The NBA Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each day’s slate using the FantasyLabs Tools and metrics to highlight notable players.
Friday features an eight-game slate starting at 7 p.m. ET.
The game between the Rockets and Nets stands out as the clear top option for fantasy purposes. The current total for that game sits at 244 points, which is the top mark on the slate by more than 20 points. Houston is currently playing at the fastest pace in the league, and both of these teams rank in the bottom-10 in defensive efficiency.
You can attack this game at the PG position with either Russell Westbrook or Kyrie Irving. Let’s start with Westbrook. He’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in each of his first four games with the Rockets despite seeing a reduction in usage rate. He’s been able to make up for it by dominating in the other categories: He’s currently averaging 10.3 assists and 12.0 rebounds per game. Overall, his average of 60.1 DraftKings points per game is nearly identical to his average in his final two seasons with the Thunder.
He’s still a bit cheaper than he should be across the industry, although he has been priced up a bit since the start of the season. He leads all PGs on DraftKings with 13 Pro Trends.
Irving appears poised for a monster season with the Nets. His usage rate is way up this season, and he’s jacking up a career-high 10.0 three-point attempts per game. He’s also averaging 6.0 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game this season, resulting in an average of 1.72 DraftKings points per minute. That’s the top mark at the PG position.
He’s an excellent target on DraftKings, where his $9,000 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 97%.
Reggie Jackson is expected to miss another game for the Pistons, which means Tim Frazier will likely draw the start at PG. He hasn’t exactly dominated in that role, but he has posted a positive Plus/Minus in each of his past three games on FanDuel. He’s priced at the absolute minimum at $3,500, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 91%.
Luka Doncic is coming off a poor outing in his last start, but that can be excused vs. the Nuggets and their snail-like pace. He averaged 55.4 FanDuel points through his first three games of the season, and his 13 Pro Trends are tied with Westbrook’s for the most at the position on FanDuel. He’s also the best pure value among the top PGs on FanDuel given his Bargain Rating of 88%.
Mike Conley could not have gotten off to a worse start this season, but he snapped out of it with 41.7 FanDuel points in his last game. He’s still priced down a bit at $6,900 on FanDuel, and he’s in a good spot vs. the Sacramento Kings. They rank 27th in defensive efficiency to start the season, giving Conley an Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.09.
I hope you enjoyed the discount on James Harden while you could. Those days are officially over after Harden exploded for 79.25 DraftKings points in his last game. The addition of Westbrook has had a minimal effect on his usage rate — his current mark of 38.7% is only slightly lower than last year’s mark of 40.5% — and poor shooting numbers were the only thing stopping him from better results to start the year. He offers one of the highest ceilings across the industry, especially considering the elite game environment vs. the Nets.
Derrick Rose is another member of the Pistons backcourt who should benefit from the absence of Jackson. He leads the team with a usage rate of 35.4% through their first five games, resulting in an average of 1.22 FanDuel points per minute. He was limited to just 20.5 minutes in his last game due to a hamstring injury, but he’s not expected to be limited on today’s slate. Rose has a monster ceiling for his price tag.
If you’re looking to stack the game between the Rockets and Nets — which is definitely a viable strategy — Caris LeVert makes a lot of sense at $6,000 on DraftKings. He’s been up-and-down to start the year, but he’s still averaged 0.93 DraftKings points per minute. He’s coming off a poor performance in his last outing, but he shot just 6-of-18 from the field. That makes him a strong candidate for some positive regression, and his $6,000 salary on DraftKings comes with a Bargain Rating of 87%.
Jeremy Lamb has played just two games this season because of injury, but his move to the Pacers figures to be positive for his long-term fantasy outlook. He’s coming off more than 34 minutes in his last game, and Lamb has historically been a guy who averages close to a fantasy point per minute. He’s a strong target at just $5,600 on DraftKings.
Giannis Antetokounmpo could be a bit overlooked on today’s slate. He’s coming off a disappointing performance in his last outing, and most people will likely choose to focus their attention on the game between the Nets and Rockets.
That makes Giannis an elite pivot for guaranteed prize pools (GPPs). He offers the highest ceiling projection in our NBA Models thanks to his ability to fill up the stat sheet. He’s on pace to post the highest usage rate of his career, and he’s also averaging 13.5 rebounds and 8.5 assists per game. Giannis is also capable of producing in the defensive categories given his average of 3.1 blocks + steals per game.
His matchup vs. the Magic isn’t ideal — they’re currently playing at the slowest pace in the league — but Giannis is capable of going off against anyone. He leads all SFs with 12 Pro Trends on FanDuel.
