This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
NOTE: Today's BOS/CHA game is excluded from DraftKings' featured slate and will not be mentioned.
Saturday's seven-game slate has a lot of high-powered matchups at our disposal, along with some excellent elites to build around. The most notable news on the docket is a rest night for Stephen Curry against the Mavericks. While I expect Quinn Cook ($3,000) to garner the start, I think this is a night where you have to give the bump in production to Kevin Durant ($9,100) and Klay Thompson ($7,400). Klay is one guy in particular that I'll be loading up on tonight, as he'll provide a more solid floor in case this game gets out of hand. We do have some other injury situations to review today. All ongoing scenarios will be excluded.
Zach LaVine (thigh) QUESTIONABLE, Kris Dunn (back) QUESTIONABLE, Otto Porter (shoulder) DOUBTFUL: While you can't make a pivot here without a more substantial update, Antonio Blakeney ($3,200) is a guy I'd move to immediately if both Dunn and LaVine are out. If we only see one of them, then pivoting over to Lauri Markkanen as an output-absorber is probably the more stable play to make. As for Porter, Shaquille Harrison ($4,100) as a low-pried placeholder while he's been sidelined.
Trevor Ariza (groin) DOUBTFUL: the start will go to Troy Brown ($4,200) once again, but Bobby Portis ($5,800) should be in line to see a boost. Some might opt for Jabari Parker ($6,500) here as well, but I think he's a bit too cost-prohibitive to risk today.
Before I make any endorsements, let's briefly take a look at the top of the slate and discuss some build scenarios. We already discussed the merits of Durant and Thompson, but I think you're doing yourself a disservice if you ignore Karl-Anthony Towns as one of your cores. I'm sure Joel Embiid ($10,700) and Damian Lillard ($10,100) will have decent games, but Lillard's in a slower-paced matchup and Embiid's brief history against the Hawks is tepid at best. By no means am I fading this duo, but I think a Towns stack with some Warriors and possibly even the reliable Bradley Beal ($9,300) would be the most sensible path today.
Ben Simmons, PHI vs. ATL ($8,300): Simmons comes at a price that's hard to beat against the Hawks, and I think the matchup between Simmons and Trae Young ($7,900) will be entertaining to watch. I definitely favor Simmons in cash. Over two games against Atlanta, he's averaged almost 60 DKFP per game. I think opting for J.J. Redick ($5,300) wouldn't be a bad play either, although I think his output relies on getting the ball to Embiid due to the number of times Redick dishes the ball inside.
Ricky Rubio, UTA at CHI ($5,700): The guard category gets a little sketchy at the median level tonight, but I think Rubio has finally rounded into form and is slowly re-establishing a reliable floor due in large part to his consistent assist totals. If you recall Rubio's red-hot shooting in the playoffs last year, we're starting to see a bit of a streak in that category as well, as he executed one of this best shooting nights to date against Atlanta on Wednesday.
Wayne Ellington, DET at POR ($4,300): I'm not too thrilled about the slow pace of this matchup, but Ellington is the cream that rises to the top in the bargain bin. While you'd expect Ish Smith ($4,300) to be the steadier option at this price, Ellington consistently sees more minutes, and Reggie Jackson's return hasn't seemed to affect the former Miami guard's output that much.
Tobias Harris, PHI at ATL ($7,200): For my money, Harris is one of the most solid picks you'll find on the slate tonight. When Harris gets multiple days of rest, his output increases by 30 percent and his history against the Hawks sits right at the cusp of 50 DKFP over two contests. I'll expect an excellent shooting night from Harris, resulting in 20-plus points and a possible double-double.
Marvin Bagley III, SAC vs. PHO ($6,300): Upon reviewing my selections, I think I didn't give this matchup as much love as I should. I wasn't as high on De'Aaron Fix at the guard spot, but I'm perfectly happy to slot Bagley in as a reliable mid-range target. He's on an excellent three-game run and notched a double-double against Dallas earlier in the week. His history versus the Suns in his rookie year is also favorable, as he put up 32 points against them in their only meeting this season.
Bobby Portis, WAS vs. MIA ($5,800): While the Heat are a tough defensive squad, they aren't the best rebounding team and are notably deficient in offensive rebounding (24th). Portis is still going at an excellent price when you consider his overall value with the Wizards. Even though Washington will likely play catch-up in this game, I expect Portis to beat value here with a decent total.
Like I said earlier, go with Karl-Anthony Towns ($10,500) if you want to spend up at center. Both he and Embiid are on impressive runs, and I can't fault either pick, but I think the closer point spread against Memphis is a good indicator for Towns to get plenty of minutes, and I can't say the same for what could be a blowout in Atlanta.
DeMarcus Cousins, GS vs. DAL ($7,300): All the starters will need to step up without Steph Curry in the lineup, and I think Quinn Cook will be more than happy to dish it inside to Cousins, as he can't create his own shots they way Curry can. Dallas is still struggling to find an identity at center that they won't get until Kristaps Porzingis joins the team next season, so it's a huge exploitable spot for Boogie and the Gang.
Jonas Valanciunas, MEM vs. MIN ($6,800): Several arrows point away from this pick tonight - a back-to-back game, a matchup against Towns, and a slow pace. I still have to consider him, however. Joakim Noah is doubtful to play tonight, which will once again put Jonas in the driver's seat for up to 40 minutes once again.