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 11-game slate starting at 7 p.m. ET.
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Luka Doncic is going to be in play every single time he suits up, but he’s in a particularly appealing spot Friday against the Pelicans. New Orleans ranks just 26th in defensive efficiency, and they have struggled in particular against opposing point guards. The Mavericks’ implied team total of 117.5 also ranks tied for second on the slate. Doncic has scored at least 64.5 DraftKings points in two of his past three games, and he should be able to put together another massive performance.
Dejounte Murray is a bit more expensive than the typical “value” option, but he’s simply too cheap at his current salary. He’s been outstanding over the past month, averaging 1.17 DraftKings points per minute, and he should continue to see a large workload with LaMarcus Aldridge out of the lineup. He also owns an excellent individual matchup against Trae Young, who ranks dead last at the point guard position in terms of ESPN’s Defensive Real Plus/Minus.
Murray is a particularly nice value on DraftKings, where his $6,800 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 95%.
Russell Westbrook is going to command massive ownership on today’s slate. Bradley Beal has been ruled out for rest purposes, and Westbrook should be the focal point on the Wizards’ offense in his stead. He’s increased his usage rate by +9.2% with Beal off the court this season, resulting in an average of 1.44 FanDuel points per minute.
Ja Morant is an interesting buy-low option on FanDuel. He’s averaged 1.24 FanDuel points per minute this season, but that figure has dropped to just 1.05 over the past month. Morant is too talented not to bounce back at some point, and he’s going to offer excellent fantasy value when he does. He’s currently priced at $7,100, and Morant has historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +1.83 with a comparable salary (per the Trends tool).
The Jazz are in one of the best spots of the day vs. the Bucks. Milwaukee has not been as dominant defensively as they were last season, but they still play at one of the fastest paces in the league. Utah’s resulting implied team total of 118.25 is the top mark on the slate.
Donovan Mitchell has played some of the best basketball of his career this season, and he’s been particularly dominant of late. He’s averaged 1.26 DraftKings points per minute over the past month, and he’s scored at least 57.75 DraftKings points in back-to-back games.
Finding value on today’s slate is tough, but Garrett Temple stands out as one of the safest options. He’s coming off more than 30 minutes in his last contest, and he’s currently projected for 30.2 minutes in our NBA Models. That’s a lot of playing time for someone who costs just $4,200 on DraftKings, and players with comparable salaries and minute projections have historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +3.00.
Derrick White is another option for the Spurs, and he stands out as their preferred target on FanDuel. He’s priced at just $4,700, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 80%, and his playing time is on the rise. He’s currently projected for 27.5 minutes, and White has averaged 0.92 FanDuel points per minute since returning to the court six games ago.
If you’re looking to go a bit cheaper with the Jazz, Jordan Clarkson is an excellent option. Mike Conley remains out with an injury, and Clarkson should be one of the primary beneficiaries. He’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in each of his past two games without Conley, and he’s logged at least 27.5 minutes in both contests. Clarkson has averaged 1.05 FanDuel points per minute this season, so he can take advantage of extra playing time.
Jaylen Brown has blossomed into a full-fledged superstar this season. He’s on pace to post new career highs in basically every category across the board, resulting in an average of 1.28 DraftKings points per minute. He’s also been extremely consistent, scoring at least 37.75 DraftKings points in six of his past seven games.
Brown has the potential to carry an even larger workload than usual on tonight’s slate. Marcus Smart remains out of the lineup, and Kemba Walker is going to miss the game (rest). The Pistons are also an excellent matchup — they rank 25th in defensive efficiency — so Brown can do a lot of damage in this spot.
Danilo Gallinari has carried a minimal workload for most of the season, but it seems like the Hawks are ready to ramp up his activity. He entered the starting lineup in their last game and finished with a season-high 30.1 minutes. Gallo struggled in that contest — he finished with just 19.1 FanDuel points — but he’s the type of player who can do some damage with that much playing time. He’s averaged 0.86 FanDuel points per minute this season, so expect a better performance tonight vs. the Spurs. He’s a strong option across the industry, but he’s an absolute steal at $4,100 on FanDuel.
