Fantasy basketball tips and projections for Saturday

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What you need to know for Saturday's games

As the NBA prepares to take over Sunday in the wake of the Super Bowl with tomorrow's epic slate, Saturday's schedule features a trio of contests this evening.

The marquee matchup features the Boston Celtics visiting Madison Square Garden to face the New York Knicks in a battle of Eastern Conference contenders airing on ABC. With the Knicks still missing multiple frontcourt starters, the first-place Celtics are unsurprisingly sizable favorites. Boston doesn't list any meaningful injury issues, so it's New York's adapted rotation that will furnish fantasy value in this one.

We can look to the index of the most-added players in ESPN men's basketball leagues to find two Knicks leading the way. Fantasy managers are pursuing Precious Achiuwa (27.1% rostered) thanks to his ascent in Tom Thibodeau's rotation as a relentless rebounder and rim protector. Double-double outcomes are now normal for the former Kentucky player. The other popular player in this rotation is Donte DiVincenzo (52.3%), who now ranks fifth in added value via 3-point production on the Player Rater over the past month. Consider this tandem when setting lineups today.

Another Saturday showdown matches the Orlando Magic as road favorites over the Detroit Pistons. It's been tough to glean much value from both box scores and tape when it comes to the top-heavy Magic, who largely rely on their duo of rising frontcourt stars for the heavy lifting. We should pay attention to both Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner in DFS lineup construction, though. The Pistons, meanwhile, present several actionable options available in many leagues, namely rookie wing Ausar Thompson (46.5%) and second-year guard Jaden Ivey (50.6%), a duo we expand on in the streaming section.

The last game of Saturday's slate has the Brooklyn Nets visiting the Minnesota Timberwolves. This game provides our second look at Kevin Ollie at the helm of the coaching staff. In his debut as head coach a few days ago, Ollie had 10 players on the court for at least 15 minutes, a reality that limits the fantasy fun if this is a trend. Thankfully, Minnesota offers a fantasy-friendly frontcourt option to consider.

Saturday's stream Team

This segment nominates key streaming options ahead of that day's action. A streamer, by our standards, is a player available in at least half of ESPN men's basketball leagues.

Precious Achiuwa, PF/C, Knicks (Rostered in 27.1% of ESPN leagues): Averaging a double-double over the past week to go with three stocks (steals plus blocks), Achiuwa has elevated to must-add status in fantasy regards. This proves even truer given the team is missing Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson for tonight's tilt with the Celtics.

Ausar Thompson, SF/PF, Wizards (52.8%): The Thompson twins have undeniably fantasy friendly games; with Ausar already adept at cleaning the glass and with some of the most active defensive hands in the league. Past Jalen Suggs, matchup with Orlando could prove beneficial to Thompson's numbers.

Jaden Ivey, PG/SG, Pistons (50.6%): The Pistons have finally leaned on their youth movement of talented lottery prospects, with Ivey often playing at least 30 minutes as a critical secondary creator. With a bevy of pick-and-roll possessions likely at his disposal this evening, such a workload could work in Ivey's benefit.

Naz Reid, PF/C, Timberwolves (38.4%): An ugly night from the floor against the Bucks last night felled the fantasy impact for Reid, although his shot diet remains fun for managers in that he has freedom to loft 3-pointers on offense while working the glass on both sides of the floor. Brooklyn's lack of size could be a real factor.

Projections and Injury Reports

Fantasy projections powered by ESPN Analytics.* Projections assume all players who are listed as GTD will play. Injury aggregation by Rotowire.com. Players available in at least 50% of ESPN leagues are listed in italics.

Orlando Magic at Detroit Pistons
8:00 p.m. Little Caesars Arena, Detroit

BPI Projection: Magic in the highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury Report:
Magic: Markelle Fultz, (OUT - Knee)
Pistons: Quentin Grimes, (GTD - Knee); Isaiah Stewart, (OUT - Suspension)

Magic projections:

Pistons projections:

Boston Celtics at New York Knicks
8:30 p.m. Madison Square Garden, New York

BPI Projection: Celtics in the 2nd highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury Report:
Celtics: None reported
Knicks: Duane Washington Jr., (OUT - Thumb); Julius Randle, (OUT - Shoulder); OG Anunoby, (OUT - Elbow); Mitchell Robinson, (OUT - Ankle)

Celtics projections:

Knicks projections:

Brooklyn Nets at Minnesota Timberwolves
9:00 p.m. Target Center, Minneapolis

BPI Projection: Timberwolves in the 3rd highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury Report:
Nets: Dariq Whitehead, (OUT - Lower Leg)
Timberwolves: Rudy Gobert, (NA - Ankle); Jaylen Clark, (OUT - Achilles)

Nets projections:

Timberwolves projections: