Saturday's Yahoo slate features six games, excluding the Pelicans-Nets matchup.
Teams on the tail end of back-to-backs: Clippers, Bulls, Bucks, Sixers and Nuggets.
What that list basically means is that sticking with well-rested players will be next to impossible, as all of these teams have spots that are too good to pass up. You're due to see some lightning-fast action in the DEN-PHO game (219.5 O/U) and the Clippers-Sixers matchup (217). The most pressing question in the latter game is the status of Joel Embiid ($48). He's been a regular scratch on the tail end of back-to-backs, but he only logged 24 minutes Friday against the Pelicans. If his ankle is fine, then his limited time on the floor could be a sign that he'll play. It's an early game, so hopefully that information will come soon.
Only two players eclipse $50, though Embiid is close enough that he should be included. If he goes he should be a superior play against the Clippers. I'm not as high on Kevin Durant ($50), who has a shaky history against the Spurs. The slow pace of this matchup discourages me, and while you can never fade Durant with a straight face, he's definitely not the best spend-up option.
If I were to pick anyone in that contest at a premium, it would be Stephen Curry ($47), who faces a banged-up frontcourt and is due to break out of a string of games where he's hovered around 30 YFP. Giannis Antetokounmpo ($56) had trouble with Aaron Gordon when he last faced Orlando, but Mario Hezonja is at the four in Gordon's absence, and Hezonja's name is much better than his defensive ability. The Greek Freak is primed to hit a high number.
Teams to stack: Sixers, Nuggets.
If you're in a quandary, head to these two teams. I'll mention some of my favorites in the games below, but there isn't a single starter I wouldn't consider on these two squads.
I'll highlight two players at each position, as well as one player to fade in each slot. I'll submit a small list of additional players at each position that hold equal weight in my predictions. Whenever possible, each category will have one low-priced option.
Elfrid Payton, PHO vs. DEN ($28): Payton's debut with the Suns couldn't look any better. Both Devin Booker and Tyler Ulis are likely scratches, which should give Payton the green light. The Nuggets are coming off a beatdown by the Rockets and will continue a road stint into Phoenix with no rest. Both the Suns and Payton have had success against the Nuggets, so I'm ready to pull the trigger.
Patty Mills, SA at GS ($10): The pace of this matchup is poor, and I would normally fade a lot of Spurs against the Warriors, but Dejounte Murray and Tony Parker are out. This has yet to happen this season, and with Mills at such a dirt-cheap price, you almost have to go to him for value based on his minute potential alone. The likelihood that players like Derrick White and Quinn Cook will usurp a lot of minutes from Mills is slim, but Bryn Forbes ($10) is a player who could slide in for some minutes, as well.
Other guards to consider: Ben Simmons, PHI vs. LAC ($41), Bradley Beal, WAS at CHI ($39), Gary Harris, DEN at PHO ($26), Josh Hart, LAL at DAL ($18), D.J. Augustin, ORL vs. MIL ($11)
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Guard to Avoid:
Austin Rivers, LAC at PHI ($25): Rivers finally returned from injury Friday and logged 31 minutes, but this matchup doesn't set up well against the Sixers, who are stingy against backcourts. And $25 is also a little steep for any player who's shot still contains some rust.
Dario Saric, PHI vs. LAC ($26): Since the Sixers have an earlier game we should know more about Embiid's status sooner rather than later, but Saric has the ability to put up big numbers with or without The Process, and the pace of this game is simply too good to miss. His price makes him a superior play.
Kyle Kuzma, LAL at DAL ($19): With Larry Nance no longer draining minutes from the promising rookie, Kuzma should see an uptick in production. While it also makes sense to flock to Julius Randle ($30) and Brandon Ingram ($29), Kuzma will log a lot of minutes from the bench, and if he gets a hot hand coach Luke Walton likely will keep him in.
Other forwards to consider: LaMarcus Aldridge, SA at GS ($41), Otto Porter Jr., WAS at CHI ($29), Danilo Gallinari, LAC at PHI ($22), Trey Lyles, DEN at PHO ($19)
Forward to Avoid:
Mario Hezonja, ORL vs. MIL ($16): With Aaron Gordon still sidelined, Hezonja looks to be an easy play at this price, but the Bucks have effectively neutralized every power forward they've faced in the last two weeks, and it's unlikely the pattern will deviate. He looks alluring at $16, but I believe he will ultimately disappoint.
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Embiid is still a strong option if he plays.
Nikola Jokic, DEN at PHO ($46): Center is tough in this slate. There isn't a lot to choose from, and I don't like paying this much for Jokic, who's failed to hit value lately. Still, it's hard to not line him up against a Phoenix frontcourt that isn't exactly frugal defensively. Jokic could finally shake some cobwebs off and put up a huge one.
Dwight Powell, DAL vs. LAL ($11): Powell keeps finding the minutes to make himself relevant, and he's scored 30-plus YFP in three consecutive games. You're not going to find that kind of output at this price, and while the Lakers handled Steven Adams in their last game, they've allowed the likes of Tyson Chandler and Jarrett Allen to go off the last two weeks.
Center to Avoid:
DeAndre Jordan, LAC at PHI ($28): The rationale here is simple. Jordan depends on copious rebounds to hit value. With or without Embiid, the Sixers are not the team you want to mess with in this scenario. They've absolutely manhandled most players at the five, and Jordan posted a measly eight YFP in their last faceoff. That's a perfect fade formula.