Saturday Night NBA DFS features the perfect slate size. It’s not too big or too small, and with a couple of screens we can watch them all. Let’s dig into some research and make some picks. Kick back and enjoy the four-game main slate that starts at 8 p.m. ET.
Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors vs. Houston Rockets, $10,900 — Here is your warning. This is the second night of a back-to-back, and it’s on the west coast. Download the DK Live app and follow DK Live on Twitter @dklive to make sure that Curry is playing. If Curry starts, then he has tremendous upside vs. the third-worst defense (114.0 Defensive Efficiency Rating) that plays with a top-10 pace. Just before Thanksgiving, Curry dropped 77.5 DKFP on the Rockets with a usage rate south of 30%.
Jaylen Nowell, Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Oklahoma City Thunder, $4,300 — In the last three games — all off the bench — Nowell has played 24, 25 and 31 minutes. He’s scored 28.25, 34.75 and 38.75 DKFP with an average usage rate of 25.4% (that rate has increased each game). The Timberwolves seriously lack depth. Nowell is their No. 1 guy on the second unit with Naz Reid as his support. If Nowell can score on Memphis, Washington and Golden State, then Oklahoma City’s second unit should not be a problem.
Cole Anthony, Orlando Magic at Toronto Raptors vs. $5,800 — Markelle Fultz returned this week but he has been on a minutes limit. Saturday is the second night of a back-to-back and Fultz played 30 minutes on Friday. There is a very good chance that his minutes will dip down or that he doesn't play at all. Even with Fultz’s increased role, Anthony still scored the second-most points in 29 minutes of work off the bench. His 40 DKFP translated into a 7.4x return of value at a $5,400 salary.
Anthony Edwards, Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Oklahoma City Thunder, $8,600 — Without Karl-Anthony Towns, the points had to come from somewhere. Edwards filled that void on Wednesday night in Minnesota’s win over Memphis by scoring 56.75 DKFP. He put up that 7.1x number with a 24.2% usage rate. That’s lower than his season average (26.7%). His usage rate should increase without KAT. A 30% usage rate and 35 minutes vs. the Thunder is more than fair and more than appealing — the Thunder play below-average defense and are seventh in pace.
Justice Winslow, Portland Trail Blazers at Utah Jazz, $5,200 — The Trail Blazers are running a thin rotation, so Winslow is logging minutes — 46, 37, 34 and 36 minutes in his last four games. His usage rate isn’t that high (15.7%) and he’s not particularly efficient, but it doesn't take much with this price tag and nearly 40 minutes in the front court. Winslow’s price was $4,000 a week ago. It’s risen but not enough. In the last five games, he’s hit 6.4x, 6.5x, 7.3x, 6.8x and 7.2x. As his price has risen, he’s become more efficient.
Trendon Watford, Portland Trail Blazers at Utah Jazz, $3,700 — Keep your eye on the injury report or download the DK Live app and follow DK Live on Twitter @dklive. If Josh Hart (doubtful) is ruled out again, Watford could draw another start. On Wednesday, Watford started and played 31 minutes. He scored 24.5 DKFP with a 12.6% usage rate. That was good enough for 7x and his salary only increased by $200.
Jonathan Kuminga, Golden State Warriors vs. Houston Rockets, $3,400 — Everyone loves value plays, so let’s throw in a bonus pick. It’s the weekend extravaganza article after all, so why not a highly volatile play. Kuminga is raw talent, but he’s looked good lately. It doesn’t take much to live up to his salary expectations. He’s active on the court but he needs minutes. With 20 minutes on Sunday, he scored 19 DKFP, and he scored 33 DKFP in 25 minutes on Tuesday. There is a good chance that Steve Kerr sits players on the back-to-back or he limits minutes in a game that the Warriors should win with ease. Kuminga should get 20 minutes on Saturday.
Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors vs. Orlando Magic, $9,500 — This is another case of a team on the second night of a back-to-back. Siakam returned from an injury earlier this week, so he could rest or be limited. He likely won’t rest because Coach Nick Nurse doesn’t rest players. Siakam played 30 minutes in his first game back. Before his injury, Siakam had risen to the role of leader of the Raptors. Over an eight-game stretch in October, Siakam averaged 54 DKFP per game. The Magic have the fourth-worst defense in the NBA.
Naz Reid, Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Oklahoma City Thunder, $3,600 — He’s not going to get the start on Saturday night, at least not yet. Reid played nearly the same amount of minutes as Rudy Gobert on Wednesday and put up a much better stat line. It’s not fair to compare the two because their roles are different. Gobert is not asked to lead the starters in scoring. For the second-unit, Reid has to pick up some of the scoring slack and he faces softer matchups. Reid will get around 25 minutes with a 20% usage rate in a favorable matchup. This value play won’t last long, so get it while you can.
Walker Kessler, Utah Jazz vs. Portland Trail Blazers, $3,200 — It wouldn’t be the weekend extravaganza without a “Blocker” Kessler blurb. So far, Kessler has not received extended run on a back-to-back. He hadn’t received extended run period until last night. Finally he got the minutes, but he broke out before he got the minutes. Kessler scored 20 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked 2 shots for 40.25 DKFP. It was the rookie’s best game of his career. The signs of a breakout had been apparent for weeks. In the last three games where Kessler received at least a measly 20 minutes of action, he returned 5.5x, 5.8x and 6.9x value. Most of that production was through peripheral stats. Once he starts scoring — a role he could possess in an average Utah offense — he will smash his salary. He started scoring on Friday.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is greenflagradio2) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.