Fantasy basketball tips and projections for Saturday

Trayce Jackson-Davis fights off defender for and-1 (0:22)

Trayce Jackson-Davis fights off defender for and-1 (0:22)

ESPN's fantasy basketball daily cheat sheet is your pregame destination before you set your lineups for that night's games. Here you'll read our best advice for the night, including a selection of players you can stream as well as game-by-game injury reports and player projections.

What you need to know for Saturday's games

A matinee in Madison Square Garden opens today's eight-game slate of NBA action. The New York Knicks are sizable favorites as they host the rival Brooklyn Nets early this afternoon. The Knicks won't have OG Anunoby, Julius Randle, or Mitchell Robinson in the lineup, which means meaningful upgrades in playing time and potential production for the likes of Josh Hart (66.6% rostered in ESPN men's basketball leagues) and Isaiah Hartenstein (33.3%).

The white-hot Orlando Magic host the Sacramento Kings to begin the evening portion of Saturday's schedule. Emergent two-way guard Jalen Suggs (23.4%) is an ideal streaming candidate from the Magic.

When seeking out the top offensive climates of the day, leveraging intel from ESPN BET can help. For instance, the Toronto Raptors visit the Washington Wizards in a game that has greater implications for lottery odds than any seeding concerns, and yet it claims the highest total (232.5) of the day. Both teams rank in the bottom seven in defensive rating over the past 10 games while both rosters offer a bevy of streaming options, as you'll notice in the section below.

When it comes to influential injuries, we find the absences of LaMelo Ball, Trae Young, and Jalen Johnson significant for fantasy purposes. Seeing such high-usage players sidelined means the likes of Vasilije Micić (7.5%) and De'Andre Hunter (14.2%) will serve important roles in their respective rotations in matchup of these division foes.

Another fun matchup for fantasy purposes is found in Texas, as the Houston Texans host the Utah Jazz in a game tied for the day's second-highest total (228.5). Standout rookies emerge from each roster, namely Utah's Keyonte George (21.6%) and Houston's Amen Thompson (33.8%), the latter of the two being the most-added player in ESPN leagues the past week.

As you'll notice in our streaming endorsements, some of the league's lesser teams tend to produce actionable fantasy options at this stage of the marathon. Rosters such as the Portland Trail Blazers, who are massive underdogs to the Denver Nuggets tonight, help populate a uniquely strong version of the stream team.

Saturday's Stream Team

Ayo Dosunmu, Chicago Bulls (Rostered in 31.8% of ESPN leagues): Hitting new peaks as a scoring force, Dosunmu, like teammate Coby White, is part of the backcourt promise this roster has shown amid an otherwise forgettable season for Chicago. While the Celtics claim an elite crew of defenders, Dosunmu's aggressive driving and growth as a shooter help buffer any matchup concerns.

Deni Avdija, SF/PF, Washington Wizards (41.3%): The Wizards don't have many positives to glean from this season, but one of them would be the ascent of Avdija as a playmaker and rebounder. Capable of delivering dimes from the high post, Avdija has increased distribution upside with Tyus Jones ruled out for tonight's matchup with a soft defensive opponent. For those seeking volume rebounding, center Richaun Holmes (1.5%) is fresh from his best night on the boards in three seasons.

Kelly Olynyk, PF/C, Raptors (27.2%): Like Avdija, this versatile frontcourt veteran can accrue valuable assist totals in addition to scoring and rebounding results. The Wizards don't claim much rim protection, which could help Olynyk's old-school post game.

Jalen Suggs PG/SG, Magic (23.4%): Not many guards can claim the defensive versatility of Suggs, who has proven capable of not just elite steal production, but also rim protection atypical for his size and position. This season's growth in offense has sustained into the spring, with Suggs lined up for a strong performance against the visiting Kings.

Dalano Banton PG, Trail Blazers (8.0%): With the franchise eyeing lottery odds as a measure of long-term growth, players likes Banton, Kris Murray (0.9%), and Jabari Walker (1.5%) are rising as major parts of the game plan. Banton is a microwave scorer who should have healthy usage in tonight's tilt with Denver, while the two young forwards will be busy cleaning the glass in place of a sidelined Deandre Ayton.

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.

Brooklyn Nets at New York Knicks
1:00 p.m. Madison Square Garden, New York

BPI Projection: Knicks in the 8th highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury Report:
Nets: Dennis Smith Jr., (GTD - Hip); Keon Johnson, (OUT - Illness); Ben Simmons, (OUT - Back); Dariq Whitehead, (OUT - Lower Leg)
Knicks: Julius Randle, (OUT - Shoulder); Mitchell Robinson, (OUT - Ankle); OG Anunoby, (OUT - Elbow)

Nets projections:

Knicks projections:

Sacramento Kings at Orlando Magic
7:00 p.m. Amway Center, Orlando

BPI Projection: Magic in the 4th highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury Report:
Kings: Sasha Vezenkov, (GTD - Ankle); Kevin Huerter, (OUT - Shoulder); Trey Lyles, (OUT - Knee)
Magic: Gary Harris, (GTD - Foot)

Kings projections:

Magic projections:

