Fantasy basketball tips and projections for Saturday

Coby White has seen plenty of increased opportunities as Zach LaVine continues to work his way back from injury. Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

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What you need to know for Saturday's games

The first day of December offered a lighter six-game slate, but we still can glean some interesting fantasy takes from Friday's action.

The Washington Wizards couldn't upset the Orlando Magic, but center Daniel Gafford (rostered in 58.5% of ESPN men's basketball leagues) turned in a strong double-double with three blocks, while Orlando's Jalen Suggs (30.3%) continued his stretch of defensive dominance (five combined blocks and steals). It took a few years, but Suggs has arrived.

The most important outcome was the return of Trey Murphy III to the New Orleans Pelicans' rotation; the ascendant 3-and-D talent scored 18 points in just 22 minutes off the bench in a win over the San Antonio Spurs and should eventually regain starting status and steady minutes. Murphy, who was amazing down the stretch last season, is available in over 85% of leagues.

Pivoting our fantasy focus to Saturday's stacked schedule, we find 12 games spread throughout the day. With 24 rosters in action, using two key macro tools could prove prudent; sportsbook intel and injury information.

The Golden State Warriors and LA Clippers are set for an afternoon tip that requires setting lineups earlier. The point total of 229.5 is right around league average, and while the Clippers appear to be at full strength, Chris Paul has been ruled out. This means more time and touches for both Dario Saric and rookie Brandin Podziemski.

Sticking with the injury angle, LaMelo Ball's absence vaults Terry Rozier into a strong DFS play, while the potential return of Brandon Miller (53.5%) creates value for the rookie given a likely uptick in usage. Anthony Edwards (right hip pointer) is doubtful for Saturday's game against the Hornets, a scenario that creates some streaming value.

Fresh from another 40-point performance, Indiana Pacers star Tyrese Haliburton is questionable to play in the rubber match against the Miami Heat, a game with a healthy total of 241.5. If Haliburton sits, I'd likely rather roster Andrew Nembhard (1.0%) over T.J. McConnell (24.2%), but both would be usable. The Heat also claim rotation value that is highlighted in the "Stream Team" section below.

Zach LaVine's foot injury means more creation and shooting opportunities for Coby White, who we discuss in more detail in the streaming section below. The Utah Jazz have ruled out both Jordan Clarkson (thigh) and Lauri Markkanen (hamstring), which vaults two young players to the streaming tier.

The biggest total for Saturday's slate is found in the matchup between the Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks. The Bucks' suddenly subpar defens and the Hawks' up-tempo offense (and own porous defense), drive a total of 250.5 points. With such an inviting offensive climate, fantasy managers will want to find paths to build around this game in DFS lineups and streaming decisions. Bogdan Bogdanovic (55.7%) should top 30 minutes and see healthy usage for Atlanta.

Get those lineups set, as Saturday's slate starts early and remains busy until late into the night.

Saturday's stream team

This segment nominates three 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.

Coby White, PG/SG, Chicago Bulls (27.9%)

White's shot keeps falling and he should only see more opportunities to create his own shot and for others with LaVine sidelined. With DeMar DeRozan also listed as questionable, White's already rich role could become slate-shifting if his 3-pointers keep going in.

Jaime Jaquez Jr., SF, Miami Heat (21.1%)

Jaquez Jr. has been a staple of this section, and for good reason. The rookie has averaged 18.7 PPG, 4.7 RPG, and 3.7 APG over the past week and a friendly matchup against a bad perimeter defense. This is a great spot for fantasy managers to make room for Jaquez. For those in need of shooting and scoring, Duncan Robinson (15.0%) is also a savvy streaming candidate.

Saddiq Bey, SF/PF, (19.5%), Atlanta Hawks

The extended absence of Jalen Johnson means more chances for Bey to deliver good box scores. While his recent results haven't been stellar, the massive point total in this game proves inviting.

Simone Fontecchio, SF, Utah Jazz (1.1%)

If you need assists, look to Utah's Keyonte George (9.9%), who is serving as the starting point guard for the Jazz and is a solid source of passing production. But for fantasy managers looking for a more versatile line and an amazing name, add Fontecchio in your lineup, He just delivered 16 points, five rebounds, and five assists in his last game and should surpass 30 minutes with Markkanen out Saturday night.

Nickeil Alexander-Walker, SG, Minnesota Timberwolves (1.1%)

The hope was that Kyle Anderson's quiet production would get louder with Edwards ailing, but it appears the team wants to get Alexander-Walker more involved. He delivered 20 points, 12 combined rebounds and assists, and five steals his last game out. Is that an outlier or trend? We will learn more Saturday night.

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.

Golden State Warriors at LA Clippers
4 p.m. Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles

BPI projection: Clippers by 3.6 in the sixth-highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury report:
Warriors: Andrew Wiggins, (GTD - Finger); Chris Paul, (OUT - Lower Leg); Usman Garuba, (OUT - Finger); Gary Payton II, (OUT - Calf)
Clippers: Mason Plumlee, (OUT - Knee); Brandon Boston Jr., (GTD - Quadriceps)

Warriors projections:

Clippers projections:

Minnesota Timberwolves at Charlotte Hornets
5 p.m. Spectrum Center, Charlotte, North Carolina

BPI projection: Timberwolves by 5.2 in the ninth-highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury report:
Timberwolves: Jaylen Clark, (OUT - Achilles); Anthony Edwards, (GTD - Hip); Jaden McDaniels, (OUT - Ankle); Jordan McLaughlin, (OUT - Knee)
Hornets: Brandon Miller, (GTD - Ankle); Nick Richards, (GTD - Concussion); Frank Ntilikina, (OUT - Lower Leg); Cody Martin, (OUT - Knee); LaMelo Ball, (OUT - Ankle)

