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 10-game slate starting at 7 p.m. ET.
Trae Young is currently listed as questionable, but he’s in an elite spot if he’s able to suit up. He’s taking on the Washington Wizards, who have been one of the best matchups in fantasy this season. They rank sixth in pace and 29th in defensive efficiency, giving Young an Opponent Plus/Minus of +3.35 on DraftKings. This game leads the slate with a total of 245 points, and the Hawks’ implied team total of 120.75 ranks second.
On the other side of that matchup, it’s going to be tough to avoid Jerome Robinson at the absolute minimum on FanDuel. He entered the starting lineup in place of Ish Smith in their last game, and Smith will sit out today’s contest as well. Robinson is currently projected for 30.5 minutes in our NBA Models, and min-priced players with a comparable minutes projection have historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +4.19. The Wizards also lead the slate with an implied team total of 124.25, and factoring in an implied team total of at least 118 points to the trend above increases the average Plus/Minus to +7.06 (per the Trends tool).
Markelle Fultz has revived his career with the Magic this season. He still has a long way to go with his jump shot, but he’s averaged a very respectable 0.99 FanDuel points per minute. He’s also increased his usage rate by +4.4% with Evan Fournier off the court, so he should be one of the primary beneficiaries of his absence.
Kendrick Nunn has put together an impressive rookie season with the Heat, averaging 0.94 DraftKings points per minute. His playing time has been a bit volatile with the team at full strength, but he’s logged at least 31.6 minutes in five of his past seven games. He could do a lot of damage given that much playing time vs. the Pelicans given his Opponent Plus/Minus of +3.42.
SG is loaded with strong options at the top on today’s slate. Bradley Beal is definitely in play in a tremendous matchup vs. the Hawks. He’s been on an absolute tear since the All-Star break, posting an average Plus/Minus of +7.14 over his past eight games on DraftKings.
That said, he has been priced up aggressively over that time frame. Devin Booker is $2,000 cheaper on DraftKings and $1,800 cheaper on FanDuel, which makes him the better pure value in our NBA Models. He’s currently projected for a slate-high 39.1 minutes, and he’s played at least 37.4 minutes in five of his past six games.
He also has a chance to increase his per-minute productivity with Deandre Ayton unlikely to suit up. He’s currently listed as doubtful, and Booker has increased his usage rate by +1.6% and his assist rate by +7.1% with Ayton off the court since the All-Star break.
Terrence Ross put together a mind-boggling stat line in his last contest. He scored 35 points vs. the Heat, including shooting 8-of-10 from 3-point range, but he somehow finished with just 34.0 FanDuel points. You read that correctly. He had one turnover and exactly zero combined assists, rebounds, steals and blocks.
He will probably see some scoring regression today vs. the Timberwolves, but he should hopefully make up for that by contributing in the other categories. Ross isn’t exactly known for piling up the peripherals, but he has averaged 4.0 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.1 steals over his past 10 games. He’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in each of those contests on FanDuel, and he should see a boost in playing time today with Fournier out of the lineup.
The Pacers have the potential to be extremely shorthanded today. Malcolm Brogdon has been listed as doubtful, while Victor Oladipo, T.J. Warren, Doug McDermott and JaKarr Sampson are all listed as questionable. They would obviously be an interesting team to target if all of those players are ruled out, so make sure to utilize the Labs Insiders tool for any injury updates.
Expect Aaron Holiday to be one of their primary sources of offense in that doomsday situation. He’s struggled a bit recently, but he’s still averaged 0.86 DraftKings points per minute this season.
DeMar DeRozan is another stud SG option worth considering. He stands out as the best value at the top of the position on DraftKings given his Bargain Rating of 87%, and he should continue to benefit from the absence of LaMarcus Aldridge. DeRozan has increased his usage rate by a team-high +3.3% with Aldridge off the court this season, and he’s in a great spot today vs. the Brooklyn Nets.
The top of the SF position today features a battle between Giannis Antetokounmpo and LeBron James. Not only are they the two priciest options at the position, but they’re also squaring off in a marquee showdown in Los Angeles.