The Pistons are in a bit of a transitional period. They know that they aren’t winning anything this season, so they have decided to prioritize development for their younger players. Saddiq Bey is one of them. He was drafted with the 19th pick last season, so expect his playing time to increase moving forward. He’s scored at least 23.25 DraftKings points in two of his past four games, and that kind of production would be more than enough at his current salary.
Michael Porter Jr. has been unleashed recently. He still has plenty of flaws defensively, but there is no doubt that he can score the ball when given the opportunity. He’s coming off 40.0 FanDuel points in his last game, so he’s very reasonably priced for tonight’s matchup vs. the Thunder. His $5,500 salary on FanDuel comes with a Bargain Rating of 80%.
This looks like a nice buy-low spot for Julius Randle. He’s coming off one of his worst games of the season in his last outing, finishing with just 29.1 FanDuel points over 36.7 minutes. That said, he’s still playing all the minutes he can handle, and he has an elite matchup vs. the Wizards. Washington ranks first in pace and 29th in defensive efficiency, and it’s hard to beat that combination from a fantasy perspective. Randle leads the position with 14 Pro Trends on FanDuel, where his $8,600 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 80%.
Daniel Theis has seen a nice spike in playing time recently. He’s played at least 27.2 minutes in three straight games, and he’s posted a positive Plus/Minus on FanDuel in all three contests. Theis has averaged 0.97 FanDuel points per minute this season, so he should continue to find success with that much playing time. He’s in a fantastic spot tonight vs. the Pistons, resulting in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +3.16.
Sticking with the Celtics, Jayson Tatum stands out as one of the best pure values on the slate on DraftKings. He’s priced at just $8,800, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 95%, and his salary has decreased by -$600 over his past four games. He should benefit from the same increased usage as Brown with both Walker and Smart expected to sit.
Rui Hachimura has the potential to serve as the Wizards’ No. 2 scoring option behind Westbrook tonight. He’s increased his usage rate by +7.2% with Beal off the court this season, resulting in an average of 0.98 DraftKings points per minute. He’s currently projected for 34 minutes in our NBA Models, which makes him a very appealing target across the industry.
There are a bunch of viable options if you’re paying up at center, but I’m sticking with old reliable. Nikola Vucevic continues to deliver strong performances on a regular basis, and he’s finished with at least 45.5 DraftKings in five of his past six games.
He also has a chance to command a massive workload on today’s slate. The Magic have been decimated by injuries recently, and they were missing Evan Fournier, Aaron Gordon, Markelle Fultz, Michael-Carter Williams, and Cole Anthony in their last game. All of those players could be out once again, and even fourth-string point guard Frank Mason left the last game with an injury. That leaves Vucevic as basically the last man standing. He should have no problem scoring the ball against the Kings, who rank dead-last in defensive efficiency, and his Opponent Plus/Minus of +4.46 on DraftKings ranks first at the position.
Make sure to get updates on the status of all of Orlando’s players with the Labs Insiders tool.
Isaiah Stewart stands out as arguably the best value play on the entire slate. He started at center in place of Mason Plumlee in the Pistons’ last game, and he responded with 33.25 DraftKings points over 31.2 minutes. Plumlee is uncertain for today’s contest, but Stewart figures to earn more playing time regardless of his status. He was selected with the 16th pick in last year’s draft, so he fits the Pistons’ youth movement moving forward.
Karl-Anthony Towns returned to the Timberwolves’ lineup in their last game after an extended absence due to COVID-19. He was limited to just 30.9 minutes in that contest, but he should see a few additional minutes on today’s slate. He should also see a few additional shot attempts with D’Angelo Russell sidelined. Towns is priced down all the way at $9,300 on DraftKings, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 97%.
Jonas Valanciunas has quietly started to get hot. He’s increased his production to 1.47 FanDuel points per minute over the past month, which is the kind of elite per-minute output we’re used to seeing from him. He should see a solid boost in playing time tonight with Brandon Clarke out of the lineup, so he’s an excellent target at $7,000 on FanDuel.
Pictured: Julius Randle
Credit: Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images