Friday features an eight-game slate starting at 7 p.m. ET.
Russell Westbrook continues to absolutely dominate from a fantasy perspective. He’s coming off 69.5 DraftKings points in his last game, and he’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in 13 of his past 14 games on DraftKings. It’s hard to ignore that kind of consistency.
He’s in another strong spot Friday vs. the Cavaliers. Cleveland ranks tied for 22nd in defensive efficiency, and the Wizards’ implied team total of 117.25 points ranks fourth on the slate. Overall, he leads the position with 10 Pro Trends, which makes him a great player to build around on Friday.
The Grizzlies are an interesting team on today’s slate. They’re in a solid spot vs. the Magic, and they’re also going to be a bit shorthanded. Jaren Jackson Jr. will get the night off on the first leg of a back-to-back, and Grayson Allen is doubtful with a hand injury.
That means De’Anthony Melton should pick up a few additional minutes. He’s averaged 1.04 DraftKings points per minute this season, and he’s currently projected for 24.5 minutes in our NBA Models. That should be enough playing time to pay off his $3,900 salary.
You can definitely make the case that Kyrie Irving is the best play at the position on Friday. He’ll be back in the lineup after missing the Nets’ last game, and Kevin Durant will get the night off, joining James Harden on the sidelines. Irving has increased his usage rate by +3.8% with both players off the court this season. He’s averaged 1.44 DraftKings points per minute in that situation, and the Nets also own arguably the best matchup of the day vs. the Trail Blazers. Brooklyn is currently implied for 120.0 points, which ranks second on the slate. Paring Irving and Westbrook together is a viable strategy on a slate with plenty of value and not a ton of studs.
The top implied team total of the day belongs to the team on the other side of that matchup. The Blazers are slight favorites vs. the Nets, giving them an implied team total of 121.5. Damian Lillard is a very intriguing buy-low option on FanDuel at just $8,000. It results in a Bargain Rating of 87%, and Lillard has historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +2.60 with a comparable salary (per the Trends tool).
The Suns have a tough matchup on Friday vs. the Jazz, but Devin Booker is simply too cheap to ignore across the industry. He’s seen a price decrease of -$600 over the past month on DraftKings and -$700 on FanDuel, which makes him a solid buy-low candidate. He’s particularly appealing at $7,500 on FanDuel, and Booker has historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +3.32 with a comparable salary. He also leads the shooting guard position with 10 Pro Trends on FanDuel.
Desmond Bane is another value option for the Grizzlies that I’m interested in. He hasn’t been quite as effective as Melton on a per-minute basis, but he’s still averaged a strong 0.86 DraftKings points per minute over the past month. He’s also slightly cheaper than Melton, and he could see a few additional minutes if he replaces Allen in the starting lineup.
Landry Shamet stands out as one of the best pure values at the position on DraftKings, where his $3,900 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 92%. He should continue to see a few additional minutes for the shorthanded Nets, and he’s scored at least 23.5 DraftKings points in back-to-back games.
C.J. McCollum is another way to get some exposure to the Blazers on Friday. He hasn’t been quite as effective as Lillard on a per-minute basis – which is to be expected – but he’s seen a boatload of playing time recently. He’s currently projected for 37.5 minutes in our NBA Models, which is the top mark at the position.
Tobias Harris has played limited minutes recently, but the 76ers have played in three straight blowouts. I’m expecting him to see a few additional minutes if today’s game is more competitive, which makes $7,100 on DraftKings an appealing price tag for him. That represents a price decrease of -$1,600 over the past month, and Harris has still averaged 1.18 DraftKings points per minute over the past month. As soon as he returns to playing more than 30 minutes, he’s going to smash.
Joe Ingles has been priced up aggressively on DraftKings, but he remains very affordable at $5,700 on FanDuel. It results in a Bargain Rating of 87%, and he should be able to pay that off easily if today’s game stays competitive. He’s averaged 0.97 FanDuel points per minute with Mike Conley and Donovan Mitchell off the court this season, and he’s currently projected for 33.6 minutes in our NBA Models.