Both players are obviously capable of providing elite DFS production, but our models are giving the slight edge to LeBron today. He has the better matchup — LeBron owns an Opponent Plus/Minus of +1.97 on FanDuel, Giannis owns a mark of -1.17 — and he leads the position with 13 Pro Trends. LeBron also stands out as the better value on FanDuel, where his $10,200 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 96%.
Mikal Bridges is expected to see a monster workload today for the Suns. Cam Johnson has already been ruled out, and Kelly Oubre remains out with a knee injury. That doesn’t leave a ton of competition for Bridges on the wing, and he owns a minutes projection of 39.1 in our NBA Models. He’s very affordable at just $5,200 on DraftKings, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 92%, and players with comparable salaries and minutes projections have historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +4.01.
Rudy Gay has been a non-factor for most of the season, but he’s started to see a few additional minutes recently. He’s still averaged a solid 1.00 FanDuel point per minute this season, but he’s averaged just 21.2 minutes per game. He’s currently projected for 26 minutes in our NBA Models, and he’s played at least 26.1 minutes in three straight games.
If you’re looking for some cheap exposure to the Wizards-Hawks game, De’Andre Hunter has some appeal on FanDuel. He’s priced at just $4,600, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 86%, and he’s posted an average Plus/Minus of +9.40 over his past 10 games.
There are a few different ways you can go at the top of the PF position, but Domantas Sabonis stands out as the preferred target in our models. For starters, Sabonis has been an excellent option for most of the season. He’s averaged a Plus/Minus of +2.55 on DraftKings and a career-best 43.9 DraftKings points per game. He’s also in an excellent spot today vs. the Bulls, resulting in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.35.
Sabonis also has the potential to benefit from the Pacers’ injury situation. He’s averaged a Plus/Minus of +2.1 in 13 games without Brogdon this season, and any additional injury absences should only result in increased usage.
Cheick Diallo is simply too cheap at $3,200 on DraftKings today. He’s been a strong fantasy producer when given the opportunity to play this season, and he should see a solid handful of minutes with Ayton likely out of the lineup. He also has a dream matchup vs. the Blazers, resulting in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +5.57.
Jayson Tatum may have become too expensive on DraftKings, but his $9,500 salary on FanDuel comes with a Bargain Rating of 95%. He leads the position with 14 Pro Trends, and he should continue to benefit from the absences of Gordon Hayward and Jaylen Brown. Tatum has been one of the best producers in fantasy recently, posting an average Plus/Minus of +10.87 on FanDuel.
Kristaps Porzingis got off to a slow start for the Mavs this season, but he’s been on an absolute heater of late. He’s increased his fantasy production to 1.56 FanDuel points per minute over the past month, and he leads the position with a minutes projection of 38.5 vs. the Grizzlies. That’s an appealing combination, and Porzingis has rewarded fantasy owners with at least 67.9 FanDuel points in each of his past two games.
Center is a little thinner than usual today, but Nikola Vucevic stands out as a strong target on FanDuel. He owns a Bargain Rating of 93% and leads the position with 12 Pro Trends. He doesn’t have a particularly appealing matchup vs. the Timberwolves — he owns an Opponent Plus/Minus of -0.26 — but the absence of Fournier should make up for it.
Dewayne Dedmon is expected to return to the lineup tonight, and his timing could not be better. The Wizards are an elite matchup for centers, ranking dead last in team rebound rate. Overall, he owns an Opponent Plus/Minus of +4.24 on DraftKings, where his $3,400 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 95%.
Myles Turner is another potential target today for the shorthanded Pacers. He’s coming off a poor performance in his last game, but he’s still posted an average Plus/Minus of +7.27 over his past 10 games on DraftKings. The Bulls are an excellent matchup for big men — they rank 29th in team rebound rate — and Turner owns a Plus/Minus of +3.76 on DraftKings. Turner has also been excellent in 13 games without Brogdon, posting an average Plus/Minus of +4.4.
Most of the best value options at the center position are found on DraftKings, but Wendell Carter Jr. is an exception. He owns a Bargain Rating of 97% on FanDuel. He’s still playing limited minutes following an injury, but that hasn’t stopped him from posting a positive Plus/Minus in each of his past three games.
Photo credit: Scott Taetsch-Getty Images
Pictured: Magic C Nikola Vucevic (9)