrible Lakers. Tonight in the same building, Philly must deal with Chris Paul $9300, DeAndre Jordan $7800 and J.J. Redick $5500, who drained 17-of-29 (including nine 3-pointers) in the final two of a perfect five-game road trip. Wesley Johnson $3300, Cole Aldrich $3400 and Austin Rivers $3400 could mop up in garbage time.
Plays of the Day
The Early $55K Sharpshooter is just a $3 buy-in (FREE with your initial deposit at DK) where the top 4,390 finishers (from up to 21,073 teams) win cash. First place is worth $4,000. The deadline is 3:00 but enter before it fills; you can make lineup changes until each player’s game begins.
The Thunder travel to Charlotte, having won 11 of 13 and three in a row. Russell Westbrook $10700 scored 36 and Kevin Durant $9900 added 23 on Thursday as the Suns put up a spirited effort. Rookie Cameron Payne $3100 has emerged as the backup PG; Enes Kanter $5000 and Dion Waiters $3600 are also inexpensive if the second unit gets extra run. Last night the Hornets lost in Toronto with Jeremy Lin $5400 (ankle) sidelined; Al Jefferson (knee) will miss a few weeks and Nicolas Batum $7500 (toe) is playing hurt. As the last big men standing, Cody Zeller $5000 and Frank Kaminsky $4600 are the safest plays.
In a lackluster effort, the Mavericks scored just 10 points in the opening 12 minutes and lost by 24 in Miami last night. That doesn’t bode well for hosting Anthony Davis $10300 24 hours later. Tyreke Evans $7700, Jrue Holiday $5200 and Norris Cole $3800 are also sharp for the Pelicans, but Dallas has surprised me more than once when it was least expected.
The Rockets at San Antonio is a marquee matchup, though James Harden $10100 and Dwight Howard $7100 have lost three straight since surprising the Spurs in Houston on Christmas Day. My choices to extract some revenge are Kawhi Leonard $8500 and LaMarcus Aldridge $6400, with Manu Ginobili $4000 a possible bargain.
It wasn’t the greatest holiday road trip, though the Cavaliers managed to split four games in five nights out West. Now they are rested, back home and ready to roll. LeBron James $9700 scored 25 points in 29 minutes when they won by 35 in Orlando last month and Kyrie Irving $6100 is looking better each game. Meanwhile, it’s a road back-to-back for the Magic; Nikola Vucevic $7900 and Victor Oladipo $5600 couldn’t prevent a loss to the Wizards.
Hardly a big deal in the standings, Milwaukee at Minnesota has some fantasy upside. The Bucks scored 123 in a loss to OKC on Tuesday, then shocked the Pacers on New Year’s Eve behind Khris Middleton $6800 (33 PTS, including 4-of-6 from deep) and Greg Monroe (23, on 10-for-12 shooting.) Rookie Karl-Anthony Towns $7000 and sophomore Andrew Wiggins $6200 lead the Wolves, who have lost five of six.
It’s been a snake-bit season for the Jazz. If Derrick Favors $7300 (back) can return from a four-game absence, that will help against Marc Gasol $7200. Otherwise, Utah will go very small again except for Jeff Withey $3900 in the middle. Gordon Hayward $7500, Rodney Hood $5100 and Trey Burke $4600 accounted for 68 of their 109 points in Thursday’s defeat of the Blazers. Matt Barnes (suspension) is out, so Zach Randolph $6000 will get another start for the Grizzlies and Mike Conley $6400 is affordable.
The Pacers want to end a two-game slide, and it’s encouraging that Paul George $8800 snapped out of a slump with 31 points on Thursday. George Hill $5300 has also been more aggressive lately; he’ll need to slow down Reggie Jackson $7600. The bigger problem is coping with Andre Drummond $9400, as Ian Mahinmi $4800 (knee) is questionable. Jordan Hill $4900 (dental work) should be back to help Lavoy Allen $3900.
|PG||Russell Westbrook $10700||Trey Burke $4600||Shaun Livingston $4300|
|SG||James Harden $10100||Klay Thompson $7700||Manu Ginobili $4000|
|SF||LeBron James $9700||Kawhi Leonard $8500||Andre Iguodala $5200|
|PF||Anthony Davis $10300||LaMarcus Aldridge $6400||Cody Zeller $5000|
|C||Andre Drummond $9400||Dwight Howard $6900||Jeff Withey $3900|
The Fantasy Spin features DFS advice every day of the NBA season. Follow Kent Williams @SheridanFantasy for updates.