The NBA gets even crazier this weekend, as Saturday greets us with a big 7-game slate after offering the daily fantasy basketball community five games on Friday night. With just 8 days left until the 2016-17 NBA season officially kicks off, teams are now in the mode of either giving their main players loads of minutes to get ready for the new year, or they’ll be resting their star players to prevent injury.
It’s on us to gauge which teams will do what, but the logic looks to be laid out a little for us with a few teams operating on the second game of a back to back set. The Warriors and Bulls specifically should be at risk of sitting guys out after playing on Friday, while the Wizards, Lakers, Kings, 76ers, Pistons and Grizzlies could also sit players after suiting up for Thursday’s slate.
We’ll all be on watch on Saturday, but we should still have a pretty good idea as to what we can expect in preseason daily fantasy basketball leagues. Let’s take a quick look at each game and see which players stand out the most for each contest:
Detroit Pistons @ Philadelphia 76ers
This is a tough game on Detroit’s side, as Andre Drummond missed Thursday’s game and is very much in doubt for this one. He was sick, so if he’s still not right, the Pistons probably won’t hesitate holding him out of a meaningless preseason tilt with the Sixers.
For now, Drummond is on the fence, while Marcus Morris (who was also held out Thursday) already has been ruled out:
SVG undecided on starting Fs at PHI after Leuer/Harris started at ATL. Morris out to rest his knee. SVG "leaning toward mixing it up."
Jon Leuer and Aron Baynes started on Thursday and Leuer actually was quite strong. He’ll naturally be worth a look again if he starts, and possibly even if he doesn’t. Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy may look to “switch things up” if Drums is out, so keep an eye on what that could mean.
Ish Smith should continue to see ample minutes as he prepares to hold down the fort at the point early on for the Pistons. Just keep an eye on Detroit’s lineups in case SVG randomly rests him to see what his backups can do.
Backup forward Stanley Johnson is also worth a glance with Marcus Morris out. Johnson ran a ton last game (34 minutes), so it stands to reason he’ll play a lot again tonight.
For Philly, we won’t have to guess at point guard, as Sergio Rodriguez is expected to get the starting nod over T.J. McConnell:
The Sixers still seem unsure over who their top PG will be while Jerryd Bayless (wrist) is out, so they’re seeing is Sergio can handle a big workload. He’s super cheap tonight, so if the run is going to be there, he’s worth the risk. He actually went off two games ago, so he has some upside, too.
Joel Embiid is worth a cursory glance thanks to his ability to put up big numbers in limited action. He’s expected to get his most work of the preseason (18 minutes), which should help prepare him for an expected 20-24 minutes per night during the regular season:
Joel will play around 18 minutes on Saturday vs. #Pistons
Dario Saric, Jerami Grant, Robert Covington and Richaun Holmes are all still interesting value plays. Their actual value hinges on who starts and who is out of this game. Of the group, Saric and Covey offer the most upside if the lineup benefits them.
Top targets: Ish Smith, Sergio Rodriguez, Stanley Johnson and Joel Embiid
Washington Wizards @ Sacramento Kings
The second game in three days could have the Kings sitting some guys – namely Rudy Gay and maybe Darren Collison. Sacramento would be wise to give Ty Lawson an extended look as the main point guard without disruption, seeing as he’s slated to handle a big load with Collison serving an 8-game suspension to start the year.
Gay was awesome on Thursday and could still suit up again here, but a rest day can’t be ruled out. DeMarcus Cousins is obviously the top play here, provided he actually plays. He sat out to rest on Thursday and could look to get back into the swing of things as the preseason starts to wind down.
Washington will rest some guys, with Otto Porter and Brad Beal both sitting this one out. That puts impressive second-year man Kelly Oubre Jr. front and center as a top NBA DFS value pick tonight. Star point guard John Wall is expected to step up his run tonight, as well, with something around the 20-24 minute range. Both guys are stellar daily fantasy basketball preseason options on this slate.
Marcin Gortat could be a great play, too, as center Ian Mahinmi is out 4-6 weeks with an injury:
Ian Mahinmi had surgery Friday to repair a partially torn medial meniscus in his left knee. He's expected to miss 4-6 weeks. #WizardsTalk
Then again, there were reports he was playing in Washington’s last game and he didn’t. Preseason NBA reporting is just the worst, so make sure he’s actually in if you’re going to use him. Ultimately, Gortat is probably going to be forced to play a good amount in this one, by default.
Top targets: Boogie, John Wall, Kelly Oubre Jr. and Marcin Gortat
Minnesota Timberwolves @ Miami Heat
Miami hits the court for the second night in a row here, which could very well have top veterans like Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside taking the night off. Obviously if they’re starting, they’re must-play options given how great they’ve been so far in October.
Other guys in Miami worth a look are combo guard Tyler Johnson (especially if Dragon is out) and forward, Derrick Williams.
