NBA DFS Picks Breakdown (Saturday, Mar. 11): Nikola Vucevic Checks All the Boxes

Saturday features a nine-game slate starting at 7 p.m. ET.

Let’s dive into some of the top plays on the slate using the FantasyLabs tools and metrics.

Also, don’t forget that for large-field tournaments, you can utilize our Lineup Optimizer to effortlessly create up to 300 lineups, or use our Lineup Builder if you like to hand-build your lineups.

Note: Projections and Leverages Scores/Ratings may change throughout the day after this article is posted. The NBA DFS landscape changes quickly. 

Consult the NBA Player Models directly for any updates as we get closer to lock.

Use our PrizePicks promo code LABS for a $100 sign-up bonus on NBA player pick’ems.

NBA DFS Point Guard Picks


Shai Gilgeous-Alexander missed the Thunder’s last contest, but he will return to the lineup Saturday vs. the Pelicans. There’s some concern that the Thunder will ease SGA’s burden down the stretch, but when he has been in the lineup recently, he’s handled a full workload. He missed five straight games over the past month with various maladies, but when he returned for two games earlier this week, he played 37 and 36.1 minutes.

With that in mind, SGA is too cheap at $9,200 on DraftKings. He’s someone that has been priced well over $10,000 for most of the year, and his current price tag comes with a Bargain Rating of 97%. SGA has had a comparable price tag in just 15 previous games this season, and he’s posted an average Plus/Minus of +6.35 (per the Trends tool). The Pelicans have been surprisingly tough against point guards this season, but this is too good a price tag to pass up.


The injuries continue to pile up for the Pistons. The team is going to be without six key contributors on Saturday: Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, Bojan Bogdanovic, Isaiah Stewart, Alec Burks, and Hamidou Diallo. That leaves the team really shorthanded, especially when it comes to offensive playmakers.

Expect Killian Hayes to handle most of the ball-handling responsibilities. He’s been a strong fantasy producer to begin with, averaging 0.93 DraftKings points per minute for the year, and he racked up 45.0 DraftKings points in his last game with more than 25 minutes.

Hayes also draws an excellent matchup vs. the Pacers, who have been one of the best teams to target in fantasy. They rank sixth in pace and 26th in defensive efficiency, so the Pistons have a bit more upside than usual. Hayes stands out as another excellent value on DraftKings, where his $5,000 price tag comes with a Bargain Rating of 95%.

Fast Break

Patrick Beverley is another potential value option at the position. He’s currently projected for just under 30 minutes in our NBA Models, and he’s averaged 0.73 FanDuel points per minute over the past month. That should be enough to pay off his $4,600 salary on FanDuel, especially in a great matchup vs. the Rockets.

The Suns are going to have to survive without Kevin Durant for the next few weeks, but fortunately, they still have some strong options. That includes Chris Paul, who is underpriced at $7,800 for Saturday’s matchup vs. the Kings. That game is tied for the highest total on the slate at 240.5 points, and the Suns’ implied team total of 122.25 is the top individual mark.

NBA DFS Shooting Guard Picks


Desmond Bane has gotten more expensive across the industry, but he still stands out as an excellent pay-up option in our NBA Models. The team remains without Ja Morant, Steven Adams, and Brandon Clarke, opening the door for Bane to serve as their primary scorer. He’s increased his usage rate to 27.9% in games without Morant this season, and while that hasn’t led to success in his past two contests, it bodes well for his long-term production.

The Mavericks are also a better matchup than they appear on paper. The team has played significantly faster since acquiring Kyrie Irving, and they’re tied for 23rd in defensive efficiency for the year. Bane owns an Opponent Plus/Minus of +1.03 on FanDuel, where his $8,500 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 84%.

Our PrizePicks and Underdog Fantasy simulations also like Bane’s chances of knocking down at least three 3-pointers in this matchup:


Rodney McGruder is going to have to play significant minutes for the Pistons on Saturday. He hasn’t been very effective when on the floor this season – he’s averaged just 0.59 DraftKings points per minute – but he’s projected for around 30 minutes vs. the Pacers. That’s a ton of playing time for someone priced at just $3,400. Historically, players with comparable salaries and minute projections have averaged a Plus/Minus of +4.87. McGruder may not possess a ton of upside, but he’s a great bet to return value.

Fast Break

Jalen Green has posted a positive Plus/Minus in three straight games on DraftKings, and he’s played at least 37.5 minutes in his past two outings. Green’s playing time had been a bit of a concern before that stretch, so that’s a positive development for his fantasy value. Green has increased his production to 1.09 DraftKings points per minute over the past month, so as long as he continues to play consistent minutes, he should be able to provide value at his current price tag.

Zach LaVine leads the position with 13 Pro Trends on FanDuel, where his $8,300 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 92%. LaVine has also been on a heater recently, posting an average Plus/Minus of +6.30 over his past 10 games while increasing his production to 1.14 FanDuel points per minute over the past month. The Rockets are a great matchup for him to continue producing, ranking 29th in the league in defensive efficiency.

NBA DFS Small Forward Picks


Jayson Tatum wasn’t really needed in the team’s last contest. They managed to snap their brief three-game losing streak with a 22-point demolition of the Blazers, but Tatum played just 30.7 minutes in that contest. Prior to that, he had played at least 36 minutes in three straight games, and he scored at least 50.1 FanDuel points in each.

The Celtics seem poised for another strong offensive showing Saturday vs. the Hawks. They’re currently implied for 121.75 points, which is the second-highest mark on the slate. Atlanta ranks ninth in pace and 22nd in defensive efficiency, and they’ll be on the second leg of a back-to-back. The Celtics haven’t played since Wednesday, so they’ll have a significant rest advantage.