The Warriors have been an absolute train wreck defensively to start the season. They currently rank 29th in defensive efficiency, despite the fact that most teams haven’t needed to use their starters against them in the fourth quarter.
The bodes well for the Spurs today, who trail only the Rockets and Nets in terms of implied team total. Rudy Gay has been a nice value to start the season, scoring at least 27.7 FanDuel points in three of his first four games, and he’s been priced down to just $4,600 on FanDuel. His limited playing time does cap his upside — he’s currently projected for just 24 minutes — but he’s an elite option for FanDuel cash games.
If you want to go even cheaper at SF, consider Justin Holiday. He’s seen a healthy amount of playing time for the Pacers recently, and he’s averaged a solid 0.83 FanDuel points per minute. He’s priced near the minimum across the industry.
The Celtics should be another popular team target on today’s slate. They have a strong matchup vs. the Knicks, who figure to be one of the worst defensive teams in the league this season, and Jaylen Brown is currently doubtful. Gordon Hayward should see a few additional minutes if he’s ultimately ruled out, and he’s averaged 1.08 DraftKings points per minute with Brown off the court this season.
Oh how the mighty haven fallen. The Warriors have gone from one of the most successful teams in NBA history to a joke in just one season. It’s obviously still early, but things don’t figure to get much better with Kevin Durant in Brooklyn and Steph Curry and Klay Thompson on the sidelines.
Draymond Green is the last man standing from the “Hampton’s Five,” and he’ll be asked to carry a large workload today vs. the Spurs. Draymond has been a strong fantasy asset with Curry off the court this season, averaging 1.40 FanDuel points per minute, so he does have the potential to be a strong value at his current salary. The Warriors could always get blown out again, but they’re listed as just seven-point underdogs at home.
Daniel Theis is coming off 28 minutes in his last game, which makes him a viable target at just $3,900 on FanDuel. He should see a similar number of minutes today if Brown and Robert Williams (doubtful) are both ruled out, and Theis has averaged 0.91 FanDuel points per minute this season.
Jayson Tatum is another potential option for the Celtics. He’s been a strong value to start the season, posting a positive Plus/Minus in each of his first four games, and he’s averaged 1.22 DraftKings points per minute with Brown off the court. He’s a particularly nice value at $7,000 on DraftKings given his Bargain Rating of 84%.
LaMarcus Aldridge is one of the best pure values on DraftKings, where his $7,100 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 98%. He’s coming off just 18.25 DraftKings points in his last game, but that seems like an outlier: He’s scored at least 36.0 DraftKings points in every other game this season. He should be able to feast on the Warriors’ abysmal defense.
There are lots of studs who deserve some consideration on today’s slate, but don’t forget about Andre Drummond. He’s been phenomenal to start the season, averaging a Plus/Minus of +7.67, and he should continue to thrive with Blake Griffin out of the lineup. Drummond averaged 52.36 DraftKings points per game in seven contests without Griffin last season.
He’s also in an elite spot today vs. the Chicago Bulls. Opposing centers have absolutely dominated the Bulls, who rank just 29th in team rebound rate. Overall, centers projected for at least 20 minutes have posted an average Plus/Minus of +5.99 on DraftKings when facing the Bulls this season (per the Trends tool).
Drummond in particular should thrive in this matchup given their weakness on the glass and in the paint. The Bulls have allowed 42.3% of shot attempts to come from inside six feet this season, which is the highest frequency in the league.
As usual, center looks like a position where you want to pay up at today. Theis has center eligibility on DraftKings, but the position is definitely top heavy on FanDuel.
Bobby Portis is another option who could warrant some consideration. He’s averaged 1.02 FanDuel points per minute this season and has logged at least 27.3 minutes in four of his first five games. He’s a reasonable target at $5,500 on FanDuel.
Nikola Vucevic is coming off his best game of the season in his last outing, and he’s the rare center who stands out as an elite value on FanDuel. He’s currently priced at just $8,700, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 97%. He also has a solid matchup vs. the Bucks, who have struggled against opposing centers this season. Vucevic leads the position with 12 Pro Trends and is projected for just 5-8% ownership.
Clint Capela is another center with an elite matchup. He’s taking on the Brooklyn Nets, who have surrendered huge games in bunches to opposing centers over the past two seasons. The result is an Opponent Plus/Minus of +4.74 on DraftKings, where Capela owns a Bargain Rating of 90%.
Photo credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports
Pictured: Nets PG Kyrie Irving (11)