Charlotte Hornets at Atlanta Hawks
7:30 p.m. State Farm Arena, Atlanta

BPI Projection: Hawks in the 5th highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury Report:
Hornets: JT Thor, (GTD - Shoulder); Bryce McGowens, (OUT - Knee); LaMelo Ball, (OUT - Ankle); Mark Williams, (OUT - Back); Cody Martin, (OUT - Ankle); Seth Curry, (OUT - Ankle); Kai Jones, (GTD - Hamstring)
Hawks: Onyeka Okongwu, (GTD - Toe); Seth Lundy, (GTD - Back); Mouhamed Gueye, (OUT - Elbow); Jalen Johnson, (OUT - Ankle); AJ Griffin, (OUT - Ankle); Kobe Bufkin, (OUT - Toe); Trae Young, (OUT - Finger); Saddiq Bey, (OUT - Knee)

Hornets projections:

Hawks projections:

Toronto Raptors at Washington Wizards
8:00 p.m. Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

BPI Projection: Wizards in the 6th highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury Report:
Raptors: D.J. Carton, (GTD - Ankle); Gary Trent Jr., (GTD - Back); Immanuel Quickley, (GTD - Personal); Chris Boucher, (OUT - Knee); Jakob Poeltl, (OUT - Finger); RJ Barrett, (OUT - Personal); Scottie Barnes, (OUT - Hand)
Wizards: Jordan Poole, (GTD - Hip); Eugene Omoruyi, (OUT - Ankle); Landry Shamet, (OUT - Calf); Tyus Jones, (OUT - Back); Bilal Coulibaly, (OUT - Wrist); Isaiah Livers, (OUT - Hip)

Raptors projections:

Wizards projections:

Boston Celtics at Chicago Bulls
8:00 p.m. United Center, Chicago

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

Injury Report:
Celtics: Al Horford, (GTD - Toe); Jayson Tatum, (GTD - Ankle); Jrue Holiday, (GTD - Shoulder)
Bulls: Alex Caruso, (GTD - Ankle); Coby White, (GTD - Hip); Julian Phillips, (OUT - Foot); Lonzo Ball, (OUT - Knee); Patrick Williams, (OUT - Foot); Zach LaVine, (OUT - Foot)

Celtics projections:

  • Jayson Tatum, SF/PF: 40.4 FPTS (24.4 pts, 5.8 reb, 4.3 ast, 3.0 3PM)

  • Jaylen Brown, SG/SF: 40.0 FPTS (24.9 pts, 4.9 reb, 3.5 ast, 2.5 3PM)

  • Derrick White, PG/SG: 31.2 FPTS (14.5 pts, 4.3 reb, 4.9 ast, 2.2 3PM)

  • Kristaps Porzingis, PF/C: 29.2 FPTS (17.3 pts, 5.9 reb, 1.6 ast, 1.3 blk)

  • Payton Pritchard, PG: 22.6 FPTS (10.5 pts, 3.9 reb, 2.9 ast, 1.8 3PM)

  • Al Horford, PF/C: 17.3 FPTS (6.3 pts, 4.8 reb, 1.8 ast)

  • Sam Hauser, SF: 16.1 FPTS (7.8 pts, 2.7 reb, 1.1 ast, 2.2 3PM)

Bulls projections:

Utah Jazz at Houston Rockets
8:00 p.m. Toyota Center, Houston

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

Injury Report:
Jazz: John Collins, (GTD - Face); Omer Yurtseven, (GTD - Ankle); Jordan Clarkson, (OUT - Groin); Lauri Markkanen, (OUT - Rest)
Rockets: Cam Whitmore, (OUT - Knee); Alperen Sengun, (OUT - Ankle); Steven Adams, (OUT - Knee); Tari Eason, (OUT - Lower Leg)

Jazz projections:

Rockets projections:

Phoenix Suns at San Antonio Spurs
8:00 p.m. Frost Bank Center, San Antonio

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

Injury Report:
Suns: Josh Okogie, (GTD - Abdomen); Jusuf Nurkic, (GTD - Orbital); Damion Lee, (OUT - Knee)
Spurs: Charles Bassey, (OUT - Knee)

Suns projections:

  • Devin Booker, PG/SG/PF: 47.3 FPTS (26.6 pts, 5.4 reb, 7.0 ast, 2.0 3PM)

  • Kevin Durant, SF/PF: 46.9 FPTS (27.8 pts, 6.8 reb, 5.9 ast)

  • Bradley Beal, PG/SG: 36.3 FPTS (19.8 pts, 4.3 reb, 5.3 ast)

  • Jusuf Nurkic, C: 28.4 FPTS (12.2 pts, 10.4 reb, 3.8 ast, 1.4 blk)

  • Grayson Allen, SG: 26.6 FPTS (12.3 pts, 4.1 reb, 3.0 ast, 2.2 3PM)

  • Eric Gordon, SG/SF: 17.0 FPTS (8.9 pts, 1.7 reb, 2.0 ast, 1.9 3PM)

  • Royce O'Neale, SF: 14.6 FPTS (5.0 pts, 2.9 reb, 2.0 ast)

Spurs projections:

Denver Nuggets at Portland Trail Blazers
10:00 p.m. Moda Center, Portland

BPI Projection: Nuggets in the 7th highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury Report:
Nuggets: Jamal Murray, (GTD - Ankle); Nikola Jokic, (GTD - Hip); Jalen Pickett, (OUT - Personal); Zeke Nnaji, (OUT - Back); Vlatko Cancar, (OUT - Knee)
Blazers: Anfernee Simons, (GTD - Knee); Deandre Ayton, (GTD - Elbow); Jerami Grant, (GTD - Hamstring); Malcolm Brogdon, (GTD - Elbow); Matisse Thybulle, (GTD - Ankle); Shaedon Sharpe, (OUT - Abdomen); Robert Williams III, (OUT - Knee)

Nuggets projections:

Blazers projections: