The NBA Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each day’s slate, using the FantasyLabs Tools and metrics to highlight notable players.
Friday features a nine-game main slate starting at 7:00 pm ET.
Chris Paul has exceeded salary-based expectations in four straight games on DraftKings, culminating with a 70.25-point performance in his last game. He’s increased his usage rate by an average of 5.1 percent in five games without James Harden this season, resulting in an average of 48.75 fantasy points per game:
He’s been priced up to a season-high $10,600 on DraftKings after the big performance in his last game, so he’ll need to score more than that today to return value at his elevated salary. Fortunately, he has an outstanding matchup against the Phoenix Suns. The Rockets lead the slate with an implied team total of 117.25 points, and Paul has an Opponent Plus/Minus of +4.29.
Jamal Murray features one of the largest pricing discrepancies of the day between the two sites, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 98 percent on DraftKings. Gary Harris will miss today’s game for personal reasons, and Murray has seen the largest bump in usage and production with him off the floor this season:
He did not disappoint in the three full games he played without Harris either, averaging 35.92 DraftKings points per game. While his matchup with Memphis seems difficult, they haven’t been nearly the same team defensively this season, evidenced by Murray’s Opponent Plus/Minus of +3.00.
John Wall has exceeded salary-based expectations in five straight games and is another PG who looks like a potential value on DraftKings. He has a Bargain Rating of 97 percent for what should be an awesome matchup with the Orlando Magic. No one has allowed a higher Plus/Minus to the position than the Magic this season, giving Wall a ridiculous Opponent Plus/Minus of +7.17.
Anthony Davis is questionable today after missing Wednesday’s contest, and his absence would do wonders for the value of Rajon Rondo. He’s been one of the biggest beneficiaries in games without Davis this season, posting a Plus/Minus differential of +6.1 and an average of 31.34 FanDuel points per game. He would be a strong value on FanDuel at just $5,300 if Davis were unable to suit up.
Ricky Rubio has had a terrible first season in Utah, but he appears to be righting the ship. He’s scored at least 33.9 FanDuel points in three of his past five games, and that kind of production would give him an awesome return on his current $5,100 salary. He has a Bargain Rating of 95 percent on FanDuel.
Victor Oladipo played 38 minutes in his last game, which would seem to indicate that he’s no longer on a minutes restriction. That’s good timing, because everything is set up for him to have a big game today against the Cleveland Cavaliers. No one has allowed a higher average Plus/Minus to opposing SGs this season than the Cavs, giving Oladipo an Opponent Plus/Minus of +5.97 on DraftKings. He torched the Cavs for 54 fantasy points in their last meeting and has averaged a Plus/Minus of +6.68 against them overall this season.
Oladipo also figures to benefit from the absence of Myles Turner. He’s seen the largest usage bump on the team with Turner off the floor this season, resulting in an average usage rate of 32 percent. As long as this game stays close, Oladipo appears to be in a prime spot today.
Will Barton should be another member of the Nuggets to benefit from the absence of Harris. He’s averaged over 35 minutes per game with Harris out of the lineup this season, resulting in an average of 32.92 DraftKings points per game. Barton has averaged 0.97 fantasy points per minute this season, so it’s not really surprising that he’s thrived given the extra playing time. His matchup with the Grizzlies results in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +3.44 on DraftKings, where he’s a slightly better value today.
Eric Gordon has arguably been even better than Paul with Harden out of the lineup recently. He’s scored at least 44.75 DraftKings points in three of his past four games and remains affordable at just $7,400. He has an elite matchup with the Phoenix Suns, evidenced by an Opponent Plus/Minus of +4.39.
Devin Booker leads all players with 13 Pro Trends on FanDuel, where his $7,800 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 93 percent. Historically, SGs with a comparable number of Pro Trends and salary have been solid values:
He also has an Opponent Plus/Minus of +3.70 in what should be an uptempo game against the Rockets.
The SF position features a trio of big names at the top: LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Giannis Antetokounmpo. LeBron is currently projected for the highest ownership of the three, which makes sense given the absence of Isaiah Thomas. Isaiah has had a clear impact on James since returning to the lineup, resulting in an average of 9.6 fewer fantasy points per 36 minutes for LeBron when sharing the court with him:
With Thomas out of the lineup, it should be all systems go for LeBron today against the Pacers. LeBron had a stretch where he scored at least 60 fantasy points in 10 of 11 games in December, which shows the type of consistency and upside that he can provide.