Gary Harris is coming off quite possibly his best game in years, finishing with 39.5 DraftKings points Wednesday vs. the Cavaliers. He was once considered a promising young player – he averaged 17.5 points per game in his fourth season – but he has become essentially an afterthought in NBA circles. Perhaps he can recapture some of that magic with his new team? He should be asked to take on a slightly larger workload on Friday with Chuma Okeke out and Terrence Ross doubtful, which gives him a bit more upside than usual. His $4,400 salary also comes with a Bargain Rating of 99%, making him one of the best pure values of the day.
Rui Hachimura has returned to the Wizards’ lineup after missing a few games, and he’s logged at least 29.5 minutes in his past two games. That makes him very appealing at just $4,100. Historically, players with comparable salaries and minute projections have averaged a Plus/Minus of +3.92.
It is a tough slate to find studs to pay up for. Westbrook and Irving are obvious choices, but they should command massive ownership. After them, no one really jumps off the page. Giannis Antetokounmpo’s status is unknown after playing just one minute yesterday, and some of the other top options feel overpriced.
Jayson Tatum is one of those options who seems overpriced, but he’s still worthy of some consideration on Friday. The Celtics are expected to be without Kemba Walker – he’s currently listed as doubtful – and Tatum has increased his usage rate by +2.3% with Walker off the court this season. He leads the team with an average of 1.29 DraftKings points per minute in that situation, which gives him a chance to pay off his elevated price tag. That makes him an interesting pivot if you’re looking to be contrarian in guaranteed prize pools (GPPs).
The value with the Nets on Friday can be found in their frontcourt. The absence of Durant opens up a few minutes at power forward, and Alize Johnson should be one of the biggest beneficiaries. He’s priced at the minimum across the industry, but he’s currently projected for 19.7 minutes in our NBA Models. That’s not a ton of playing time, but Johnson has averaged a stout 1.34 FanDuel points per minute this season. He thrived with some additional playing time yesterday, racking up a whopping 55.7 FanDuel points over 32.1 minutes. He should be pretty safe at the minimum, and he obviously has huge upside if he plays more than expected.
Georges Niang moved into the starting lineup in Utah’s last game, which they ultimately won by 49 points. I think it’s pretty safe to say that they’ll stick with that configuration again on Friday. Niang has averaged 0.90 DraftKings points per minute over the past month, and he’s played at least 24.4 minutes in back-to-back games. He’s a nice value on DraftKings given his Bargain Rating of 92%.
Robert Covington is playing tons of minutes for the Blazers, and anyone who’s expected to play a bunch in the Nets-Blazers game has appeal. Covington has a nice individual matchup, resulting in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +1.74 on FanDuel, and his $4,900 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 75%.
Like Harris, Joel Embiid is another member of the 76ers who has been impacted by their recent string of blowouts. He’s been as dominant as ever over the past month, averaging 1.61 DraftKings points per minute, so he should be fine once he returns to his usual workload. There are more injury concerns with Embiid than with Harris, but he should still be able to eclipse 30 minutes if this game stays competitive.
Chimezie Metu is coming off more than 33.5 minutes in his last game, which is very appealing for someone at just $3,600 on DraftKings. He will likely lose some minutes to Marvin Bagley – who is probable after missing the past 23 games with an injury – but that should still leave Metu with plenty of playing time. He’s averaged 1.06 DraftKings points per minute this season, so 20+ minutes should be more than enough to return value.
Nikola Vucevic is almost always underowned in GPPs, and he leads the entire slate in Pro Trends on both DraftKings and FanDuel. He’s a particularly strong option on FanDuel, where his $9,000 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 87%.
DeAndre Jordan is another member of the Nets’ frontcourt to consider on DraftKings. He’s averaged 1.06 DraftKings points per minute over the past month, and he’s currently projected for 21.5 minutes in our NBA Models. His $4,000 salary also comes with a Bargain Rating of 99%.
Pictured above: Russell Westbrook
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