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Saturday slates tend to be big ones, but this one is tiny for some reason. We have just five games in total, with four fixtures making up the night slate. The different play styles in these matchups are fascinating, though. We have a Brooklyn-Golden State game that could be one of the highest-scoring games of the season, while the New York-Houston and Utah-Miami matchups could be defensive struggles. With all that in mind, let's get into it!
Can anyone really fade Curry here? This guy would be motivated against anyone, but one has to believe he'll be at full tilt facing the Kyrie Irving-James Harden-Kevin Durant squad. That motivation alone makes him a good option, but they happen to own the NBA's worst defensive efficiency rating over the last three weeks. That's a really scary thought against Curry, especially the way he's shooting. Chef Curry has scored at least 41 Yahoo points in seven straight games, averaging over 53 fantasy points per game in that span. Just squeeze him in and build from there!
This is certainly risky and only advisable in GPPs, but Payton could be one of the best per-dollar values out there. We say that because this guy was $21 earlier in the season. That's no surprise when you see that he averaged 25 Yahoo points per game across his first 16 outings. While had did fall off after that, he's recaptured that early-season form recently. In fact, Payton has at least 28 Yahoo points in three of his last four games, averaging 31 fantasy points per game in that span. If he drops 30-plus at this price, you've found the best value of the day.
Guard to Avoid
There were many people excited about Rose and Tom Thibodeau reuniting but don't fall for it! Rose will play a complementary role for the Knicks, playing just 20 minutes off the bench in his debut. That's concerning with so many mouths to feed, particularly when you consider that this is the NBA's slowest paced team. It's not like he's been productive recently anyway, failing to crack 24 Yahoo points in six straight outings. The straw that broke the camel's back is the fact that this is the second half of a back-to-back set, likely limiting Rose's minutes or gluing him to the bench altogether.
Jimmy Butler, MIA at UTA ($39)
Why is Butler still below $40? Since returning from the COVID list, he has been a monster, and it makes no sense why he remains so cheap. What really adds to his value is the absence of Goran Dragic. That has turned Butler into the de facto point guard, which is evident when you see his assists. Since returning last week, Butler is averaging 22.6 points, 8.6 rebounds, 8.6 assists, and 1.4 steals per game. That equates to a 41-point floor in that span, which is truly absurd from someone below $40. While Utah is a tough matchup, it really doesn't matter when you see that we're looking at a total north of 220 and a matchup with Donovan Mitchell.
Joe Ingles, UTA vs. MIA ($17)
Ingles always plays better when either Mike Conley or Donovan Mitchell is out of the lineup. It actually makes him one of the primary ballhandlers in their absences, averaging 13.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 6.7 assists since Conley went down. He averaged 28 Yahoo points per game in the games Mitchell missed earlier on, which is almost identical to this most recent Conley run. That makes it hard to believe he's still below $20, making him one of the best values on the board. He actually killed Miami last year too, averaging 29 Yahoo points in their two meetings.
Forward to Avoid
RJ Barrett, NYK vs. HOU ($20)
Barrett was in this section in my most recent article, and he rewarded us with 7.4 Yahoo points in one of the worst performances of his career. We talked about his lack of stat-stuffing in that piece, and he certainly hasn't persuaded us to think differently. In fact, RJ has failed to crack 34 Yahoo points in 10 straight games, averaging 21 fantasy points per game across his last five fixtures. That becomes even scarier with Rose's addition, who's actually taken away more from Barrett than anyone else. Not to mention, Houston owns a top-five defense since trading away Harden.
DeMarcus Cousins, HOU at NYK ($24)
Cousins will get another start here for Christian Wood, and as long as that's the case, he should be in your lineup. In his eight starts this season, Cuz is averaging 38 fantasy points per game. That's a crazy total from a $24 player. The matchup might worry some of you, but New York playing at the slowest pace in the league might actually help Cousins with his lack of mobility these days. It's not like they've been slowing down centers anyway, surrendering the sixth-most fantasy points to them this season.
Nerlens Noel, NYK vs. HOU ($10)
Noel has always proven to be a valuable fantasy producer when given the minutes, and that's certainly not going to be an issue here. With Mitchell Robinson fracturing his hand on Friday, Noel should start and pick up M-Rob's 30 minutes. That's big news for a guy who's averaging 18 Yahoo points per game in just 17 minutes a night already. If he gets the 30 minutes we anticipate, Noel should be looking at 30-35 fantasy points. We're certainly not concerned about Cousins' lackluster defense slowing him down either. All of that makes him the best value of the day at a minimum price.
Center to Avoid
Myles Turner, IND at ATL ($25)
I want to preface this by saying that Turner can go off on any given night. What's really concerning right now is his recent form, though. The big man hasn't scored more than 28 Yahoo points in five straight fixtures, averaging just 21 fantasy points per game in that span. That's easily his worst stretch of the year, and a date with Clint Capela and the 13th-ranked Hawks defense certainly won't make it easier. He didn't perform well when playing Atlanta last year either, scoring less than 33 Yahoo points in all three meetings, en route to a 26-point average.