Josh Okogie has given the Suns some excellent minutes this season, and they’re going to need him with Durant sidelined. The team traded away Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson in order to get Durant, so their depth on the wing is severely compromised. Okogie has averaged 0.93 FanDuel points per minute for the year, and he’s currently projected for just under 32 minutes in our NBA Models. That makes him one of the best values of the day on FanDuel, where his $4,700 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 95%.

Fast Break

Gordon Hayward has seen a nice spike in production with LaMelo Ball out of the lineup recently. He’s increased his fantasy output to 1.03 DraftKings points per minute over the past month, and he typically plays between 34 and 36 minutes per game. Hayward also draws a fantastic matchup Saturday vs. the Jazz, resulting in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.20 on DraftKings.

The Mavericks could be without both of their star players on Saturday. Luka Doncic has already been ruled out due to a thigh injury, while Kyrie Irving is questionable. Regardless of what happens with Irving, Tim Hardaway Jr. is going to have to take on a larger role vs. the Grizzlies. He’s increased his usage rate by +4.4% with Doncic and Spencer Dinwiddie off the floor this season, resulting in an average of 1.02 DraftKings points per minute. Irving will siphon off some of that usage if he’s available, but THJ is still a phenomenal option on this slate.

NBA DFS Power Forward Picks


The Bucks have been very cautious with Giannis Antetokounmpo recently. He was listed as probable heading into Thursday’s matchup vs. the Nets, but he was ultimately ruled out for the second-straight game. The Bucks have a slight cushion for the top spot in the Eastern Conference, leading the Celtics by 2.5 games, so they don’t necessarily need to rush him back. He’s officially questionable for Saturday’s marquee showdown vs. the Warriors.

However, Antetokounmpo’s upside is sky-high if he does return to the floor. He’s averaged 1.76 DraftKings points per minute this season, which is easily the top mark among Saturday’s players. With no Doncic or Nikola Jokic, the gap between Giannis and the rest of the field is wider than usual: No other player has averaged more than 1.48 DraftKings points per minute for the year. Unsurprisingly, Giannis dominates our NBA Models in terms of ceiling projection, with Tatum serving as the only other player in his stratosphere.

This matchup between the Bucks and Warriors features a total of 240.5 points, so Giannis has plenty of appeal if he suits up. There’s always some concern about targeting a player in his first game following an injury, but Giannis doesn’t need a ton of playing time to rack up fantasy points. He could also check in with lower ownership than usual.

If Giannis is ruled out, Bobby Portis would become a stud-worthy play. He’s started the past two games in place of Giannis and has racked up 48.75 and 31.25 DraftKings points.


Reggie Bullock is another player who isn’t a great per-minute producer but should see as much playing time as he can handle. He’s projected for nearly 36 minutes in our NBA Models at just $3,600 on DraftKings, which is a tough combination to pass up. Historically, players with comparable minute projections and salaries have averaged a Plus/Minus of +5.22. Bullock has also seen a slight boost in productivity with Doncic and Dinwiddie off the floor this season, so he carries a bit more upside than usual as well.

Fast Break

P.J. Washington has averaged a stout 1.07 DraftKings points per minute over the past month, and he’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in eight of his past nine games on DraftKings. He’s also seen a massive spike in his rebound rate with Mark Williams and Mason Plumlee off the floor, and Williams is questionable after exiting Thursday’s contest with a thumb injury. That makes Washington extremely appealing if Williams is unable to go.

Marvin Bagley is another potential option for the shorthanded Pistons, especially on FanDuel given his 99% Bargain Rating. He’s averaged 1.08 FanDuel points per minute over the past month, and his salary has come crashing back to earth after peaking at $7,000. He owns an Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.31 vs. the Pacers, so this is a prime buy-low opportunity.

NBA DFS Center Picks


Nikola Vucevic was mired in a slump entering Wednesday’s matchup vs. the Nuggets, posting a negative Plus/Minus in six straight games. Most of those performances were massive disappointments, with five resulting in a Plus/Minus of -9.05 or worse. However, he bounced back with 50.25 DraftKings points vs. the Nuggets, so he’s hopefully turned the corner.

If Vucevic is back on track, he should dominate Saturday’s matchup vs. the Rockets. They’ve struggled against opposing big men all season, giving Vucevic an Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.80 on DraftKings. His salary has also dropped to $8,000 on DraftKings, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 90%, so he checks a lot of boxes in this spot.


Christian Wood has gone from the Mavericks’ No. 2 option for most of the year to an afterthought in recent weeks. He posted a negative Plus/Minus in 12 straight games on DraftKings before finally snapping out Thursday vs. Pelicans. Like Vucevic, his price tag has fallen drastically of late, so he has some buy-low appeal vs. the Grizzlies.

Wood is also going to have to take on a larger role with Doncic out of the lineup. He’s increased his production to 1.40 DraftKings points per minute with Doncic and Dinwiddie off the floor this season, which is the top mark on the team. We’re not anticipating a huge spike in playing time, but he should be extremely productive when on the floor.

Fast Break

If Williams is ruled out for the Hornets, Nick Richards is going to become an outstanding value. He played 29.3 minutes in the team’s last contest and responded with 33.5 DraftKings points. He’s averaged 1.03 DraftKings points per minute for the year, so he’s capable of providing value with a few additional minutes.

Xavier Tillman was limited to just 22.3 minutes in the Grizzlies’ last contest, but that was a blowout win over the Warriors. He should return to his usual 30 minutes Saturday vs. the Mavs, and Tillman has thrived in that role recently. He had posted a positive Plus/Minus in six of seven games on FanDuel prior to Thursday’s blowout, and his $5,800 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 93%.

2023-03-11 18:24:47