Durant also appears to be in a wonderful spot given that Stephen Curry will miss today’s contest. So far this season, Durant has increased his usage by 3.3 percent and averaged 51.87 DraftKings points in 13 games without Curry:
The only downside is his matchup with the Bucks. Giannis is one of the few people on the planet with the size and athleticism to try and contain Durant, who as a result has a mediocre Opponent Plus/Minus of +1.01 on FanDuel.
Giannis actually has the best Opponent Plus/Minus of the group given his matchup with the Warriors. That said, he’s been a dreadful fantasy producer of late:
It’s hard to trust him as anything more than a contrarian play in guaranteed prize pools (GPPs).
T.J. Warren looks like one of the best values of the day on DraftKings, where his $6,200 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 99 percent. He’s been a stud recently, averaging a Plus/Minus of +5.56 over his past 10 games, yet his salary has actually decreased by $100 over that time frame. He has a strong individual matchup today with the Rockets, evidenced by an Opponent Plus/Minus of +4.72.
On the other side of this matchup, Gerald Green could be a smart choice for those looking to pay down at the position on FanDuel. He seems to have found a home playing for Mike D’Antoni in Houston, playing a season-high 32 minutes in his last game. He’s posted an average Plus/Minus of +6.43 since joining the team eight games ago and is in one of the better spots of the day against the Suns.
Bojan Bogdanovic leads the position with an Opponent Plus/Minus of +7.09 on DraftKings, which makes him an intriguing option for GPPs at just $4,200. He’s been up-and-down this season but did play 32.5 minutes in his last game. If he plays that much again today, he’ll have a solid shot to return value against the Cavaliers.
You know things aren’t going well for you when you can’t return value in a double-OT game. That’s exactly what happened in the last game for Kristaps Porzingis, who managed to score just 39.5 fantasy points despite playing over 44 minutes. His salary has fallen all the way to $7,800 on DraftKings for today’s matchup against the Timberwolves, which as low as it’s been since the beginning of the season. It’s tough to trust him outside of GPPs, but he has the talent and opportunity to destroy this price tag if things break right for him.
Unleash the Dragan! Dragan Bender erupted for 43.2 FanDuel points in his last game, thanks in part to a whopping 39.5 minutes of playing time after the injury to Marquese Chriss. That kind of production was way out of character – he’s averaged just 0.6 fantasy points per minute this season – but anyone who’s projected to play close to 30 minutes at a minimum salary on FanDuel has to be in consideration.
Domantas Sabonis has been crushing recently as a bench option and crushed earlier this season when starting for Turner, so naturally he disappointed everyone when given the chance to start on Wednesday. That said, today’s matchup with the Cavs looks to be a prime spot for him to bounce back. He has an Opponent Plus/Minus of +3.99 on DraftKings, where his $6,400 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 93 percent.
Virtually everyone for the Rockets is in play tonight, and Ryan Anderson is no exception. He should benefit from being back on the road and could see a few additional minutes given the injury to Nene.
DeMarcus Cousins disappointed a bit in his last start, scoring just 44.1 FanDuel points in 40 minutes without Davis. Much of that can be chalked up to a brutal matchup with the Grizzlies, who have limited centers to a negative Plus/Minus on the season. He has a much better matchup today against the Trail Blazers and would have to be considered among the top options of the day if Davis were to sit out again. Cousins has averaged a usage rate of 39 percent and 55.58 FanDuel points per 36 minutes with Davis off the floor this season:
The only thing that can stop Clint Capela these days is foul trouble. Five fouls limited him to just 24 minutes in his last game, but he still managed to salvage a decent fantasy day. He’s posted a perfect 100 percent Consistency Rating over the past month on DraftKings and should have the opportunity to play a few extra minutes with Harden and Nene out of the lineup.
Enes Kanter seems underpriced on FanDuel at just $5,300. He’s exceeded value in three straight games and has a nice matchup today with the Timberwolves. They’ve been better defensively recently, but Kanter should still have a solid edge in the post against Karl-Anthony Towns.
It hasn’t been wise to assume anything with the Suns’ center rotation this season, but Tyson Chandler should be clear to play a bunch of minutes given that he’s had five days of rest. He’s currently projected for 29.5 in our NBA Models, which should be more than enough for him to return value at just $4,400 on DraftKings.
Kevin Love could be an intriguing option on FanDuel, where his $7,100 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 98 percent. He should get the same bump as LeBron with Thomas out of the lineup and has an Opponent Plus/Minus of +3.51 against the Pacers.
Photo via Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
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