Timberwolves projections:

Hornets projections:

Orlando Magic at Brooklyn Nets
7 p.m. Barclays Center, New York

BPI projection: Nets by 6.9 in the seventh-highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury report:
Magic: Jonathan Isaac, (GTD - Ankle); Markelle Fultz, (OUT - Knee); Wendell Carter Jr., (OUT - Finger)
Nets: Dennis Smith Jr., (GTD - Back); Ben Simmons, (OUT - Back); Dariq Whitehead, (OUT - Foot); Lonnie Walker IV, (OUT - Hamstring); Noah Clowney, (OUT - Shoulder)

Magic projections:

Nets projections:

Cleveland Cavaliers at Detroit Pistons
7 p.m. Little Caesars Arena, Detroit

BPI projection: Cavaliers by 6.2 in the 12th highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury report:
Cavaliers: Ricky Rubio, (OUT - Personal); Caris LeVert, (OUT - Knee); Dean Wade, (OUT - Ankle); Ty Jerome, (OUT - Ankle)
Pistons: Monte Morris, (OUT - Quadriceps); Ausar Thompson, (GTD - Face); Bojan Bogdanovic, (GTD - Calf); Joe Harris, (OUT - Shoulder)

Cavaliers projections:

Pistons projections:

Indiana Pacers at Miami Heat
8 p.m. Kaseya Center, Miami

BPI projection: Heat by 2 in the second-highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury report:
Pacers: Tyrese Haliburton, (GTD - Knee); Jalen Smith, (OUT - Heel)
Heat: Dru Smith, (OUT - Knee); Jimmy Butler, (GTD - Ankle); Bam Adebayo, (OUT - Hip); Tyler Herro, (OUT - Ankle); R.J. Hampton, (OUT - Knee)

Pacers projections:

Heat projections:

New Orleans Pelicans at Chicago Bulls
8 p.m. United Center, Chicago

BPI Projection: Pelicans by 2.9 in the 10th-highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury report:
Pelicans: Jose Alvarado, (GTD - Ankle); Matt Ryan, (GTD - Calf); Larry Nance Jr., (OUT - Ribs)
Bulls: Lonzo Ball, (OUT - Knee); DeMar DeRozan, (GTD - Ankle); Onuralp Bitim, (OUT - Illness); Zach LaVine, (OUT - Foot)

Pelicans projections:

Bulls projections:

Atlanta Hawks at Milwaukee Bucks
8 p.m. Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee

BPI Projection: Bucks by 3.5 in the highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury report:
Hawks: Kobe Bufkin, (OUT - Thumb); Mouhamed Gueye, (OUT - Back); Jalen Johnson, (OUT - Wrist)
Bucks: Jae Crowder, (OUT - Groin); Andre Jackson Jr., (GTD - Back); Pat Connaughton, (OUT - Ankle)

Hawks projections:

Bucks projections:

Oklahoma City Thunder at Dallas Mavericks
9 p.m. American Airlines Center, Dallas

BPI projection: Thunder by 4.9 in the 3rd highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury report:
Thunder: None reported
Mavericks: Dante Exum, (GTD - Personal); Luka Doncic, (GTD - Personal); Maxi Kleber, (GTD - Toe); Tim Hardaway Jr., (GTD - Back)

Thunder projections:

Mavericks projections:

Memphis Grizzlies at Phoenix Suns
9 p.m. Footprint Center, Phoenix

BPI projection: Suns by 8.1 in the 5th highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury report:
Grizzlies: Brandon Clarke, (OUT - Achilles); Steven Adams, (OUT - Knee); Jake LaRavia, (OUT - Eye); Luke Kennard, (OUT - Knee); Marcus Smart, (OUT - Foot); Ja Morant, (OUT - Suspension)
Suns: Devin Booker, (GTD - Ankle); Bradley Beal, (OUT - Back); Damion Lee, (OUT - Knee)

Grizzlies projections:

Suns projections:

Portland Trail Blazers at Utah Jazz
9:30 p.m. Delta Center, Salt Lake City

BPI projection: Jazz by 2.3 in the 11th highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury report:
Blazers: Robert Williams III, (OUT - Knee); Anfernee Simons, (OUT - Thumb); Ish Wainright, (OUT - Knee)
Jazz: Kelly Olynyk, (GTD - Shoulder); Jordan Clarkson, (OUT - Thigh); Kris Dunn, (OUT - Personal); Lauri Markkanen, (OUT - Hamstring)

Blazers projections:

Jazz projections:

Denver Nuggets at Sacramento Kings
10 p.m. Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, California

BPI projection: Kings by 1.6 in the 4th highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury report:
Nuggets: Vlatko Cancar, (OUT - Knee); Aaron Gordon, (GTD - Heel); Jamal Murray, (GTD - Ankle)
Kings: Keegan Murray, (GTD - Back); Trey Lyles, (OUT - Ankle); Alex Len, (OUT - Ankle)

Nuggets projections:

Kings projections:

Houston Rockets at Los Angeles Lakers
10:30 p.m. Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles

BPI projection: Lakers by 0.3 in the 8th highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury report:
Rockets: Victor Oladipo, (GTD - Knee); Amen Thompson, (OUT - Ankle)
Lakers: Anthony Davis, (GTD - Groin); Cam Reddish, (GTD - Groin); Jaxson Hayes, (GTD - Elbow); LeBron James, (GTD - Calf); Gabe Vincent, (OUT - Knee)

Rockets projections:

Lakers projections: