This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
Saturday's seven-game NBA slate has a nice mix of matchups, as we see some teams in their second game, helping us to get a better idea of their rotations and usage.
MIA (-3.5) @ IND O/U: 223.5
DAL (-3) @ TOR O/U: 215
CHI (-8.5) vs. DET O/U: 214.5
MIN (-6.5) vs. NOP O/U: 228
MIL (-7.5) @ SAS O/U:N/A
POR (-2) vs. PHO O/U: 231.5
LAC (-3.5) vs. MEM O/U: 226.5
I meant to mention this in my first article, but if you haven't played FanDuel NBA yet, you're in for a treat. The site now allows for multi-position eligibility, a feature that has been on other sites for years but never on FanDuel until now. As an example, you'll now be able to use Bam Adebayo as a PF or C, or Giannis as a SF or PF. This addition really adds a new sense of freedom to the experience, and we no longer feel handcuffed with tough decisions like choosing only one center when there are multiple sound options available.
MIA Kyle Lowry (ankle) - QUESTIONABLE
MIA Dewayne Dedmon (ankle) - QUESTIONABLE
NOP Zion Williamson (foot) - OUT
With Zion out for the foreseeable future, the Pelicans will rely on their other starters. It appears that Jonas Valanciunas ($7,200) will benefit the most while he is sidelined.
MIL Brook Lopez (back) - OUT
With Lopez out, I like Jordan Nwora ($4,100) for value, as the team will slide Giannis to the five and get more unique at power forward.
We have five players at 10k or above on this slate, but a couple of options seem superior. Due to the high total and the potential for a dominant game against the Pelicans, I like Karl-Anthony Towns ($11,200) as an anchor for some of my lineups. Also, it's evident that the Clippers' offense lives and dies by Paul George's ($10,200) performances, so I have no problem throwing exposure in that direction, either.
Luka Doncic ($10,900) isn't going to shoot as badly as he did against the Hawks this time around, so he's as chalky as the slate gets. I'm not entirely opposed to Giannis Antetokounmpo or Damian Lillard, but I think Giannis will be a tad overworked at the five, and I like other Trail Blazer options over Damian Lillard. The O/U there is very high, and it will attract a lot of action, so I want to be scrupulous with my targets there.
Also consider: Domantas Sabonis, IND ($9,600)
EXPECTED CHALK AND CORE TARGETS
Ja Morant, MEM ($8,500) @ LAC
I've been saying for a while that as soon as Jonas Valanciunas leaves this team, Morant and others will need to step it up, and so far, Morant has delivered. Valanciunas was Memphis' second scoring option last year, and although I guess Steven Adams can play an adequate post-up game, he pales compared to what Valanciunas could provide. The absence of that option means that the offense flows through Morant, and I think we'll see more performances like the ones he gave us in his rookie season. His 57-FP effort against Cleveland is an encouraging sign for future volume.
Brandon Ingram, NOR ($8,300) @ MIN
The total for this game is excellent, and as long as Zion remains out, Ingram will be nightly chalk. Over two games, he is hitting an average that's squarely at 5x value for this salary, and I expect a fast-paced game forced by the Timberwolves.
Malcolm Brogdon, IND ($7,900) vs. MIA
I don't think these numbers are sustainable, but take a look at his first two stat lines. He's averaging 42 minutes per game, shooting 47 percent from the field, and has scored 28 points in both games. That's good enough for FPs in the mid 50's, and amazingly, he's still under $8k on FanDuel. As long as Caris LeVert is unavailable, it appears that Brogdon will continue to prop up the backcourt and thrill us with value=beating output in the process.
Jusuf Nurkic, POR ($7,600) vs. PHO
Don't look now, but as long as Nurkic stays healthy, I think he's on track to go off this season. His 20/14 double-double is on the low end of what I think he can accomplish this year if he can dodge the IR. Despite the guard talent for Portland, this is where I want to go with the Trail Blazers tonight. I don't think Deandre Ayton will be able to match Nurkic in the paint, especially after seeing Nurkic man-handle the Kings.
Also consider: OG Anunoby, TOR ($6,900) vs. DAL
Lonzo Ball, CHI ($6,200) vs. DET
News flash: the Bulls are good. If you haven't yet, tune into a Bulls game and watch, and you'll quickly see a team that's cohesive and efficient. Ball looks like Ball 2.0 in the offense and is very confident directing this mob of talent. Targeting him against his old team proved to be a sound idea, as he torched them with a triple-double. That's not a sustainable bar for Ball, but he should still have a great total at home against the Pistons.
Reggie Jackson, LAC ($5,700) vs. MEM
Although we only have a one-game sample, the Clippers are running a very tight rotation, and it appears that Jackson is benefiting. The guard averaged only 23 minutes per game last season, so the usage increase is striking. He only shot 4-of-19 from the floor in his first game, but we shouldn't expect his shooting to stay at that level for long. If he's getting the kind of usage that the first game indicates, there's a lot of potential for a point increase.
Terance Mann, LAC ($4,400) vs. MEM
Like Jackson, Mann benefits from the current rotation. He also saw almost 40 minutes on the floor against the Warriors and came close to a double-double with 11 points and eight rebounds. When fielding multiple elites, it's crucial to find cheap options in this range to balance out a lineup, and Mann's salary and potential to ramp up usage in Kawhi Leonard's absence are significant.
Scottie Barnes, TOR ($4,000) vs. DAL
The rotation will settle down once Pascal Siakam returns, but for now, there's a lot of movement in Toronto's frontcourt, and it's a bit of a crapshoot. For the money, Barnes is the most dependable option and most likely to start, but Precious Achiuwa ($4,400), Chris Boucher ($5,700) and Khem Birch ($4,700) are all in the mix inside as well, and with a small sample size we have no solid sense of how the usage will shake down over time. I'm most willing to risk my cash on Barnes, followed by Achiuwa.