Friday features a nine-game slate starting at 7 p.m. ET.
Let’s dive into some of the top plays using the FantasyLabs Tools and metrics.
Note: Projections and Leverages Scores/Ratings may change throughout the day after this article is posted. The NBA DFS landscape changes quickly. Consult the Player Models directly for any updates as we get closer to lock.
Luka Doncic was playing some of his best basketball of the year heading into the All-Star break. He posted an average Plus/Minus of +7.23 over his past 10 games, and he erupted for 84.25 DraftKings points in his last game. Overall, Doncic has increased his production to 1.83 DraftKings points per minute over the past month.
Doncic will face a tough test vs. the Jazz, who rank 10th in defensive efficiency, but Doncic should continue to thrive given the Mavs’ current roster. He’s excelled with Tim Hardaway Jr. and Kristaps Porzingis off the floor this season, increasing his usage rate by +3.6% and his rebound rate by +3.2%.
The Knicks have the potential to be thin in the backcourt on Friday. R.J. Barrett is questionable, and Kemba Walker will reportedly ride the pine for the rest of the year.
If Barrett is ruled out, Alec Burks should see a nice spike in playing time. He’s currently projected for 30 minutes in our NBA Models, and he’s averaged 0.93 DraftKings points per minute over the past month. The Heat are a brutal matchup – the Knicks are currently implied for just 103 points – but Burks is simply too cheap if Barrett is unavailable.
The Magic are taking on the Rockets, giving them the best possible matchup for fantasy purposes. The Rockets rank first in pace and dead last in defensive efficiency, and the Magic’s implied team total of 116.5 represents a massive increase from their season average (103.3).
With that in mind, Cole Anthony stands out as an elite target. He’s particularly appealing on FanDuel, where his $6,100 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 95%.
Russell Westbrook has had a disastrous season, but he still has the potential for some massive fantasy performances. He should see a boost in value with Anthony Davis out of the lineup, and Westbrook is as cheap as he’s ever been at just $7,000 on FanDuel.
It was no Chris Paul, no problem for the Suns on Thursday. They cruised to a 20-point victory over the Thunder, thanks in large part to the play of Devin Booker. He provided his usual scoring punch, and he also racked up a season-high 12 assists. Booker has seen a massive spike to his assist rate with Paul and Cameron Payne off the floor this season, so he should continue to provide some additional fantasy value as a passer.
The Suns also own a strong matchup vs. the Wizards, and their implied team total of 116.0 ranks second on the slate.
The Clippers are another team with some key absences at the moment. In addition to Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, Norman Powell is also sidelined with an injury. That leaves the team without their top three wings.
That should result in a few additional minutes for Amir Coffey. He racked up just under 26 minutes in his last outing, and he’s projected for a similar workload vs. the Lakers. Coffey has averaged 0.75 DraftKings points per minute this season, so that should be enough playing time to pay off his $3,700 salary.
Jalen Green has had a quiet rookie season, but he should get an opportunity to shine down the stretch. His minutes have been up recently, and he’s responded with an average Plus/Minus of +6.62 over his past 10 games on FanDuel. However, his price has actually decreased over that time frame, and his $4,300 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 92%.
Lonnie Walker stands out as underpriced on DraftKings, where his $3,900 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 83%. He’s seen a boost in value following the trade of Derrick White, scoring at least 28.75 DraftKings points in his past two contests.
LeBron James continues to thrive in his 19th professional season. The Lakers have struggled this year, but it hasn’t been LeBron’s fault. He’s averaging 29.1 points per game, which is his highest mark since the 2009-10 season.
LeBron also gets a big bump in value with Davis out of the lineup. He’s increased his usage rate by +2.0% in 19 games without AD this season, resulting in an average of 1.58 DraftKings points per minute. His price tag has also come down since the last time Davis was sidelined. LeBron got as high as $12,000 on DraftKings, so he’s very reasonable at just $10,600 vs. the Clippers.
Cameron Johnson has been excellent for the Suns this season, averaging 0.87 DraftKings points per minute. The bigger problem has been finding consistent playing time, but that’s not an issue with Paul and Payne out of the lineup. He’s currently projected for 30 minutes in our NBA Models, making him one of the strongest value options on the slate.
Buddy Hield has seen a big bump in value following his trade to the Pacers. He’s racked up at least 37 minutes in four straight games, and he’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in each of them. He’s racked up at least 40.75 DraftKings points in two of those games, so he has plenty of ceiling for his price tag as well. He might not see quite as much playing time with Malcolm Brogdon back in the lineup, but he should still see well over 30 minutes.
The Raptors are another team with an excellent matchup on Friday. They’re taking on the Hornets, who have played at the second-fastest pace this season. OG Anunoby is an appealing buy-low target in that matchup. He’s been priced down to just $5,400 on FanDuel, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 94%.
Wendell Carter Jr. is another strong option for the Magic on Friday. He’s taken over as the Magic’s preferred big man, routinely logging more minutes than Mo Bamba. He’s responded by posting an average Plus/Minus of +6.09 over his past 10 games. WCJ has also increased his production to 1.14 FanDuel points per minute over the past month, and his $7,300 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 79%.
Nicolas Batum continues to stand out as a massive value on DraftKings. He’s priced at just $4,100, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 95%, and he’s racked up at least 31.5 DraftKings points in two of his past three games. His worst performance came in his last outing, but he wasn’t needed in a 31-point blowout win over the Rockets. This is a prime buy-low opportunity.
Thaddeus Young is still working his way into the Raptors’ rotation, but he logged 20.7 minutes in their last game. That’s not much playing time, but it’s more than enough for Young to do damage. He’s averaged 1.09 DraftKings points per minute this season, and he’s historically been an excellent producer on a per-minute basis.
Jarred Vanderbilt is a nice buy-low target on FanDuel. He’s been priced down to just $4,500, which represents a decrease of -$1,600 over the past month. Vanderbilt has averaged 0.98 FanDuel points per minute this season, and he’s currently projected for 27 minutes in our NBA Models.
Joel Embiid is one of the biggest question marks on Friday’s slate. He’s been absolutely dominant of late, averaging 1.79 FanDuel points per minute over the past month. He’s emerged as the frontrunner for the MVP, and he has the 76ers up to third in the Eastern Conference standings.
However, Embiid is going to have to share the court with James Harden moving forward. That has the potential to cut into his numbers pretty significantly. Embiid is currently leading the league in usage, but it will almost certainly decrease with Harden.
Still, Embiid clearly has upside vs. the Timberwolves. They’ve played at the fastest pace in the league over their past 10 games, and this game has the second-highest total on the slate. Embiid should also command reduced ownership, increasing his appeal in tournaments.
Even though Bamba isn’t playing as much as Carter, he can still provide some value in fantasy. He’s been priced down to $4,500 on both DraftKings and FanDuel, and Bamba has the potential to crush on a per-minute basis. He stands out as one of the top points-per-dollar plays at the position.
Montrezl Harrell has seen a boost in value since landing with the Hornets, scoring at least 28.75 DraftKings points in three straight games. He’s also seen plenty of playing time, logging at least 33.6 minutes in his past two contests. Harrell is an elite per-minute producer for his price tag, especially on DraftKings given his Bargain Rating of 94%.