For Minnesota, it’s the usual suspects, as the Wolves continue to try to beef up their chemistry and get a young team ready for a playoff run. New coach Tom Thibodeau really loves giving his main guys all of the minutes, so with the season nearing we could see some nice run for the starting five.
Ricky Rubio can be tough to trust – especially if Dragic is draping him – but Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine should all be ready to be fired up if active. Rookie guard Kris Dunn is a very attractive play if we catch wind that Rubio or LaVine will be limited or rested, but he’s struggled immensely to locate his shot and it’s unclear how much he’ll play.
Top targets: Goran Dragic, Hassan Whiteside, KAT, Zach LaVine and Andrew Wiggins
Boston Celtics @ New York Knicks
We shouldn’t have much to worry about when it comes to the Celtics and Knicks, as neither team played on Friday and probably won’t rest anyone. Isaiah Thomas has been dealing with a wrist issue and would be the chief concern, while Derrick Rose just might make it back (legal issues) in time to hit the court. We’re not sure we’re prepared to trust that, though.
If active, of course, all of those guys are in play, with Carmelo Anthony naturally leading the way.
Kristaps Porzingis is probably going to provide value in this one, while Brandon Jennings could be a fine value play if D-Rose indeed remains out on Saturday. For Boston, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder and Al Horford all look like strong plays, with Horfy without a doubt leading that trio.
Rookie swingman Jaylen Brown is Boston’s top value play to consider, but he hasn’t been great lately and may need a guaranteed role on Saturday to earn your confidence. If he’s not starting, you’ll probably have to fade him.
Top targets: Isaiah Thomas, Al Horford, Melo and Zinger
Memphis Grizzlies @ Houston Rockets
Memphis played on Thursday but should be back at it with their usual guys when they take on the Rockets in an up-tempo game. Marc Gasol and Mike Conley have looked good in their preseason stints and this game could be great for them to boost their confidence offensively.
Memphis has been going deep in the rotation during the preseason, but the only value play we can truly trust is new starter, JaMychal Green. He can hit the outside shot and clean the glass pretty well, so he should be a fine dive against the Rockets.
For Houston, James Harden, Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson are all potentially elite plays if they start. They’ve all seen good run during the preseason and we’ve seen some huge games out of Harden and Rando. Harden is a must-play stud on this slate if he starts.
The Rockets don’t have a ton of value to get excited about, but Clint Capela and Nene Hilario continue to battle for the starting center gig. Capela remains the play of the two due to his rebounding and shot-blocking upside.
Top targets: Mike Conley, Marc Gasol, James Harden, Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson
Chicago Bulls @ Milwaukee Bucks
Chicago played last night, so we can safely rule out Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler. It’s already been reported Butler would sit out this weekend’s games and Wade won’t be starting in the second game of a back to back set.
In fact, Rajon Rondo and Taj Gibson have also already been ruled out for Saturday’s tilt with the Bucks, so we can avoid a guessing game:
Paul Zipser will start tomorrow in Milwaukee at small forward. Rajon Rondo, Wade, Butler and Taj Gibson out
Doug McDermott stands out as an appealing option, while guys like Paul Zipser (18 points on Friday), Bobby Portis and Nikola Mirotic are worth a look. Spencer Dinwiddie, Isaiah Canaan and/or Jerian Grant could also carry interesting value and upside, depending on who gets the start.
The Bucks still need to figure out what they want to do at both guard spots, so we can expect another lineup change and good run from their main guys. That puts Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker ahead of the pack, while Greg Monroe remains a viable NBA DFS preseason target as a scorer off the bench.
Thon Maker has also been getting some decent run lately but we can’t be sure if that sticks and the rookie is quite raw. He’s probably a good fade unless he starts and some other guys are out.
Top targets: Paul Zipser, Bobby Portis, Alphabet and Jabari Parker
Golden State Warriors @ Los Angeles Lakers
The Dubs played on Friday night, so all bets are off when it comes to their main starters. Depending on how things shake out on Friday, we could see a lot from bench guys like Patrick McCaw, Shaun Livingston, Ian Clark and JaVale McGee. McCaw actually hit the game winner last night and will probably play a ton and be highly owned.
Obviously if Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and of course Kevin Durant suit up, they’ll be among the highest owned NBA DFS options. It’s just not likely.
For the Lakers, we’ve seen D’Angelo Russell go nuts twice in the past two weeks, so even with a tough matchup here, he’s in a prime spot to go off again. Julius Randle is also right there with him as a top Lakers play and Jordan Clarkson has the talent to be not so far behind.
Clarkson is away at a friend’s funeral, but reports on Friday suggested he’ll still make it to the court on Saturday. Just make sure that’s accurate before you plug him into your lineup.
L.A.’s bench is otherwise fairly week, so it might take some guys randomly being inactive to get us excited about the likes of Lou Williams or Larry Nance Jr.
Top targets: Patrick McCaw, DLo, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson
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